Guest columnist Kirstin Beatty: It’s time to regulate radio frequency exposure

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Published: 1/28/2022 4:01:23 PM

In August of 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the Federal Communication Commission’s radio frequency guidelines were “arbitrary and capricious.” This should be a warning heard round the world, since these guidelines define “safe” legal exposures to wireless communications, in addition to other radio frequencies (RF).

The public’s casual use of wireless communications fails to grasp the enormity of threats to health, nor the unusual nature and gravity of this administrative legal decision. The public at large remains uninformed.

In the same year on behalf of plaintiffs charging that cellphones caused brain cancer, Dr. Chris Portier, former director of the U.S. Environmental Toxicology Program, prepared a 176-page report with 443 references concluding: “to a reasonable degree of scientific certainty, the probability that RF exposure causes gliomas and neuromas [tumors] is high.”

Yet, the DC Circuit decision, which was qualified as “highly deferential,” censured the FCC not for cancer, but instead for failure to examine health “unrelated to cancer” and modern exposure — citing concerns of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Council of Europe, the cities of Boston and Philadelphia, medical associations, thousands of physicians and scientists, and hundreds of people “who were themselves or had loved ones suffering from the alleged effects of radiation.”

The public is confused since the radio frequency industry has funded biased science, journalism, front groups, a former tobacco scientist, ads, and generally smeared science and criticism as biased, questionable, and “fringe” with no conclusive evidence or consensus. Such press would harm anyone: Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, George Washington Carver, Louis Pasteur and Jane Goodall.

The spin is also wrong. Dr. Henry Lai, professor emeritus of bioengineering at the UWA, found that of 261 wireless peer-reviewed studies published from 2007-2020, 91% had found significant free radical effects — when an excess of free radicals contributes to aging and disease — and of 336 wireless peer-reviewed studies 73% had found significant neurological effects.

Dr. Lai has transparently published the abstracts of those studies online at the Bioinitiative.org. Wikipedia, far from an authoritative source, critiques the Bioinitiative as “self-published” and cites vague critiques from seven groups, of whom some, such as the IEEE COMAR, have been accused of conflicts of interest.

To assert that the majority of studies are wrong is wishful bias. Findings in Dr. Lai’s abstracts are difficult to dispute, since many are animal or cell studies showing significant structural or chemical changes that have serious consequences. Findings of astrogliosis, potential gliosis, reduced neurotransmitters, and rising GFAP levels in four studies are, for example, associated with central nervous system damage and diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, mood disorders, and stroke, all of which have been trending, with earlier onset, sharply upward long before COVID-19.

These findings alone should be reason enough for the public to significantly limit wireless. First steps may include turning off cellphone antennas (bluetooth, Wi-Fi, location), using airplane mode, buying a corded phone, and unplugging an unused router night and day.

Second steps may include calling your state representatives to support bills I personally favor for reducing wireless exposures from technology, H. 105-114 and S. 2204, before Wednesday, Feb. 2, the deadline for committee decisions. The joint committee of advanced IT, headed by chairs Rep. Linda Campbell and Sen. Barry Finegold, along with vice-chairs Sen. Susan L. Moran and Rep. Daniel Carey, will decide on H. 105-114. The joint committee of telecommunications, chaired by Sen. Michael Barret and Rep. Jeffrey Roy, along with vice-chairs Sen. Marc Pacheco and Rep. Paul Mark, will decide for S. 2204.

As a former English literature teacher with some legal education, I prepared H. 105-114, and at the last moment provided these to Rep. Patricia Duffy, who was able to read and then sponsor H. 105-108, and submitted the rest on my behalf.

In addition to requiring quality cell tower insurance (H. 113), limiting hospital and nursing home exposures (H. 108), and examining impacts on first responders (H. 114), many of the bills focus on education, such as to limit exposures in day care, schools, and universities (H. 105 and H. 112). H. 106 eliminates mandates from state standards that require use of technology, unless specific to the subject area, allowing local authorities to set time limits on school screen time. H. 107 limits educational data collection, sets data processing standards, and also limits technology use lacking educational benefit. Using less tech protects privacy and limits random RF exposures. Other bills are described and linked at lasttreelaws.com/ma-legislation.

Clearly, casual RF exposure needs to halt, at least until regulated for safety. In 2016 Dr. Martin Pall summarized human radio frequency studies, commonly finding insomnia, headache, depression, cognitive dysfunction and anxiety. Also reported were hostility, paranoid ideation, interpersonal sensitivity, compulsivity, loss of empathy, and total apathy. As polite, sane society is in free fall, hard-wiring can only help.

Kirstin Beatty is director of Last Tree Laws and chair of a ballot question committee to require full accounting and reporting of Massachusetts government official conflicts of interest.
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