Cell phones, wireless networks, and the developing "smart grid" utility
technologies are being hailed as progress for communication and
information, but the downside is an emerging public health issue. A
report documenting health hazards linked to wireless radiation, called
"electrosmog," is landing on desks in Congress this week, issued by the
National Institute for Science, Law and Public Policy (NISLAPP)
The document highlights the independent science on acute and chronic
health issues linked to exposure to the radiation, and the report
authors call for more scrutiny of federal safety guidelines for
exposure. Magda Havas, Ph.D., is a co-author of the report and an
associate professor of Environmental and Resource Studies at Trent
University, Peterborough, Canada. She has been studying this health
issue and says the range of potential public health consequences is
"Some people have no sensitivity, others have mild - might develop a
slight headache and recover very quickly - and some have debilitating
Havas says compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) are emitters of
electrosmog, too. For those who suspect sensitivity, she recommends
removing all CFLs in the home and turning off wireless networks for a
few days to see if common symptoms such as headaches, fatigue and
insomnia are alleviated.
Not everyone is convinced that electromagnetic radiation can be linked
to health problems. The industry argues that the this type of radiation
is not hot enough to cause tissue damage. According to Havas,
independent scientists report biological damage is done without the
James Turner, chair of NISLAPP
and Citizens for Health
says even when state and local governments have concerns about health
effects linked to cell phone towers and Wi-Fi locations, they cannot do
anything about it because the Telecommunications Act of 1996 prevents
them from taking action.
"These things need to be in the hands of local communities. So the
first thing to do is address changing the Congressional policy that was
adopted, cutting the local communities out."
Havas says it is time to explore ways to make the technology safer and reduce cumulative exposure.
"We simply cannot continue increasing our exposure and assume that it's
going to have no adverse health effects. Adverse health effects are
already being documented."
The report, "Public Health SOS: The Shadow Side of the Wireless Revolution," is available at