So I read the paper today. One of the letters to the editor was possibly the stupidest thing I had read in quite a long while, and required a response. I considered writing to the editor myself, but a newspaper is hardly the best place to conduct a flamewar. Besides, no doubt other people would be searching for their cited evidence and come up empty, just as I had. Anyway, here it is.
As someone who is electro-hyper-sensitive, I’m really angry that yet another public service is being denied to me.
That’s right- in the first sentence they essentially claim to have super-powers.
Public buildings – libraries, universities, government offices, hospitals, medical clinics, community centres – and privately-owned restaurants and coffee shops are all infested with “wireless connectivity syndrome”: microwave-emitting cellphones, i-Somethings, Blue Whatevers, Wi-Fi, cordless phones, wireless spy cameras, smart meters, etc.
“Microwave” is a broad term, used to indicate any EM emission between 300Mhz and 300Ghz. This causes confusion amongst those intend on spreading Feay r, Uncertainty, and Doubt because they either do not realize that the spectrum used for cooking and heating items in a Microwave oven are in fact a tiny subset, and are far more powerful than anything emitted by devices such as cellphones or 802.11 networking devices. The common refutation is that Microwaves are “cumulative”. But this is simply false; the specific wavelength used for microwave ovens is designed (or rather discovered by accident) to excite water molecules, which is how it achieves the desired effect of heating or cooking food.
The World Health Organization classified microwave radiation from these gadgets as a Class 2B carcinogen.
What the writer isn’t mentioning here is that “Class 2B” carcinogens are “possible causes”; not verified. More importantly, it is in good company as a class 2B carcinogen; pickled vegetables are in the same category, but anybody crusading against the use of pickles and olives would be classified as insane.
I can’t access those services because my body literally feels microwave radiation inside those buildings. First I itch, then get dizzy and nauseated, lose focus and memory, develop headaches.
the idea of electro-sensitivity is absurd, double-blind studies have shown that proclaimed “electro-sensitive” people report discomfort when they think there is an EM field. It comes as no surprise that these people were crusaders against the evils of newer technology long before they got their “super-powers”.
but long-term effects – DNA damage (cancer, sterility), immune system failure, neurological disorders –will affect us equally.
We have been exposed to various forms of electromagnetic radiation, and in more powerful amounts, for over a hundred years. Power lines, electrical equipment (toasters, ovens, etc) all emit Electromagnetic radiation; junction boxes, light-bulbs, flourescent lights, Television screens, etc all emit EM radiation in similar wavelengths to those used by these later technologies that are being crusaded against. I often wonder why it is only the newer devices being singled-out, particularly since they use far less powerful emissions than those devices we have used for many years without ill effects.
Metal doesn’t always reflect radio waves and EM emissions, for move wavelengths, it absorbs them, because metals have free electrons they absorb EM emissions of most spectral frequencies. (how do you think antennas work?). devices designed to reflect EM emissions need to be designed to do so, and even then will only work at specific wavelengths, such as those- again- used with Microwave ovens.
It’s fun to overgeneralize and assume that because the frequencies emitted by a Microwave oven’s magnetron are reflected by metal, that all EM emissions are, but it’s patently false. Only specific frequencies of EM radiation are reflected by Metals; Microwave ovens happen to use one of this subset specifically because of that property. However, Wireless-G, 802.11, and similar EM devices use wavelengths that are absorbed by metals.
I don’t understand why WorkSafeB.C. allows such gross violations of their own regulations (employees may not be exposed to Class 2B carcinogens if safer options are available) and why our provincial government knowingly microwaves its employees and taxpayers.
Once more, the alarmist jumps out, using the term “microwave” in order to try to connect 802.11g radiation with the EM radiation used for cooking in microwave ovens, the disparity is alarming between these, however; the former- particularly with cellphones and 802.11- are far lower power and of a completely different frequency than the latter, so creating any sort of connection between them is pure FUD. Additionally, I was unable to find any citation as to the regulations stating anything like that; probably because that “regulation” doesn’t exist. Considering such a regulation would be required to prevent employees from eating pickles or olives on the job I’m inclined to believe it’s invented.
The curious thing about this is that the spreaders of such Dark-Age insipid FUD on this issue simply don’t understand some basic principles; first, the EM radiation that they are crusading against is about a million times weaker than that used in a microwave, and the radiation used in a microwave is about a million times weaker than the radiation we are exposed to in direct sunlight. And yet, they seem to have no problems with sunlight.
I propose that the entire thing is based in unfamiliarity and resistance to newer technologies, rather than any genuine concern for health; The sun can cause health problems, but even a second’s worth of exposure is more powerful than a lifetime of using cellphones and other devices. The primary difference is that the Sun has “been there”; it’s an established element. Cellphones and other devices, to many people, are new, unfamiliar, and intrinsically dangerous, not because people don’t understand them, but because those people don’t understand them, nor do they usually understand the principles of electromagnetism, deriving their arguments instead from google searches and unbibliographically sound sources.
Here is an interesting link about “electro-sensitives” and their crusade:
My favourite is still the bit about Class 2B carcinogen, and how they said it like it meant it was a deadly poison to be avoided; meanwhile, other things that are classified as Class 2B carcinogens include pickled vegetables. OOOOH SCARY.
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