MARCH 19, 2015   AFP

Just how bad is electromagnetic pollution to our health and well-being? Don’t ask authorities who have their heads in the sand or corporate interests who are aligned with the military-industrial complex.

The establishment, with few exceptions, dismisses concerns about electromagnetic pollution as paranoia from conspiracy believers. The derisive charge of “tin foil hatted” stems from those who made aluminum foil hats to shield their brains from direct electromagnetic assault. But are those people crazy? Informed Americans know where there’s smoke, there’s fire.

As far back as 1972, information appeared in the mainstream press about how the U.S. Navy was testing microwaves on sailors: “Medical reports link rays to cataracts, damage to male reproductive organs, cardiovascular changes and even psychological problems. Except for cataracts, however, the health damage is uncertain and unexplored. The Navy’s research project, using human guinea pigs, is intended to find out how dangerous microwaves really are.”

The column noted that the Soviet Union “set a limit 1,000 times smaller than the 10 milliwatts per square centimeter permitted by our own Defense Department,” hinting to even the most skeptical reader that microwave radiation posed a serious threat to health. Ironically, our government, unlike our then sworn enemy, the “evil” Soviet Union, cared little about the health of sailors and eventually the rest of us.

In 1972, microwave ovens were relatively new to the American market. A large and clunky model first appeared in 1967. There were no cellular towers, telephones and no “smart meters,” let alone the widespread use of military radar.

Fast forward to 1996, where President Bill Clinton signed the most significant overhaul of telecommunications legislation in 60 years, the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which allowed for mergers of previously segregated industries via “cross-ownership.” Then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) and Ron Brown, the secretary of Commerce, helped ensure passage of this legislation. Consumer safety crusader Ralph Nader noted it was “one of the single biggest giveaways in U.S. corporate welfare history.”

One lesser known aspect of the legislation virtually strips local communities of the ability to limit the construction of cell phone towers, even if they pose threats to health and the environment. Local control was debated in Congress where then-Republican House member Porter Goss argued that nothing in the act should “preempt the ability of local officials to determine the placement and construction of . . . new [cellular phone] towers. Land use has always been, and . . . should continue to be, in the domain of the authorities in the areas directly affected.”

Unfortunately, Goss’s argument didn’t win out. Instead, authority rested with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and challenges on the basis of danger to health in state courts were handed off to the FCC under the doctrine of federal preemption. The 1996 act put the sole question of environmental safety in the hands of the FCC, giving them the exclusive jurisdiction to set “safe” limits. The few successful legal challenges to cell phone tower construction were and are based upon devaluation of property arguments, rather than health risks.

What about the health risks? In 1995, Dr. Henry Lai and Dr. Narendra Singh at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle demonstrated in animal studies that cell phone radiation causes DNA damage. The attack on Lai and Singh was fast. Motorola planned to “war-game” the research, according to an internal memo leaked to Microwave News.

With millions of consumers having Motorola’s cell phones buzzing their brains, how kind of this giant to thwart research that may show a negative causal connection between cell phone radiation and health. Motorola knew how to play the game—manipulate research to muddy the waters.

Seattle Magazine reported “After initially accepting industry funding for continued research from the Wireless Technology Research (WTR) program (created to manage $25 million in research funds), Lai and Singh wrote an open letter to Microwave News questioning restrictions placed on their research by the funders. After that, the head of WTR sent a memo asking then-UW president Richard McCormick to fire Lai and Singh. McCormick refused, but the dustup sent a clear message to Lai and his colleagues.”

“This shocked me,” Lai said. “The letter trying to discredit me, the ‘war games’ memo. As a scientist doing research, I was not expecting to be involved in a political situation. It opened my eyes on how games are played in the world of business.”

Electromagnetic pollution—radiation from non-ionizing gamma rays—has the same effect as nuclear ionizing radiation, albeit in a slow-burn fashion. Leading German radiation expert Dr. Heyo Eckel, an official of the German Medical Association, stated: “The injuries that result from radioactive radiation are identical with the effects of electromagnetic radiation. The damages are so similar that they are hard to differentiate.”