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|Why pigeons mean peril for satellite broadband|
|United Kingdom||Created: 30 Aug 2021|
"It's actually been very good but I noticed a series of outages - some a second, some longer," says Prof Alan Woodward.
The University of Surrey cyber-security expert is talking about his new satellite broadband service from space entrepreneur Elon Musk's Starlink company.
The outages, he thinks, may be caused by a lot of "pesky pigeons", which "have taken a fancy to sitting on the dish".
That small grey dish sits on the kitchen roof. To the curious pigeon, it might conceivably look like a modern bird bath rather short on water.
It is one earthbound end of the Starlink satellite internet system.
Living in a place where he "can only dream" of a fibre broadband connection, Prof Woodward says he's pleased to be one of the beta testers of the low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite broadband system,
Mr Musk recently announced that he has shipped 100,000 of the terminals.
The little dish receives and sends signals to passing satellites, part of a constellation of 1,700 which are hurtling overhead at a height of about 340 miles (550km). They travel fast enough to orbit the Earth every 90 minutes or so.
Tens of thousands more are planned, but Gwynne Shotwell, president of aerospace company SpaceX which operates Starlink, has admitted new launches are being affected by shortages of chips and liquid oxygen fuel.
Treating Covid-19 patients has increased demand for commercial oxygen - leaving less for fuel.
Prof Woodward is still investigating the root cause of the glitches, though an expert told the BBC a "pigeon sitting on a Starlink antenna would certainly degrade its performance".
Pigeons have not been the only problem, however, as this week, a major outage hit Starlink users around the world. The connection, Prof Woodward said, "just completely disappeared".
The service, still officially in beta, seems to have been down for about an hour for many users - and Starlink has not explained why.
Starlink is one of a number of firms hoping to provide satellite internet services.
Amazon's Project Kuiper plans to launch a constellation of 3,236 satellites
Telesat, a Canadian company, says it will put 298 satellites in orbit
The EU has plans for a mega-constellation
China has also announced plans for its own network
And then there's OneWeb, part-owned by the UK taxpayer, which, like Starlink, already has hardware in space.
The firm launched 34 satellites this week, meaning there are now 288 of the 150kg objects in space.
OneWeb's focus is on providing internet to businesses, maritime users and government. However, a deal with BT means it will probably also supply consumer broadband to rural areas, including portable 5G cells which customers could hire "on demand".
Many people in remote areas may end up receiving broadband via satellite, whether or not they realise it.
"The technology may be invisible to the end user," says Mike Thompson, director for technical development for consultants Access Partnership.
"The provider may run a satellite link in a town where fibre is unavailable, for example, and use it to feed the local broadband pipe."
All of this comes at a cost.
"The price is on the high side. It's about £500 to get the equipment as a beta tester, and then £89 per month," Prof Woodward tells me.
The pain of buying new tech only to see the price fall and new versions emerge will be a familiar one to many early adopters.
Ms Shotwell revealed this week that by the end of the year, new dish models would be half the price.
However, at least Prof Woodward has found Starlink easy to use.
"I popped it on the kitchen roof primarily because it was the only flat roof and easy to get to. Starlink provide an app that shows if there are obstructions so you can choose the best spot, which saved hours of fiddling around."
After connecting it to the router, he said, the dish "juggled around for a minute or so. Then I had fast internet".
The speeds are averaging about 150-200 megabits per second (Mbps) download speeds and 10-20Mbps upload. There were short dropouts, but nothing that would have interrupted, for example, streaming television, Prof Woodward said.
"That knocks anything else I can obtain here into a cocked hat," he said.
In February, Mr Musk tweeted that Starlink hoped to double its offered top speeds to 300Mbps.
But the kind of service that users will experience via LEO satellites will depend on many factors.
One, experts say, will be how many other dishes are nearby. Starlink currently limits the number of users per coverage area.
Prof Michael Fitch, from the University of Surrey says not very many users can have the top speed at the same time in a given area.
"The average bit-rate that individual users experience will reduce as the number of nearby users increases, since the system has a finite capacity that it can provide over any given area"
The amount of reduction will depend on a number of things including "how well the system can move capacity from one area to another", he says.
Regulator Ofcom recently raised concerns about interference between satellite systems potentially causing dropouts, but Prof Fitch says it is "unlikely to be serious".
Others take a different view.
"In general, a slow but reliable internet connection is more useful than a fast but intermittent one," says Mr Thompson. "Interactive applications (like video conferencing) require a continuous connection."
LEO is an increasingly busy place, and astronomers have already complained about the trails of satellites spoiling their observations.
But others worry about collisions.
"We are already beginning to see a large number of near misses in orbit involving Starlink," says Prof Hugh Lewis of University of Southampton,
He warns that stopping collisions between so many satellite constellations "may soon go beyond what humans or simple algorithms can safely manage".
He says more advanced technological solutions may be needed to keep spacecraft safe.
How many satellites end up orbiting earth will in part depend on demand for their broadband services.
For Prof Woodward, Starlink was an expensive but pleasantly surprising new purchase.
After a couple of days of use, he said: "I was dubious about how good it would be considering it's receiving signals from objects hurtling past you in low earth orbit.
"But the whole experience has left me feeling optimistic."
Whether he will continue to feel that way may depend on how the technology develops, and of course pigeons.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: BBC, Chris Vallance, 29 Aug 2021|
|More on US legal victory against FCC|
|Australia||Created: 28 Aug 2021|
Last week, we reported on the community’s legal victory over the USA’s standard-setting agency. The court said that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) failed to provide a satisfactory explanation for deciding that its 1996 radiation guidelines adequately protect against the harmful effects of radiofrequency radiation and that it failed to review the extensive evidence that the agency had received.
This week we’d like to tell you about the important role in achieving this impressive legal victory played by the Children’s Health Defense (CHD), a not-for-profit organisation that aims to eliminate harmful exposures to children.
‘The Children’s Health Defense believes that emissions from wireless-based technology, including cell phones, Wi-Fi, cell towers and now 5G, are a major contributing factor in the epidemic of sickness we see now among adults and children. Many thousands of studies and, unfortunately, ample human evidence leave no doubt regarding the harms,’ said attorney Dafna Tachover, who led the case for the CHD.
The CHD’s case was joined by nine individual petitioners, including Professor David Carpenter MD, a public health expert and co-editor of the BioInitiative Report; physicians concerned about the effects of wireless radiation on their patients; parents of children who developed electrosensitivity and a mother whose son died of a mobile phone-related brain tumour.
They filed over 11,000 pages of evidence that wireless radiation causes harm.
One of the petitioners, Dr Paul Dart, was concerned about the damaging effects of wireless radiation he saw in his practice. He said, ‘by 2010 I was seeing more and more patients coming in who were having problems with microwave sickness. Some of them were completely disabled. Some of them couldn’t handle being in the classroom anymore as Wi-Fi came in. I had one patient who committed suicide, because she could not escape from these exposures.’
Dr Toril Jelter, also a petitioner in the case, has seen dramatic improvements in children whose exposure to wireless radiation was reduced. She said, ‘I have seen children in my practice that can’t walk because of exposure to wireless radiation, and when you decrease the exposure then they’re able to walk again. I had a boy with non-verbal autism that was 10 years old. He had never said a word in his life. And we decreased wireless radiation as a first-line attempt at helping him. He also had extremely aggressive behaviour, and his aggressive behaviour subsided, and within three days he said a full sentence. I have children that have learning difficulties, and by changing the wireless radiation in their home they have improved two grade levels in two months. There are children with ADHD who dramatically improve by modifying their exposure to wireless radiation.’
Robert Kennedy Jr, Chairman of the Children’s Health Defense and an attorney on this case, said that the telecommunications industry has ‘succeeded in turning two federal agencies, the The FDA [Food and Drug Administration] and the FCC into models for agency capture. Those agencies no longer have any interest in protecting public health. They have become sock puppets for the industry that they are supposed to be regulating.’
The court’s historic decision is a result of two separate cases that were consolidated into the same court - the Children's Health Defense's case and the Environmental Health Trust case. To comply with court rules, the organisations shared their work on the case and filed joint briefs. EHT's name appears first due to an arbitrary decision by the court but in no way lessens the contribution by the CHD.
The court ruled that the FCC's 2019 decision that its 1996 standard protect the public's health from 5G and wireless is capricious, arbitrary and not evidence based. The court ordered the FCC to review the evidence in regard to non-thermal harms of non-cancer effects including (1) radiation sickness / electrosensitivity (2) the effects of other elements of harm like pulsation and modulation and long term effects (3) the potential harm of new technologies such as wi-fi and 5G (4) pre-natal effects and effects of children (5) and to address the evidence on mechanisms of harm including oxidative stress and leakage of the blood-brain barrier (6) to respond to evidence of non-thermal harm when addressing cell phone testing and (7) evidence of environmental harms.
‘The court’s decision has changed the current status quo and has major legal implications’, said Ms Tachover. ‘Essentially, what this decision means is that until the FCC provides a review of the evidence regarding non-cancer wireless harms in a way that complies with the requirements of the law, the FCC guidelines can no longer be presented as an assurance of safety for harms, except for cancer harms.’
You can see more information about:
the CHD v. FCC case page here
the CHD's Press Conference here
The court judgement here
|Source: EMR Australia, via email, 28 Aug 2021|
|Mobile-phone induced EEG changes similar to those seen in depression: study|
|Estonia||Created: 26 Aug 2021|
Abstract: This review aims to estimate the threshold of radiofrequency electromagnetic field (RF EMF) effects on human brain based on analyses of published research results.
To clarify the threshold of the RF EMF effects, two approaches have been applied: (1) the analyses of restrictions in sensitivity for different steps of the physical model of low-level RF EMF mechanism and (2) the analyses of experimental data to clarify the dependence of the RF EMF effect on exposure level based on the results of published original neurophysiological and behavioral human studies for 15 years 2007–2021.
The analyses of the physical model of nonthermal mechanisms of RF EMF effect leads to conclusion that no principal threshold of the effect can be determined.
According to the review of experimental data, the rate of detected RF EMF effects is 76.7% in resting EEG studies, 41.7% in sleep EEG and 38.5% in behavioral studies. The changes in EEG probably appear earlier than alterations in behavior become evident.
The lowest level of RF EMF at which the effect in EEG was detected is 2.45 V/m (SAR = 0.003 W/kg).
There is a preliminary indication that the dependence of the effect on the level of exposure follows rather field strength than SAR alterations.
However, no sufficient data are available for clarifying linearity-nonlinearity of the dependence of effect on the level of RF EMF.
The finding that only part of people are sensitive to RF EMF exposure can be related to immunity to radiation or hypersensitivity. The changes in EEG caused by RF EMF appeared similar in the majority of analyzed studies and similar to these in depression.
The possible causal relationship between RF EMF effect and depression among young people is highly important problem.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: International Journal of Radiation Biology, Hinrikus et al., 23 Aug 2021|
|Court orders FCC to revisit its safety guidelines for RF radiation|
|USA||Created: 19 Aug 2021|
The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has ruled that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) must reexamine its health and safety guidelines for 5G and other wireless based technologies.
The case was filed in early 2020 by the Environmental Health Trust. Another petitioner, the Children's Health Defense, which is chaired by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., filed its own lawsuit but decided to file joint briefs with Environmental Health Trust as recommended by the court.*
Last Friday, the court ruled that the FCC’s decision in 2019 that its 1996 radio frequency emission guidelines adequately protect the public was capricious, arbitrary and not evidence based, in violation of the Administrative Procedures Act. The court also found that the analysis provided by the U.S. Federal Drug Administration, on which the FCC relied for its decision, was also not evidence based.
The court ordered the FCC to provide a reasoned explanation for its decision to retain its testing procedures for determining whether cell phones and other portable electronic devices comply with its guidelines; address the impacts of RF radiation on children; address the health implications of long-term exposure to RF radiation; and address the impacts of RF radiation on the environment.
“To be clear, we take no position in the scientific debate regarding the health and environmental effects of RF radiation — we merely conclude that the Commission’s cursory analysis of material record evidence was insufficient as a matter of law,” stated the order.
“The court’s decision exposes the FCC and FDA as captive agencies that have abandoned their duty to protect public health in favor of a single-minded crusade to increase telecom industry profits,'' said Kennedy, in a statement.
Kennedy has repeatedly claimed that the FCC is a "captive agency," led and controlled by telecom industry insiders who are not objective about the health effects of RF radiation.
Children’s Health Defense lead attorney Scott McCollough said, “This is an historic win. The FCC will have to re-open the proceeding and for the first time meaningfully and responsibly confront the vast amount of scientific and medical evidence showing that current guidelines do not adequately protect health and the environment.”
*The story was updated on 8/16/21 to specify that there are two separate lawsuits.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: Fierce Wireless, Linda Hardesty, 16 Aug 2021|
|MSP blasts telecoms giant for "ridiculous" behaviour as phone mast row rumbles on|
|Scotland||Created: 17 Aug 2021|
A telecoms giant seeking to build a controversial mobile phone mast in the heart of a Cambuslang community have been accused of "ridiculous" behaviour by only giving locals just over a week to respond to their plans.
H3G, better known as Three, are looking to install a 65ft mast on Hallside Boulevard in Drumsagard, much to the concern of some residents, who fear it will become a blight on the landscape.
However H3G's contractor for the masts, WHP Telecoms Ltd, wrote to local councillors on July 18 asking for views on the proposal “prior to the submission of a formal planning application” and promptly made a formal application eight days later.
The company insist they have followed proper procedures with their application.
It is understood they had not received any replies from councillors to their letter, which was sent during the summer recess.
Rutherglen MSP Clare Haughey told Lanarkshire Live she was incensed over the way the proposal has been handled.
She said: "I hear from constituents frequently that they want improved coverage in their area and, as we know, there is already established telecommunications infrastructure in local neighbourhoods.
“However, fundamentally, any new installation like this must be sited properly and companies must work with local communities.
"To give only an eight-day period for a pre-application engagement with residents, particularly at a time when many people are on holiday, is ridiculous and they are showing no courtesy to the people of Drumsagard."
Cambuslang East councillor Katy Loudon was also furious with the company.
She added: "Many residents have deep concerns about the plans for a mast – particularly as it is 20 metres tall, in a residential area.
"There are legitimate objections about the location of the proposal and the effect it would have on its surroundings.
"Clare and I would have been happy to work with the company to find a more suitable site. Instead, they’ve gone ahead with the formal application.
"All things considered, I oppose these plans."
It is understood the company believe the Hallside Boulevard site is the best choice to ensure the widest breadth of coverage.
A Three spokesperson said: "5G rollout is vital for residents and businesses of Cambuslang. We want to offer the community a reliable network experience and this site will be critical to making that happen.
“We followed best practice throughout the consultation process including contacting the local councillors and local planning authority. We did not receive any objections here and therefore submitted a formal application.
"The local planning authority now has 56 days to decide, considering any objections it receives."
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: Daily Record, Jonathan Geddes, 17 Aug 2021|
|Proposed Eir mast in Balla refused planning permission|
|Ireland||Created: 15 Aug 2021|
PLANS by Eir to erect a telecommunications mast in Balla have been rejected by Mayo County Council.
The company sought permission to erect a 21m high monopole telecommunications support structure together with antennas, dishes and associated equipment at the eir exchange, at the rear of Balla Garda Station, on Main Street.
Council planners found that the development would have a negative visual impact on the setting associated with St. Cronan's Catholic Church, which is listed on the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.
It would interfere with the character of the landscape, which it is necessary to preserve, and would be contrary to the proper planning and development of the area.
A number of observations were submitted to the council raising concerns relating to health, visual impact and the proposed location being in close proximity of houses, schools, the church and playgrounds.
Another observation questioned the lack of fibre optic cable in Balla and whether this proposal would supersede the need for the roll-out of faster broadband infrastructure.
In its submissions to the council, Eir said the greater Balla area is a known coverage weak spot.
Unlike most towns and villages there is no sizeable existing telecommunications structure and identifiable garda station mast, Eir mast or other operator mast in Balla which would have historically attracted mobile phone operators.
An existing timber pole infrastructure at the rear of the garda station was outdated, one dimensional and limited in functionality and could not support Eir in achieving its coverage objectives in Balla.
Eir doesn't currently transmit from its exchange at the rear of the station and its coverage is deficient.
The new structure they proposed would significantly improve its next generation services for the benefit of local residents.
Coverage, they noted, has long been a source of complaint among local businesses and residents.
Meanwhile, a grant of permission for a mast in the village of Ballyglass has been appealed to An Bord Pleanála.
The council gave the green light to Eircom for a 21-metre high structure.
However, three parties have lodged an appeal with An Bord Pleanála against that decision, including the local community council.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: Connaught Telegraph, 14 Aug 2021|
|Controversial Three 5G mast plan turned down|
|United Kingdom||Created: 15 Aug 2021|
Plans for a 5G mobile phone mast that saw a village up in arms has been refused.
North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) has said the planned mast at the junction of Cromer Road and Pauls Lane in Overstrand cannot go ahead.
The decision was greeted with relief by parish council chairman Bruce Stratton, who said: "It's good news that NNDC have taken the view of the public and had the good sense to refuse it.
"We have to accept that everywhere in the UK will have 5G because that's a government dictate, and as a parish council I don't think we're opposed to having 5G in the village - if we don't have it we would fall behind the times.
"But the location for this was totally wrong. Phone companies have to consider the views of Overstrand and choose locations that aren't disruptive."
The mast would have been 60ft (18 metres) tall and sited next to the Belfry Centre for music and arts and the Belfry Primary School. The application to erect the mast was put in by WHP Telecoms and it would been used by the Three network.
Objections centred around the visual impact the mast would have had, and the possible risk to traffic because the structure would have cut some views of the nearby road.
Mr Stratton said a parish council meeting in July where the mast was discussed was "probably the biggest one we've ever had" with 70-80 people gathered both inside and outside the meeting room to oppose the plans.
At the meeting, one resident said that a lollipop lady had recently been struck by a car on the junction, adding: "Kids are already taking their life into their own hands on that road."
Another resident, Derek Johnston, 62 said: "There's a lot of cars that come out there - it's already a restricted view and this is going to make it even worse. The main concerns are for the school, and the safety and visual impact.
An NNDC officer report on the application says: "Details of the siting and appearance of the development have been submitted, which are considered unacceptable in this instance.
"As a result, this application is refused and planning permission would be required."
Will mast saga drag on?
Angie Fitch-Tillett, NNDC ward councillor for Poppyland, which includes Overstrand, said she was delighted with the decision to turn the plans down.
Mrs Fitch-Tillett, who also campaigned against the mast, said: "Obviously I'm very happy with the officers' decision. I think it's the right one.
"I'm concerned that it will go to appeal, but we will keep our fingers crossed".
5G technology allows for faster internet speeds by using high frequency waves, but they need more transmitter masts to operate than previous telecommunications technology.
Earlier this year the government announced plans to increase the maximum allowable height for masts on public land from 20m to 25m for existing masts, and 30m for new ones.
But stricter rules were to come in for protected areas such as national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty.
Meanwhile, the government has said it wanted to extend 4G technology to 95pc of the UK by 2025.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: North Norfolk News, Stuart Anderson, 14 Aug 2021|
|Court Victory! FCC ordered to explain why its ignored scientific evidence of wireless harms|
|USA||Created: 15 Aug 2021|
United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit judges in favor of environmental health groups and petitioners; finds FCC violated the Administrative Procedure Act and failed to respond to comments on environmental harm.
Today, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in the historic case EHT et al. v. the FCC that the December 2019 decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to retain its 1996 safety limits for human exposure to wireless radiation was “arbitrary and capricious.”
The court held that the FCC failed to respond to “record evidence that exposure to RF radiation at levels below the Commission’s current limits may cause negative health effects unrelated to cancer.” Further, the agency demonstrated “a complete failure to respond to comments concerning environmental harm caused by RF radiation.”
About the Case
In EHT et al. v. the FCC, petitioners argued that the FCC ignored thousands of pages of research and expert testimony showing harmful effects from wireless radiofrequency radiation to humans, wildlife, and the environment when it decided that the 1996 wireless radiation limits did not need to be updated with a full health and safety review.
Environmental Health Trust filed its case in the Court of Appeals with Consumers for Safe Cell Phones, Elizabeth Barris, and Theodora Scarato, MSW. They were represented by attorney Edward B. Myers. EHT’s case was then consolidated with a separate case filed by Children’s Health Defense, Michelle Hertz, Petra Brokken, Dr. David O. Carpenter, Dr. Toril Jelter, Dr. Paul Dart, Dr. Ann Lee, Virginia Farver, Jennifer Baran, and Paul Stanley M.Ed. Children’s Health Defense was represented by attorney Scott McCollough and Robert Kennedy Jr. Evidentiary briefs were jointly filed. Scott McCullough represented Environmental Health Trust, Children’s Health Defense, and petitioners in the oral arguments.
Oral arguments were held January 25, 2021, before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit including Hons. Karen Henderson, Patricia Millett, and Robert Wilkins.
Environmental Health Trust attorney Edward B. Myers previously intervened in the successful case of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and several Native American tribes against the FCC. In this earlier case, the court upheld the relevance of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The NRDC filed an amicus brief in the EHT et al., v FCC case as well.
The FCC is represented in-house by William J. Scher, Ashley Stocks Boizelle, Jacob M. Lewis, and Richard Kiser Welch.
Go to the source link below to view the court documents.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: EHTrust, 13 Aug 2021|
|"Excessive" 5G phone mast near Ayrshire school rejected by planners|
|United Kingdom||Created: 9 Aug 2021|
Three - one of the UK's biggest mobile phone companies - denied in bid for 18-metre structure.
Planners have knocked back a proposal to erect a 5G mast across from an Ayrshire school and nursery.
Three - one of the UK's biggest mobile phone companies - wanted to place the 18-metre structure — almost 60ft — near Irvine's Castlepark Primary school and early years centre.
They said there was a need to upgrade capacity and coverage for 5G services in a "highly constrained cell search area."
Plans submitted to North Ayrshire Council showed that the phone mast would be taller than nearby trees, streetlights and buildings at Castlepark Circle, just before the junction at Carron Place.
And a planning report stated that would be 'excessive' as the application by CK Hutchison Networks (UK) Limited was refused.
The report noted: "The proposed mast would not benefit from any screening and would be highly visible in the surrounding area.
"The scale of the proposed mast would be excessive in terms of height with regards to its surroundings.
"The design of the mast and associated infrastructure would be utilitarian in appearance.
"While such infrastructure is common in residential areas, the excessive scale of the proposed mast would result in it having a significant, and potentially detrimental impact on the character and visual appearance of the surrounding area."
Just one letter of objection was received, arguing that the proposed development would be an eyesore and raising concerns about the potential health impacts of 5G.
But in response, North Ayrshire planners stated: "There is no evidence of any negative health side effects associated with wireless technologies."
One resident supported the plans, arguing that "people want a good mobile signal and the proposed development will be beneficial to the area."
Planners also said: "North Ayrshire Council supports the roll out of 5G, however, there is a requirement to assess whether the siting and design of telecommunications infrastructure would require prior approval."
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: Daily Record, Eric McGowan, 08 Aug 2021|
|Proof of EHS beyond all reasonable doubt|
|United Kingdom||Created: 6 Aug 2021|
Leszczynski’s review  included two important conclusions. Firstly, the need for the WHO, ICNIRP, ICES and governmental organisations to revise their denial of the link between EHS and electromagnetic fields (EMFs) because the data is of insufficient quality for proof of the lack of causality. Secondly, instead of studying a nocebo effect, research should focus on finding “suitable biochemical and biophysical markers” for symptoms in each EHS individual.
However, the review also stated that “So far, scientists were unable to find causality link between symptoms experienced by sensitive persons and the exposures to EMF”. This comprehensive assertion does not seem to reflect all the scientific evidence.
The criteria for proof, here onwards defined as beyond all reasonable doubt, differ between causality for an environmental intolerance (EI), such as EHS, and causality for a bacterial or viral disease. For the latter, there is usually a cellular organism or virion. For an EI, there can be several triggers and pathways affecting many organs, tissues and cells. EI can also be caused by genetics and viruses.
Proof of causality for an EI necessarily depends, as for any cause, on sequential temporality. This temporal sequence is usually evident in a repeatable physiological symptom(s) or change(s) often measurable by an objective marker(s). However, each individual may react differently to a given environmental stimulus. Scientific proof of health causality usually also requires a known mechanism. In the case of an electromagnetic EI such as sunburn or skin cancer from sunshine, individual differences have long been known, while a mechanism in the form of a genetic defect in DNA repair was discovered in 1968.
For EHS, another electromagnetic EI, differences in individuals’ symptoms from man-made EMFs have been known since 1733. In 2008 the first genetic variant associated with EMF sensitivity was discovered, the XRCC1 Ex9+16A allele, a DNA repair polymorphism, linked with childhood leukaemia near substations and powerlines . In 2014 it was reported that people with EHS were 9.7 times more likely to have GSTM1 + GSTT1 null genotypes , indicating a susceptibility to oxidative stress. This genetic variation can also increase the risk of multiple sclerosis, some cancers, Alzheimer’s and asthma, each sometimes associated with EHS. Such genetic variants seem more common at higher than lower latitudes and in women than men, with others associated with higher levels of mercury. EHS symptoms are also associated with some demyelinating neurodegenerative conditions.
A causal link between electrosensitive symptoms and EMF exposures has also been proved for other mechanistic pathways in addition to genetic. Calcium flux through membrane depolarisation was discovered in 1974, involving the radical pair mechanism at ELF up to MHz, as in modulated cell phone signals. Unmodulated GHz radiofrequency can generate oxidative stress and may act through ferritin, calcium spikes or water modification, but further proof is needed. Other pathways include cryptochromes . Such EMF sensitivity occurs in 100% of people subliminally, and in 30% consciously . Hypersensitivity is associated with the 1.2% severely disabled by EMFs.
Scientific proof also partly depends on repeatability, as in provocation tests, either subliminal or conscious. Such tests were first applied to EHS in the 1980s by Dr Cyril Smith, who originated the term ‘Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity’, and Dr Jean Munro. Following near-quantum and non-linear insights by Professor Herbert Frölich, they first identified the specific frequencies to which an individual was sensitive. They then reproduced the EMF exposure, proving that positive provocation tests of screened subjects could be repeated accurately. Similar tests were used in 1991 at the Environmental Health Center, Texas, by Dr William Rea, who held the world’s first professorship in environmental medicine at the University of Surrey in 1988. These achieved 100% success by screening for specific frequencies and rejecting 84% of subjects without consistent responses . Dr Magda Havas and Professor Andrew Marino confirmed this through similar diagnostic protocols. High accuracy in blinded provocation tests was also recorded for individuals in studies without screening, as at Essex University in 2007, but their individual data were not published and therefore lost in averaging. Some unscreened studies hypothesised without evidence a different condition, namely a nocebo effect or electrophobia, known since 1903, but inapplicable to unaware adults, some of whom suffer physiological EHS.
Further proof of EMF causality for EHS symptoms includes the 20% of subjects known since 1998 to suffer electrosensitivity symptoms during Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. Likewise, walking fast through magnetic fields near MRI scanners can induce electric currents causing specific EHS symptoms, with a small hypersensitive subset. Similarly, some people are sensitive to geomagnetic disturbances and thunderstorms .
Clinical evidence also contributes to proof of EHS. Specific EHS symptoms were identified from 1932 in Eastern Europe and the USSR, usually among people occupationally exposed, such as radar, radio or electricity workers. As EHS spread into the general population with the use of cell phones, Wi-Fi and smart metres, specialist EHS centres assessed greater numbers, such as Professor Dominique Belpomme’s in Paris. In 2015 he published the first comprehensive study of objective molecular biomarkers including cerebral blood perfusion scans, showing that EHS is a multi-systemic EI like chemical sensitivity. In 2021 Belpomme led 32 international experts requesting that the WHO acknowledges EHS as a distinct neuropathological disorder and includes it in its International Classification of Diseases . In 2017 Dr Gunnar Heuser published evidence from fMRI scans of brain effects . Similar scans helped convince a 2020 government report that the U.S. diplomats in Cuba were harmed by radiofrequency weapons.
In the 1930s, sufficient proof that adverse health symptoms were caused by non-thermal EMF exposure led to the first radiofrequency guidelines being non-thermal. Non-thermal effects of radiofrequency were shown as primary, with heating secondary. In 1953 sensitivity symptoms were shown to include cancers among radar workers and, from 2004, among people living nearer a cell phone tower compared with those further away, while in 1979 increased leukaemia was found among people living near powerlines. The IARC recognised non-thermal effects by classifying radiofrequency EMFs from cell phones as a 2B carcinogen in 2011. This led to courts from 2012 fining employers, and compensating EHS employees severely affected by non-thermal EMFs.
The scientific proof of the causal link between symptoms and EMF exposures has also been accepted since the 1990s by insurers. They refuse to underwrite EMF risks except as high category like asbestos, another carcinogen. Following Sweden in 2000, like the WHO in 2005, some countries specifically recognise EHS as functionally disabling and requiring accommodation under equality legislation. In 2020 a Dutch appeal judge recognised a person with EHS as an interested party in siting a cell phone tower.
Finally, two of the review’s three “essential, but still unanswered” questions – the EMF levels tolerated without conscious adverse effects and the counter-measures to protect people with EHS – were answered in some respects by the EUROPAEM EMF Guideline 2016 , subsequently adapted for the International Guidelines on Non-Ionising Radiation of 2018. Typically, public health levels to prevent harm are set 10 to 50 times below the lowest experimentally proven health effects to accommodate exceptionally hypersensitive individuals. However, some non-thermal guidelines include the duration of EMF exposure to facilitate greater flexibility, while also protecting sleep locations and those proven as the most sensitive groups in society.
Research funding: None declared.
Author contributions: Author has accepted responsibility for the entire content of this manuscript and approved its submission.
Competing interests: Author states no conflict of interest.
Informed consent: Not applicable.
Ethical approval: The comments expressed here do not involve new research on humans or animals.
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Published Online: 2021-08-02
© 2021 Michael Bevington,
published by De Gruyter, Berlin/Boston
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
From the journal Reviews on Environmental Health
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|Source: Reviews on Environmental Health, Michael Bevington, 02 Aug 2021|
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