“In the mid 1990s, the FCC determined that cell phones are safe for human use,” author and medical journalist Katie Singer said. She went on to explain that engineers determined this by taking a 200lb mannequin made of plastic and filling its head with salty fluid. They took its temperature, then gave it a cell phone for six minutes, then took its temperature again.
“Because this dummy’s temperature had not changed by two degrees in those six minutes, the FCC determined that mobile devices are safe,” she said. “This test still stands for determining the safety of numerous more powerful wireless devices and for using them for more than six minutes.”
Singer was speaking to a group of approximately 70 people at Lane’s Longhouse on Thursday, April 9. She was warning people about the harmful effects of electronic devices. She also spoke about the Telecommunications Act passed by congress in 1996, which, she says, prevents health or environmental concerns from interfering with the placement of cell towers.
“The EPA was established under Nixon in 1969 and quickly formed the division that studied the effects of EMR exposure on health and wildlife,” she said. “By the late 1980s this division employed 36 full-time people. By 1995, the year before the Telecommunications Act, it had no employees.”
The EPA, she claims, “is still authorized to study EMR exposure’s effects on health and the environment. Since 1995 congress has allotted it a budget of zero.”
The act, Eugene community member Bob Graef said “was shoved down the throats of American citizens. Colin Powell’s nephew ran the FCC at the time.”
Graef says that he doesn’t have a cell phone or internet in his home because of EMR “but this room is thick with it” he said. “The whole campus is thick with it. We can’t see it, hear it or feel it, but its been increasing exponentially for over a hundred years.”
Singer listed example after example of ways in which people are endangered by advancing technologies. Throughout her talk she frequently asked audience members if they had previous knowledge of the particulars she was warning them about. Most indicated that they did not.
“The waves affect us in ways we don’t understand. I haven’t thought about it before, but it makes sense,” said Kaela Schaefer first year computer major. “I’m going to be sitting in front of a computer for the rest of my life, so it’s important that I know about it.”
The World Health Organization classifies magnetic fields and radio frequency as class 2B carcinogens, the same as lead and asbestos according to Singer.
“Are mobile phones addictive?” she asked. “The frequency fields required for mobile devices to operate, also called microwaves, increase activity of brain endorphins or endogenous opioids, the biological base of addiction to opium, alcohol and morphine,” she said.
Singer said that she knows of a four year old who was admitted to an addiction treatment center because she became so distressed when her parents took away her iPad. “I know of children who become violent when they lose phone or Internet privileges,” she added.
Singer works on public policy with the Electromagnetic Radiation Policy Institute. Books by Singer include: An Electronic Silent Spring, The Garden of Fertility, Honoring Our Cycles, Honoring Our Cycles in Africa and The Wholeness of a Broken Heart.