the international scientific Internet platform on topical issues
Topical issues: nature
Our natural world is under assault from human activity. The trouble is, to recognise damage to nature reveals also the risk to ourselves. ‘Progress’ is in the hands not of individual people, nor their elected representatives and politicians. It is in the hands of the free market, the large corporates who set the direction of our world through creating profit streams however they can. We don’t have to identify this as evil; rather it is almost inevitable. We are persuaded of the benefits of convenience and consumerism, and we are the source of the profits and the stimulant to corporate behaviour and the setters of social trends. What we must do is to observe, to ask questions, and be honest enough with ourselves to recognise that nothing we do is without consequence. If we are custodians of our children’s futures, we must accept individual and joint responsibility for the condition of our planet.
Here are examples of honest concern over EM fields from telecoms affecting wildlife:
Effects of electromagnetic fields on animals
One of the most important things we can do is to observe animals and plants. If indeed the increased ambient and chronic exposure to low levels of especially digitally-structured electromagnetic fields does present a risk to health and well-being of people, then it is important to recognise and respond to this as soon as possible. Very many scientists worldwide have indeed found that this is the case, but such is the global impetus for the convenience of wireless communications, and such is the dependence of the global economy upon these industries, that it is infinitely preferable that all the perceived effects in human are just the result of techno-anxiety.
The psychosomatic response and the placebo and nocebo effects are well-known and powerful human traits. In fact it would be the greatest progress humankind has ever made, if these powerful capacities could be harnessed for good and for healing by all. (Though perhaps it is as well that we cannot, since there is nothing to prevent the harmful side being similarly used.) And so it is entirely likely that people do respond in these ways to things they feel uncomfortable, suspicious of, or threatened by. But there are no grounds whatsoever for then concluding that all observed effects on people attributed to EM fields are due to this psychological response. The same could be said of pesticides and chemicals or other environmental pollutants, including noise. On all these issues, solid scientific research does exist that biological mechanisms exist to explain the observed outcomes.
The reason nature observation is so important, is that we assume a lower cognitive awareness in plants, birds, fish, insects and animals. Without psychosomatic bias, these are the indicators of the effects of human activity on natural processes. We watch them for the effects of our activities on habitat, atmosphere, water, and on the climate and they are producing acutely useful warnings. What does nature tell us in this complex but unbiased way about the electromagnetic radiation environment that we have created and are daily increasing?
The objection to people claiming to observe effects in animals is that there is a lot of natural EM radiation, and man-made radiation is a minor addition. To the contrary, our addition is spectacularly different in terms of frequencies, structures and in completely filling the spectrum. It is not just the addition, but the interference this creates with natural EM fields and frequencies, such as the Schumann resonance and geo-electromagnetic fields.
Many studies on biological effects relate to animal experiments, as you will find in our health links pages. (Try putting ‘animal’ into the search box at the top of this page as well.) EM fields of various kinds are used routinely in regular human medicine (not just in complementary practice) so we do know that there are positive interactions. And they work in animals too.
Here are some examples of studies on skin and thyroid that are actually important for human health investigation:
Rajkovic V, Matavulj M, Johansson O, ‘Histological characteristics of cutaneous and thyroid mast cell populations in male rats exposed to power-frequency electromagnetic fields’, Int J Radiat Biol 2005; 81: 491-499
Rajkovic V, Matavulj M, Johansson O, ‘The effect of extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields on skin and thyroid amine-and peptide-containing cells in rats: An immunohistochemical and morphometrical study’, Environ Res 2005; 99: 369-377
Rajkovic V, Matavulj M, Johansson O, ‘Light and electron microscopic study of the thyroid gland in rats exposed to power-frequency electromagnetic fields‘, J Exp Biol 2006; 209: 3322-3328
Clearly rats are not responding psychosomatically.
Animals and the EM environment
As well as our pages on birds and bees, there are plenty of concerns about animals, for example:
Power transmission and supply
Whilst these links concern wireless sources, there are profound concerns about ‘stray voltages’ and ‘dirty electricity’. This is about more than the bio-effects of powerlines, and includes the complexities of where mains voltages flow, the creation of net currents, and what radio-frequency signals are induced or injected into circuits that then flow around premises. Accounts of farms devastated by imbalanced power lines, bad localised grounding and combinations of RF transmitters with power lines, abound. Similarly, accounts of the fixes through proper grounding and filtering show that there are remedies. The problems will differ between countries, depending on wiring standards, transmission line design etc. But the bottom line is that we have to be extremely careful with this magic stuff called electricity, because it is more complex in use than we ever imagined by lighting the first bulb.
Here are some links to expand on the subject.