Request to investigate health effects of a cellsite coincides with research
on health effects of nor'westers
When Victoria Wood asked Neil Cherry in 1994 if he would investigate the
possible health effects of a cellsite near Opawa Primary School in
Christchurch her request triggered his research into the impact of
electromagnetic radiation - research that continued for eight years and
ended only with his death. Latterly Neil was keenly interested in the
impact of Schumann resonances on human health.
Neil had not previously worked on such aspects of electromagnetic
radiation, but the request was timely because the group at Lincoln were
currently trying to explain the symptoms people were experiencing in
Across Canterbury the symptoms were very similar, but the big difference
was that some people said that they got the symptoms when the nor'wester
blew, but others said that they could forecast when the nor'wester was
going to arrive. Those who reported the effects when the nor'wester blew
were inland, and those who could forecast its arrival were on the coast.
The scientists' original theory was that the static electricity in the dry
air created positive ions that changed people's seratonin levels because it
had been shown in mouse studies in Europe that positive ions increased
their seratonin levels. The inland people were in the area of the positive
ions, but the coastal people were in a sea breeze. It took six to eight
hours for the nor'wester to blow away the sea breeze.
"The seabreeze question took me back to my understanding of the ionosphere
where the positive ions are creating an electric field between the
ionosphere and the earth," Neil recalled. "The positive ions in the
nor'wester are creating a stronger local electric field and those norwest
ions travel over the sea breeze creating the electric field down to earth,
so both of the populations were receiving the changed electric field from
"I looked up the literature on melatonin and seratonin and found that
electromagnetic fields in many studies of electrical workers show reduced
melatonin. That suggested that the nor'westers were altering the
seratonin/melatonin ratio through the altered electric fields. When those
electric fields flow through your body they create a current which creates
magnetic fields so they become electromagnetic fields."
Victoria Wood's request for Neil to investigate the situation at Opawa
Primary School stimulated his interest in undertaking further research. He
began to research the epidemiological and biological studies of people and
animals and cells exposed to electromagnetic fields. He found that
contrary to the claim by Telecom and its consultant Dr David Black that
there was no evidence of health effects there was a massive body of
published scientific evidence.
Eight years researching evidence of health effects of electromagnetic
Neil has spent the last eight years collecting, summarising and trying to
understand that evidence and he has been asked to make presentations
throughout New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Ireland, the United States,
Canada and Europe. He is not funded for his research into the health
effects of electromagnetic radiation; these have been sponsored trips
funded by local bodies, universities, or groups. People are keen to gain
knowledge and often when he is invited to one place there are invitations
to add to his trip by giving presentations in other places. His 1999 trip
to address the National Congress in Trento which is in northern Italy was
extended by invitations to give presentations in Rome, Avezzano, Perugia
and Florence. Neil also gave presentations in Salzburg, Berne, Brussels,
and Dublin as part of the same trip, with many requests for a return visit
over the next two years.
Neil has given evidence in over twenty resource consent hearings, many in
New Zealand but also in Australia, in court cases in the Environment Court
in New Zealand, three in the Planning Court in Australia, in an Australian
Senate Inquiry, and in an occupational radar exposure appeal case in
Baltimore involving a state trooper. In that case his evidence was
dismissed as being 'unconventional'. He next prepared evidence for two
cases in California involving occupational exposure for cellphone industry
people who have brain tumours and have been involved in heavy cellphone
use. For these cases Neil sent his evidence by mail.
Baltimore case of Dr Christopher Newman
Probably the most high profile court case was heard in Baltimore before a
Federal judge. It involved Dr Christopher Newman, a neurologist and brain
expert, who has been a heavy cellphone user and has a brain tumour where
his phone aerial was. Neil's evidence was to incorporate all the
biological, animal and human studies showing chromosome damage, DNA damage
and brain cancer increases in exposed human populations. He cited over two
hundred studies. He went to Baltimore four times during his preparation
for the case. "I believe the judge used an incorrect balance of evidence in
her approach to dismiss the case. Now it has been appealed at the Supreme
Appeal Circuit Court."
In March 2002 Neil appeared in the court case in Baltimore. Gae accompanied
him in case he needed help, but he was still able to walk with the weakness
in his left leg being the only problem. They spent a week in Baltimore.
Neil appeared on the first day, but needed to be there a few days early to
prepare for the case. It was the coldest week of winter in Baltimore. As
Neil was the first witness there was time to enjoy the harbour, the
restaurants and the friends Neil had made on the previous visits while
working on the court case.
Regrettably the judge did not accept the evidence.
In the meantime over twenty presentations internationally have moved to
show that across the spectrum electromagnetic fields are genotoxic, that is
they damage DNA. Therefore they cause mutation of cells and cell death
with a safe level of zero exposure. This means that EMR across the
spectrum should show in people increased cancer, cardiac effects,
reproductive effects, and neurological effects, and there are multiple
epidemiological studies showing all these effects are significantly
elevated in exposed populations, including dose response relationships.
That means the disease increases and increases with higher exposures which
all point to a safe level of zero confirming the genotoxic nature of
"When I look back over my life my Stage 3 project was about the technology
of fibre-optic cables - putting signals on to light. My Honours project
was on how microwaves alter electrons in natural substances altering free
"My latest publication in the journal of Natural Hazards takes me right
back to the basics. It is about the Schumann resonances being the
plausible biological mechanism for the observed health effects of solar and
geomagnetic activity. What that shows is that there is a natural global
low frequency electromagnetic signal pre-dating life on earth, so we have
evolved in the presence of this signal. Our brain's electromagnetic
frequency range exactly matches the frequency range of this natural signal.
Geomagnetic activity has been shown to cause in people a dose response
reduction in melatonin and altered reaction times, showing that their
brains detect and respond to these signals. I have cited over a hundred
published studies showing that human health effects of cancer, cardiac,
reproductive and neurological effects are all modulated by melatonin and
are correlated with Schumann resonances which are highly correlated with
solar and geomagnetic activity. Our brains are tuned into this signal.
When the intensity goes up and down from the optimal average level, these
effects go up. In biology we call this homeostasis.
"There is a natural good level which is doing a good job synchronising our
brains and our hormones. When it goes up or down it is difficult for the
vulnerable people, such as those who are ill, very young or very old. This
is correlated with all the effects mentioned earlier - heart attack,
arrhythmic heart problems, suicide, crime, epileptic seizures, cot deaths,
breast cancer, non-Hodgkins lymphoma. It appears that the ten year solar
cycle modulates the incidence of some sensitive cancers because cancer is a
chronic exposure problem. Acute admissions to the cardiac ward at the
Christchurch Hospital show the same frequency spectrum as the Schumann
resonances - 28 day, 14 day, 9.3 day, 7 day, 4 day. I now have two papers
being published showing that the Schumann Resonance signal synchronizes the
brain which has allowed intelligence to be developed. Synchronization is
necessary because the brain is an adaptive, soft, flexible and varying
biological organ. The synchronization also allows stable visual images in
the brain so that what you see is clear and reliable using ELF
electromagnetic signals in the brain."
In response to my request for more information about Schumann resonances
Neil explained them as follows. Thunder storms are formed in hot humid
climates (i.e. the tropics) in the electric field between the earth and the
ionosphere. They produce around a hundred bolts of lightning every second.
The lightning produces an electromagnetic signal which travels around the
world at the speed of light with an intensity in proportion to the
thunderstorm activity. The fundamental frequency of this signal is 8
cycles per second with harmonics typically at 6-7 hertz intervals like 14,
21, 26, 33 hertz. These are in the same frequency ranges as our brain EEG
alpha, theta, delta rhythms. They are trapped in a resonance cavity
between the ionosphere and the earth. In the night hemisphere the bottom
layer of the ionosphere disappears because it recombines so it is a deep
cavity in which the Schumann resonance frequency is lower and its intensity
is much lower. In the day hemisphere it is higher in terms of frequency
and intensity, resulting in a strong diurnal pattern. This means that when
you go into long cloudy periods or live in the Arctic or Antarctic and have
a six-month winter there is still a signal to give you a daily reference.
The strongest daily signal of day and night is the sun, but the Schumann
Resonance signal is a secondary signal for daily cycles and a primary
signal for many other cycles in which our brains have evolved.
However there is no signal other than the Schumann Resonance that explains
why our brains are well coordinated and organised and synchronised to
maintain a steady frequency pattern which is necessary for intelligence.
It is not surprising that if you live in signals which are a million times
higher in terms of the low frequency fields in our homes you have cancer,
cardiac and reproductive problems. If you are using a cellphone in terms
of your head's exposure the signals are over a billion times higher than
the natural signal which our brains can detect and respond to.
When Neil presented this information in Baltimore Motorola did not accept
it and said that he had not done any research which was relevant to the
case. He defended the relevance of research into the Schumann Resonance
Signal, saying that our brains detest and respond and our hormones change
as a result of a signal that is a billion times less than that of a
cellphone. It puts everything else in context. We have evolved as
intelligent species using this natural signal and it communicates with our
body through the melatonin/seratonin cycle. Since our bodies are tuned
into this cycle for our daily pattern all of our vital organs are tuned
into it, because on a daily basis our melatonin/seratonin cycle determines
our waking and sleeping, pushing our heart, lungs, liver, spleen and
stomach into action in our waking hours, and into a relaxed state when we
Most people do not realise that biology uses electromagnetic signals to
organise itself, to communicate, to keep healthy. Our brain is an
electromagnetic system and our nervous system uses electromagnetic signals
to dictate movement like writing, for instance. It is not a chemical flow,
but an electromagnetic signal going from the brain to the muscles in the
fingers and telling the motor neurons to initiate a particular action. Our
cells communicate with each other to make sure that their neighbours are
healthy using electromagnetic signals.
The same environment can produce different reactions in different
People can live in the same environment and react differently. They have a
different heritage, different history, different genes, different
vulnerability, different sleep patterns, different natural melatonin
levels, different repair mechanisms, different competence in the immune
systems, and different experiences for the immune system to be tuned up or
not tuned up. This is why it is dangerous for children to be brought up in
too clean a home. It is also why some people can smoke for five years and
develop lung cancer, and others can smoke for forty years and not get it.
At the World Breast Cancer Conference a paper was presented by an
oncologist saying that there was a genetic cause for breast cancer. One of
the conference participants who was a woman with breast cancer raised a
challenge. She said that she didn't think it was primarily a genetic cause
because she and her daughter, her mother and cousins had breast cancer,
along with five other neighbours in her street to whom she was not related
and there was a factory near by releasing zenoestrogen which caused breast
cancer. So the main point was that genetic vulnerability contributed but
did not cause the cancer while chemicals did. Most of the conference
agreed with her.
Another oncologist pointed out that aspirin significantly reduced the risk
of recurring breast cancer by 30-40% shown in multiple research studies so
why was she spending over $1000 a month in her present treatment. This
statement was challenged and dismissed by the Canadian Cancer Institute.
A search of Medline (a medical studies database) took about three seconds
to find the three studies cited. The oncologist was right. The context of
his presentation was a poison triangle because many chemical companies
producing toxic insecticide and pesticide, etc., that cause cancer, also
produce cancer therapy chemicals and have investments in hospitals. This
means that they make money from all parts of this process.
For more information about Neil Cherry's scientific research go to his
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Neil Cherry's life story.