“What we’re doing is a grand world experiment without informed consent.”
— Microwave researcher Allan Frey
In the backstory of wireless technology, ‘conspiracy’ is not a theory.
Over the past 20 years wireless technology has become embedded in our lives, to a point of dependence and addiction that is quite amazing to me. My study of the health effects of weak EMFs keeps circling back to the history of how the wireless industry developed into a very powerful political lobby, revealing deepening layers of a dark backstory. It’s a story of directed science used to benefit the military and the telecom industry in their operations, and of suppressed science when findings were not to the industry’s liking — and of a practice of discrediting scientists and their studies that dared report findings not in agreement with the military-industry version of reality.
There’s even an element of deliberate scientific misinformation about microwave effects, published during the Cold War years under the guise of national security.
An article by Christopher Ketcham published in GQ Magazine in 2010 is the best summary of the backstory I have found to date. He writes:
It’s hard to talk about the dangers of cell-phone radiation without sounding like a conspiracy theorist. This is especially true in the United States, where non-industry-funded studies are rare, where legislation protecting the wireless industry from legal challenges has long been in place, and where our lives have been so thoroughly integrated with wireless technology that to suggest it might be a problem — maybe, eventually, a very big public-health problem — is like saying our shoes might be killing us.
… To understand how radiation from cell phones and wireless transmitters affects the human brain, and to get some sense of why the concerns raised in so many studies outside the U.S. are not being seriously raised here, it’s necessary to go back fifty years, long before the advent of the cell phone, to the research of a young neuroscientist named Allan Frey.
Ketcham goes on to explain that in 1960 Frey took an interest in the electrical nature of the human body and he began researching how electric fields produced from the non-ionizing part of the electromagnetic spectrum could affect neural functioning in the brain.
There were no cell phones then – the microwave frequencies of the day were radar waves. The scientific thought of the day was a physicist/engineer’s paradigm, that human bodies are bags of water that can be heated up. The military and their contractors, makers of microwave ovens, and telecom companies were happy to embrace this paradigm. The thinking was simple and easy to understand: no heating = no harm. If the microwaves emitted by a device didn’t cause a human body to experience excessive heat, then those devices were harmless.
And this primitive mindset was sufficient to move their agendas forward and to protect their operations from liability.
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Today we know that a human body is not a simple bag of water. We are more a complex organization of electrical fields that regulate what goes into and out of every cell in our bodies. It’s not an overstatement to say that electricity drives our biology and these fields are now routinely measured with electroencephalograms and electrocardiograms.
Allan Frey became a pioneer in a new field of study known as bioelectromagnetics, and he found what appeared to be very serious non-thermal effects from microwave frequencies. In 1975, he published a paper reporting that microwaves pulsed at certain modulations could cause leakage in the blood-brain barrier. For the previous fifteen years, he had received very generous funding from the Office of Naval Research. With these findings he was told to conceal his blood-brain barrier work, or his contract would be canceled.
That is the first detailed account of suppressed science relating to health effects of microwave EMFs that I have read. There have been many more accounts since 1975, right to present day. Scientists who have dared report ‘non-thermal’ health effects from exposure to electromagnetic fields have largely been silenced, defunded, discredited, or shunned by their peers as charlatans. Industry, military and government policies and safety standards are still based on the paradigm that if microwaves don’t heat us, they can’t possibly harm us. And a wireless telecom industry with annual revenues in the hundreds of billions of dollars has an incentive and the power to silence or deflect research showing the dangers of cell phone and WiFi use, and of the infrastructure that makes them work.
The U.S. Congress has, for the past 20 years, heavily supported the relentless march of microwave cell towers across the land. Nearly $50 million in political contributions and lobbying from the telecom industry greased the skids for passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which included a watershed prize for the cell phone companies. Section 704 of the Act prohibits local governments from stopping placement of a cell tower due to environmental concerns. “There could be no litigation to oppose cell towers [based on the argument that] the signals make you sick.”
Allan Frey is an old man now, if he is still living. He was 75 in 2010 when Christopher Ketcham interviewed him.
Frey shook his head. “Until there are bodies in the streets,” he said, “I don’t think anything is going to change.” I do hope he is wrong in that prediction.
Ketcham’s article is lengthy, but well worth the read.
As individuals we can inform ourselves of the health risks of wireless technology through personal research, and take action to at least partially protect ourselves and our families from EMF effects. Taking self-responsibility in this domain is a lonely and uphill journey so long as our government and the wireless industry continue to insist that ‘we the people’ are bags of water, and no heat = no harm.
While that simple engineer’s paradigm of biology remains so profitable, and government is watching their back, there is no industry incentive to change it. And the general public continues to clamor for more and better wireless services, requiring more and more wireless infrastructure.
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