If you are interested in our other articles on this subject you will find them indexed here: Electromagnetic Radiation Index
To download Dr Neil Cherry's reports and to read more about his work, please visit his
website for more information.
Have you thought seriously about the threat to our health posed by
electromagnetic radiation, through equipment used at work, frequent use of
cell phones or cordless phones, microwaves, many household appliances or
overhead transmission lines? Do you think that it is too complicated and
that it is best to leave it to the experts?
In an interview with Dr Neil Cherry about his work in this area he
discussed some of his research and the evidence for his concern, and
challenged us and our local bodies to take responsibility for our health
and reduce the threats coming from electromagnetic radiation.
Being informed - a source of empowerment
Empowering people - that is the most important driving force for Neil's
energies at the moment. That is the integrating point behind what he is
doing - sharing information, hopefully in ways that people understand it.
In his many roles, as a university lecturer, as a Regional Councillor, as a
public speaker, and a media commentator. he is working to disseminate
information power. There are so many vital issues that are complex, and
people are being disempowered by being told, "This is too complicated.
Trust us. We know what we are doing."
Dr. Neil Cherry
As one of the people who is now an elected politician and who knows about
the parliamentary system, Neil's analysis is that in many ways those making
decisions often don't know what they are doing. They are people just like
us. They have been given opportunities like anybody who has been elected,
and it is their duty to use those opportunities with care and
responsibility for the people who have put their faith and trust in them.
Neil's expertise is something that has been built up year by year and
integrated with the knowledge that has been acquired in the past. The
knowledge is modified by the most extensive reading before Neil makes a
Electromagnetic radiation a threat to our health
Electromagnetic radiation is the big issue he is involved in at the
momentóradio waves from radio and TV towers, microwaves from cell phones, cell
sites, mobile phones, cordless phones, and microwave ovens (the last being
a minor problem compared with the others). The background radiation has
been rising significantly by factors of thousands in the general population
since the Second World War. Cancer is partly genetic, but largely
environmental. Our food, the toxins in the environment like air
pollutants, benzine, toxins in food like saccharine, are shown to be
potential carcinogens, all those PCVs and other fairly toxic chemicals, can
damage cells, but evidence is very strong that electromagnetic radiation
damages cells in a way that is potentially cancer causing.
The official position of those who make their money out of producing and
using this technology is that we all know that the only thing that electro
magnetic radiation can do is heat and if it doesn't heat it can't have any
However, a different view comes from science from reading the people who
have researched what happens to cells in laboratories in repeatable
experiments. For example, a laboratory took human breast cancer cells,
and exposed them to an infusion of melatonin, which is a natural
neurohormone which we all have, which helps us sleep at night. Then they
applied a very low level of varying electric field, 50 cycles field, and
the oncostatic effect of melatonin was totally eliminated.
Every night when we go to sleep our melatonin levels rise and melatonin
goes through our blood and cleans our cells up. For example, it scavenges
out free radicals which are highly damaging chemicals. If the free
radicals persist for very long they damage DNA and cause damaged cells and
are shown to be carcinogenic. Melatonin is one of those agents that cleans
us up every night to reduce the possibility that cells will become
That experiment shows that electromagnetic radiation from power lines and
appliances can reduce the melatonin cleaning-up effect on human breast
cancer cells. The experiment was repeated in three other laboratories. It
gave a very reliable and repeatable result. The strength of the signal
they used was two to twelve milligauss - a very low level magnetic field
magnitude in that wave.
The European standard for safety for ELF fields is "20,000 milligauss is
safe", whereas this experiment shows that 2 milligauss causes a significant
reduction in the cleansing effect of melatonin on cancer cells.
Is there any other evidence that people who work with ELFs get breast cancer?
There are several papers in epidemiology which show that people who work
with ELF fields get more breast cancer. The first paper that Neil read
showed that there is a statistically significant increase in breast cancer
among these people but there was no known mechanism, so it was not regarded
as a significant result. This was breast cancer in men. This was a
surprising result. Breast cancer in women working in the electrical
industry was the subject of the next paper which gave similar findings.
Neil put together the cell work and the epidemiology, finding a mechanism
and a result, so it cannot now be said that we do not know how it happens.
Such findings were supported by other tests.
What has been the international reaction?
Instead of these theories being accepted, big international studies have
been conducted to disprove the connection. It is impossible to identify a
particular given cause in each case. Research needs to be conducted over a
large section of the population.
Those who work in the electrical industry are at risk, as the ELFs act as
co-carcinogens preventing the repair mechanisms from working. Not only may
cancer result, but also people may suffer from depressed immune systems.
People living in the U.S. embassy in Moscow were concerned that radar was
being aimed at the top floor of the building. Tests showed that there were
changes in the blood and an increase in cancer among those who lived there,
including the children.
Air traffic controllers who were exposed to radar were tested and were
found to have broken chromosomes. When they were taken away from the
exposure the repair began, but the recovery rate was very slow.
Physiotherapists operating microwave equipment were the subject of research
in 1993. In this group there was an increase of 50 - 60% in miscarriage
rate, of which 48% occurred in the first seven weeks, yet they were exposed
to the microwaves for a very brief time - at most two minutes per
Eighteen months later Australian Telecom responded saying that microwaves
have difficulty penetrating the foetus, though short waves can. If it is
not heat that causes the problem then the reason could well be that free
radicals are damaging the DNA which causes damage to the chromosomes
because of reduced melatonin. This could result in a deformed foetus which
No records have been kept of the number of miscarriages in the general
population, which means that there are no past statistics for comparison.
There have been problems among physiotherapists in Sweden and Denmark where
there have been an increasing number of still births, cot deaths, deformity
of children, and perinatal problems.
Cell phones are another cause of problems.
When the cell phone signal is held next to the brain there are changes in
the brainwaves in 70% of people. This test was done at a level of about 2
microwatts per sq. cm., which is only a fraction of the actual exposure
experienced from the cell phone. It is the level which is experienced at a
cell phone site. In this, as in most aspects, people are not all the same.
Some are more electro-sensitive. People who sleep with a cell phone by the
bed have poor REM sleep, leading to impaired learning and memory. This is
related to melatonin reduction.
In research at the University of Washington rats' brains were exposed to a
microwave signal and showed breaks in the DNA associated with increased
free radicals and increased cell deaths - at levels of exposure about what
a cell phone produces next to people's heads. People are now suing cell
phone companies because of brain tumours caused by high use.
In spite of this research one "world expert" in electromagnetic radiation
and health has said that the worst thing about a cell phone is that it can
cause an interruption during dinner in a restaurant.
What research in epidemiology suggests that the work on rats might have an
applicability to people? The cells in rats' brains are very similar to
human brain cells.
The National Cancer Institute in the U.S. did a study of people in
industries that exposed their workers to microwaves. They found that in
seven industries in the Eastern U.S. there has been a tenfold increase in
brain tumours among employees who have worked there for twenty years. The
main cause appears to be electromagnetic radiation. Other possible causes
have been checked, such as solder fumes which could have doubled the rate
but not resulted in a tenfold increase.
In the second
article Dr Cherry discusses the international reaction
to research on this question and how people can be protected from the
dangers of electromagnetic radiation.
See also Jackie Steincamp's excellent article
on electromagnetic radiation in New Zealand.
For more information you may also like to visit the
Plain Communications Electromagnetic Radiation Information Web site.
In addition, if you are looking for comprehensive technical research
on the potential effects of radiofrequency and microwave radiation,
then you may want to consider downloading
Dr Neil Cherry's Reports for more information.