18 June, 2019

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Does Increasing Use Of Cell-Phone & Wi-Fi Radiation Pose An Increasing Health Risk?

By Chandre Dharmawardana – 

Dr. Chandre Dharmawardana

A 2016 talk by an engineer gives a “wake-up call” about-the danger of cell-phone use and Wi-Fi radiation. It is titled: Wireless wake-up call | Jeromy Johnson | TEDxBerkeley

A Silicon-valley engineer turned technology-health advocate, Jeromy Johnson discusses our attachment to technology.

This video is  once again making the e-mail rounds. Some of you may have seen this before, and our discussion then. Such talks are found in the internet all the time. Of course, it is better to be safe than sorry, and so one may wish to take some precautions if the risk is substantial. But is it?

At every stage of human existence, humans had to judge the amount of risk they have to face, in order to exist and move forward. This was true for the hunter gatherers as well as the first people who learnt how to tame fire.

Is the radiation from smart power meters, cell phones, home wif-fi etc. dangerous, carcinogenic, or capable of causing nausea, sleeplessness etc, and incapacitate you as stated in these reports?

The main-stream professional and scientific organizations do not support the view that there is any risk from Wi-Fi radiation. Of course, the frightened public will immediately point out to examples of collusion between industry and scientific regulatory bodies. This can be significant in the USA where Capitalism is King.   Nevertheless, when the professional and academic associations of a majority of countries say the same thing, I prefer to follow main-stream science instead of claims made by small, seemingly very concerned groups using anecdotal accounts.

So let us look at the science from the main-stream point of view.

The American Cancer Association, and other professional associations do not support the view that radiation from smart meters or cell phones cause cancer.

Smart Meters  transmit the reading to the power company at frequent intervals (e.g., every hour or in full real time). See, for example, the ACA’s comments on smart meters.

The amount of radiation that we get from the sun at all frequencies is a usually many  times higher than what comes from these devices and from cell phones. The sun radiates at low frequencies as well as at very high frequencies, and it is the very high frequencies (short wavelengths) that are most dangerous, compared to Wi-Fi and radio waves.

1. Johnson’s argument that the radiation density has substantially increased because of Wi-Fi is not correct. Typical cell-phone or smart-meter radiation is at 2.4 GHz which is about 12.5 cm. The sun radiates at wavelengths of 100 nanometers to about 1 mm strongly, and beyond into radio frequencies as well. So it is radiating in the Wi-Fi range as well. In fact, 52% of the sun’s radiant energy is in the near infra red and millimeter range.

A Wi-Fi wave of 12.5 cm is more than 10 million times larger than a micron sized cell in the body or in the brain. Think of a boat in the ocean, and a wave which takes a very long time to swell up because its wavelength is a million times longer than the boat. The boat  merely gets gently lifted up, and nothing happens. It is only if the wavelength is comparable to the boat and turbulent (i.e., many short wavelengths and eddies mixed up with long ones) that the boat gets into trouble. So Wi-Fi radiation, which is largely monochromatic (single wavelength) near 12.5 cm cannot latch onto the electric circuits of the cell either due to size based electrodynamic effects, Q-cavity effects, or due to resonance effects unlike a cell phone which “picks up” the wave as it is constructed to have a circuit  in resonance with the 12.5 radiation.

One may imagine that if the wave were very strong (i.e.,if  it had a large amplitude), as wold be the case near a Wi-Fi tower, then its effect would be correspondingly stronger. This is in fact not so, as Einstein showed in 1905. Unlike with ordinary water waves or sound waves, it is the quantum theory that controls the interaction of radiation with matter, and here it is the frequency, and not the amplitude that matters.

2. The total number of cell phones and Wi-Fi sources in the world is over 5 billion according to some estimates. Such radiation is in my view a negligible increment over the existing background. But you can make your own estimates. Also, such cell phones have existed now for several decades. Scientists haven’t still been able to pin point any cases (e.g., of brain cancer) exactly linked to the illness and the presence of cell phone radiation – i.e., there is no evidence. There has been NO INCREASE in brain cancer while the amount of Wi-Fi has increased exponentially. In fact the incidence of brain cancer in the US has slightly decreased, over the years.

2. Of the 3 billion users, let us say we have perhaps a some thousands of people who complain of nausea, inability to sleep etc., as stated by this engineer Jeromy Johnson. He refers to a paper by an Australian Doctor Frederica Lamech published in 2014 in a fringe journal known as “Alternative therapies“. The report is anecdotal, and does not compare a group of patients with a control group. There are many such reports, published in “predatory” journals which have no scientific standing, and reveal  poor “experiments” that are simply not up to scientific standards. We have the same problem in many environmental studies. A most notorious case is that of a Sri Lankan Psychic Lady from kelaniya publishing a paper with  academics from the Rajarata University, claiming that kidney disease in the Rajarata is caused by arsenic acting together with residues of the  herbicide glyphosate claimed to present in the hard water of the region.  No evidence was presented, but a “hypothesis” was published in a predatory journal. The  journal  had no connection with a learned society or professional body, but it is maintained by a Chinese businessman who publishes what is  sent to the journal as long as you pay a page charge, although there may even be a pretense of “peer review”..

Do you know of ANYONE who has faced the conditions described by Engineer Johnson that you can be ascribed to the use of a cell phone? Most people  don’t.

However, let us we assume that there is actually a problem, and that 5,000 such people have been definitively identified, and that there are 5 billion sources of Wi-Fi radiation in the world. Then we have  5,000/(5 billion) = 5/5000,000,000 gives us one chance in a million that this is probably going to affect us within the next decade. There is a much bigger risk from second hand smoke, and an even bigger risk from fumes from motor vehicles, or falling in your bath tub. The risk for getting hit in the street by a car and dying is about 30 times higher (for New York, and much higher in Colombo or Cairo). Ten times more kids are killed in bath tub accidents in the US alone, compared to the 5000 that we assumed here. That figure may be contested. If so, any one is free to use their own figures and make the risk calculation, and do it in a more sophisticated way using advanced notions of probability distributions etc.

4. So, even if the fringe science reports are not up to standard, it is important to check if there is a danger, by carrying out good experiments with double-blind controls. The WHO has sponsored or carried out several such studies on the effect of cell phone radiation. In 2015, the European-Commission Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks concluded that, overall, the epidemiological studies on cell phone radio-frequency electromagnetic radiation exposure do not show an increased risk of brain tumors or of other cancers of the head and neck region.

For Cell Phones and Cancer Risk click here

This is a WHO fact sheet that outlines the available evidence regarding use of cellular/mobile telephones and cancer risk, but does not indicate a definite risk. And yet this engineer seems to say that the WHO arrived at the opposite conclusion. So what he says is, in my view,  incorrect.

5. The engineer Jeromy Johnson says that our body is electric, and that cells communicate by electric signals, and so this some how makes wi-fi dangerous. This is a truly naive argument.

Cells communicate using chemicals at the synapses of the neurons. The chemicals shoot across the synaptic gap when the tiny currents in neuron circuits exceed certain thresholds. Unless the thresholds are exceeded, nothing happens.

We can follow all the electric signals in the body using ECG, EEG and other such devices. Modern fitness trackers, wristbands, optical heart-rate monitors, photo-plethysmography devices etc are now quite commonplace. More sophisticated PET and brain NMR are also now available to clinical researchers. In-body telemetry, as attempted in using  sensors which are a mere one millimetre in size (e.g., those  named “neural dust”), may also be used to monitor organs in real-time, as well as their being using to stimulate nerves and muscles.

No one has seen any effects on these bodily electric signals, PET or NMR signals being affected when the cell phone rings. There is no justification for calling for a ban claiming a “precautionary principle”. In fact the correct use of the precautionary principle is to not to ban the product, but to take some simple precautions to minimize exposure if you have worries about the Wi-Fi radiation.

In my view,   one should wait for reliable evidence, since the current estimated risk is about 1 parts in a million,  instead of acting in fear, like the animals in the Dadabba Jataka.

*The author is a professor of Physics at the University of Montreal and a Principal Research Scientist  in the Quantum Theory group of the National Research Council of Canada.

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Latest comments

  • 0
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    Similar warnings emerged with the advent all new technologies. For instance steam locomotives were said to shorten life because you travelling faster than a horse-drawn carriage. We were also told the microwave oven would fry our brains and reduce us to simpletons. I am sure readers can supply many more hilarious instances.

    • 1
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      There were at one time people called Luddites, who protested the introduction of industrial machinery.
      Their descendants are living much better lives.
      On the subject of radiation, part of the problem lies in the English language. The word is used for anything from long wave radio to cosmic rays. But what sticks in the minds of laymen (and some not-so-bright non-laymen) is radiation from atomic weapons. So even a cellphone is under suspicion even though the fact is that only ionising radiation is dangerous.
      It is also a fact that our own bodies emit small amounts of microwave radiation. So, if all this was true, we are killing ourselves by being alive !
      It always good to have a pinch of salt ready when viewing YouTube pundits, especially the anti-cancer or free energy crowd.

    • 1
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      Dear Dr. Chandre Dharmawardana;

      I think to discuss on the topic of vital importance. I am aware to few researchers that continue their radiation research on the specific subject.

      https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30892289

      I think since they have now used head sets and other blue tooth connected accessories , the threat to human has gone down as had not been before.
      :
      If cell phone radiation to be that injurious, then the radiation emitted by radiation in every radiological units (hospitals) shoule be multiple times dangerous tothose work in such areas.

  • 7
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    Another one in the line of advise on glyphosate?
    Who pays the piper?

  • 2
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    It maybe too early to comment. I have read different opinions in this regard and as an ordinary laymen it may not be possible to agree or disagree with one or the other. However, small children using cell Phones/Internets may ‘corner’ them and make them dependent on it rather than using their “own brain” We also note that, what was decided as ‘good’ for mankind was later found to be not good/healthy.. In a highly commercialized world where business competition is high, what is good for the man kind’ may not over take the commercial competition.
    Until recently Coconut oil was considered bad but now that theory has been ‘deleted’ from the minds of the people thanks to a Srilankan doctor.
    Similarly , the controversy on milk powder still exist in our minds despite full page advertisement in the press and the electronic media, to the contrary. Quite a number of people are of the view that powerful milk producers (not the cows) can influence even the scientific opinions, which could be bought over with funds.
    All matters of this nature cannot carry proof like most of the ‘BRIBES’ given to MP’s and Ministers in Srilanka, where even the judges seem to work under cover.
    (GOK) ‘God Only Knows’ if he is not busy otherwise.

  • 2
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    Mobile phone It’s a lifeline to the outside world. social responsibility to make the world a better place,
    no one will stop using it besides its effects.The standard safety advice must be put on place people use mobile phones. when lighting is existing who is outside increases their risk of being struck if they are on an open space, near water or near large metallic structures or trees. These factors are more important to safety in an electrical storm than the use of a mobile phone.

  • 2
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    Chandre Dharmawardana seems to relish being in the news at any cost.
    Remember him telling us that, if not for Monsanto and ilk, mankind faces extinction.
    Eminent Eco-scientists tell us that mankind faces extinction BECAUSE of excessive use of herbicides.
    Just the other day Monsanto was ordered to pay $80 million to a cancer victim of a Monsanto herbicide.
    .
    Here is Chandre telling us that Wi-Fi radiation is harmless.
    Maybe or maybe not. But then we were told that smoking is harmless.
    .
    The Quantum Theory group of the National Research Council of Canada is not noted for contribution to science.

  • 3
    1

    I’m curious why you aren’t citing actual scientific studies in specifics? Last year, the US National Toxicology Program/Ramazzini Institute both concluded, in their actual decades-longs studies, there was ‘clear’ and ‘some’ evidence of cancer/tumor related to the RFR – which, again, were studies specifically on the topic. Also, ICNIRP’S Maria Feychting and Martin Roosli, have recently published a new paper on epidemiology in which they end by saying ‘we are unsure about long term mobile phone use,’ but in a sister-paper, talk about how the Swedish Cancer Register, is missing almost 30% of their data on malignant tumors?……Also, Glioblastoma Multiform has more than doubled in England since the introduction of cell phone’s since 1995 – not there’s debate as to why. Secondly, the CNS in the US is complete up until 2007, you can find that on the NIH page, but there was a reported increase in Glioma in 2005. Just wondering why none of this is in your article? Asking for a friend.

    • 0
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      To add to what the author has said, the Danish study covered 17 countries and hundreds of thousands of cell phone users, and no evidence of increased peril was found.

      But there are a whole bunch of class action lawyers based in New York trying hard to get even one case to the courts. Then , if they succeed, they can sue I-phone, Nokia, SamSung and all these companies.

      But first they have to frighten the public so that jury members will vote to indict the phone companies and award money to some body who got cancer (how he got it is irrelevant).

      Of course, just as with the cases against Monsanto and Bayer, the people who make money are the lawyers. The lawyers are salivating for the big kill. That is why they get various renegade engineers to go about claiming that cell-phone radiation is dangerous.
      In this manner, the distopian western world will kill itself, while the chinese and other oriental nations will surge forwards as they don’t ALLOW any such nonsense. Today China is the biggest vendor of technology, be it cell phones or nuclear energy or glyphosate.

  • 3
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    The RF radiation even though at very low power will certainly have some impact on the health of people. The benefit of this technology could offset the risk or even consider it acceptable to the people. The directional antenna looking downward to provide coverage to users on the ground radiate more power than the phone itself. The radios connecting various towers use microwave frequencies which are very harmful to the bird population. Multinational companies involved in technology, pharmaceutical, fertilizers or food processing spend billions in promoting their products. These include marketing strategies and bribing leaders who have the power to decide. Drug companies are bribing our doctors to prescribe unwanted medications. People have started to ask questions. Hopefully they will learn more as time goes by.

    • 0
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      But although there may be more power near an antenna or cell-phone post, absorption of the power does not depend on the intensity, but on the frequency AND having a resonance. That is why the quantum theory is relevant here.
      VJ HAS USED CLASSICAL PHYSICS AND THAT IS NOT CORRECT.

  • 1
    1

    It looks you are the typical Mad scientist. You are every where in the Scientific world. Why the developed has so much cancer incidences. How come Srilanka had only Maharagamsa Cancer hospital. Now, there are wards evry wher ein the country. why the Cancer incidence increased. Srilanka was relatively free of cancers. with respect to smart phones, Sri lankan parliament wants 5G imported when 6G, 7G, and 8G are in waiting. Sri lanka is an small island 3G is more than enough. No point of talking new technology when only thing we do is import and use and then pay to the developing country. It is very dishonEst article and a dishonest scientist. THIS YOUR GROUP IS IT SOMETHING LIKE INTERNET BLOGS. READ NABOUT 5G IN THE FOLLOWING; https://www.globalresearch.ca/5g-corporate-grail-microwave-radiation/5659341https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-dangers-of-5g-to-childrens-health/5668564

    • 1
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      JD,
      So you get a lot of time to read research? Your boss at Toronto Toilets must be very kind.

      • 0
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        I think, I will meet you in colombo. I am not a Junk Free Lancer like you.

  • 0
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    Sri Lankan politicians want 5G. What is that we get extra that we can not live without it. What is the cost-benefit-cancer incidence analysis. Recently, Rajitha Senarathne told that one Breast Cancer patient needed vaccines, each injection worth Rs 5 lakhs and such 31 injections, in other words, Rs 155 lakhs. You are very dishonest. You are attending uantum group meeting does not mean anything. You can attend so many number of such groups if you have time and if you are interesting. uantum world’s so much advancement is because of Buddhism/Hiduism. Other religions can just collect literature in their head uarters.

    • 0
      0

      I think JD has been using the cell phone too much and he has got totally unhinged from reality. So he is babbling about Buddhism and Hinduism. Why not Sai Baba?
      Even 3G is enough to unhinge him.

  • 0
    0

    I did not know that Upcountry farmers were spraying glyphosate for Vegetables what we call RATA ELAWALU. If they did that, next to follow was GLyphosate Resistant Vegetable seeds. Here, Glyphosate wheat varieties, uantum Physicist Prof knows it, are grown. TO go with that because of cross breeding with weeds, Glyphosate resistant grass weeds are also available. I heard some are toxic weeds. That is if some one taste by mistake he would be paralyzed and need hospitalization.

    • 0
      0

      So JD, all we have to do is to plant those toxic weeds around the Northern coast line to Prevent the kallathoni from coming in What a wonderful idea! Such a powerful toxin can have its uses

  • 0
    0

    Millimeter waves are mostly absorbed within 1 to 2 millimeters of human skin. Thus, the skin or near-surface zones of tissues are the primary targets of the radiation. Temperature elevation from localized mm waves can impact the growth, morphology and metabolism of cells, induce production of free radicals, and damage DNA.

    More about it can be found from the following link: https://www.saferemr.com/2017/08/5g-wireless-technology-millimeter-wave.html

    Isn’t that the reason, cell phone manuals instruct users to keep to phone about a cm away from the skin? Some people use headphone sets to avoid this issue. How many of us read the phone safety manuals?

    By the way, do you have any scientific explanation for concession like symptoms felt by some diplomats in Cuba?

    Have you seen the videos of grape turns into a fireball in microwave oven? Have you seen the scientific explanation of it? https://www.pnas.org/content/116/10/4000

    Since high power and mm range waves from 5G home routers are already in the market, we have to wait to see the side effects.

    • 1
      0

      Evanescent,
      The examples you quote are misleading. Microwave ovens put out about 1 Kilowatt . So naturally a grape will explode in an oven. Try an egg too while you are at it.This is what microwave ovens are meant to do!
      As you yourself say, the energy is absorbed within 2 mm of skin. So how can cellphones or routers cause brain damage? Not unless the brains of the people making the claims are already damaged !

      • 0
        0

        Dear Professor,
        I guess, you haven’t read that grape paper yet.

        Have you done your homework? (https://www.pnas.org/content/116/10/4000).

        Authors selected a grape instead of an “egg” for a reason (size matter) to illustrate the science of how plasma can be generated from electromagnetic (evanescent field) hot spots. This paper was selected just to highlight a point.

        In this example, the source is high power microwave and according to authors, grapes act as spheres of water, which, due to their large index of refraction and small absorptivity, form leaky resonators at 2.4 GHz. They claimed that intense hot spot at the point of contact that is sufficient to field-ionize available sodium and potassium ions (in grape), igniting plasma. It was generated from inside the grape and not due to just microwave heating the outside skin of the grape.

        We don’t know how much power is too strong to damage local human cell components at the contact point of skin when it is constantly exposed from attached cell phone. Do you?

        There are some precautions available to avoid this scenario. I was just saying that it might be an issue for some people but not for others.

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