This is Episode 8. If you wish to read from the beginning, the posts are placed in reverse order here.
Written by Niki Moore, edited by Gudrun Kaiser ….. In this episode we work our way to the end of a line of thought. This is about to be a long, detailed and unfunny episode. You have been warned.
When I first starting investigating the possibility that cell mast radiation, or electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation, was the cause of my mysterious gallery of ailments, I remember a doctor asking me if any of my family members had ever suffered from insanity.
“Not in the slightest,” I replied. “We all enjoyed it very much.”
And I needed to enjoy the insanity that I was now being plunged into.
I had two urgent missions.
Firstly, thorough research was required to convince myself, against all fashionable opinion, that I was indeed being affected by the cell masts. And secondly, I had to sell this idea to the world at large in a way that would not have the men in blue uniforms coming round to my house to inspect my pot plants for illegal substances.
This is rather difficult when your life has narrowed to a pinpoint of discomfort and distress: sleeping in the car at night and enduring a daily regime of pain, bewilderment and brain fog. I had visited the state of confusion so often I no longer needed a map.
The first and most obvious thing about EMF radiation is that it is NOT obvious – it is invisible. It’s therefore impossible to evaluate something you cannot see. Who knows what is going on in the ether?
So in order to get some idea, I contacted a company called EMFSA and hired a radiation meter, the Acousticom. It is a handy little device that gives you an approximate idea of how much radiation is sleeting through the airwaves towards you.
When we tested my house with the Acousticom, we discovered levels of radiation that would have flash-fried a llama. My neighbour Andre, who had first alerted me to the masts, was also getting it full blast, while elsewhere on our street my neighbours were merely being lightly sautéed.
The drawback of the Acousticom is that it is a general measure of ambient radiation and not very precise. It did help us confirm a few things: my garage was indeed a green zone with very low radiation; the upper storey of my house where my bedroom was situated would give a volcano a run for its money; buildings and trees absorb a lot of the rays; and – this is extremely interesting – it requires exceptionally little radiation for a cellphone to work perfectly.
I won’t bore you with the science here, but radiation does not travel very far. It seemed that MTN was therefore cranking up the juice in order to push the signal as far as it would go. This would be great for people living a kilometre away, but not so great for the people living in a 200-metre radius.
But to be sure of this, we needed more sophisticated equipment. A friend of mine put me in touch with an engineer with the CSIR, who was persuaded to set up his military-strength monitoring equipment at my house. His findings were quite incendiary.
Each service provider has a specific EMF band that they occupy, so he was able to identify MTN’s emissions as opposed to Vodacom and others. The nearby cell mast was sending out much higher-than-normal emissions, but! … there were TWO other MTN cell masts in my neighbourhood. My house, being near the top of a hill, was right in the centre of the cross-fire from three sets of very high emissions. I was right in the vortex, living in an electromagnetic soup.
All cellular service providers are required, in terms of their licence agreements, to do emission testing on request, so we challenged MTN to measure their emissions. Amazingly, the day their engineers came to do the testing the three masts were meekly sending out very low levels of radiation: instead they were radiating innocence like sunshine. What a surprise.
MTN did not know that we had been doing our own tests a few days before – with exactly the same equipment – that had shown very different results.
Maybe this is a good place to have a very quick discussion about this thing called EMF radiation.
Cellphone companies want you to believe that EMF radiation is harmless. This is not true. Your cellphone carries a health warning, buried in the small print (round the back, through the kitchens, past the lavatories and down the alleyway). There is an international organisation called ICNIRP (the name sounds either like a hiccup or a greeting in Klingon), which sets radiation levels. They would not have to do this if cell radiation was harmless.
So, EMF radiation DOES cause harm. The big debate is about what kind of harm it causes, and exactly how much radiation harms you. Cell service providers would like to convince you that the only possible danger from their radiation carpet-bombing is the heating effect of the phone, and that their radiation levels are so minute they would not agitate a tadpole.
For myself, I am a little suspicious of the motivations of a multi-billion-dollar industry that depends for its massive profits on keeping people quiescently buying newer and more powerful technology.
And there is a precedent here: the tobacco industry, for 30 years, suppressed all the research that linked a number of illnesses to smoking. The oil and coal lobby is always encouraging fossil fuels for the good of mankind. It is like the cannibals who show you their mouth-watering menu before they put you in the pot.
But scientists and the medical profession are becoming inconveniently nervous. There is evidence that even a small amount of EMF, while it will not entirely cook you, will most certainly get the cells in your body very upset. The higher the wavelength and the stronger the signal, the more damage is being done to living cells. Dr Martin Pall, Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences at Washington State University has written numerous papers on the effects of EMF radiation on human cells, and he does tend to look a bit on the gloomy side.
While it is undeniably important for the poor farmer in Limpopo to have access to markets, and for small traders in KZN foothills to be able to order directly from their suppliers, and that mobile phones are a Great Leap Forward for economic accessibility, there is no discernible human imperative to have the shiniest phone with the best gadgets. The telephony industry has become like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice: it just does not know when to stop. Phones are no longer just useful means of communication, they have become the Fabergé eggs for the Great Unwashed. The world’s population has been convinced that super-speed mobile internet anywhere on Earth is a basic human right. Forget basic sanitation, clean water and food security. They are far less important than being able to download a movie onto your phone at warp-speed in the middle of the Karoo at midnight, or to have your fridge say Hello when you stumble into the kitchen at 3 a.m.
Controversially, no-one really knows what EMF radiation does to human beings. Ironically, scientists cannot test human reactions because, according to the Geneva Convention, they are not allowed to conduct experiments on people that might be harmful. Insurance companies around the world refuse to offer liability insurance to cellular companies because they are convinced that at some stage it will be proved that this radiation causes lasting harm.
Therefore, every single cell mast is a massive biological experiment, uncontrolled and unrecorded.
But – and this is really where you have to hang onto your tinfoil hat – Dr Pall believes that even small doses of EMF disrupt the workings of the human cell, leading over time to its gradual breakdown. His research is being confirmed by a number of other scientists, technical engineers and doctors. Of course, his work is widely derided by the telephony industry that funds dissenting research, and the entities that have been dazzled by the promise of a better life through a faster phone.
But what really riles me is that seemingly intelligent people, led by tech publications (and yes, I am looking at you, My Broadband, TechCentral, Business Tech and Stuff Magazine) are not asking themselves the obvious questions, the kind of questions that journalists were asking about Big Tobacco three decades ago just before they disappeared in a puff of smoke.
There is a lot more I can say, ok. But let me rather pause to wipe the foam off my chin, and get back to the story.
After many months of exhaustive research – and believe me, when your entire body feels like Methuselah on a bad day, and you look like something out of a pyramid, you do exhaustive research – I thought I was able to sum things up like this:
The harm from EMF radiation is so difficult to identify and quantify because it does not really CAUSE anything. However, it puts the cells of your body into a constant state of agitation, a kind of permanent fight-or-flight. All the little ganglia inside your cells are vibrating like mad.
If you are young and healthy and resilient and Teflon-coated, you might not notice the space-age attacks. But if you have underlying weaknesses that could be aggravated by inflammation – such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, lupus. migraines, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s, dementia, depression, tinnitus, cancers: all of those ailments that can be put handily in that great filing cabinet labelled Getting Old – EMF radiation will whip up the process like a general delivering a pep-talk to the troops.
In short, EMF radiation puts your body into a constant state of internal war, with skirmishes and battles going on in different muscles and organs, with you being the battlefield littered with dead bodies every morning.
Anyway, it took me many months of obsessive investigation, with a lot of help, to get this far. Now that I had established this, I needed to take action against my DRD (Death Ray Dementia, as we scientists call it).
I had to try to get the medical profession on my side, which would require a journey into that mad downward-spiralling dimension called the Public Health System.
Even then – every so often – I would find myself doubting the evidence of my own senses and wondering if this was not some great big delusion: that is how persuasive the pro-cellular lobby is. But during this time something happened to me that settled the matter for once and for all. And that is the subject of the next episode.
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this series of articles are purely those of the writer, they are not endorsed by Safrea or any of its members.