The Gray Eminence of WHO?
Exposure to low-frequency electromagnetic fields and low-frequency radiofrequency fields poses a significant health risk that has not been adequately addressed by international organizations such as the World Health Organization, warns an article published in the journal Environmental Pollution.
The authors of the publication include scientists from the European Research Institute for Cancer Causes (Belgium), the Oncology Department of the University Hospital of Orebro (Sweden), the Department of Radiobiology of the Center for Biomedical Research (Slovakia), the Institute of Oncology. General Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences and various institutes from Italy, the United States and Australia.
According to the scientists, "there is strong evidence that excessive exposure to cell phone frequencies for extended periods increases the risk of brain cancer in humans and animals." However, "the rules set by most national and international organizations do not protect human health," they lament.
The WHO report on the impact of cell phones on health was published in 2014. Since then, much new data has been obtained, and scientists are concerned that this information can be ignored.
The WHO Department of Health, Environment and Social Affairs, located in Geneva, obtains data from reports prepared by the International Commission for the Protection of Non-Ionizing Radiation (ICNIRP), an organization whose members are related to industry.
Scientists therefore fear that studies that mention the biological effect of non-thermal radiation will be excluded from the new WHO report.
Brain cancer, Alzheimer's, infertility?
To transmit and receive a signal, the mobile devices operate in the microwave region with a frequency of one to two gigahertz. Unlike gamma and x-ray radiation, microwaves do not directly damage DNA. At low intensity, they do not even heat the fabric or warm up a bit. However, they affect the living cell, and it is this non-thermal effect that, since the late 1980s, when mobile communications have come to be used massively, scientists are investigating.
In 2002, the International Agency for Research on Cancer included microwave radiation in Group 2B as "possibly carcinogenic to humans" because the data appeared to link an increased risk of brain cancer with prolonged use of cell phones.
Scientists now propose hardening this classification, as there have been many experiments on animals and cell cultures that confirm the connection with the onset of tumors.
Some researchers only recognize the damage caused by tissue heating caused by non-ionizing radiation. This effect is known to any cellphone user. If you talk a lot, your ear gets hot.
However, there are other effects of radiation, even when the amount of energy absorbed is small, below 10 watts per kilogram. First, it is the physical and chemical effect that affects the functioning of living cells and tissues.
Microwaves can increase cell growth, alter enzyme activity, cell membrane permeability, and protein folding method.
Some people are very sensitive to the very low electromagnetic radiation of power lines. Those who live near cell towers complain of dizziness, headaches, rashes and allergies.
Studies, usually conducted with rodents, show that irradiation affects the expression of certain genes – for example, those responsible for heat shock proteins – that can alter cognitive abilities and spatial memory.
Male rats showed a deterioration in seminal fluid quality and there is evidence of effect on female fertility.
Some studies have observed the association of microwaves with Alzheimer's disease, neuropsychiatric and behavioral disorders, changes in blood pressure, the immune system and the thyroid.
The greatest concern is the effect of this type of radiation on children, since the growing organism is especially susceptible to several negative factors.
For example, in France, access to Wi-Fi in day-care centers was banned and ordered to be switched off, if not used, in primary schools.
Time to revise the standards
However, information about the non-thermal effects of microwaves is obtained mainly in laboratories where the conditions do not repeat the natural ones.
In addition, the mechanism of how low-intensity microwaves affect cells is unclear. All this does not allow unequivocal harm to humans or risk assessment.
When choosing devices, experts recommend paying attention to the specific absorption rate (SAR), which shows how much radiation energy will absorb living tissue.
Meanwhile, scientists warn: since public organizations can not recognize the danger of mobile radiation, governments must act independently. At a minimum, issue warnings and instructions on how to minimize the effects of microwaves on the body.