Guest Blog from Erja Tamminen, Chair of the Electrosensitive Organization in Finland

This is the second guest blog on BRHP. The opinions expressed in it are of Erja Tamminen herself. Publication of these opinions in BRHP does not mean that BRHP agrees with or endorses these opinions. However, publication of guest blogs is an attempt to start an open debate and free exchange of opinions on RF and health.

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OUR CHILDREN DESERVE SAFER TECHNOLOGY THAN WIRELESS

There is a technology fever in Finland, even though several international organizations like the World Health Organization, the European Environment Agency, the Council of Europe and the governments of Australia, Belgium, France and Israel emphasize the precautionary principle. In Finland wireless technologies are being favored and the mobile phone industry is influential. Finns areknown to be obedient to authorities and there is a strong reliance on national experts and research done in Finland.

Families have mostly given up their landline telephones, and many children use mobile phone as their only phone. In general, children do not use a hands-free kit, even though the Finnish Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) gave a cautionary advice in 2009 in which it was advised that it is prudent to restrict children’s’ mobile phone use. Few people are aware of this position, because it was not enough advertised by STUK.

Instead of implementing the precautionary principle, the use of wireless technology is promoted in schools and colleges by the actions of the government and the Ministry of Education. This development is in blatant conflict with the fact that children are more sensitive to radiofrequency radiation. Children´s nervous system is immature, skull bones are thinner than those of adults’, brains contain more fluid and radiation penetrates more deeply into head.

Neglecting all warnings and concerns, leading politicians pursue the opposite direction, which is enhancement of the Information Society Strategy. Its purpose is to expand the use of digital technology, smart phones and laptops, as educational tools in schools and colleges. Such development is already widely taking place. Wlan/Wi-Fi routers, tablets and smartphones are being used in numerous Finnish schools. 

What will ensue from the Information Society Strategy and who will reap the benefits?

According to the Ministry of Education the digital agenda creates opportunities for the use of modern technology, and when the plan is realized the society will be more successful and people will feel better than before. However, we already have evidence of the opposite.

It is known, even in the Ministry, that Finnish schoolchildren are not thriving. Migraines, headaches, ADHD-like symptoms, and feeling of being unwell are very common among pupils and students. Huge amounts of funds are directed to the research related to media literacy, but the research regarding health effects of wireless technology to children is neglected.

It is doubtful that the schoolchildren will benefit from the use of wireless technology, but it makes a good business for the companies participating in the development projects. Representatives of the electronics industry, such as Nokia, Elisa, TeliaSonera, Microsoft, Innopark and Hewlett Packard have been well represented in the working group of the Ministry of Education.

The companies will benefit from the hardware and software purchases, as well as computer maintenance.  A big problem in Finland is the fact that no one questions the strong and influential position of industry in the working groups of ministries.

This policy should be changed as the current Information Society Strategy is one-sided. It has not considered the health effects of electromagnetic radiation. The following research findings should be taken into account: 

  • Radiation from a Wlan/Wi-Fi router can adversely affect working memory according to a study by Papageorgiou.
  • Argiro E. Maganiti from Athens University of Technology investigated the effect of radiation similar to Wlan/Wi-Fi technology to brain’s electrical activity. It was noticed that radiation significantly reduced the function of alpha- beta-regions in women.
  • Argentinian researchers noticed that radiation similar to Wlan/Wi-Fi weakens sperm quality. Wireless networks are exposed to similar radiation group was statistically significant changes in sperm DNA and decreased sperm motility expose the non-group.
  • Atasoy and his colleagues studied the effects radiation, similar to wireless Internet, to the testicles of laboratory animals. It was found that the damage to the DNA had increased. In addition the levels of endogenous antioxidants catalase and glutathione decreased in the experimental group, probably due to the reduced enzyme activity caused by radio frequency radiation.

In addition, several authoritative international organizations have given regulatory statements, which should have already led to the implementation of precautionary principle:

  • The cancer research institute IARC of the World Health Organization has classified radiofrequency radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” in 2011.
  • European Environment Agency, EEA, stated in 2009: “The evidence is now strong enough, using the precautionary principle, to justify the following: “For governments, the mobile phone industry, and the public to take all reasonable measures to reduce exposures to EMF, especially to radio frequencies from mobile phones, and particularly the exposures to children and young adults who seem to be most at risk from head tumours.”
  • The Council of Europe gave a recommendation in March 2011 that wired Internet connections should be favored in schools.
  • The recent BioInitiative Report 2012 reviewed more than 1 800 new published studies on electromagnetic fields and mechanisms of action. The researchers, who drafted the summary of the report, emphasize that children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of radiation.

Detrimental effects of radiation to the brain were seen in 98 studies included in the BioInitiative Report. In nine studies there was an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia risk as a result to the exposure to low-frequency electromagnetic fields.

Traditionally, Finnish people are known as honest, hardworking people. In the long term, Finland can succeed only by acknowledging the facts, which includes the health effects of electromagnetic radiation. We should prioritize the wellbeing of children and their long-term health instead of the short-term profits of wireless industry.

Often concerns has been expressed that implementation of the precautionary principle would slow down economy, but according to a report published in January 2013 by the European Environmental Agency there is little evidence to support such assumption.  Rather, it can encourage the innovation as it forces companies to find new technological solutions. What we really need is biologically and ecologically sensitive technology. In long term, that can also benefit the industry.

 

 

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13 thoughts on “Guest Blog from Erja Tamminen, Chair of the Electrosensitive Organization in Finland

  1. Hi. I agree that continued education is necessary. I also agree the the industry and the blinded government (or paid off government) will be effective in keeping a wide campaign from happening. The people who understnd this danger must continue the efforts. We are not only up against the industry–but up against nearly every person who is addicted to their cell phones. People love thier wireless!! I suffer from EHS (you know, the nonexistant illness). I belive it was caused by the 130+ cell towers and antenea by my home and the smart meters they forced in and on my home. I have been sick for 4 months now. Can’t use any wireless and can only use a wired computer for about 5 minutes. Since the school district I live in refuses to stop wireless (they employ the smart boards and wireless computers), I have decided to home school one of my sons. Since I am sick with the EHS, I wil see how that goes and if possible, I will home school all three of my children next year. I hate the way teh FCC and WHO get around recognizing the suffering of so many people. I believe that this will blow up in their faces–but they never have to pay for the evil they cause or allow. It is the American way–money talks and politicians are bought off!!! Veronica

  2. Dyr2, Thank you very much for your interesting reply. Tinnitus is a
    difficult and stressful symptom. I remember that in the study of
    Hans-Peter Hutter (2009), tinnitus was seen to double over four years of
    mobile phone use. There might be other results like this, too. In Finland, according to the preliminary data of the epidemiological COSMOS study, about 10 per cent of the 10 000 respondents suffer from tinnitus.

  3. I feel that right now re the auditory effect, which you mention, there is a fruitful legal avenue to pursue & research avenue as it can be preparatory for legal action. If once requiring higher power, it is now triggerable by exposure to the slightest rf spikes in those rendered susceptible from repeated & prolonged exposures – and this is widespread now, esp. in older people, say, over 50. It morphs into full blown and lasting tinnitus. If the MW hearing aspect itself is possibly arguably “non-adverse”, the tinnitus is recognized as bad/debilitating. It can be demonstrated fairly easily in borderline sufferers, ie not those who have no respite from the onslaught & thus enough time to if temporarily recuperate, then get re-exposed. Health agencies accept tinnitus as unhealthful; courts have awarded for it, albeit not in this context; industry-related sci. even accepts the basic phenomenon; it is as I say relatively easy to provoke successfully, I know this from personal experience on many, many occasions, after spending enough time at near-wilderness areas with relatively very low exposures, upon re-exposure to cell towers &/or “smart” meters, it take a sec. or so to “ring up” in the head and lasts as long as the body is not in a state to dissipate this apparent type of perseveration, usually requiring re-isolation from the emf insult. The “accepted” theory of thermoeleastic expansion, if maybe satisfactory for certain physically descriptive purposes, fails to account for what we feel & how. The claims that it is non-adverse, non-lasting, and involves only the inner ear, &c are falsifiable. If it is satisfactory a theory at all, it is a primary longstanding proof of ‘interesting” bioeffect that is not related to significant thermal increase. The suddenness of the extremely tiny temp. increase might be what is at issue, maybe as a slap hurts more than a slow push. This is a brain or general head injury we sustain, not a mere buzz in the ears. I have provoked a couple of tinnitus researchers to look into the whole thing in more depth recently, ongoing. I go on at length to encourage other sufferers and their helpers to explore taking this up to go after perpetrators. I believe a carefully prepared case before a court or tribunal making an appropriate claim, rights-based or tort-based or however, can win, now. Many legal setbacks for perpetrators must occur for this paramount general cause against the dangers of wireless to advance. Whereas most attention gets focused on the devices close to the head, the immoral infrastructure should be the main object of legal pursuit.

    Re Repacholi’s post & comments here earlier, I note that he ignores my own pointed questions (as have his colleagues in the smugly denialist fantasyland, like Foster, Kabat, Trottier et al). One thing I should have mentioned then as well, is that there is no justification for not taking seriously, as he said they do not although not in so many words, studies on insects as indicative of wider harm, all the while claiming icnirp is “conservative” on the side of safety. It is disgusting.

  4. Dear Patricia, Thank you very much for your kind comments. I believe things will work out sooner or later – it takes time to achieve a change. I am sorry to hear that you are suffering from difficult EHS-symptoms. I wish you strength and better health condition in the future.

  5. Very well stated Ladies; But this is what you all are up against. FROM: Radiofrequency Safety Standards C95.1 – 2005. Associated with exposure to electric. magnetic and electromagnetic fields frequency range 3 Khz to 300 Ghz.
    The term adverse health effects is defined (IEEE Standard) as: A biological effect characterized by a harmful change in health.
    Notes to the definition point that 1) adverse effects do not include biological effects without a harmful health effect, changes in subjective feelings of well being that are a result of anxiety about RF infrastructure that are not physically related to RF emissions, or indirect effects caused by electromagnetic interference.
    2) SENSATIONS (perceptions by human sense organs) are not considered adverse effects
    Thus a sensation of warmth at a millimeter and other wave lengths and the microwave auditory effect under the underlying special conditions are not recognized as effects to be protected against by this standard.

    Just some of the documentation I have been going thru, because of the aforementioned Microwave Auditory effect. It is also called Perception Phenomena. It was stated under SPECIAL PRECAUTIONS right along with electro stimulation. The truth of the matter is Spectrum Managements along with the F.C.C. do not care that humans are being effected. As Devra Davis stated (In God we Trust all others must provide data). So far the data is unclear – can not be replicated.

    I do hope that in some manner we all can come together to make a comprehensible statement as to the dangers of this wireless technology.
    My personal statement is that by possesion of a mature human body, I am being effected detrimentally, I hear the signals pulsed, varing in degrees of strength and I believe in degrees of digital data contained within them. It effects my facial nerves, my auditory nerve, to the cranial nerves, my spine, to my arms and my legs to my feet. In fact I hardly can stand to be in my body.
    I pray for strength everyday for all of us who are suffering and being slighted.
    I do have one great weakness, I do not have as much education as this subject requires.
    But I do know it is running and effecting thru the nervous system to affect our bodies.
    If you have taken the time to read this, I thank you.
    Take Hope and be Inspired because we are doing the right thing.
    Patricia Green

  6. Thank you for your comments, Päivi. Perhaps we could draw up a report on Finland’s situation for the WHO-meeting in early June. (I mean the shadow convention in Helsinki the 10th of June meant to arouse national
    discussion). The substance of the paper would be ”safer technology for both children and adults”. The optical fiber should be preferred as a safe alternative. As you know, its introduction is slow due to the overriding construction, introduction and marketing of the 4G system. This is happening in spite of the fact that according to a statement by the Finnish government, all our citizens should be provided with a fast and secure internet connection by 2015.

  7. Thank you, Deborah, for your interesting comments. In Finland we have the same struggle with authorities. Like in US, many are suffering from asthma, diabetes, allergies and behavioral disorders are increasing. Too many
    adolescents and young adults are retiring because of suffering from ”severe depression”. I believe the new technology might have a role in their health condition.

    I don’t have any special strategies when it comes to solving these problems but the public debate is very important to maintain. I have written numerous articles in journals and five books on the health issues of wireless technology (in Finnish). Contacts with politicians are of great importance if we wish to make a difference.

  8. Dear Renee, It truly makes me sad when I think about all the possible health effects that our children might face in the near future. It seems that nothing was learned from our old mistakes. Mainstream education would be a great way to let people know about the risks. But as long as the media is controlled by the industry, public campaigns seem impossible. But, of course, we must not stop trying.

  9. Working in an NGO to edify health and well-being of Finnish citizens, I agree! To make technology work for well-being pays in the long run – or even sooner as citizens are ready to make changes when the tide turns…it can happen overnight as we know. Businessmen, who are wise, read the weak signals.

  10. I see in your blog some of the symptoms Finnish children are experiencing in school and we are seeing the same in the US. The Health Services Coordinator for my children’s school district, who thus far refuses to meet with me, said at a school board meeting in May 3, 2011, ” 1 of 2 children in Hillsborough County Schools is medicated for allergies, asthma, seizures, diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, etc. and 1 in 4 children takes psychotropic medication for mental health and behavioral disorders.” I was shocked. The Board was even shocked. Still they renewed their contract to site cell towers on school campuses and are continuing to deploy wifi, smart boards, and other wireless devices. They have schools that are completely paperless–which sounds green—except that it means ‘wireless’.

    Surely, there are other factors contributing to the district’s rate of medication, and over diagnoses may be one of them; but overall, children’s health is declining in the US in the last decade.

    And the news today, nearly 1 in 5 boys between 14 and 17 is diagnosed with ADHD, 11 percent of all children.

    I can not fathom why, despite all of the indications from peer-reviewed scientific journals and expert opinions, people in all walks of life–regulators, parent/teacher associations, school boards, doctors, and even parents–can not accept the fact that wireless devices may pose a very serious hazard. I can not believe that when I talk to parents and the school administrators about wireless exposure they say there is no scientific consensus–as if that is a good reason not to protect our children–what exactly constitutes a scientific consensus–who has to agree before we will act? I can comprehend that adults may choose to accept the risk for themselves, but I can’t believe they will willingly expose their own children and accept that risk. I can’t believe we are marketing wireless toys to infants and toddlers, that microwave radiation is pulsing through our hospitals. How can this be happening?

    How can we help to credibly inform the public? Have you seen any strategies that are effective? We exist under this illusion that the public consents, those images bombard us daily, but uninformed consent is not true consent.

  11. Astronomical ADHD data has been released by the U.S. Centre for Disease Control: 11% of all children and 1 in 5 school-age boys have been diagnosed with ADHD. Are we going to increase prescription to drug our next generation for life, or are we going to make sincere attempts to reduce exposure to possible causes of damage on their brains, including EMF? http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/01/health/more-diagnoses-of-hyperactivity-causing-concern.html?hpw&_r=0

  12. Excellent article. We have the same problem in the US, profit before public health. At this point, who would give up their cellphone? The technology definitely should be safer. The EMR problem reminds me of the days when nuclear weapons were tested above ground, only 80 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada. In those days the citizens and test site workers were told the radiation was harmless. It wasn’t and countless cancer deaths were the result. Today we put cell phones in the hands of children and cell towers on preschool playgrounds and in neighborhoods and say its harmless! Politicians and the uninformed public put their heads in the sand and refuse to learn from past mistakes because the corporations are in control. Before the microscope was invented people did not believe that something that could not be seen caused disease. Today, not much has changed, people still cannot grasp the fact that even though we cannot see EMR it does not mean that it does not exist and cause disease. Like the people in the 17th century, we still believe that what we can’t see won’t hurt us. To make any headway with the public health problem of cell phones and towers there needs to be a concerted effort between the groups who want to ban genetically modified food products and the people concerned about the effects of EMF. Unfortunately, there is not a single environmental threat menacing our future. In fact, there are many but educated people make better decisions and there is strength in numbers. A massive, mainstream, public education campaign is needed, similar to ads in the US that linked cancer to smoking. This effort should be focused on the average environmentally uninformed/unconcerned populace. Mother’s of young children would be a good place to start because they do care about the health and safety of their children. Mainstream education is the only answer.

  13. Pingback: Erja Tamminen: Our Children deserve Safer Technology than Wireless | EMFacts Consultancy

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