Eileen O’Connor UK Radiation Research Trust “The Health Effects of Electromagnetic Fields – History of Electromagnetic Pollution in Our Midst” Commonwealth Club of San Francisco California NOVEMBER 18, 2010 Why am I here? I had suffered for years with sleep problems, headaches, dizzy spells and vertigo only to be told by my doctors that it was stress or a virus. I eventually developed breast cancer at the age of 38 and discovered that I was living in a cancer cluster. We now understand that we are not alone, there are many other people living in cancer clusters around phone masts in the UK and throughout the world. I had been living 100m from a phone mast and I now realise the symptoms reported to my doctor are known as a condition called electro sensitivity. Wishaw T-Mobile mast after 7 years by 2001 the story unfolds • • • • • • • • • • • Six ladies developed breast cancer One case of prostate cancer One bladder cancer One lung cancer Three cases of pre-cancer cervical cells One motor neurone disease, age 51, who also had massive spinal tumour People developed benign lumps Electro sensitivity Three cases of severe skin rashes Many villagers suffering with sleep problems, headaches, dizziness and low immune system problems Horse with blood problems, under continuous vet treatment Removal of phone mast November, 2003 The T-Mobile Wishaw phone mast 1994-2003 • Many of the residents reported a restored feeling of well-being, improvement in sleep patterns and increased energy levels. Simple things like headaches and dizzy symptoms disappeared Map of 18 houses in small village up to 500m surrounding the mast The EM Radiation Research Trust Reg. Charity No: 1106304 http://www.radiationresearch.org The Radiation Research Trust (RRT) are leading supporters of the precautionary approach to Electromagnetic Radiation. The RRT gained charitable status in 2003 and is supported by MPs and MEPs from each of the UK political parties. We are also indebted to Independent Scientific, Public Health and Technical Advisors. Photograph taken at the Palace of Westminster From small village battle against a phone mast to International Campaign • I am the Director for the Radiation Research Trust (RRT) www.radiationresearch.org • Founder board member for the International EMF Alliance http://international-emf-alliance.org • Member of the UK Health Protection Agency, EMF Discussion Group http://www.hpa.org.uk/webw/HPAweb&HPAwebStandard/HPAweb_ C/1195733771803?p=1158934607698#membership • Co-author “Cell phones and Brain Tumours: 15 Reasons for Concern” http://www.radiationresearch.org/pdfs/15reasons.asp Alerting the public via the media • Trustees have worked closely with the media and appeared on national and International TV and radio • January 2005 - I appeared in a week long Political Reality TV Show called “Vote for Me” on National TV every night for one week. It was billed as a political X factor show with contestants voted off by the public each night. I campaigned on a single issue “phone masts” receiving 1000’s of public votes and was the runner up after successfully dealing with political challenges The Debate RRT Conference 2008 In order to address the issues surrounding this debate the Radiation Research Trust organised a major conference on the 8th & 9th September, 2008 entitled: ‘Electromagnetic fields and health - a global issue’ This took place at the Royal Society, London. The RRT invited speakers from ICNIRP, WHO, the Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection and national bodies such as the UK Health Protection Agency and the MTHR. They were joined by scientists, politicians, lawyers and concerned citizens, each offering differing viewpoints in order to encourage discussion around risk assessment. Evidence from the Public Quote from Sir William Stewart at the RRT Conference, 2008 • Sir William is the retired Chairman for the UK Health Protection Agency. He was the Chief Scientist reporting directly to the Conservative and Labour Governments • “Since 2000 there has been a mass of publications, reports, observations, and views purporting at the very least to implicate phones/base stations as a cause of adverse health effects. At a time of uncertainty when more information is required, non-peer reviewed articles should not be ignored. Doing so is ridiculous. They may be right but unproven and/or offer pointers to be thought about and followed up.” Scientists presenting at the RRT conference reported children at risk Example: "The potential risk to children's health is very high and a completely new problem. Use of mobile phones for those under 18 or pregnant should be restricted. Children have a unique vulnerability as they grow and develop; there are ‘windows of susceptibility’ periods when their organs and systems may be particularly sensitive to the effect of certain environmental threats. The existing standards cannot guarantee the safe, healthy development of the next generation.” Professor Yury Grigoriev, Chairman of Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection Guests from both sides of the debate joined us for dinner at Westminster following the conference Other reasons for concern • An international working group of scientists, researchers and public health policy professionals produced the 2007 BioInitiative report. The report provides detailed scientific information on health impacts when people are exposed to electromagnetic radiation hundreds or even thousands of times below the ICNIRP guidelines • The authors reviewed more than 2000 scientific studies and concluded that the existing public safety limits are inadequate to protect public health. From a public health policy standpoint, new public safety limits, and limits on further deployment of risky technology The ECOLOG study T-Mobile Germany The ECOLOG review of over 220 peer reviewed and published papers found evidence for: • Effects on central nervous system • Cancer initiating and promoting effects • Impairments of certain brain functions • Loss of memory and cognitive function ECOLOG called for an immediate downward regulation for the ICNIRP guidelines The European REFLEX study Confirmed: Mobile Phones Break DNA • REFLEX involved 12 research groups in 7 European countries working from 2000 to 2004 costing more than €3 million • REFLEX found that radiation from mobile phones breaks DNA in human cells, confirming important findings already in the scientific literature from Lai and Singh at the University of Washington in Seattle, USA Image of cell and DNA damage WHO Database 80% research find increases in epidemiological studies on Mobile masts WHO database 20% 80% Epidemiological Evidence for a Health Risk from Mobile Phone Base Stations VINI G. KHURANA, LENNART HARDELL, JORIS EVERAERT, ALICJA BORTKIEWICZ, MICHAEL CARLBERG, MIKKO AHONEN published a paper after searching PubMed and identified a total of 10 epidemiological studies that assessed for health effects of mobile phone base stations. Seven of these studies explored the association between base station proximity and neurobehavioral effects and three investigated cancer • Eight of the 10 studies reported increased prevalence of adverse neurobehavioral symptoms or cancer in populations living at distances 500 meters from base stations Other reasons for concern • In September 2008, MEPs voted 522 to 16 to urge ministers across Europe to bring in stricter radiation limits and said: “The limits on exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) which have been set for the general public are obsolete • The European Parliament "is greatly concerned at the Bio-Initiative international report which points in its conclusions to the health risks posed by emissions from devices such as mobile telephones, UMTS, Wi-Fi, WiMax and Bluetooth, and also DECT telephones“ Legal decisions Here are a few examples: • The Court of Appeal of Tunis ordered the dismantling of a base station installed on the roof of a villa in a residential neighbourhood in the capital on behalf of uncertainties about its impact on the health of residents July 2010 • The district court of Ghent gave a judgment banning the Installation of a phone mast in the suburb of Drongen. In its judgment, the court recalled a decision taken by a Justice of the Peace in 2000, who declared: "As long as it has not been scientifically proven that radiation is without danger, it should be considered that it is probably dangerous.“ May, 2009 Government funds received from mobile phone industry • The UK government netted £22.47bn from the auction of mobile phone licences • The sector generates over £15bn a year in taxes • The Government has put around £6 million back into mobile telecommunication research to date. This represents just 0.04% of the tax revenues from a single year of operation – this seems totally disproportionate considering the level of concern for health effects Is ICNIRP responsible? Paolo Vecchia, Chairman for ICNIRP presented at the RRT conference in September, 2008 • In his presentation, he made it very clear that: “the ICNIRP guidelines are neither mandatory prescriptions for safety, the “last word” on the issue nor are they defensive walls for Industry or others.” • This statement makes it clear that the decision to adopt these guidelines into national legislation as “sufficient to protect public health” is political The government’s misuse of ICNIRP is the primary issue Thank you for listening Thank you to Camilla Rees from Electromagnetic Health for organising this important event “Science is about ensuring that facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics or ideology. It's about listening to what our scientists have to say, even when it's inconvenient - especially when it's inconvenient.” Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States For the sake of us all especially our children, non-ionising radiation is a high priority for public health, leaders from all continents should come together to address this unfolding tragedy to humans, animals and nature I hope and pray that Obama listens to his own words and takes action!