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Electro-Magnetic Field Conference, California
USA Created: 27 Jul 2019
We are excited to be part of the Electro-Magnetic Field Conference happening September 6th-8th 2019 in Scotts Valley, Santa Cruz County, California (where Stop Smart Meters! was born in 2010). This is the first major EMF conference of its kind in the United States and will bring doctors and EMF experts together from around the world to discuss prevention and ways to heal from injuries caused by the telecommunications and utilities industries.

Full details about the conference are at: https://emfconference.com/ For any questions not answered by the website, you can e-mail info@emfconference.com. Videos of presenters and more information and background is available at https://emfconference.com/blog.

Please share this important information with your doctor and other health care providers, and consider attending yourself. The conference is open to both medical professionals and the general public, and will be held in Scotts Valley, CA at 1440 Multiversity in the redwood trees. Even though yesterday (Friday 7/12) was the official deadline for “early bird discount registration” organizers tell us you can book through tomorrow (Sunday 11/14) at midnight to get the discount, so act fast and please spread the word.

We hope to see you at EMF conference 2019 this September in California!

Josh Hart.

p.s. Olle Johansson!

Josh Hart MSc
Director, Stop Smart Meters!
PO Box 682 Portola, CA 96122
Toll-Free Hotline: (888) 965-6435
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Stop Smart Meters!, Josh Hart, 13 Jul 2019

Sign up for the 5G Crisis Summit
USA Created: 27 Jul 2019
The telecoms have NOT shown it be safe for your health or privacy — and THOUSANDS of independent, peer-reviewed studies show the serious risk.

Because the wireless industry has taken over our federal agencies and are controlling mainstream media, groups and experts have organized for an open, worldwide investigation.

We have already put 100's of hours into creating this powerful event, and have opened up free access for you. You won't want to miss it!

» Go here to quickly save your spot for The 5G Crisis Summit:

Josh del Sol
Click here to view the source article.
Source: 5G Crisis Summit, Josh del Sol, 27 Jul 2019

Berkeley Talks transcript: Joel Moskowitz on the health risks of cell phone radiation
USA Created: 27 Jul 2019
Kim Guess: Hi everybody, welcome - Thank you for attending this keynote presentation, “Cell Phones, Cell Towers and Wireless Safety.” This is part of our Balancing Technology Programs. My name is Kim Guess and I’m a dietician with the Be Well at Work Wellness Program. Balancing technology is a spring theme for all of Be Well at Work so for our UC Berkeley faculty and staff, we have workshops, we have a challenge and all kinds of resources available for you.

Now I would like to introduce our speaker Dr. Joel Moskowitz, director of the UC Berkeley Center for Family and Community Health. He has conducted research on disease prevention programs and policies for more than 30 years. He is an adviser to the International EMF Scientist Appeal signed by more than 240 scientists who publish peer-reviewed research on EMR, or electromagnetic radiation.

Last year, he won a James Madison Freedom of Information Award for his work that culminated in the state of California publishing the cell phone radiation safety guidelines, which are on your handout. There is a stapled handout right on there. You can learn more on his website saferemr.com, and please join me in welcoming Dr. Joel Moskowitz.

Joel Moskowitz: Thank you Kim. I’d like to thank the University Health Services for inviting me to do this keynote presentation. I’d also like to thank the School of Public Health for co-sponsoring the event. And I’d especially like to thank Kim for coordinating the event today. I got involved in this issue by accident in 2009, when my center sponsored a visiting scientist from the National Cancer Center of South Korea who worked with a team of researchers and with us on two meta analyses, which are quantitative reviews of literature, and one of the meta analyses dealt with mobile phone use and tumor risk.

When that was published, he had gone back to South Korea, so I was left with having to field media requests from journalists from virtually all over the world who were very concerned about the findings of our meta analysis at the time. Since then, I’ve been following the literature very closely, studying the literature and writing about it and lecturing about it, and trying to bring reporters up to speed on how to cover this complex topic and set of research, which has evolved considerably since 2009.

I first want to go over some basic information to give you an overview of what the issues are that we’re dealing with. I’m going to focus on the radiation risk. I’m not going to talk about the benefits of cell phones because I think you’re all quite aware of the benefits of cell phones and smartphones. In fact, I’d be surprised if there’s anyone in the audience who doesn’t have one currently. I’m not going to focus on the social problems which range from privacy and security issues, to varieties of inappropriate use or problematic use, including addictive behaviors, which are increasing all the time.

At the national level, we’re increasingly seeing a potential cyber security problem with regard to the infrastructure that the cell phone relies upon and there’s a lot of controversy around the cyber security issues and which technology out of China is safe to use and which is not.

Beginning in 1984, we have fairly inelegant cell phone, which couldn’t actually work very well because it often didn’t get receptivity due to very few cell towers in the country. Over time, the cell phone has become more elegant. It also has evolved from a single function, which was basically operating as a cell phone, to include texting, game playing, music playing, to becoming an internet delivery device. With each of these increases in functions, numerous social problems began to evolve around these different uses.

There is a symbiotic relationship between cell phones and cell towers, at least currently. You can’t have cell phone reception without these cell antennas. Industry is trying to get away I think from using these cell antennas because although we have a love affair with the cell phone, at best people are ambivalent about having these cell towers, especially in their neighborhood, so they’ve been experimenting with things like drones and hot air balloons. There’s even proposals to put up thousands of mini satellites to provide the medium on which your cell phone and your smartphone can operate.

The industry association CTIA — I’ll talk more about their rather nefarious role in all of this later — is the lobbyist group for the wireless or cellular industry in the U.S. They engage in a lot of lobbying. They coordinate the lobbying of the various cell phone companies and manufacturers. The industry as a whole spends about $100 million a year lobbying Congress. They also do lobbying at the state level and occasionally get involved in local level politics and lawsuits. You can see the rapid growth and connections. Not all of these connections are to cell phones, however, because there are other devices that rely on cellular subscriptions, such as tablets.

As you can see, this is a big, big business. It’s also a huge business globally, not just in the U.S. There’s roughly 5 billion subscriber connections worldwide, so this is an industry that’s probably been unparalleled in terms of any other industry in the history of the world in terms of its reach. This is important too: 88 hours per year is what the estimate is from the industry in terms of our average voice use. Over a 10-year period, the typical person would get something like 880 hours of cumulative call time. We’ll get back to that later when we look at some of the epidemiology.

Smartphones became popularized by the iPhone in 2007 and you can see the rapid uptick in terms of use in the United States. The current estimate, or at least the estimate as of 2017, is 273 million smartphones in use in this country. It’s hard to find good prevalence data in terms of use of these devices. This is a survey the Pew Research Center did with parents of teens, and roughly 95% of teenagers in the U.S. 13 to 17 years of age either have a cell phone or have access to a smartphone, according to this survey.

I was unable to find reliable data on use among children under the age of 13, but I suspect the prevalence of ownership there or access to smartphones is also very high. In the industry, particularly CTIA has been pushing parents to give their kids cell phones younger and younger, and there’s a lot of pressure I hear from parents of young children for providing them with access to a smartphone.

Concurrent with the uptick of cell phones, we’ve seen a decline in access to landline phones. In fact, at this point the majority of households in the U.S. as of 2018 are wireless only; they do not have a landline phone. This has changed rapidly since I’ve been following this issue in 2009, the uptick of cell phones and the decline in landline phones. As a result, people have become totally dependent for telecommunications on their cell phone or smartphone.

How does a cell phone call work? I’ll just do this really quickly. Basically when you go to make a call, you’ve got this two-way radio, it’s actually a radio and a transmitter. It’s kind of misleading to call it a two-way radio, but they tend to refer to it as just a radio. It transmits a signal to the nearest cell tower. Each cell tower has a geographic cell, so to speak, in which it can communicate with cell phones within that geographic region or cell. Then that cell tower communicates with a switching station, which then searches for whom you’re trying to call, and it either connects through a copper cable or fiber optics or in some cases, through a wireless connection through microwave radiation with the wireless access point.

Then, that access point then either communicates directly through copper wires through a landline or if you’re trying to call another cell phone, it will then send a signal to a cell tower within the cell of the receiver and so forth. The radiation from your cell phone is going out usually in all directions. In this direction though, it’s being absorbed by your head. This little child is absorbing it, and it’s largely in his brain and neck area — much of the radiation. A lot of the radiation is wasted, so there is an energy conservation issue with regard to all of this that has been not very well studied, but there’s a lot of wasted energy. Then some of that radiation will reach the tower and enable you to make the communication.

What we see here is the electromagnetic spectrum. The spectrum displays all types of electromagnetic fields read by the frequency or the length of the waves. On the far right are the highest frequency waves, which are considered ionizing radiation, for example X-rays. This radiation has sufficient energy to knock electrons out of their orbits causing an atom to become charged or ionized, which can directly cause chemical changes and DNA damage. It can also indirectly cause such damage, and in fact, the estimates are that 50% of the damage is actually indirect. Ionizing radiation is known to be cancer-causing, or carcinogenic, since the 1930s.

On the far left are extremely low frequency waves that oscillate up to 3,000 cycles per second, which is also known as hertz. These waves can produce strong magnetic fields. Radio waves occur at the higher frequencies and the highest frequency radio waves are called microwaves or millimeter waves. Cell phones and cordless phones are two-way radios that transmit microwaves. They will soon also be transmitting millimeter waves.

Cell phones can emit up to two watts of power. In contrast, a microwave oven can emit 1,000 watts. Whereas the oven has sufficient power to significantly heat tissue, wireless phones generally do not except when held next to the body. Cell towers, cell phones and other wireless devices emit microwaves that are modulated or pulsed to encode voice and data. Also, the systems that power these devices emit low frequency electromagnetic fields. With the upcoming fifth generation of cellular technology, known as 5G — you may be seeing a lot of this in the media currently — cell phones and cell towers will employ lower frequency and higher frequency microwaves than current use.

Also for the first time, this technology will employ millimeter waves, which are much higher frequency than microwaves. Millimeter waves can’t travel very far, and they’re blocked by structures and foliage. In fact, some of the frequencies are blocked by water vapor, fog or rain, so the industry estimates that it’ll need 800,000 new cell antenna sites. Each of these sites may have cell antennas from various cell phone providers, and each of these antennas may have micro arrays consisting of dozens or even perhaps hundreds of little antennas, which will be needed in the near future in the U.S. Roughly two and a half times more antenna sites than in current use we will see deployed in the next few years, unless the wireless safety advocates and their representatives in Congress or the judicial system puts a halt to this.

Millimeter wave radiation is largely absorbed in the skin, the sweat glands, the peripheral nerves, the eyes, and the testes based upon the body of research that’s been done on millimeter waves. In addition, this radiation may cause hypersensitivity, which I’ll talk about more later, and biochemical alterations in the immune and circulatory systems, the heart, the liver, kidneys and brain. Millimeter waves can also harm insects and promote the growth of drug resistant pathogens, so it’s going to have some pretty widespread environmental effects for the micro environments around these cell antenna sites.

Cell phones, cell towers and other wireless devices are regulated by most governments. In 1996, the Federal Communications Commission, or FCC, adopted exposure guidelines that limit the intensity of exposure to radiofrequency radiation. These guidelines were designed to prevent significant heating of tissue from short-term exposure to radiofrequency radiation. Our government’s safety guidelines were not designed to protect us from the effects of long term exposure to low intensity radiofrequency radiation. Yet, the preponderance of the research published since 1996 finds adverse biologic and health effects from long-term exposure to low levels of modulated or pulsed radiofrequency radiation, such as produced by cell phones, cordless phones and other wireless devices, including WiFi.

In 2001, based upon the biologic and human epidemiologic research, low frequency magnetic fields were classified as “possibly carcinogenic” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization. This agency is often called by its acronym IARC. In 2011, IARC classified radiofrequency radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” based upon studies of cell phone radiation and brain tumor risk in humans. Currently we have considerably more evidence that would warrant a stronger classification.

The crux of the health and safety problem we face today was stated by the FDA in 1999. The FCC regulations are “based on protection from acute injury from thermal or heating effects of radio frequency radiation exposure, and may not be protective against any non-thermal effects of chronic exposure.” Yet, since 1999, the preponderance of thousands of peer reviewed studies have found biological and health effects from chronic exposure to non-thermal levels of microwave radiation and low frequency fields.

To further complicate matters, a smartphone typically has five different types of microwave transmitters, including three different cellular technologies, and soon with 5G, they will be adding another cellular technology, along with WiFi and Bluetooth. Some transmitters operate at multiple frequencies and some transmitters can operate simultaneously with others, exposing the user to a complex mixture of radiation. In the next few years, most new smartphones will emit several types of 5G radiation in addition to some of these earlier forms of cellular radiation. None of these types of radiation has been tested to ensure that long-term exposure is safe.

To reduce the risk of harm, individuals should adopt the following behaviors. First, minimize your use of cell phones and cordless phones; use a landline whenever possible.

Second, distance is your friend. Keeping your phone 10 inches from your body as compared to one-tenth of an inch results not in a 100-fold reduction, but a 10,000-fold reduction in exposure. So, keep your phone away from your head and body. Store your phone in a purse or backpack and text or use a wired headset or speakerphone for calls.

Third, cell phones are programmed to increase radiation when reception is poor. A new study published by the California Department of Public Health in preparation of the guidelines they released already found up to a 10,000-fold increase in exposure when reception was poor — that is one or two displayed bars on your phone. Thus, use your phone only when the signal is strong. For example, do not use it in an elevator or in a vehicle as metal structures interfere with the signal. For additional tips, see my Electromagnetic Radiation Safety handout which you received today, or the guidance published by the California Department of Public Health.

In addition to the vast increase in use of cell phones in our country, we’ve seen a substantial increase over time in cell sites in the country running from roughly 2,300 sites in 1987, to over 320,000 in 2017. Huge growth over the last decade. Cell antennas can vary greatly in terms of their size. As you can see here — here’s a macro cell. This can be anywhere, from 100 feet in this case, and it’s disguised as a pine tree, I think, some kind of evergreen tree, to a macro cell 200 to 400 feet. Fairly new on the horizon are the small cells, which you can see more examples here, which can be mounted on light poles or utility poles.

The new generation of cell phones or cellular technology is going to rely very heavily on these small cells, because they’re going to need so many of these to support the fifth generation or 5G. In most of these sites, you’ll probably see somewhere on the pole a warning sign that the FCC has approved that if you get any closer than where this sign is, you will actually exceed the FCC exposure guidelines, which in my opinion and the opinion of many scientists are completely inadequate anyway, and we’ll talk more about that.

Now let me just give you a real brief overview of what the research looks like, first focusing on the cancer risk. Over here you can see a glioma. This is a section of the brain. This is the tissue, glial cells, which are the supporting cells for the neurons in the brain. This is a meningioma, which is the outer covering of the brain. These are tumors we’re looking at. Much of the research has focused on animal models, particularly rats, to a lesser extent mice and other species, because they’re a good analog for humans and you can actually do experimental studies on animal models, which you cannot do really with humans.

As I mentioned, IARC in 2011, an expert working group consisting of 31 experts from around the world, including members of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Cancer Institute concluded at the end of a meeting and review of the literature that radiofrequency radiation is “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” Many scientists today feel that it’s time for IARC to re-review the literature given all the research that’s been published since 2011 to upgrade this to at least “probably carcinogenic to humans,” if not actually “carcinogenic to humans.”

There have been some major human epidemiologic studies that have looked at the brain cancer risk that have been published in recent years. The Interphone study was actually reviewed as part of the IARC review. Interphone found in its main body of the paper, a 40% increase in brain tumor risk, glioma risk, brain cancer risk that is for a group with 1,640 or more hours. Buried in the appendix where they control for one of the problems with the study, a participation bias, the estimates actually grew to about an 80% increased risk. This got buried in a second appendix with some text saying why you shouldn’t even pay attention to this analysis.

Subsequent analyses of the Interphone data done by researchers found, making different assumptions about the data, found that these conclusions are quite robust. Furthermore, they found that the risks are much greater on the side of the head where people predominantly use their cell phone and in some of the analyses, they found that the people who’d used the phone for fewer than 1,640 hours also had a significantly increased risk of glioma.

This was a 13 nations study by the way, the Interphone study. It was partially funded by the WHO and much of the funding came from industry in these 13 nations. The group of researchers tended, well the paper, the paper with pooled data tended to downplay the findings, shifting the focus to brain tumor registry data, which was really misguided because there were problems with the brain tumor registry that they were citing. Lennart Hardell has done a number of studies. He’s actually the pioneer in this field.

He did some re-analysis of a couple of his studies using similar assumptions in terms of the age groupings and the cutoffs, and found very similar findings from his data that pretty much corresponded with what the Interphone Study showed. This is a French study with four sites in France, and they found a much higher risk estimate, roughly a three-fold risk from fewer cumulative hours of cell call time.

Now, glioma, fortunately, is a fairly rare form of brain cancer in terms of annual incidence. However, if you live to age 70, you’re talking about a lifetime risk somewhere between one in 200 to one in 250. If we double the risk, it’s cutting that estimate then down to 100 to 125 people, so one person would be getting a glioma.

Focusing on children a little, some of the modeling research has shown that the child’s brain absorbs twice as much radiation as the adult brain. The radiation guidelines for handset use in the U.S. or internationally don’t take into account differences in anatomy. There’s one size fits all, regardless of whether you’re a 250-pound male, or a 25-pound child, yet the skull of the 5-year-old child will absorb about 10 times as much radiation as the skull of the adult.

There’s one completed brain tumor risk study with children. A case-control study, like the Interphone study, looked at 7- to 19-year-old children from four countries. Overall, they did not find a significant risk: It was elevated at 36%. The risk estimates were higher in three of the four countries but for some reason in Norway, they actually had a lower risk assessment as compared to the control group.

Interestingly, buried in this paper to was a finding where they actually had cell phone company records on a subgroup of the children. Largely in the bulk of the paper, they relied on parental reports of child’s use. In that subgroup, they found that children with 2.8 or more years of cell phone use had roughly a doubling of cancer risk. That was significant, and that gets ignored in the discussion and in the abstract of the paper. There’s just a lot of pressure on these scientists, I think in large part because of their funding source, industry — least in part, if not wholly, to downplay any risks that they find and divert attention from their own data when they do find risks.

There is another study called MOBI-Kids, which is actually the parallel study to the Interphone study. The data were collected in 2009 to 2014. We’re still waiting for final results on that study. That should shed greater light. It’s a larger sample than CEPHALO on what the risks are to children in terms of brain tumors. This study was originally called for in 1999 by the FDA. They nominated to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences that the National Toxicology Program, or NTP, studied in an experimental study using animal models, the effects of long-term exposure to cell phone radiation.

What they ultimately concluded, which largely came from a group of independent experts was — here again, the government experts tended to downplay the findings when they first came out — but the expert group upgraded the findings. So in the final report, they’re reporting “clear evidence” of tumors in the hearts of male rats. These tumors are malignant schwannomas. Schwann cells are also a site for tumor risk in humans, but in humans, the increased risk is in the head. It’s called vestibular schwannoma. It’s a tumor on the main nerve from the ear to the brain. Scientists, I don’t believe looked at these cells in the rats. I listened to virtually all of the three-day peer review and I think that question came up. They don’t have data on whether it affected that nerve in the rats.

This is “clear evidence,” this is the highest standard that the NTP provides. This is not “possibly” or “probably.” This is evidence. They also found “some evidence” of tumors in the brains of male rats. This also corresponds to what we’re seeing in humans, malignant gliomas, which we looked at just previously. Interestingly, and nobody’s made too much of this, both of these types of cells, the Schwann cells and the glial cells produce myelin, which is a fatty substance that occurs on the nerves within our body. The Schwann cells are in the peripheral nervous system; glial cells in the central nervous system.

We have some strong coincidences between what we’re seeing in the male rats and what we’re seeing in humans. Also in talking to a biophysicist, he had a theory that myelinated nerves serve as antennas, and so this could be concentrating the radiation that comes from these (wireless) devices in specific parts of the body. We’ll come back to myelination a little bit when we talk about hypersensitivity.

They also found “some evidence” of tumors in the adrenal glands of male rats. For the mice and the female rats, they found some evidence, but they considered it “equivocal” because the patterns didn’t match what they expected to see. They sort of downplayed the findings in terms of direct application, but not as much as the FDA did, to try and totally dismiss this $30-million study that we’ve been waiting for, that the FDA has been waiting for, since 1999. Normally, this study should’ve taken maybe five to 10 years at the very most but they ran into a number of obstacles, including funding and then finding a contractor who could do this study, and then they sat on the data, I think, for a number of years before finally releasing it.

Other findings in the study, which are critical include DNA damage in the brains of the male and female mice and rats, increased degeneration in the hearts of the male and female rats, and decreased birth weights in the rats exposed prenatally.

This is a finding that you have to dig through the appendix to find, but I was looking for it because of an early Air Force study looking at microwave radiation exposure to much lower levels than used in the (NTP) study. This was pre cell phones. The military had a big interest in this because of the use of radar, found a three-fold increase in overall tumor risk in the animals exposed long term to microwave radiation.

So, digging through the appendices — and I suggested to them in the final report, they actually put this analysis in the main body of the paper but they ignored my suggestion — you find the highest overall cancer incidence was in the middle exposure groups, not the highest exposure group. You can see fairly substantial differences there that were indeed statistically significant, 42% to 46% in the two middle exposure groups compared to 27% in the control group. They also found that in the lowest exposure groups, a significantly greater nonmalignant tumor incidence versus the sham control.

Nobody’s paying much attention to these findings. I think they’re extremely critical. Part of the criticism of the study is that they use exposures, full body exposures that were much higher than you would typically get from a cell phone. They’re more comparable of the partial body exposure, the head or the body exposures you get from the cell phone, but this was a full body exposure.

But interestingly, the Ramazzini Institute in Italy basically replicates the key NTP result in terms of the heart schwannoma, and they used much lower exposures. In fact, they found it at 0.1 watts per kilogram compared to exposures ranging from 1.5 to six watts per kilogram in the NTP study. This study has yet to receive a whole lot of attention in the media. Actually, neither study got a whole lot of attention in the media, believe it or not. The New York Times report on the NTP study, I think, totally missed the boat. And yet, reporters from the New York Times and other papers had interviewed me and other people, and then they just ignored what we had to say about the study.

There are other health risks that have been found in humans. The evidence generally is not as strong. I mentioned glioma, acoustic neuroma or the Schwann cells on that nerve from the ear to the brain. Meningioma, which is the outer covering the brain. Parotid gland, which is the largest salivary gland. Pituitary gland, and most recently the thyroid gland. A study out of Yale University School of Medicine and the Connecticut Department of Public Health found not quite significantly increased risk, but almost, it was marginally significant increased risk, particularly in the males of thyroid gland tumors.

We’re seeing an epidemic of thyroid gland tumors, which this may be partially responsible for. There is one case series of four women who had breast cancers, multifocal tumors in the location of the breast, where they stored their cell phone for significant periods of time. I’ve heard the researchers have been accumulating, the research has been accumulating other cases, but there hasn’t been much since that first report in the literature that I’m aware of.

The strongest evidence, probably even more so than the brain tumor risk is for sperm damage in males — male infertility. In females — miscarriage and preterm birth, there’s lesser evidence, but there is definitely a body of research that’s accumulating. With regards to children, there hasn’t been a lot of studies. What they tend to find is from prenatal and early childhood exposures, increased headaches, hearing problems, impaired memory. And recent studies replicated a finding in adolescence in terms of figural memory for kids who used the phone on the right ear, — also increased incidence of ADHD.

There’s actually animal model studies suggesting this as well, for the animal analog of ADHD, attention deficit, hyperactivity. There’s a couple of papers by a researcher at Harvard who says that this may be at least a co-factor for autism, if not a direct cause. One of the phenomena with very low exposure to microwave radiation is increased penetration, or opening of the blood brain barrier, which can then allow chemical toxins into the brain that are in the circulatory system.

Electro-hypersensitivity. There’s a range of symptoms that people experience and attribute to their exposure, either to microwave radiation or power line frequencies, which includes headaches, fatigue, insomnia, ringing in the ears or tinnitus, heart palpitations. This is an interesting table from a paper comparing the symptoms of electro-hypersensitivity to the symptoms of demyelination. The most common form of that is multiple sclerosis. There’s quite a bit of overlap in the symptoms. Here, too, we’re talking about the myelin producing cells, so there’s recent thinking that there may be a connection between these diseases. We can talk more about that in the Q&A session.

The cell tower studies — there’s been roughly a dozen epidemiologic studies showing associations between proximity to a cell tower over a long period of time, and various kinds of effects, mostly neuro-behavioral. In some cases, (increased) cancer incidence. All of these studies — because they’re ecological observational studies and not experimental studies — have alternative explanations. It’s hard to control for confounding. There’s an excellent review by Blake Levitt and Henry Lai. You’ll have to rely on the animal model studies, the experimental studies showing all kinds of adverse effects from oxidative stress due to low intensity exposures to radiofrequency fields, particularly microwaves.

The International EMF Scientist Appeal calls for stronger regulation of electromagnetic fields and health warnings. It’s been signed by 247 scientists who have all published peer reviewed research on electromagnetic fields. I did a search in an archive —EMF Portal — and I found 2,000 unduplicated count of papers that these scientists have published on electromagnetic fields and biology or health. These scientists come from 42 nations and they’ve made a very strong statement, which I won’t read now. When you look at the slide regarding the effects that the literature documents that they feel calls for warning the public and stronger regulations.

You’d think given this large body of researchers, we’d have no problem with getting governments to adopt stronger regulations and health warnings. Unfortunately, as with many other issues, like tobacco, or asbestos, or various chemicals, or global warming, for that matter, there is a body of researchers who are basically defending the industry-promoted guidelines that have been adopted by the FCC and by the ICNIRP, which is the international equivalent of the FCC, which the WHO relies upon.

And very recently, a team of investigative journalists identified 14 scientists, actually named them, who defend these obsolete exposure guidelines and they do so by preparing biased reviews of the literature for various health agencies around the world. At least eight of these individuals have had industry research funding. There may be another dozen EMF scientists around the world who take a similar position as these researchers, but mostly in the U.S. we’re hearing from non-EMF researchers, people who’ve never published EMF research — typically physicists, engineers, sometimes oncologists, who are defending the FCC guidelines saying the only risks are short-term and due to heating.

Let’s touch a little bit on policy. In 1996, Congress adopted the Telecommunications Act. It has a section that basically says that no state or local government entity may regulate the placement, construction or modification of personal wireless service facilities, ie. cell towers on the basis of environmental effects of radiofrequency emissions to the extent that such emissions comply with FCC regulations. This causes a great deal of problems for communities that are trying to fight cell towers because the courts have interpreted environmental effects to be health effects. You can’t argue it on health grounds, you have to basically argue it on aesthetic grounds if you don’t want a cell tower in front of your home or in your backyard.

The government, our government, has really been disingenuous and irresponsible on this issue. Like most governments in the world, they do have a huge conflict of interest in that they sell licenses for the spectrum. One small piece of spectrum that they just sold, they netted in the auction $700 million and they were disappointed because they thought they could get $1 billion for it. Also, state and local governments collect on average 19% of your cell phone bill, and then of course there’s all the jobs it creates and the money that comes in terms of corporate taxes. I assume some of these companies paid taxes, but you never know in this day and age. So, the government has a huge conflict of interest here. Both parties are complicit in protecting this industry and are heavily lobbied by this industry.

On the one hand, they say we need more evidence, but then they don’t fund the research or they delay the production of the one study they did fund. We’ve had some agencies, the cities of Boston and Philadelphia who’ve submitted to the FCC complaints that basically there’s no leadership in the government, there’s a complete pass-the-buck attitude. The FCC doesn’t have any health expertise and it’s been irresponsible on this issue. Senator Blumenthal in a recent exchange in a Commerce Committee hearing, where industry officials presented concluded the hearing, saying, “So there really is no research ongoing. We’re kind of flying blind here as far as health and safety is concerned with regard to 5G.” We can go beyond that and we could also say with regard to 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G, we’ve been flying blind.

A couple years ago, I tried to find experts within our federal health agencies. I found basically one person and he’s retired now. The person I interviewed at the FDA who’s supposedly the most knowledgeable and supposed to be advising the FCC was a complete denialist with regard to long-term risks. He was the head of a unit that was responsible for this topic — turned out later when I searched him on LinkedIn, he was a nuclear engineer. He’s since moved on, and I suspect his successor isn’t any more knowledgeable.

The interview lasted two hours. Essentially, we got down to the point where we were debating studies, and it showed to me that he clearly didn’t understand how medical or biologic research works or epidemiologic research worked, and was just looking to dismiss studies. That’s how he was able to maintain his sanity I guess, by just ignoring the whole issue. There’s an interesting monograph looking into the FCC, and how it’s been captured by industry, and this has gone on even before the cellular problem — earlier it was the broadcast industry that controlled the FCC. It was the perfect example of regulatory capture.

These other agencies (FDA, EPA, NIOSH, etc.) are supposed to be involved in a work group. The work group turned out to be a sham when I investigated it. It has no official functions. They would meet over phone for one hour, three times a year. The prior session was five people. There’s been a variety of actions at the local level. All of this information is on my saferemr.com website in greater detail.

Most recently, Montgomery County, Maryland, is suing the FCC over the exposure guidelines, or wants to sue. They petitioned the court to allow the suit. We’ll see if it happens. It’s in the Ninth Circuit.

A number of organizations have also called for changes in the FCC’s RF limits or testing procedures. The FCC opens up requests for public input. They did one in 2003, another in 2013, and then they never do anything with the filings. The most recent filing has over 1,000 submissions, many thousands of documents and studies submitted, and they just ignore it. Maybe I should stop since time is up. I can finish this in the beginning of the Q&A session.

Thank you.
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Source: Public Affairs, UC Berkeley, Joel Moskowitz, 19 Jul 2019

Proposal for Burrator mast resisted by councillors
United Kingdom Created: 27 Jul 2019
A PROPOSAL to install a telecommunications base station at Burrator Dam with a 12-metre tall mast and an equipment compound by the roadside is being resisted by parish councillors.

Mobile network operator EE is seeking to build the base station to provide 4G phone and data coverage for the police, fire and ambulance emergency services at Burrator.

But at a site meeting last week, Burrator parish councillors were surprised to learn the network would be limited to the perimeter road around Burrator lake and would not penetrate onto the moors and could not reach surrounding hills and tors.

One of the parish councillors who attended the site meeting with EE and its planning agents Savills of Dorset Cllr Keith Scrivener said: ‘The question is do we support what is quite a sizeable, industrial-looking mast and compound at this sensitive beauty spot just to provide 4G coverage around the lake?

‘We could end up with something like a mini North Hessary tower with a fenced-off base station at the bottom which would look very intrusive and which could be viewed from miles across the Burrator landscape.’

Other councillors shared the view that the proposal for the site seemed heavy-handed and those who attended the site meeting urged EE to consider a less obtrusive location in the area where the equipment might be hidden from public view with reduced impact on the skyline.

Parish council vice chair Cllr Andy Paskins said: ‘The proposed solution looks like a standard solution that fits all and takes little account of the sensitivity of the particular location.’

Cllr Mark Brunsdon urged the mobile network operator to take a more balanced view, saying: ‘While the location by the dam may offer the best network coverage, other less sensitive locations around the reservoir may offer suitable alternatives.’

The proposal near the dam would involve digging out some rocks and earth close to the antiquated granite water trough on the slope of Yennadon Down to create space for the roadside compound.

The technical network equipment required would be surrounded by a fenced-off compound with a granite retaining wall at the back.

Eventually, once up and running, the installation would be capable of providing commercial 4G coverage for EE customers.

EE has said it will consider the parish council’s suggestions of alternative sites and would report back with its findings before putting forward any planning application to Dartmoor National Park Authority.

An EE spokesman also said they welcomed the views of other local stakeholders and the public.

‘We appreciate this is a sensitive and beautiful area and we welcome more input from others,’ he said.

A more simple plan approved last year to provide 4G coverage at Burrator by installing antennas to an existing BT telegraph pole near the dam has since been aborted, parish councillors were told.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Tavistock Times Gazette, Alison Stephenson, 26 Jul 2019

Cell phones: more harm than good?
Nigeria Created: 27 Jul 2019
Arguably, mobile phones have become a necessity to mankind - In today’s technological world, it may be hard to imagine life without mobile phones. While the device comes with innumerable benefits to the user, it also has disadvantages which might not be known to the user. Most people sleep with their phones beside or under their pillows and others keep their phones at arm’s length when in bed.

Many are not aware of the potential risks and long term effects of keeping mobile phones close to the head while asleep. Observational study has revealed that four out of every five mobile phone users check their phones within the first 15 minutes of waking up. This is true in its own sense.

Sometime last year, a landmark United States (US) National Institutes of Health (NIH) study warned that cellphone radiations can cause cancers of the heart, brain and adrenal glands. Scientists suggest that men in particular should take precautions to minimize exposure of sensitive body areas to cell phone radiations.

A recent finding revealed that people who talk on phone a lot with their phones held to their right ear are prone to memory impairment. Radiations from cell phones cause adverse health issues. This is because cell phones give off energy as Radiofrequency Electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) which carry information in the form of calls or text messages between phones and cellphone towers. Mobile phones work generally by transmitting and receiving radiofrequency microwave radiation. These radiations can travel into people’s bodies or be absorbed by the body when the phones are in use.

A radiologist at the University of Nigeria (UNN), Enugu, once said: “There is a continued fight between mobile phone companies and the medical research community where there has been clear evidence of association between increased incidence of gliomas and consistent habit of holding your phone to the right ear.” Glioma is a type of tumour that occurs in the brain and spinal cord. Health experts generally advise mobile phone users to always receive calls with the left ear because using the right ear will directly affect the brain.

In a research study, it was shown that there is a strong correlation between brain dominance and the ear used to listen to cellphone. The study summarily put it this way: if you’re a left thinker, chances are you use your right hand to hold your cellphone up to your right ear. This means that information received in the right ear is transmitted or transferred directly to the language-dominated left hemisphere of the brain. Just as we have the right side of the body being controlled by the left hemisphere of the brain.

Wireless base stations of mobile network providers may also pose some potential health effects given the emission of radiations. Those living or staying near base stations are advised to ascertain the level of radiation and make efforts to screen the radiation if they perceive danger. An American Journal of Engineering Research (AJER) 2017, revealed that: “…people living close to base stations over a long period of time with or without cellphone, and also the heavy phone users with close proximity to the base stations are liable to have some potential health hazards such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, headaches, feeling of discomfort, difficulty in concentrating, depression, memory loss, visual disruptions, irritability, hearing disruptions, skin problems, cardiovascular disorders and dizziness”

Some health experts have warned against the prolonged use of mobile phones. For long calls, putting phones on speaker mode when answering such calls to prevent closeness to the head or ear, or using a hands-free device are the other alternatives to placing the mobile phone directly on the ear. Our cellphones should also be switched off at night. We are to completely keep cellphones away from our beds in order to forestall radiations emanating from the device. For those whose mobile phones function as their alarm clock, they may put the phone in airplane mode to disconnect network signals which attract radiations.

An official of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) two years ago warned Nigerians against the use of substandard phones saying the use was responsible for some cancer ailments. But NCC later debunked the report, saying it never claimed that mobile phones cause cancer. NCC therefore insisted that mobile phones do not cause cancer. According to NCC, there is a parameter called Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) which has a threshold below which it is safe to use a phone, and all phones approved by the commission have SAR below the threshold mark which makes those phones safe for use.

In order to stay safe and healthy, whether or not cell phones cause cancer, avoid prolonged closeness of cellphones to the head or ear during long calls. Headsets, Bluetooth devices and other hands-free accessories may be adopted for use during calls, especially lengthy ones.

To be on a safer side, I suggest we do more of typing (text messages and chats) on our mobile phones than talking to prevent any likely health challenges that may arise from emission of radiations from cellphones when close to the head region.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: The Nation, Kayode Ojewale, 26 Jul 2019

5G network technology roll out in Wollongong has residents concerned
Australia Created: 22 Jul 2019
A group of residents in Wollongong are concerned about the potential health risks of electromagnetic radiation from the roll out of fifth generation technology.

The 5G mobile network promises to build on the 3G and 4G networks by providing greater bandwidth, lower latency and energy savings.

It will allow more people to use higher speeds at the same time.

In Sydney, Telstra has rolled out 5G in certain suburbs across Sydney and this has reignited calls from Illawarra residents for health and safety testing on electromagnetic radiation.

Russell Vale's Dave Bourke said studies have shown exposure contributes to a risk of cancers and tumours, insomnia, lowered immunity, DNA damage and more.

"There has been no long-term studies of electromagnetic radiation before the roll out of the 5G network," he said. "Telecommunications companies in other countries do not allow as much radiation as Australia.

"I'm worried more people will suffer problems from electromagnetic radiation and then they won't be able to go to work or school and we will see the collapse of the economy."

Mr Bourke and other residents want experts and the Australian government to consider studies and reports published in other countries.

Wollongong's Nick Manevski said residents would have a constant transmission of electromagnetic radiation in their homes as the roll out of the network requires an upgrade of transition towers and small cell boxes in streets.

"It will be like having microwave saturation 24 hours a day," Mr Manevski said. "There is no escape. People can't opt out."

Wollongong resident Kane Strous said he was originally supportive of the roll out because he wanted high speed internet but after looking into the technology he fears residents are not being given all the information about the health implications.

The group are holding a community meeting on July 27 from 1pm to 3pm at Wollongong Seniors Centre, Gwynneville for residents to find out more information about their campaign to stop 5G coming to the Illawarra.

"We are trying to raise awareness of the dangers of 5G," Corrimal's Mignon Lee-Warden said.

"We want people to come along to share their thoughts and information. As a community we should be able to make informed choices about our health."

The group plan to lobby Wollongong City Council to help them stop the roll out.

Telstra regional general manager Mike Marom said Telstra was continuing to roll out 5G over the next 12 months into at least 35 cities but did not say when it would occur in the Illawarra.

An Optus spokeswoman said there were no immediate sites planned for the Illawarra but "the region is very much part of our 5G plans".
Health regulators say no need for alarm

The Australian Government and major telecommunications operators say there is no need for alarm about the health risks of 5G network technology.

Residents have raised concerns about the potential cancer risks of electromagnetic radiation exposure but national health regulators say otherwise.

A spokesman from the office of the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Art said the radio frequency electromagnetic energy associated with telecommunications facilities, known as EME, has not been found to cause adverse health effects.

"This includes the EME that will be emitted from 5G networks," he said. "This is backed up by decades of research, by reputable Australian and international scientists."

Telstra's EME strategy, governance and risk management principal Mike Wood said Telstra conducted EME testing on the trial 5G network at Southport on the Gold Coast.

"The test results show EME levels are similar to the existing mobile technologies, and well below the EME safety limits," Mr Wood said.

"The World Health Organisation and Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency advise that there is no substantiated scientific evidence that radiofrequency technologies that operate within national and international safety standards cause health effects."

The spokesman said telecommunications facilities needed to adhere to a strict regulatory framework.

"ARPNSA sets strict standards for EME, and compliance with these standards is enforced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority," he said. "There are also laws in place that help telecommunications providers deploy their networks."
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Illawarra Mercury, Ashleigh Tullis, 14 Jul 2019

Despite Mockery, Oregon Officials Are Poised to Investigate the Health Effects of WiFi on Schoolkids
USA Created: 22 Jul 2019
Some scoffed at the idea that Wi-Fi could harm schoolchildren - Not Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson (D-Gresham).

"People laughed at this and said, 'We can't be wearing aluminum all the time,'" she says. "Sen. Rob Wagner put a roll of aluminum [foil] on my desk, which I thought was hilarious."

Monnes Anderson was a chief sponsor of Senate Bill 283, which directs the Oregon Health Authority to look over independent peer-reviewed scientific studies of the effects of "microwave radiation" in schools. When WW examined the idea as a "Bill of the Week" in May, its passage seemed a long shot. But it cruised through both legislative chambers and now awaits the signature of Gov. Kate Brown.

Monnes Anderson says she's glad, but not surprised, her bill passed. "You can't see radiation, feel it, taste it, so it doesn't exist? I know better than that," she says.

It's one of nearly two dozen bills WW examined during the turbulent legislative session. Here's how the others fared.


Senate Bill 1013

Limits crimes which qualify for the death penalty.

House Bill 2437

Allows farmers to excavate dig more ditches without a permit, and dump some of the dirt into wetlands.

HB 2015

Issues non-commercial driver's licenses to undocumented immigrants.

SB 212

Started as tax reductions for college tuition and fees. But it was "gut and stuffed" with a measure that says if voters overturn a tax hike, schools won't get promised funding.

SB 792

Require annual inspections of auto scrapyards.

SB 577

Toughens the law on bias crimes and tracks them.

SB 90

Outlaws plastic straws unless customers ask for them.

SB 421

Ensures that victims of accidents will be fully compensated before their health insurance company can collect.


HB 2020

A cap on carbon emissions.

HB 2796

Allowing the construction of affordable housing on wetlands.

This bill would have paved over wetlands and built housing on top of them, and would only replace a quarter of the wetlands instead of at a 1-1 ratio.

HB 3063

Removed the religious and philosophical exemptions for vaccine requirements.

SB 543

Allowed taxing districts for children's services.

HB 2786

Qualified deputy district attorneys for police pensions.

SB 892

Exempted Pedialyte should be exempt from the bottle deposit.

SB 451

Reclassified an incinerator as a renewable energy plant so that it could receive tax credits.

HB 3338

Removed guns from campus police at public universities.

HB 2688

Required big tech companies to release blueprints for repairs.

SB 595

Shifted lodging taxes from tourism to affordable housing.

HB 2859

Established confidentiality for legislative workers reporting sexual harassment, as well as the accused.

HB 2184

Taxed cell phone users to pay for rural broadband.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Willamette Week, Abbey McDonald, 17 Jul 2019

The First Report of 5G Injury from Switzerland
Switzerland Created: 22 Jul 2019
The first reported injury of 5G in a news report comes from Switzerland, where 5G has been launched in 102 locations.

The weekly French-language Swiss magazine L’Illustré interviewed people living in Geneva after the 5G rollout with alarming details of illness. In their article, With 5G, We Feel Like Guinea Pigs, posted July 18, 2019, they report neighbors met to discuss their many common symptoms and many unanswered questions.

5G: Its Legal but Not Safe

As soon as the antennas were installed, several residents and entire families in the heart of Geneva reported similar unusual symptoms of loud ringing in the ear, intense headaches, unbearable earaches, insomnia, chest pain, fatigue and not feeling well in the house. 29-year-old Geneva resident, Johan Perruchoud, called up Swisscom and was told that indeed the 5G cell towers were activated on the same day he began to feel the symptoms. When others called Swisscom they were told everything is legal and within guidelines.

Swiss Physician Denounces 5G and Calls for a 5G Moratorium

Dr. Bertrand Buchs, who has also called for a 5G moratorium, states he has seen more and more patients with similar symptoms. He notes, “In this case, our authorities are going against common sense … we risk experiencing a catastrophe in a few years… no serious study exists yet, which is not surprising when we know that this technology was developed in China, then to the United States. In Switzerland, we could open a line for people who feel bad, listen to these complaints and examine them. Our country has the means and the skills. The debate must be launched because the story is not about to end.”
Swisscom: Millions of Fast Connections

Swisscom states, “5G will create new opportunities for residential customers and businesses across Switzerland. 5G is the new mobile communication standard for digitisation, enabling the extremely fast connection of millions of devices, things and people.” Will those millions of fast connection enable communication, or instead disable people from communicating due to illness?

Dear Diary: Loud Humming, Lots of Pain, Nausea, No Sleep

These stories parallel that of Anne Mills, author of “All EMF’d Up”, who suffered wireless radiation poisoning in Germany when her husband was stationed there for work. She wrote a diary with identical symptoms of those in Geneva. As noted in the Swiss magazine L’Illustré article, her concerns, like those in Geneva, were dismissed. She consulted with German physician, Dr Horst Eger, to confirm her symptoms were that of microwave illness seen in military radar personnel and those working on microwave towers. All EMFd Up (Electromagnetic Fields): My Journey Through Wireless Radiation Poisoning and How You Can Protect Yourself. (2019)Anne Mills

“Mystery Illness” In Cuban and Chinese Diplomats is Microwave Poisoning

The New York Times and CBS reported unexplained symptoms in diplomats living in China and Cuba in 2017 and 2018. The source was found to be microwave radiation. UC San Diego Professor of Medicine, Dr. Beatrice Golomb, published an article in Neural Computation in September 2018, discussing the symptoms of the diplomats living abroad. The symptoms that diplomats and their families experienced, i.e. sleep problems, headaches, strange auditory sounds, anxiety and dizziness were similar to those with microwave illness reported in military studies from pulsed microwave radiation. See Cuban Diplomats Likely Hit by Microwave Weapons.
Many Others Suffer Microwave Illness/Electrosensitivity

It is reported that 3% to 30% of the population have symptoms similar to Microwave illness or electrosensitivity, depending on the country and if mild to severe symptoms are reported.

Dr. Scott Eberle describes how a physician learned about his own electrosensitivity published originally in 2014 in the Sonoma Medicine and later reprinted in the Santa Clara County/Monterey County Medical Association Bulletin. You can read Dr. Scott Eberle’s What’s the Diagnosis, Doctor? He has also written “An Underworld Journey: Learning to Cope with Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity.” Dr. Scott Eberle. Ecopyschology.9(2):106-111, June 2017. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317923126_An_Underworld_Journey_Learning_to_Cope_with_Electromagnetic_Hypersensitivity

Writer Alison Main has documented her experience in developing electrosensitivity and her frustration at being more isolated from other people and wireless technology she would like to use. Electro-Sensitivity: When the Modern World Hurts

(go to the source article for all the references)
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Physicians for safe technology, 20 Jul 2019

Sacramento familiy sickened by nearby 5G small-cell: Fundraising to fight back!
USA Created: 5 Jul 2019
We are organizing a group that is against the private/public relationship between the City of Sacramento and Verizon to build the 5G network. Two years ago Mayor Steinberg and the Sacramento City Council made a deal with Verizon to allow them to install hundreds of cell antennas on top of our city's light poles.



OUR STORY (and why we would be extremely grateful for the help) -

Verizon installed a very powerful cell antenna on a light pole in front of our family’s home at roughly the same height as our second story. The antenna was installed without our permission, without any notice at all. This antenna was installed as part of the 5G testing here in Sacramento. My family started experiencing health problems and wondered if they could be caused by the antenna. We began researching the safety of cell antennas and the radiation they emit.

There are hundreds of studies and articles suggesting a variety of negative health effects associated with cellular (RF) radiation. We shared our findings with the neighbors. We wrote a letter to Verizon requesting they remove the antenna. Verizon denied our request stating the antenna was compliant with FCC guidelines. The FCC told us that their guidelines are safe and that our health problems are not their problem. Upon further investigation of the FCC guidelines and statements, as well as the permitting information for the antenna, we have found that exposure on our property can exceed the FCC limits for safe exposure. https://imgur.com/a/XZCVijC

I brought this new information to Verizon, XGcommunities (the engineering firm that performed the RF compliance report), the FCC, and the City of Sacramento in early May. None of these parties have addressed the specific issue of exposure on our property exceeding the FCC limits for safe exposure or most of our other concerns. Each party has pointed the finger at the other, with no one wanting to address or accept responsibility for these issues.

We need your help in raising awareness about these issues and opposing the cell towers being installed by Verizon. We also need help to keep our local and federal governments accountable to the people, NOT to corporate interests. We are being exposed to a health risk in our own homes AGAINST OUR WILL. We are living in fear that we are being harmed every single day by Verizon’s antenna. We are having our properties devalued. This abuse must end. Help us in our fight and help us to set a precedent that WE THE PEOPLE will not allow our rights to be trampled on!
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Source: GoFundMe, Noah Davidson, 02 Jul 2019

Insect apocalypse: German bug watchers sound alarm
Germany Created: 4 Jul 2019
For almost 30 years they passed as quirky eccentrics, diligently setting up their insect traps in the Rhine countryside to collect tens of millions of bugs and creepy crawlers.

Now the group of German entomology enthusiasts can boast a world-class scientific treasure: evidence of what is described as one of Earth's worst extinction phases since the dinosaurs vanished.

Related news:

Oct 2018, Australia: ‘Hyperalarming’ study shows massive insect loss
May 2018, United Kingdom: Electromagnetic radiation from power lines and phone masts poses 'credible' threat to wildlife, EU report finds
May 2018, USA: Radiation from Cell Phones, Wifi Are Hurting the Birds and the Bees; 5G May Make It Worse
Nov 2017, Australia: Botanist report links disappearance of birds, bats & insects to electromagnetic radiation
Aug 2017, USA: Where have all the insects gone?
Jun 2012, Greece: Microwave Exposure impacts Ovarian Development

Insects, which comprise two thirds of all terrestrial species, have been dying off at alarming rates, with disastrous impacts on food chains and habitats, researchers say.

The home of the Amateur Entomology Society of Krefeld on the Dutch border is a former school building where thick curtains block out the sunlight.

Inside in glass cabinets are stored thousands of butterflies, their wings bleached by time, along with exotic fist-sized beetles and dragonflies, brought back from around the world by amateur collectors.

Treasure trove

Traditionally "entomology was mainly about drying and collecting rare specimens," says the society's president Martin Sorg, wearing John Lennon-style glasses, a multi-pocket jacket and sandals.

He and an army of volunteers have over the years gathered as many as 80 million insects that are now floating in countless ethanol bottles.

Each bottle contains the amount caught by a single insect trap over a set period, and each box represents a collection of such catches over nearly three decades.

"Since 1982, the traps we manufacture ourselves have been standardised and controlled, all of the same size and the same material, and they are collected at the same rate in 63 locations that are still identical," explains Sorg.

The result is a treasure trove of quantitative data that dwarfs that of any funded university project, he says.

But if he is visibly proud of the society's research, the outcome terrifies him: in the test period, the total biomass of flying insects here has plummeted by 76 percent.

Quaint Sunday hobby

To demonstrate the rapid decline, a lab technician holds up two bottles: one from 1994 contains 1,400 grammes of trapped insects, the newest one just 300 grammes.

"We only became aware of the seriousness of this decline in 2011, and every year since then we have seen it get worse," says Sorg, the man who sounded the alarm.

At the time, the news didn't make major waves outside ecological circles.

Concern about biodiversity loss focused mostly on large charismatic mammal species, and environmental monitoring such as that in Krefeld was considered a quaint Sunday hobby, largely ignored by the scientific community.

Also in 2011, just across the Dutch border, ecology professor Hans de Kroon was working on the decline of birds in the region.

He hypothesised that the birds suffered from a shortage of food, especially insects, but had no data to prove it.

"Then our German colleagues from Krefeld got in touch and said, 'we have the data, we've witnessed a strong decline, we are very concerned, could you analyse the data?'.

"That's how it all started."

'Point of no return'

In the search for the cause, the landscape around Krefeld provides some clues.

In the distance, industrial chimneys billow smoke.

On one side of the road lies a protected nature reserve. On the other, a sugar beet field is being sprayed with pesticides by an agricultural machine.

"You see, protected reserves are not so protected," says Sorg.

Across the border, Kroon says, "we must realise that here in western Europe our nature is getting smaller, the agriculture fields are very hostile to insects. There is no food, they get poisoned.

"And nature areas are also more and more isolated. Insects can't move from one place to another, it's too far away."

Although the exact cause for the die-off is not yet clear, he says, "the cause is anthropogenic, there's no doubt about it.

"It is our greatest fear that a point of no return will be reached, which will lead to a permanent loss of diversity."

'Path of extinction'

The Krefeld research played a central role in a meta-study published by Francisco Sanchez-Bayo and Kris Wyckhuys from the Australian universities of Sydney and Queensland.

In February, they published the first synthesis of 73 studies on entomological fauna around the world over the past 40 years, listing places from Costa Rica to southern France.

They calculated that over 40 percent of insect species are threatened with extinction, and each year about one percent is added to the list.

This is equivalent, they noted, to "the most massive extinction episode" since the dinosaurs disappeared.

The main drivers appeared to be habitat loss and land conversion to intensive agriculture and urbanisation, followed by pollution, mainly from pesticides and fertilisers, invasive species and climate change.

"The conclusion is clear," they wrote. "Unless we change our ways of producing food, insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades."
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Phys.org, Daphne Rousseau, 01 Jul 2019

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