On New Year’s Eve, let’s take a minute and turn back to recap the most important events that have happened in the outgoing year in fighting of science and civil society against wireless industry total domination in our life. At first glance, in 2017, the wireless industry was as strong as never before. The number of active cell phone users has been steadily growing, reaching 63% of global population , smartphone is mandatory for everyone, including kindergarten kids and toddlers, iPhone X (X means expensive, you know) is almost mandatory for many as well, WiFi is everywhere, a smart meter is the best thing ever (according to broad governments’ support), and 5G / internet of things is on the way.
Nevertheless, the outgoing year brought a lot of adequate science-based assessments of the dark side of the wireless technology, e.g. wireless radiation risks for human health. Both science and media clearly demonstrated their understanding of the problem. Over and over again we could read that the wireless is just like new cigarettes (both in term of their risks for public health and in term of hiding these risks from the public by the industry), that wireless industry supported research on health risk assessment is not research at all, and that people should not be so naive to rely solely on the official (industry-dependent) regulations but should apply the precautionary principle instead. So, something is slowly changing.
Here I propose my shortlist of the most important events of 2017 in the field, when people clearly demonstrated that they are not as stupid naive as the wireless industry would like. It is my personal rating and some important events can be missed. So be free to add them in comments, please.
Number 5. Scientists vs wireless industry
In September, 2017, scientists and doctors from all over the world prepared and signed a document called Scientists and Doctors Appeal for 5G Moratorium: Warn of Potential Serious Health Effects of 5G. About 180 scientists and medical doctors, mostly experts in electromagnetic radiation’s biological and medical effects, from 36 countries addressed the appeal to international organizations like UN and WHO, and to the governments to “recommend a moratorium on the roll-out of the fifth generation, 5G, for telecommunication until potential hazards for human health and the environment have been fully investigated by scientists independent from industry.” They indicated that 5G will substantially increase exposure to radiofrequency radiation on top of the 2G, 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, etc. already in place and will significantly increase risks for public health. Being among those who signed that document, I am not so optimistic about adequate reaction of the officials, but I am really optimistic that so many scientists and doctors understand the problem which the wireless industry hides, and ready to apply their knowledge and activities to make the world around healthier.
Number 4. Courts vs wireless industry
There was a real shocker for the wireless industry, when in April 2017 Italian court ruled cell phone use linked to brain tumor. Telecom Italia employee Roberto Romeo, 57 has developed a brain tumor after excessive phone usage required for his job. Romeo has been awarded monthly support in 500 euros from social security after the court found that the excessive phone use necessary for his job contributed to the development of a brain tumor. And extremely demonstrative thing here is that the court did not accept into evidence studies financed by the wireless industry. Instead they relied on independent from the industry research like Prof. L. Hardell’s work.
Number 3. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs vs wireless industry
It’s a broadly discussed in media revelations of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs that they both strongly restricted their children in access to wireless devices (though in case of Steve Jobs it was previously recorded interview, of course). Whatever explanation the high-tech gurus proposed (see details here), they both have sent a clear message to all smart people around: Hey, guys, that wireless technologies are not so innocent as you can think.
Number 2. California Department of Public Health vs wireless industry
Just on December 13, 2017, California Department of Public Health released guidance on How to Reduce Exposure to Radio Frequency Energy from Cell Phones. The first version of the document was prepared by the agency yet in 2009, but was never published before. Moreover, now it was published only due to persistent struggle of public health activists with their own authorities. See the details of that many-year battle in post of Dr. Joel M. Moskowitz, director of Center for Family and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, who personally contributed a lot into this important victory. And now the official site of public health agency of the most populous and economically powerful state of the US literally affirms that “long-term, high use of cell phones may be linked to certain types of cancer and other health effects, including: brain cancer and tumors of the acoustic nerve and salivary glands; lower sperm counts and inactive or less mobile sperm; headaches and effects on learning and memory, hearing, behavior, and sleep.”
Yes, I call it a victory of civil society over the wireless industry. The agency also released simple and reliable steps to reduce the risks of radio frequency exposure (see guidance again), typical science-based recommendations, just like you could previously find in my free eBook or free short-guide on the issue.
Number 1. French government vs wireless industry
And finally, just at the very end of the year, French government has announced a breakthrough decision to ban cell phone use in the country’s primary, junior and middle schools during all period of time when children are at school . Starting from September 2018, children aged from 6 to 15 will be allowed to bring their phones to school, but not allowed to get them out at any time until they leave, even during breaks. France already has a ban for pupils on cell phone use during lessons, but now they go further. Young, smart and ambitious French president Emmanuel Macron keeps his word he gave during his successful presidential election campaign this year. The idea is that children should learn to communicate with each other and effectively socialize during school years rather than stupidly screening smartphones all the time in favor of wireless industry interest. Vivat, France, again!
So, definitely the important things happened during the year in the battle “people vs wireless industry”. Thanks all those guys who believe that our planet could and should be a better place to live than now, and those who believe that generally speaking people are smart enough and strong enough to make their own decisions independently on the pressure of ads from those big bosses from the wireless industry who don’t care. We have many amazing technologies on the planet and definitely will have even better ones, but new technology should not produce additional risks for human health, including hidden ones. That is why any new technology should be tested on the possible health effects before its global implementation, not after that. Simple like that.
Happy New Year!
Yours Igor Yakymenko
- Number of mobile phone users worldwide from 2013 to 2019 (in billions). In https://www.statista.com/statistics/274774/forecast-of-mobile-phone-users-worldwide/
- France to ban mobile phones in schools from September. Dec 11, 2017. In https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/11/france-to-ban-mobile-phones-in-schools-from-september