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Strong international concern about the dangers of Electromagnetic Radiation

New Zealand expert in demand around the world

Part 1

Dr Neil Cherry - Updated 08/11/02

Dr Cherry's research into the dangers of Electromagnetic Radiation has attracted worldwide interest. This is confirmed not only by the numerous hits and pieces of backchat on the articles already published in NZine but also by the demands for him to speak or appear as an expert witness overseas. In this article he looks beyond the scope of this website to his involvement beyond New Zealand, especially in the year 2000. - Editor

For more information on Dr Neil Cherry and his work, please visit his website.

Dr Neil Cherry
Dr Neil Cherry
My involvement with international EMR health effects started with my university sabbatical in 1996/97, many presentations in the US and Australia during 1997/2002 and participation in the November 1998 Vienna EMR scientific workshop, the 2000 Salzburg Conference, 2000 European Parliament Conference, 2001 Kufstein Congress, five Italian Congresses and five Italian seminars, 2002 Tokyo Conference, NZ GPs Taupo Environmental Health Conference, and many others.

For technical papers associated with the topics of these conferences go to my website.

World Breast Cancer Conference
At the World Breast Cancer Conference in Ottawa in August 1999 I presented a paper on Electromagnetic Radiation and Breast Cancer. Out of this came a major documentary which has been produced and circulated in Canada.

Presentation on the ICNIRP guidelines
Next came the Italian Congress in Trento in November 1999 where I did a presentation criticising the ICNIRP Guidelines. ICNIRP is the acronym for International Commission for Non Ionising Radiation Protection.

The ICNIRP group believe that there are only thermal effects. I first heard of this attitude in 1995 when the WHO expert, Dr Michael Repacholi, appeared for BellSouth in the Environment Court (then the Planning Tribunal) appeal, the McIntyre case. He made the claim that the result of exposure to electromagnetic radiation was only heating effects. The court decision rejected this evidence and set the public exposure level at 2µW/cm2. Dr Repacholi was the chairman of ICNIRP at that time. He chaired the WHO EMR task group in 1993. Ten of the fourteen participants were members of the International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA) who moved on to form ICNIRP. This included nine of the fourteen WHO participants.

Late in 2000 I was involved in a court case about a cellsite near Brisbane in which Dr David Black appeared for Telstra. Dr Black explained that he is involved internationally, being on the New Zealand Standards Committee, the Australian Committee and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Committee, the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering Committee (IEEE) and an ICNIRP working party and a WHO working party. All of these groups have a preconceived view that there are only heating effects and probably invited Dr Black onto their committees as he agrees with their opinion. However, the fact that Dr Black is on six of these committees confirms the fact that it is only a very small group of people who claim that the international consensus of science is that RF/MW only produces tissue heating.

Is ICNIRP really an independent body of scientists?
In 2000 in Europe I talked with scientists who described ICNIRP as a self-appointed NGO. This description seemed to make sense as they only appoint people who agree with them.

They claim that they are independent of the WHO and are recognised by it. "Who in the WHO recognises them?" is my question. The answer is "Dr Michael Repacholi". He claims to be independent of ICNIRP, but actually helped to form it, chaired it for many years and is currently Chairman Emeritus.

I believe that this is a construct to give each other status and credibility. When independent scientists look at the ICNIRP and WHO scientific assessments these assessments are obviously and demonstrably selective, biased and methodologically wrong by inappropriately dismissing epidemiological evidence. This has been demonstrated in my ICNIRP review report and in my presentations in Europe.

Conference in Brussels
I was asked by a group of MPs of the European Parliament to present the evidence of low level biological and health effects of EMR at a Conference on 28 June in Brussels. The paper was entitled: "Evidence that Electromagnetic Radiation is Genotoxic: The implications for the epidemiology of cancer and cardiac, neurological and reproductive effects."

I was surprised to find that in filed copies of publicly available papers, all of which were referenced on Medline, there were eighteen studies showing that RF and microwave radiation damage chromosomes, four studies showing dose response relationships, and one documenting a significant dose increase in cell death. This is now confirmed by multiple, independent laboratories showing DNA damage and enhanced oncogene activity (cancer genes).

This is a substantial body of research which under normal circumstances would be taken to prove that RF/Microwave radiation is genotoxic.

In its 1998 cancer assessment ICNIRP maintains its view that RF/Microwave radiation is not genotoxic and cannot cause cancer. This is achieved by ignoring and not citing the extensive evidence that it damages chromosomes and by inappropriately dismissing the epidemiological evidence of cancer and miscarriage.

Epidemiological evidence of genetic damage by EMR
In the paper I presented in Brussels I said, "This evidence is confirmed and consistent with epidemiological evidence of human beings exposed to these fields, because if a substance damages the genetic material of cells, chromosomes, DNA and genes then it damages tissue cell by cell by cell and therefore causes cancer, reproductive effects, neurological effects and cardiac effects."

How does this happen?
The long strands of DNA get folded to form the chromosomes and the genes are elements of the arms of the chromosomes which are made out of DNA. DNA damage occurs daily from toxins, stress and even from breathing oxygen. Our bodies have very advanced repair systems. Most of the damage to DNA is repaired by enzymes. Most cells whose DNA is not correctly repaired commit suicide. This is called programmed cell death - apoptosis. Therefore DNA damage causes enhanced cell death. Most damaged cells that do survive are seen as foreign by the immune system and they are attacked by the natural killer cells. The occasional mistake is made and a damaged cell survives to become a cancer cell. It typically takes decades for cancer to be promoted by more damage, and to progress to a detectable cancer, such as leukaemia, or a malignant tumour. Therefore epidemiology is extremely important as it looks at large populations and often involves follow up over decades.

Epidemiological research
Papers have been published which show significant increases in all the above health effects including dose response increases in disease and death. The higher the dose the higher is the rate of disease and death. For example the US physiotherapists study shows that the miscarriage rate for pregnant physiotherapists increases in proportion to the number of monthly treatments for diathermy which result in exposures to microwaves.

Associating a particular dose with each treatment gives a dose response with a threshold of zero as the only safe level. As a result of this very few physiotherapists around the western world now use microwaves to heat their patients. If we look at the genotoxic information above we can see that it causes damage to the genetic material of the foetus resulting in abnormality that leads to miscarriage. The foetus has a very rapid and vulnerable cell division and if a cell is damaged it will rapidly amplify, leading to miscarriage or congenital malformation.

Similarly around radio towers when you compare the undulating long term mean radial exposure levels they closely match the undulations in the cancer rates of children and adults.

In electrical industries, where people are regularly exposed to a wide range of electromagnetic fields and radiation, dose response increases in multiple sclerosis and in suicide have recently been identified.

Similarly there are dose response increases in heart attacks, and arrhythmic heart disease and death. A number of studies of people in television transmission stations show raised blood pressure and a significant reduction in heart rate variability - a known risk factor for heart disease. This confirms that in the short term there are alterations in blood pressure and heart rhythm and in the long term heart disease, heart attacks and death.

EMR proven to be genotoxic:
All of these effects have been shown in multiple studies for cancer and miscarriage, neurological and cardiac effects. The results are totally consistent with EMR being genotoxic, but also interfering with the body's natural telecommunication system. The brain is particularly sensitive because it is very electromagnetically active as is shown by the EEG, and the brain communicates with the organs and the cells of the body using enzymes, hormones and ion currents for example. More than sixteen studies show that EMR across the spectrum reduces human melatonin levels. Melatonin is a potent antioxidant, and maintains the health of the immune system. Reduced melatonin is associated with aging, sleep disturbance, chronic fatigue, arthritis, diabetes, and also with cancer, miscarriage, cardiac and neurological disease and death.

Important insights into interference with natural processes

Part 2

Cell to cell communication
A very important part of the body's system is cell-to-cell communication. I got a very interesting response in Kufstein in Austria in November when I was explaining this to the conference. I mentioned Professor Ross Adey's description of cell-to-cell communication as cells whispering to each other - 'How are you?' with the response 'I'm fine thank you.' or 'How are you?' 'I'm not quite sure.'

How would cells do that? The major means is a modulated ion current which is encoded in one cell and transmitted to another, for example through a gap-junction. The gap junction is a protein tube between cells. Each cell has an encoder and receiver to transmit, receive and respond to messages. They form an amazing biological telecommunication network.

The audience was fascinated by this description of cells whispering to each other and checking on each other just like we should do with our neighbours.

I went on to show them that there are elements of cells that are FM tuners using phase-locked loops - like those used in FM radios to tune in to the incoming radio signal. As part of their communication system cells also have structures in the cell membrane called voltage-gated ion channels which act like a transistor to control the ion currents flowing into and out of the cells.

Homeostasis achieved by natural bio-electronics
Biology has come up with very advanced and sophisticated bio-electronics as part of the body's natural communication and regulation system to keep our cells and organs within healthy relationships. This is necessary to keep them in a relatively narrow natural range of conditions which is called homeostasis.

The most common natural range that we are familiar with is temperature, but there are many other processes and substances that are required to be kept within natural ranges in order for our cells to be healthy and happy.

The body's telecommunication system plays a vital role in this regulation and co-ordination. External electromagnetic signals interfere with the internal signals and cause cell damage, immune system problems and neurological problems, and can quite vitally interfere with the heart rhythm. A common treatment for irregular hearts is to implant an electronic pacemaker. This works because the natural heart works by an electrical pulse which sends a cascade of calcium ions throughout the heart muscle to signal to every cell to contract together to produce a heart beat. When the body's natural electrical signal becomes irregular the technology can provide synchronisation. There is strong evidence that an extremely small but globally available natural electromagnetic signal, the Schumann Resonances, continually provides an external synchronisation signal to assist all mammals to maintain their brain, heart and cellular timing homeostasis.

If >cellphones interfere with metal electronics, what about their impact on biological electronics?
The Japanese authorities have recommended that no one use a cellphone in a train because the signal can interfere with cardiac pacemakers. My question is: "If the use of cellphones is interfering with the metal electronics why are we not concerned about their interfering with the biological electronics?"

The overall conclusions
I have reviewed the research on cellphone type radiation i.e. radiation from cellphones and cellsites. This material has been organised under headings of Cancer, Reproductive Activity, Neurological Activity and Cardiac Activity, linked together with genotoxic activity.

What I have found is that in the last four to five years cellphone radiation has been shown to mimic epidemiological and biological studies of EMR since World War 2. This is not a surprise, but it is now established that EMR damages chromosomes, and causes cancer, reproductive, neurological and cardiac effects.

The conclusion is that cellphones and cellsites are a hazard to people's health.

The picture comes together to show that the safe level of exposure to artificial electromagnetic signals from human devices is zero. A large amount of the present illness and death in society can be attributed to chronic low level exposures to these fields. The widespread official claim that if signals cannot heat people they are safe is clearly scientifically wrong and dangerous.

Travel itinerary evidence of world wide concern
In June I attended the Italian Consumer Congress in Roccaraso and went on to present a paper at the Salzburg conference in which international scientists, planners, policy analysts and public health experts agreed that there is no known safe threshold and GSM cellsite base stations should be limited to exposures of less than 0.1mW/cm2.

From there I travelled to Ireland to give a presentation and media interviews in Dublin, followed by the Scientific Conference on the health effects of EMR at the European Parliament in Brussels. From the Salzburg presentation I was invited to give a keynote address in the Kufstein Conference of the World Foundation for Natural Science in Austria in November.

In October I was involved in a base station court case in Adelaide. After I had presented the evidence, including using the applicants' own evidence against them, the appeal was withdrawn. They did not want a decision as it could stand as a precedent. I also prepared evidence for two other cell site appeal cases and for the Australian Senate EMR Enquiry.

Risk from computers
Readers of articles in NZine about my work have often asked about the danger of working with computers. Studies in the 1990's showed dose response increases in miscarriage and brain tumour from heavy use of computers. Most modern screens have much lower emissions than the earlier versions making them somewhat safer for their users than they used to be. A screen filter can significantly reduce the user's exposures while increasing the brightness to compensate changes the fields very little.

My advice to all
Minimise avoidable exposures and maximise health both through well-known healthy diets and also through a conscious positive approach to caring for and loving ourselves and positive relationships with others. Stress, anxiety and powerlessness are a health hazard, so choosing not to be powerless, finding what you can do and doing it is a healthy approach.

We can all become more informed, share information with our neighbours, and our elected representatives at local, regional, state and national levels, start movements, lobby, work through churches, community groups, environmental groups, health foundations, doctors and Probus clubs, because together we are powerful, but alone we are isolated and vulnerable.

Elect people who care for public health and if you are well-known, seek election yourself on the basis or protecting public health from genotoxic pollution because this will have major positive effects on public health, community costs and health system demands.

We must give effect to true democracy which is serving the people, not the profit-driven companies, and support the companies and politicians who truly care for the people.

A heavy programme of work
In addition to the work he has undertaken overseas Dr Cherry has been working at Lincoln University where he is Associate Professor of Environment Health, and working as an elected member of Environment Canterbury (Canterbury Regional Council.)


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