Krakow’s Bold Step to Curb Electromagnetic Pollution Reflects Growing Evidence of Harm
As Kraków, Poland’s second city, takes steps to protect its citizens from rising electromagnetic ‘smog’ from mobile phones, wifi, Bluetooth, smart meters and other devices, Lynne Wycherley summarises 2016’s news highlights on the emerging bio-risks of rising exposure to non-ionisiong radiation. For how much longer can governments continue to ignore the growing evidence of harm?
Are we placing a covert stress, perhaps, on our exposed trees and pollinators? Could we be failing to safeguard children, teenagers, and those in frail health? What is the growing carbon cost of global, ever-on transmitters?
The first mayor of Kraków to be elected by popular ballot, law professor Jacek Majchrowski is tackling an environmental issue most governors avoid: the electromagnetic pollution in his city.
Following work on air pollution, and in response to growing demand, he is initiating forums for citizens to discuss the growing ‘smog’ of electro-magnetic fields (EMFs).
In a world first he is also initiating the provision of meters to detect radio-frequency (RF) / extremely low frequency (ELF) EMFs so people can collect objective data on their exposure.
In December, Majchrowski hosted an international conference on EMF pollution and citizens’ ‘right to information’ – an echo of the new Right to Know law in Berkeley, California (cell-phone sellers must supply safety information).
Speakers included Sławomir Mazurek, a pro-reform Polish minister for the Environment. Majchrowski and his team are now re-zoning mobile-phone masts (cell towers) to reduce EMF exposure levels.
With similar boldness, Argentina’s Lower National Congress proposed a new health law last year to regulate electromagnetic pollution.
Supported by trade unions and NGOs, its radical draft measures included hard-wired networks in schools (also hospitals) – recalling the recent Green-led French law on “electromagnetic sobriety” (2015) and recommendations of the American Pediatrics Society and British Doctors’ Initiative.
A planetary paradox
Across the planet, 2016 had seen a paradoxical trend: anthropogenic radiation from mobile and wireless trends continued to rise rapidly, alongside striking, under-reported findings on its possible bio-risks.
Cell-phone use was still climbing. India alone reached over 1 billion verified subscriptions. But like Wilde’s picture of Dorian Gray, the small screens endlessly sold to us harboured a troubling reality. In May, researchers in the USA’s $25 million National Toxicology Programme released early warnings (later stated in detail). Cell-phone radiation had shown clear tumour-promoting effects in the hearts and brains of the rats under study.
In Britain, meanwhile, neuroscientist Dr Sarah Starkey published a key peer-reviewed paper (October 2016) that exposed shocking bias in the 2012 report by AGNIR, the Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation – a report behind many governments’ take-no-action health policies, including the UK’s. And one which (as she demonstrates) blatantly excludes the peer-reviewed precautionary science.
Long buried by Germany’s government, a report offering a rare window on 878 Russian-language science papers (1960-1997) was finally translated, with updates, into English. Long-term studies on Soviet workers repeatedly charted chronic debilitation from weak EMFs – including pulsed microwaves that have been commercially ‘repackaged’ for today’s telecoms.
Though research protocols differed from those current today, raising potential questions, the author, medical Professor Karl Hecht, persuasively condemns his government – and the West as a whole – for its reliance on short-term studies.
Voices in the wind: unheard cautions
But escalating trends were in train. In July, the USA’s Federal Communications Commission approved unbridled commercial development of 5G, (July), despite serious question-marks about the new electromagnetic radiation being lined up for use, and the spiralling public exposure it would bring.
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