In These New Times

A new paradigm for a post-imperial world

Wifi and electromagnetic fields

Posted by seumasach on October 31, 2008

Andrew Goldworthy


30th October, 2008

We are constantly being misled by elements of the mobile phone and
electronics industries (who have huge vested interests in the
infrastructure) into believing that the pulsed microwaves used in cell
phones and Wifi are harmless. Their sole justification for this is that
the radiation is too weak to generate significant heat when they are
absorbed by living tissues.

However, they are seemingly oblivious to the fact that living cells
depend on electricity and electrically charged atoms and molecules
(ions) to maintain their healthy functioning. They can therefore be
damaged *electrically* by electromagnetic radiation that is far too weak
to generate significant heat.

For example, our cells use the energy from food to pump ions out of
mitochondria (the cells’ power stations).  They are then let back in
through an ATPase (an enzyme not unlike a molecular water wheel). Each
turn of the wheel generates a molecule of ATP, which is the main energy
currency of the cell. In effect, an electric current flowing into and
out of these tiny structures provides virtually all of our bodily energy.

Some of this ATP is then used to pump ions out of the cell. When they
return via special enzymes (called transporters) in the cell membrane,
they can carry with them essential nutrients that the cell needs to
absorb. So we use electricity to absorb our food too.

Another example is in our nerve and brain cells. They use ATP to pump
sodium and potassium ions across their external membranes. Nerve
impulses are generated when these ions are suddenly let back again to
give sharp spikes of current.

Last but not least, the membranes themselves (which are only two
molecules thick!) are held together electrically. They consist mostly of
negatively charged molecules bound together by positively charged ions
(mostly calcium), which act as a kind of cement.

Unfortunately, weak electromagnetic fields gently tease out some of
these calcium ions, which weakens the membranes and makes them more
inclined to leak. As a result, our bodies become less efficient at
generating energy and our nerve and brain cells are more likely to
generate false impulses.

False impulses generated in sensory cells can give symptoms of
electrosensitivity, whereas those generated in the brain can affect
mental function and may also lead to stress headaches. Even people who
do not regard themselves as electrosensitive, frequently get headaches
and other unpleasant symptoms when exposed for long periods to the
radiation from Wifi, cordless phones and mobile phones.

Other reported effects from prolonged exposure to pulsed microwaves
include an increase risk of cancer and a loss of fertility. This seems
to be associated with observable damage to cellular DNA, probably as a
result of the leakage of digestive enzymes from lysosomes (tiny
particles in living cells that digest and recycle waste) whose membranes
have been damaged by the radiation.

Pulses carried by /microwaves/ are particularly dangerous. This is
because their very short wavelength allows the transmission of pulses
with extremely rapid rise and fall times, and it is the *rate of change*
of the fields (rather than their total energy) that does most of the
biological damage; it catapults vital calcium ions away from cell
membranes, which in turn makes them leak. This leakage can explain the
great majority of the observed adverse health effects of prolonged
exposure to electromagnetic radiation (for more on this, together with
references, please visit ).

It is therefore unwise and arguably dangerous to be exposed for long
periods to the radiation from Wifi transmitters, cordless phones and
mobile phones (especially their base stations, which run  24/7). They
should certainly not be deployed in public places until all the risks
have been independently evaluated. Any claims that they are harmless
because they do not generate significant heat are completely unwarranted.

Andrew Goldsworthy BSc PhD

Lecturer in Biology (retired)

Imperial College London

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