An Electronic Silent Spring: Facing the Dangers and Creating Safe Limits
by Katie Singer
Portal Books, 2014
Many people may be doing everything “right” to protect their health in terms of diet, exercise and avoiding toxic chemicals. They get enough good fat, avoid trans fats, avoid junk in general and eat nutrient-dense food. They are careful about chemicals in hygiene products and tap water. They do everything right but. . . they still have some nagging health problem. Why? This book may answer that question. It covers the subject of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) very thoroughly.
The average man on the street is still very skeptical that radiation from our electronic toys could be harmful. Katie Singer pulls information from many sources, some of which I’m familiar with and have even reviewed before, so I know she is not making things up.
The short list of things that produce unsafe levels of EMR includes just about any digital or wireless item (computers, cell phones, Internet routers, TVs), fluorescent and compact fluorescent lights, dimmer switches, faulty home wiring, battery rechargers, and digital smart meters. Nearly all microwave ovens leak. Some items like computers have power supplies that can generate EMR even when turned off, if they are plugged in. If you want to get off the grid completely you should know that solar power systems can generate a lot of noise also.
The next question is what kind of health effects result from these things. The short list is Alzheimer’s, diabetes, psoriasis, insomnia, cancer, leukemia, ADHD and vision problems. South Korea may be the most connected country in the world at the moment. Doctors there have come up with a term for a condition they call “digital dementia.” Young people in particular have become so dependent on their digital crutches that they can’t remember their own phone number. Cognitive deterioration in these people resembles that of head injury victims.
And then there is a sore subject I have brought up before. Nobody has shot me yet so I’m going to tempt fate and do it again. The subject is cell phones. A Swedish study found that for every one hundred hours of cell phone use, the risk of cancer increases 5 percent. For every year of use, the cancer risk increases 8 percent. After two or three thousand hours of cumulative analog cell phone use, the cancer risk is 490 percent greater.
Digital “smart” phones generate more radiation than analog phones. If you raise the question of safety with any large agency the standard response is usually something about the devices meeting FCC guidelines. Somewhere implied in all that is the assumption that only evil heretics would question the omniscience of any government agency, including the FCC. One thing to keep in mind is that the FCC only considers whether a device works and whether or not its signals interfere with any other signals the FCC deems important. Signals inside your own body that keep you healthy are not important in this context and consequently don’t matter. The FCC is not a health agency. That is not their job and they don’t care. Any testing done by other agencies has only been done for large healthy males. Testing has not been done for women, children, the aged or the handicapped.
So whose job is it to protect citizens’ health and safety? Officially, it is the FDA’s job, but they don’t have funding for that. They seem to have plenty of money to shut down small farms that aren’t hurting anybody but no money for this.
Singer’s message is not all doom and gloom. She does fill a chapter with proposed solutions to the problem. They fall into two general categories— what you can do yourself and what government agencies can or should do. There are many good ideas for what you can do yourself. There are cheap ways of turning an AM radio into a noise detector to track down sources of EMR. You can call an electrician to fix wiring flaws. You can change from wireless Internet to cabled connections. Get rid of fluorescent lights and use old-fashioned incandescent bulbs if you can still get them, or use LED bulbs. You can give up some or all of your electronic toys. I know some people would be more offended by this advice than if I had suggested they drop dead and their dog, too. Yet all I can say is if you value your toys more than your health, you will have health consequences to contend with one day. That is your choice.
Singer also warns about popular solutions that may not be all they are cracked up to be. Filters that plug into outlets generally don’t work and can make things worse. Installing shielding in a room can work if it is done right. It is hard for an amateur to do right and if it isn’t, it may amplify the radiation in the room. Singer includes websites that help you sort out what works and what doesn’t.
The suggestions for what government agencies should conscionably and justly do are also good. However, since our government is bought and controlled by big corporations, I personally am not highly optimistic that things will change quickly there. This is one case where I would be happy to see someone prove me wrong. If you feel inspired to do that I truly wish you luck. I will give you a free thumbs up for that. This book also gets a thumbs UP.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2014