Wireless Industry fails to reduce harm from wireless radiationIn 2003, a major telecommunications provider in Switzerland, Swisscom AG, in an attempt to reduce electrosmog from wireless devices like Wifi, filed US and international patent applications for an innovative system. The danger of developing cancer because of the wireless radiation was recognized in the patent application long before the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer announced that just like DDT and lead, radiofrequency energy, including mobile phones and Wifi, is a human carcinogen.

The application also recognized that low-intensity non-thermal exposures to wireless radiation was genotoxic. According to the wireless radiation benchmark of 1996, the current standards of US does little to provide protection from non-thermal exposure.

It is written in the patent application of 2003 that the “influence of electrosmog on the human body is a known problem.” It goes on to further state, “The health risk from mobile radio transmitters, handys, (i.e. cell phones) and DECT (i.e. cordless) telephones has been an explosive subject among the general public at least since the enormous breakthrough in mobile radio technology in the 1990s. To meet the concerns of science from the legislative side, the permissible limit values have thus been lowered several times, and technology has been increasingly focused on this problem. The risk of damage to health through electrosmog has also become better understood as a result of more recent and improved studies. When, for example, human blood cells are irradiated with electromagnetic fields, clear damage to hereditary material has been demonstrated and there have been indications of an increased cancer risk (Mashevich et al., 2003)…an aneuploidy (=numerical chromosome aberration)-was observed as a function of the SAR, demonstrating that this radiation has a genotoxic effect…These findings indicate that the genotoxic effect of electromagnetic radiation is elicited via a non-thermal pathway. Moreover aneuploidy is to be considered as a known phenomenon in the increase of cancer risk.”

It was further discussed in the application: “Thus it has been possible to show that mobile radio radiation can cause damage to genetic material, in particular to human white blood cells, whereby both the DNA itself is damaged and the number of chromosomes changed. This mutation can consequently lead to increased cancer risk. In particular, it could also be shown that this destruction is not dependent upon temperature increases, i.e. is non-thermal. Based on the scientific studies in the field, and owing to increasing pressure from the public, especially in the industrialized countries, epidemiological studies have been systematized by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the last few years, such as for e.g. the currently running WHO Interphone Project, in order to be able to assess more precisely the health risks from electrosmog and work out corresponding guidelines.”

Following is an insight into the workings of the proposed system: The base station in this system changes into a sleep mode from the normal transmitting/receiving mode in which no signals are sent out. This happens after some duration of time when there is no connecting signal. The base station switches back to its normal mode when an alert signal is transmitted by devices like tablets, laptops or cell phones at the time when they require a network connection.

The system is still unavailable after 10 years since the patent was filed. This makes one wonder what other technologies might have been patented by the Wireless Industry for reducing cancer risks and other diseases due to wireless radiation, but are still not used.

Clearly, the insurance industry is not ready to provide product liability insurance to the Wireless Industry after the incident with tobacco and asbestos.  According to the patent application, the Wireless Industry was aware of the harmful effects of this technology on human health and despite this, they did not disclose this information to the public and the Industry prevented the regulation of wireless radiation in many countries, including the US.

Precautionary health warnings about mobile phone radiation have been issued by fifteen nations and the European Union. CTIA, the Wireless Industry’s lobbying arm, has tried to oppose the efforts at the federal, state, and local level in the US, both politically and legally.

The installation of mobile masts, Wifi and wireless Smart Meters have been promoted by the Industry all across the globe, irrespective of the public’s exposure to microwave radiation. With a rise in electrosmog, a lot of people will be experiencing health consequences.

Until and unless the Wireless Industry faces huge product liability settlements, it is less likely to take any action to reduce harm. As the Industry has co-opted many scientists and mixed findings are provided by the scientific literature that helps the Industry to puzzle juries, it may take some time for the lawsuits to become successful.

While keeping the precautionary principle as the base, it is the duty of the policy makers to provide protection and safety from these health dangers. In order to rise above the Industry’s political power, what is required is a strong public support.