Life on Earth, since its beginning more than 3.5 billion years ago, has developed under the influence of the practically static geomagnetic field and the radiation from the sun.
All living organisms that have not been able to directly cope with these influences are either gone or have adapted in one of the several ways.
Living underground, only being active during night, living in the deeper waters (at least from 1 m and down below) of our oceans and lakes, under the foliage of the jungle trees, or having developed a skin (or, for plants, a cortex) containing a pigment (animals and plants have very similar ones) that will shield from some heat and some sunshine.
Any fair-skinned Irish or Scandinavian person learns very early to avoid even the bleak sun up-north to avoid a nasty sunburn.
That sunburn will develop into a post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, that may have cosmetic value, but will also cause a redness of the skin as well as heat and pain/itch sensations.
But, during the last 100 years, we have found that the pigment in our skin does not furnish any protection against other frequencies.
Cosmic rays, radioactivity, X-rays, UVC, UVB and now even UVA are considered, together with radar-type microwaves to be very dangerous to health.
We are translucent to power–frequency magnetic fields as well as mobile phone and WiFi microwaves, but this does not mean that they are without possible effects, through thermal or non-thermal mechanisms.
For me, as a scientist, this poses the main relevant questions: Is it possible to adapt our biology to altered exposure conditions in less than 100 years, or do we have to have thou- sands of years – or longer – for such an adaptation? And, in the meantime, what kind of safety standards must we adopt?
A ‘prudent avoidance’ strategy, ALARA, recommendation levels based only on thermal effects, or is the only actual safe safety level for such exposures 0 (zero) Watts/kg until we really know? Or is “human progress”, profit and greed more important than possible damage to our health? How far can we push the Russian roulette? And who should decide about this? Who should be held responsible if something goes wrong? Our limited understanding of the biological effects of the vast majority of frequencies gives a reason for concern.
Although there is still a debate in this regard, tinnitus, brain tumors, and acoustic neuroma clearly are associated with cell phones and mobile phones, as is childhood leukemia with power lines.
Communications and radar antennae expose those who live or work near these installations to their emissions.
The radiation travels through buildings, and can also be conducted along electrical wires or metal plumbing.
Wireless communications create levels within buildings that are many orders of magnitude higher than natural background levels.
The same is true for appliances using power frequencies.
There are four phenomena that emerge from the use of electricity: ground currents; “electromagnetic smog” from communications equipment; electric and magnetic fields from power supplies and specialized equipment; and high frequency on power lines or so-called “dirty electricity”.
They may all be potential environmental toxins and this is an area of research that must be further pursued.
It is worth noting that off-gassing of electrical equipment may also contribute to sensitivities.
Different sorts of technology (e.g. various medical equipment, analog or digital telephones; flat screen monitors and laptop com- puters or larger older monitors) may vary significantly in strength, frequency, and pattern of electromagnetic fields.
One challenging question for science is to find out if, for instance, 50- or 60-Hz ELF pure sine wave, square waves or sawtooth waveform, ELF-dirty (e.g.radio frequencies on power lines), ELF-modulated radio frequency fields, continuous wave radio frequency radiation, and particularly pulsed radio frequency signals are more or less bioactive, e.g. as neurotoxic, immune-disrupting and/or carcinogenic environ- mental exposure parameters.
As will be discussed below, hazardous effects on the immune system of this potential environmental toxin must be seriously considered.