Jan 29 2010

Science vs Psychosomatic Illness (Science vs Garlic Redux)

I am consistently amazed by how entrenched some people can get in their positions. I’ve had a “cell phones cause cancer” proponent posting on an older post about a local garlic farmer that impeded the erection of a radio tower because he had a gut feeling it would cause mutations. This troll points out they’ve actually studied garlic mutations in 1959 in the presence of a high-radiation field — I can’t find this study specifically, nor has the troll any intention of ever posting it.

The point is, every study that’s been posted claiming there’s no statistical link or even correlation between cell phone usage and cancer rates, every study that claims such radiation can’t even harm DNA to begin with, is dismissed out of hand as invalid by this guy, without citations. Why I’m countenancing putting him in his place is wholly beyond me. Maybe it’s the fact that he’s relatively local to me, or the fact that he’s spent hours posting his pseudoscientific claptrap to try to “convert” me. News flash, pal: you can’t just cite studies with science whose conclusions agree with you, without also explaining away the science that doesn’t. Especially not when the balance of that science weighs against you. I am convinced by evidence, not by people really, truly, and dogmatically espousing viewpoints then building “evidence” to corroborate.

When someone stays within an echo chamber for long enough — especially one that claims there’s a vast conspiracy to protect industries that stand to lose too much money if the truth were to get out — you really have to step back and look at the sources for all the science done. This is a job well beyond the average layperson, explaining why so many average laypeople come down on either side of a debate, no matter where all the evidence falls. Don’t get me wrong — there are indeed such conspiracies. Companies have historically been very good at drumming up fear, uncertainty and doubt about proven science by fabricating scientific studies that fudge the data to benefit themselves — including the tobacco industry so famously compared to the telco companies as of late.

But sometimes the conspiracies just aren’t where you think they are — take, for example, the global warming cynics that believe there’s a vast conspiracy of scientists trying to make money off of book publications and green technologies. The much more likely possibility is that the oil companies that stand to lose so much money over switching off of fossil fuels are responsible for creating the uncertainty, despite the science all pointing toward AGW as not only plausible, but actually happening.

I am not a scientist. I have a deep and abiding love for science, and the people that implement the scientific method. The closest thing to such that I can manage, is implementing Carl Sagan’s baloney detection kit as much as possible. This helps sort out ridiculous claims from claims with actual merit. Our troll’s last comment is mostly the former.

I have to get this out of the way first. I found this post at greenfacts.org showing that extremely low frequencies (e.g. living in a power station) have been found to be potentially carcinogenic. And we already know gamma ray bursts can rend living tissue. But what about mid-range radiation? I found this image at the same site to illustrate:

This is apparently a logarithmic graph — the higher you go, the faster X increases. Visible light is midrange. We are bathed in radiation every moment of every day — if not from anything else, then from the cosmic background radiation from the Big Bang, the same radiation that makes the random patterns on a TV not tuned to a particular channel.

That radiation can cause cancer in megadoses is proven. Ultraviolet light from the sun can cause melanomas. Extremely low hertz radiation is probably a carcinogen as well. But midrange radiation has absolutely no proven, empirical evidence saying that it’s definitively harmful. For every study saying it’s possible, there’s another showing no statistical correlations between cancer incidents and mid-range radiation exposure. So, I trust real scientists with no ties to Big Telco to interpret the results of the studies and weed out what’s valid from what’s invalid, because as a layperson, I’m as likely as our troll to completely misinterpret the science.

I will post only those parts of the troll’s comment that require a direct response.

Bizarre way to get “serious”, to purport to diagnose confirmation bias. And your’re an arch-skeptic?

No, when someone ignores the fact that every scientific study indicates that the radiation from even cell towers cannot damage DNA enough to cause it to mutate, and that cancer rates did not go up when cell phones gained prevalence 20 years ago, you can tell that they’re ignoring those facts because they’ve already decided on what the evidence should say. Either that or they’ve latched onto the first hypothesis they came across and have been reinforcing it out of a sunk cost fallacy, in that you’ve already invested so much in your chosen viewpoint that to admit that you’re wrong now would be tantamount to admitting all the effort you’ve put into it thus far is wasted — and no human being ever wants to admit they’ve wasted time, energy or money on anything.

What kind of evidence could you possibly have first hand? Or rather, you almost certainly know many people stricken with the effects of cell phone & masts, wifi, cordless phones &c, but know not how to recognize the problem.

The plural of anecdote is not data. I’ve lived next to power lines and converters, I’ve had cell phone towers within 1km. I’ve had wifi routers pretty well since they first became commercially available. I’ve had cordless phones about as long. I’ve never had sleep problems that couldn’t be attributed to other reasons — e.g. too much coffee, injuries, stress, etc. And I do not have cancer. At least not now. And even if I do get cancer one day, I’d be more likely to blame environmental pollution or my own poor eating habits before I’d go chasing ghosts or drawing conclusions without any evidence. Or I might just be mum about it unless the doctor can blame any specific variable with any degree of confidence. And I would probably praise the radiation treatment that helps kill said cancer, unless I die despite access to 21st century medical technology and despite living in a country that prioritizes health over profits (despite your aspersions on Canada’s EMF guidelines).

With massive increase in the past few years of dependency on wireless applications, there is an acceleration of dire problems surfacing, thus the publicity — the kinds that were predictable had extensive research from E. Europe not been ignored for decades, and had Western research such as Frey’s, Lai’s, Bise’s & so many others not been buried or muscled aside. It is sick and sickening, and anyone interested in dispassionate “science” should be aghast.

Yes, we’ve been dependent on wireless applications for many years. The Scandinavian study that showed no statistical increase whatsoever in brain cancers despite a sample size of 16 million people, conducted over 30 years, overlapping the wireless explosion, is very telling.

Claiming that your pet theory is being “muscled aside” is the Galileo gambit. I have to tell you — the Galileo gambit only works if you’re right, and being muscled aside by dogma. It does not work when you’re being muscled aside by higher-quality science.

Someone close to us suffers seizures when exposed to tiny doses, far below Cdn. standards. This person’s life & career, and that of very many we have become acquainted with, has been overturned. Read first-hand accounts, not way-too-late cancer studies.

Sounds like a claim that can be scientifically proven to me. Every person that has claimed ill effects from nearby radio towers has been scientifically proven to have no ill effects from EMF fields in double-blind experimentation. It seems relatively easy to prove whether a person’s mini-seizures are caused by EMF — simply by having them sit in a room for an hour a day for a week, exposing them to EMF fields during two or three of those days (unknown what days to the scientist), and recording when they have seizures. Do it again for another week, this time telling them when they’re being exposed. Then as a control, tell them they’re being exposed to the radiation when they are, in fact, not being exposed through the entire week.

Get back to me once you’ve proven this person is actually experiencing EMF-related seizures.

Or it could be a phenomenon similar to that experienced by these supposed electrosensitives who had experienced a great many maladies living near a radio tower during the six weeks that it had not even been switched on. As in, psychosomatic. That’s not to say “made-up”, that’s to say your brain can cause you to become sick when you think you’re supposed to be sick, as these “electrosensitives” certainly did.

Khurana and another Aussie brain surgeon, Teo, know what they see and are a braver lot than sheepish North Americans.

“Those that agree with me are right. Those that disagree are cowards and sheepish.”

The Scandinavian study has been shown to be deeply flawed.


FFS, this isn’t that hard — if you have the evidence to prove me wrong, you wouldn’t have people like Orac completely owning your heroes time and again! And not just Orac, either. You have to contend with Mark Hoofnagle, Martin Rundkvist, GrrlScientist and the folks at Effect Measure — and that’s ONLY looking at ScienceBlogs.com. There are hundreds of other respected and published scientists calling your heroes to the mat time and again over your favorite piece of pseudoscience on which you drum with as much fervour as the anti-vaccination crowd drums on the now-discredited “science” of Dr. Andrew Wakefield. Frankly, I’ll throw in with the scientists that have correctly identified pseudoscientific nonsense time and again, rather than your “vested interest” scientists who have decided on a result and manipulate the evidence to fit their chosen answer.

Protection from Alzheimer’s — never check who’s saying what and who’s behind whom?

Because anything that disagrees with your chosen thesis must be part of the conspiracy. I wonder when I’ll be getting my huge kickbacks to which I’m entitled from Big Telco…? Which reminds me, I have a letter I need to write.

Dear Corporate Paymasters,

Please contact me directly, so I can provide my home address and you can send me my royalties. I could really use the money, as I’m in the middle of trying to marry my beloved Jodi and make a trip to CONvergence, so your fat paychecks would be really helpful since I’ve already sold my soul to you.

Love and snuggles,
Jason Thibeault

He then quotes me thus:

“science has no authorities, only experts” — that’s a very, very naive view

However, this is something I had internalized from Carl Sagan’s aforementioned The Fine Art of Baloney Detection: “Arguments from authority carry little weight — ‘authorities’ have made mistakes in the past. They will do so again in the future. Perhaps a better way to say it is that in science there are no authorities; at most, there are experts.”

Surely it’s a matter of opinion to call Carl Sagan naïve, but it’s a grossly misinformed one. In my view, he’s absolutely correct. One should not consider one or even a few experts’ personal opinions as the only valid one just because they’re an expert. They can be wrong. But when MOST experts (in the specific field) agree on something, the chances of it being correct are exponentially higher.

Honestly, the remainder of his comment is nonsense. What I replied to is only marginally less so. If there’s a valid argument made out of anything other than his strong emotions, I missed it completely. And it’s a shame, because he’s obviously passionate about the topic.


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  1. 1

    couldn’t help stopping by and, behold, “strong emotions”!

    jt, i can tell about the “poor eating habits”, it really does affect attitude & judgement

    but no time to respond now, and why didn’t you email me a notice of your post? if it’s an authentic “104 views”, you’ve got some buddies you can negatively influence, and i should try to find time to help you & them

    but not before you tell me you’ve read the gq piece, and if you won’t read (there is evidence of misreading above, but maybe later on that…), Ketcham did an interview with Camilla Rees at

    your post above is riddled with difficulties (and some inconsiderate behaviour), but have to go at them later

  2. 2
    Jason Thibeault

    Sweet unmerciful crap, DV, I HAVE READ IT. Just because I disagree, and happen to agree with Orac’s inestimable analysis of the situation instead, doesn’t mean I haven’t read it. It may have moved the Earth for you personally, but that doesn’t mean everyone else is going to have the holy revelation with heavens opening and clarions ringing out upon reading Ketcham’s article.

    And could you please stop posting “look, it’s really relevant, here’s X-anti-radiation-website and they linked to it too”? Please??? I don’t care how many inside-the-echo-chamber sites link to the same article, that doesn’t make it any more true. The 9/11 Truthers and the Obama Birthers all link to one another too.

    At least stop saying the same thing over and over until you’ve read that Scandinavian study, and properly accounted for the fact that THERE IS NO INCREASE IN CANCER RATES SINCE THE USE OF CELL PHONES HAS BECOME PREVALENT. There SHOULD be, if anything you say is even remotely true. But that study (the one you said “was shown to be flawed” without any sort of proof) says as much.

    PS: a “flaw” in a study is not the mere fact that it disagrees with your personal pet theory.

  3. 3

    sorry if my comment gets posted >1x, it didn’t seem to take, so i repressed submit after adding a comma, i’ll check back later to see what happened, feel free to delete whatever you want

  4. 4

    the gq piece moved nothing much for me, just was surprised to see a quality piece, if rather short, in a mainstream medium, i was aware of his sources for a long time already

    have too little time still, just glanced at orac & co, i think i should debate over there really, this really is a chance encounter between us here, but if i go after orac or others you praise, i’ll try to remember to notify you, whether or not i can get to going after what you have said above

    what do you know about “9/11 truth”? we could have much fun with that now…i could even tie it all together for you! you seem to be half inviting it…see what went on maybe throughout this webpage i remember, you should recognize one name (have to read it all, though)…http://www.greenparty.ca/blogs/103/2009-09-11/sept-11-remembrance-gpus…i have left off involvement with the greens, i did have a good bit of influence there, but they severely have disappointed on this issue, even though they were the only party to take notice with a policy bit in ’00 & a pronouncement in ’07, not that that’s why i worked with them…anyway, i posted a bunch of stuff, lots of references to studies and political stuff, see maybe before i can get back here or to orac, full webpages, http://www.greenparty.ca/blogs/930/2009-07-22/bioinitiative ,
    http://www.greenparty.ca/blogs/930/2009-07-23/eu , &
    http://www.greenparty.ca/blogs/930/2009-07-16/it-takes-green-dangers-wireless , one guy somewhat like yourself appears somewhere there; and where i actually had mentioned Levine in the process of making an example of one poor blogger, throughout page http://www.greenparty.ca/blogs/11005/2009-09-12/fellow-green-twitters-where-are-you

    i already told you about the big flaws in the scand. study, i’ll try to make time on it for you soon

    and will you not heed my comment about not looking at cancer study? i’m not avoiding it, it’s just so wrongly typical of your prevailing authority-experts

    we’re at deep cultural odds, i think you see that, but it’s not impossible something good can ensue from interchange here, we’ll see


  5. 5

    looks like the comment can’t get posted…well, i saved it so you can email me & i’ll send it to you to post if you wish…what’s up?

  6. 6
    Jason Thibeault

    You have to be careful about posting comments with links — spammers all seem to post dozens, so WordPress spams comments from unregistered users with three or more. If anything gets tossed in the spam bucket, just let me know and I can release it. (As long as you do so within 30 days.)

    So the Ketcham article wasn’t what convinced you — just the fact that it made a reputable science journal like Gentlemen’s Quarterly is what’s so amazing to you. Sorry to have to break it to you, but unless it’s a peer-reviewed science journal, anything goes. Even science-based journals like New Scientist or Popular Science get it wrong sometimes. The thing about science is it’s self-correcting when it’s done right — biases are rooted out and eliminated, experiments repeated time and again to verify the results are actual results and not one-off flukes, and people with vested interests are eventually exposed for what they are. This may take time, but eventually science wins. Popular opinion can be swayed against perfectly harmless scientific endeavours and ruin them for everyone in the meantime, though.

    At the same time, trumped-up science can get way more public acceptance than the legitimate body of science for unpopular things like that cigarettes are harmful, or that the global climate is changing for the hotter. Pat answers like “it’s cold here now, so that can’t be true” become commonplace. Or, in the case of radio transmissions, so-called “electrosensitives” get more airtime than the science saying they’re making things up. And people like yourself, once solidly in the “EMF = cancer” camp, can’t be made to read the contradicting science unless you think you can crusade for the truth.

    What’s worse is your level of “magical thinking” about one field leads directly into that same magical thinking about others — I mentioned 9/11 Truthers intentionally, hoping to determine whether you were a tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy theorist. And it appears you are.

    I’ll tell you what. If you do manage to visit Orac’s and out-debate him (or, if he is not an expert in the field though he seems to be to me, if you out-debate whichever expert he defers to), you stand a very good chance of convincing me, at which point I’ll print a public retraction on everything I’ve said, and I’ll show up at council meetings and vociferously petition to stop the Eastlink tower that’s now going up, now that the council has been overruled.

  7. 7

    I like that, jt, “eventually science wins”. Very much reminds of the arch-capitalist impetus to get ahead, vs. the socialist preoccupation with equalizing things: the socialist wins when we are all dead, the capitalist when everyone else is, and someone like me (a “deep green”) worries about what makes the other two win…New Sci., one of your examples, is a mag we actually subscribe to the print version of. Didn’t expect that, eh? It’s an amusing mag to the philosophically-inclined (me, maybe you noticed), but it’s no rag, full of informative stuff. But the gee whiz tone of so much of it is, how shall I put it, rather adolescent-like, and how can’t you find it almost hilarious how often scientists so firmly stand on a point only to reverse themselves not long after? Research (but not all of it) is great. But hasty exploitation of tentative results is anathema to decent public policy. Such has been the case with RF uses, and with electricity in general.

    “Popular opinion can be swayed against perfectly harmless scientific endeavours and ruin them for everyone” — I worry about your possible perception of “perfect harmlessness”, but it cuts both ways, as here with microwave research: Read what happened to Henry Lai, for example in the 90s when he found alarming DNA breaks. Better yet, get a sense of the ugly undercurrents by reading an industry insider’s book, by Robert C. Kane (star Motorola man), posthumously posted at http://www.scribd.com/doc/21783803/Cellular-Telephone-Russian-Roulette . I’d say if you’re not turned after reading that , nothing will do it, short of those bodies in the streets kind of thing. It doesn’t take great prescience to figure something is very, very wrong. Just an attitude in line with (Trent U.) Prof. Bocking’s statement (quoting from http://www.greenparty.ca/blogs/930/2009-08-28/told-you-so#comment-10726 ):
    From recent Alternatives Journal issue (35:3), closing the piece by Stephen Bocking (Trent U.), “Skewing Science: Four new books expose how government and industry maipulate science to fit their needs”

    “…two challenges of environmental policy. One is to avoid defining political questions as matters of science, because that implies that unrealistic standards of proof are needed before action can be taken, while also privileging those who are able to buy expertise. The second relates to making decisions in the context of uncertainty. Acting in a complex world means gathering information, evaluating the weight of evidence, taking precautions and adapting to change. Too often, the chosen approach has been to wait for absolute proof — with the consequence being a toxic environment and loss of life. Even uncertain knowledge implies a responsibility to act.”

    Why not a few quotes from Kane I’ve used in the past & have handy, if it’s ok with webmaster:
    It might seem unlikely, but also on the industry side of the balance there is a storehouse of`available published research. That industry data clearly indicates that the cellular telephone manufacturers and service providers knew, or should have known, through their own studies that exposure of humans to radiofrequency radiation emitted by transmitting portable cellular telephones is dangerous and causes biological and cognitive effects. However, the cellular industry manufacturers and service providers never cite this research.
    [another if not too long for you all]:
    Industry research both internal and published clearly indicates that company engineers and scientists are well aware of the excessive and dangerous power density levels to which users of the portable products, such as portable cellular telephones, are exposed. In some examples, which have been discussed, industry researchers confirmed that in order to comply with the proposed safety standards the portable transmitter power level would need to be reduced to about 0.001 watt. That means in order for some of the companies’ portables to comply with the proposed safety standard the power would have to be reduced by a factor of about 600, and that’s just to meet the power density safety level. That doesn’t even consider “a safety margin for the many enhancement and “hot spot” mechanisms.


    The IEEE/ANSI C95.1—1982 safety standard also included a safe energy absorption level based on the amount of energy absorbed within the body. However, as with the power density guide, portable radios and portable cellular telephones were categorically exempted. If the portables were required to comply with the SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) levels it would have meant a limit of 8.0 mW deposited into any one gram of tissue. The standard is also conveniently, and artificially, structured so that highly localized “hot spots” can be “averaged out” over a full gram of tissue. One gram is the smallest unit of tissue that the standards consider. Further, the standard has defined that the one gram of tissue must be in the form of a cube. This allows researchers, motivated to do so, to arbitrarily select—to hunt, so to speak, for areas of lower energy absorption that can be used to help lower the “average” absorption level that is reported.

    We already know that energy deposition into tissue results in heating. Absorption of 8 mW into a single gram (8 mW/g) or into approximately one cubic centimeter results in approximately a 1—2°C temperature increase in that tissue. We also know that temperature increases within the brain of 1—2°C will result in tissue damage. So the safety standard effectively established a “safe” exposure level that first allows for damage or destruction of brain tissue and, second, exempts the most serious offenders. Since 1982, the IEEE/ANSI standard has been further revised to limit the maximum absorption to 1.6 mW/g. Even though a blizzard of research reports now find that the portables exceed that radiation absorption level, no action is taken—the portables remain exempt by virtue of the FCC’s “grandfathering” of existing products.


    Even with all of the background activity related to tailoring the safety standards to suit the manufacturers and system operators, research continues to uncover disturbing pieces of evidence. Rather than the benign technology the industry claims, the evidence continues to paint a malignant picture of the effects to be expected due to human exposure to radiofrequency radiation.


    C. H. Durney pointed out the apparent Catch—22 when he observed that humans cannot be used as test subjects—”guinea pigs”.181 If the cellular industry convinces the responsible government agencies that laboratory data from animal experiments cannot be used and also convinces those agencies that human experiments are unethical, then the industry is free to do as it pleases. What a wonderful environment for the free reign of unencumbered commercialization of technology. In that environment the saying “let the buyer beware” will take on a whole new meaning.

    But Durney’s admission is unusual because even with nuclear radiation experiments humans were used. With radiofrequency radiation it may be that the potential for harm to human test subjects is already so well known that human testing is unthinkable. With radiofrequency energy testing there should never be an instance when the testing is performed without the informed consent of the test subject—such as portable cellular phone users.

    As such, the other laboratory techniques are employed to determine exposure, absorption levels, and effects. Numerical analysis is commonly employed to provide solutions for radiation absorption by computer-simulated human bodies. Sophisticated computer analysis is available for frequencies including the cellular telephone transmit range and with complex models of the human head and brain.

    Currently computer models comprised of millions of cells can subdivide the human head into as many layers as exist in reality. Further, a cell size of only a couple of millimeters greatly improves the resolution available to detect localized “hot spots.” Couple this with MRI techniques and the picture is of a truly sophisticated modeling capability, but it still requires proper data input for accurate output data. The old saying “garbage in – garbage out” remains true especially for the computer modeling experiments. If researchers insert nonrepresentative material characteristics, tissue types, or physical structures, their sophisticated results will be little more than sophisticated garbage.

    We already know of at least a couple of instances when nonrepresentative input data and test conditions were used to arrive at completely erroneous conclusions that have been broadcast worldwide. The basis on which the industry’s representations of safty have been established is rooted solely in the “belief’ that any short-term exposure that does not cause an immediate, observable effect must be safe. The standard-setting committee has taken the position, in the past, that if any effect were to occur they “believe” that researchers should be able to observe and measure that effect immediately. Of course, we realize that such thinking is as nonsensical as “believing” that exposure to nuclear radiation is harmless because the effects take years to be seen.

    Some in the research community do not buy into the dogmatic posturing and continue the research to learn bioeffects interaction mechanisms. Today research activity related to finding biological effects tied to low-level exposures to radiofrequency radiation has moved into the forefront, while research into thermal effects continues in the background. Most notable is a 1980 review of scientific research that nicely describes the conflicts between the two opposite research groups. In that review H. Cook, who received his funding from the National Science Foundation, concluded that some of the prior research did not proceed in a professional or scientific manner. Therefore, no conclusions could be drawn, with respect to dosimetry and experimental techniques, from papers presented at the suspect Fourth Tri-Services Conference (1960). In effect, Cook was indicating that the dosimetry studies had provided artifically optimistic findings.

    It’s very enlightening to learn that even during the early 1980s a few researchers were outspoken on the issue of research bias. They judged some research and perhaps the industry- and military—sponsored researchers as biased toward industry expectations rather than scientific knowledge.

    That’s a very strong conclusion to draw so early in the evolution of radiofrequency technology. We might expect that charge to be made today, in view of the raging controversy over safety issues of millions of hand-held radiofrequency transmitters. But for the industry bias in research to have become evident so long ago, when the stakes were very low, raises extreme alarm today in view of the $100 billion industry now at stake. If researchers and industry were painted as biased and disingenuous at that time, when no corporate or economic survival was at stake, what might we expect to be occurring today that has not yet come to our attention?

    The shift in focus to effects caused by low-level exposures occurred for two reasons. First, effects due to high level exposures have been fairly well documented and accepted. Second, the telecommunications industry had been successful in convincing government agencies and a large part of the research community that damaging effects must be tied to low-level exposures. This came at a time when the industry also claimed that their portable products exposed operators only to low-levels of radiation.

    Inquiries questioning the safety of radiofrequency energy absorption invariably were answered with the industry response that no link had been found between low-level radiofrequency radiation exposure and hazardous biological effects. Of course, this is a false statement. Keep in mind that with the ever-present “hot spot” absorption mechanisms, even very low radiation exposures can provide enhanced locally high-level absorptions within the brain.

    Let’s reconsider the issue from a different perspective. Instead of pointing out reasons and evidence that confirm hazards or dangers, let’s look at what researchers interested in utilizing the medical applications of radiofrequency energy absorption have observed.

    In the United States, 915 MHz has been allocated by the FCC for medical use. If other frequencies were available for medical therapy, researchers and therapists would, no doubt, have selected a slightly lower frequency, because the frequency range just slightly below 900 MHz is optimal for absorption of radiofrequency energy—the frequency range corresponding to the portable cellular telephone transmit band.

    Generally, these researchers with medical applications in mind are supporting the findings of electromagnetics and bioeffects researchers. That is, radiofrequency radiation is absorbed so well at frequencies in the range of portable cellular telephone transmissions that they, the hyperthermia researchers and therapists, will use it as a method of inducing heating or to destroy tissue. In the case of hyperthermia treatment the medical therapists intend to destroy cancerous tissue. In the case of portable cellular telephones, dangerous absorption levels and tissue destruction make no such distinction.

    Moving ever closer to the time when the portables were placed on the market, researchers continued to voice their concerns about adverse biological effects in humans. At the same time, medical therapy researchers were enthusiastically enjoying the findings that the deep penetration effects of energy in the 700-950 MHz range were ideal for hyperthermia treatments. It might seem as if the researchers were working at cross-purposes, but as with nuclear radiation, which can be medically beneficial as well as lethal, radiofrequency radiation can be medically beneficial as well as lethal. Recall that when nuclear radiation experiments began early in this century, no one understood that there was a danger. It was only years afterward, when some of the most creative and gifted researchers became ill and died of radiation poisoning, that the world believed there to be a danger. As with nuclear radiation, radiofrequency radiation is a two-edged sword.

    [and another, might have messed up the paragraphs though in the transfer here]
    H. P. Schwan and K. R. Foster have also investigated
    the possibility of weak field interactions with biological
    tissues. In their work the researchers do not describe any
    theoretical interaction mechanism, but they do confirm earlier
    findings that the cell membrane plays an important part in
    determining the cell electrical characteristics with respect to

    [daryl's note - cf goldsworthy's recent remarks]

    At this opposite end of the energy exposure issue, low-level
    exposure, we find that researchers are consistently reporting
    biological effects at surprisingly low radiation levels. In very
    early experiments, conducted to

    123 H. P. Schwan and K. R. Foster, “RF-Field Interactions with
    Biological Systems: Electrical Properties and Biophysical Mechanisms,”
    Proceedings of the IEEE 68, no. 1 (January 1980).

    investigate microwave induced hearing sensations, J. C. Lin
    confirmed that a biological hearing effect is induced at power
    density levels hundreds or thousands of times lower than levels
    previously thought to cause any effects. In essence, Lin
    confirmed what USSR researchers have been insisting all
    along. That is, the exposure limits in the United States and
    other Western countries are much too high and not really based
    on biological effects.

    Interestingly, the IEEE/ANSI standards are claimed to
    have been established at a level that is ten times lower .
    Than any measured biological effect. But in 1977 Lin
    demonstrated just such an effect at levels much lower than the
    limit of the safe exposure standard. The effect was described as
    a thermal shock wave caused by a rapid expansion of tissue
    due to energy absorption and propagating within the brain.
    Today’s “safe level” of radiofrequency exposure remains at
    least 100 times higher than the threshold levels found by Lin.
    At that time Lin stated:

    The effect is of great significance since the average incident
    power densities required to elicit the response are
    considerably lower than those found for other microwave
    biological effects and the threshold average power densities
    are many orders of magnitude smaller than the current safety
    standard of 10mW/cm².124

    In a follow-up, or follow-on, to previous research
    reporting modifications in brain cells at low-level radiation
    exposure W. R. Adey also reported that weak modulated
    radiofrequency radiation results in major physiological

    124 J. C. Lin, “On Microwave-Induced Hearing Sensation,”
    IEEETransactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques MTT-25, no. 7
    (July 1977):605-13.

    changes. These weak exposures, less than that which would
    result in temperature increases of 0.1°C, have also been
    observed to produce chemical and behavioral changes. Adey’s
    findings indicate a particular sensitivity of brain tissue to
    radiofrequency radiation exposure that is modulated at between
    six and twenty Hz (cycles per second).125 One way of
    observing this sensitivity is to record the changes in the brain
    wave patterns (EEG) of humans and other animals as they are
    exposed to the low—level radiation. In some cases the
    modified EEG patterns persisted for several days. Adey has
    proposed that the radiation fields lead to a disruption of intercell
    communication and that the disruption of that
    communication can lead to uncontrolled cell growth. But, the
    safety standards do not consider that low level radiofrequency
    energy absorption reorients cells or disturbs the equilibrium of
    biological and electrophysical processes of cells within the
    brain of humans.

    These researchers have long been engaged in the
    of low-level exposures to radiofrequency radiation. Typically,
    they employ radiation levels low enough to rule out any
    measurable tissue heating and concentrate instead on the
    effects of low frequency modulation of the applied frequency.
    In their most recent report they state that
    Evidence has accumulated that sensitivity of brain tissue to
    specific weak oscillating electromagnetic

    125 W. R. Adey, “Frequency and Power Windowing in Tissue Interactions
    with Weak Electromagnetic Fields,” Proceedings of the IEEE 68, no. 1
    (January 1980):119-25.

    fields occurs in the absence of significant tissue heating.126
    The sensitivity includes modifications of the passage of
    conductive ions through the membrane of brain cells.
    The researchers go on to explain that the passage of
    calcium and potassium ions through the brain cell membrane is
    fundamental to brain activity. Disturbances in this
    communication link are shown by modifications to the EEG
    readings of test subjects. These modifications have
    been/demonstrated and documented by these and other
    researchers, as described earlier.

    During 1988 S. F. Cleary presenteda review of the state
    of research related to nonthermal interactions and effects of
    radiofrequency radiation. His conclusions include the
    understanding that
    cellular studies provide convincing evidence that RF
    radiation, and other types of electric or magnetic fields, can
    alter living systems via direct nonthermal mechanisms, as
    well as via heating. 127

    Now, after what I said repeatedly, how can you still say, “EMF = cancer”?
    For myself in my body, RF exposure means microwave hearing (going on as I type this, esp. loud these past weeks since our “smart” meters have been activated at around 900mHz 4x/hr., perfect for brain absorption…) and weird transient dyslexia I fortunately thus far have a successful way to treat, that tellingly began in the late 90s, when it all started in deadly earnest in our neighbourhood…cf important Swedish studies about health care costs rise matching exactly turning on of network there, also Firstenberg’s studies of US stats, and in Ont. the costs plateaued throughout the 90s, until you know what, and it’s impossibly rising since then, NOT attributable (yet) to aging or equipment costs; not to mention variegated symptoms of many people I know…

    “Tinfoil” can work if it’s carefully deployed. Science, eh? Like, laws of physics? Onus on you to account for them falling skyscrapers, eg…

    I’ll look into orac later, if h’s all that influential, i just might go after him but so much to do…

    Why don’t you scrub my redundant posts, it messes up your page, doesn’t it?

  8. 8
    Jason Thibeault

    I’ve only read about half of this post, and unfortunately today is going to be a very wedding-filled day so I can’t spend a lot of time here. I don’t really care about the redundant posts, it gives people an idea what happened behind the scenes, so it’s not like I’m trying to cover up the fact that one of your posts went to spam and I had to rescue it. People will hopefully be able to read it all anyway.

    I do have to ask whether you’re within the realm of fair use with the size of your quotes — unless you’re linking back to where you got them, I suspect you may be in violation of all manner of copyright by posting such huge chunks of other people’s works. If this is the case, I might have to delete that comment or the excerpts themselves for fear of being hit with a lawsuit.

    Also, could you kindly link them anyway? You should always cite your sources.

  9. 9

    yeah, i noticed the upcoming wedding…you might want to keep your cell phone outta your pocket…read them studies, eh, pretty clear

    i did reference the long quotes, sorry am always on the fly, so did a swift extract & paste, it’s in public domain at the scribd link

    happy wedding, and to your mate

  10. 10

    well, it’s up to you to prod your hero orac-le to debate me, i threw down the gauntlet with a provocative comment, even quoting your words (unattributed), at that blog piece

    and, newlywed atheists, let’s hope that the leading NDP couple clue in to the likeliest source of their respective cancers in the news, and start (unlikely, i’m sure) using their public exposure & talents in a good direction on this, those affected body parts on higher likelihood list to be affected, stats spiking up since mass cell deployment, thyroid & prostate (away from the head & out of the pocket or the belt, young couple…)

  11. 11

    In jt’s defense he sees a lot more than most. It’s good that he likes to debate on line too. I love the internet that way. But kudos to you to dv. Goes to show a lot of knowledge goes a long way. I have followed this subject for years now and know from personal experience that as little as 0.000001 Watts can affect a person’s state of mind. Government agencies from around the world have studied this with various degrees of disclosure. Ask any Buddhist monk or EEG technician, the brain is an organ highly sensitive to particular frequencies even at very low intensities. The joy of this particular piece of information is that anyone can experience it first hand (in fact we do everyday but are largely unaware) and not have to rely on knowing vicariously through experts or authority (or experts hired by authority). Even when we transitioned to digital cellphones it’s seems we are looking at .3 Watts to 3 Watts. Lots of other work by true experts is being ignored and worse yet true scientific studies are being “debunked” with epidemiological studies that only prove we are all getting exposed, truly sad. There’s lots more jt but it takes a lot of time to sift through all of the information.

    Incidentally, in circles who practice this formerly classified research, running at 60hz is ill advised for any length of time. Effects are related to frequency and energy levels required to initiate these changes is very low. Neurons fire at 10J apparently. I was taught in school that the unit of a joule is almost laughably small. That is why kJ is used.

    Long live freedom of information acts and PBS :) And affordable education !!!

  12. 12

    Oops… important correction. 0.00000001J to fire a neuron. Significantly more sensitive.

  1. 13
    A few podcasts from this weekend on skepticism and atheism « Lousy Canuck

    [...] that cell phone radiation can hurt you is a good example of whack-a-mole pseudoscience. Remember Science vs Garlic, and the comments thread that ensued? Frankly, the discussion didn’t go anywhere but to the [...]

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