* How Exposure to GSM & TETRA Base-station Radiation can Adversely Affect Humans - new version (7/8/02)

Tramès per Klaus Rudolph (Citizens' Initiative Omega)

I hear that you have posted my latest paper - 'How exposure to GSM & TETRA Base-station Radiation can Adversely affect Humans'. Unfortunately, some of the text was corrupted.  I would be most obliged, therefore, if you would replace it with the attached version, dated AUGUST 2002, which is (hopefully) corruption-free, and in which I have taken the opportunity to incorporate some further refinements and improvements .

Best regards,
G.J. Hyland

Message from and to Roy Beavers

How Exposure to GSM & TETRA Base-station Radiation can Adversely Affect Humans

G J Hyland <gjhyland@hyland.demon.co.uk>

August 2002

Associate Fellow - Department of Physics  Executive Member - International Institute of Biophysics University of Warwick Coventry, UK

Neuss-Holzheim, Germany

It is perfectly true that the levels of microwave radiation in publicly
accessible locations near GSM and TETRA Base-stations comply, by many
factors of 1000, with the current safety guidelines set by the
International Commission for Non-Ionising Radiation Protection
(ICNIRP).  These limits are, however, purely thermally based - i.e. they
simply limit the intensity of the radiation to ensure that the amount of
tissue heating by absorption of microwave radiation is not in excess of
what the body can cope with.  If heating were the only effect of the
radiation, existing guidelines would afford the public adequate
protection against the emissions of Base-stations; unfortunately,
however, this is not the case.  For microwaves are waves, and, as such,
have properties other than solely intensity.  In particular, the pulsed
microwave radiation used in the GSM and TETRA systems of
telecommunication has a number of rather well defined frequencies that
facilitate its discernment by the alive human organism, and via which
the organism can, in turn, be affected in a purely non-thermal way.
This is so because the alive human organism (and only the alive one)
itself supports a variety of oscillatory electrical biological/
biochemical activities, each characterised by a specific frequency, some
of which happen to be close to those found in the GSM / TETRA signals;
this coincidence makes these bioactivities potentially vulnerable to
interference.  It comes about because these oscillatory electrical
activities play a role akin to the tuned circuits in a radio, making the
living organism an electromagnetic instrument of great and exquisite
sensitivity that is able to 'recognise' and discern the presence of the
radiation 'informationally' by decoding (demodulating) its various
frequency characteristics, including those of any amplitude
modulations.  Since these activities are involved in bio-communication
and in the control and regulation of bio-processes essential to
well-being, it is reasonable to anticipate that it is the functionality
of the alive organism that is impaired by exposure to radiation of
sub-thermal intensity containing bioactive frequencies; this contrasts
strongly with the situation at thermal levels where actual material
damage to DNA, cells and tissue can occur.  It is to be stressed,
however, that unlike heating, non-thermal (informational) influences are
possible only when the organism is alive: the Dead have no electrical
brain activity with which an external electromagnetic field can

The frequency of the radiation that is used to carry the voice
information (messages) in both GSM and TETRA lies in the microwave band
- a frequency range in which processes as fundamental as cell division
can be interfered with - the somewhat lower carrier frequencies
characterising the TETRA radiation facilitating its deeper penetration
into tissue.  On the other hand, the rates at which the microwaves are
emitted in distinct groups of flashes (or pulses) happen to be close to
the frequencies of some of the brain's own electrical and
electrochemical rhythms; accordingly, these can be amplified, interfered
with, and even entrained by the radiation.  In the case of GSM, the
basic 'flash rate' is 217Hz, but the flashes are emitted in groups of 25
at the rate of 8.34Hz - a frequency that lies in the range of the human
alpha brain wave activity.  In the case of TETRA, on the other hand, the
nature of the pulsing is somewhat different, but is again characterised
by low frequencies that are here close to 70Hz and 17Hz - the latter, in
particular, characterising the much more accentuated pulsing of the
emissions of vehicularly mounted antennae.  17Hz is very close to the
frequency (16Hz) at which there are reports of a significant increase in
loss (efflux) of calcium from brain cells - thereby potentially
undermining the integrity of the nervous system - and to the frequency
at which seizures can be provoked in photosensitive epileptics by a
light flashing at between 15-20 times per second (see below).

What the Mobile Phone Industry and the various Regulatory Bodies (such
as the NRPB and ICNIRP) dispute is that the very weak, pulsed microwave
radiation used in GSM and TETRA exerts any non-thermal biological
influences that entail adverse health reactions.  Their conviction that,
provided the intensity of the radiation complies with the ICNIRP safety
guidelines, human exposure to this kind of radiation is innocuous is,
however, based, firstly, on the erroneous belief that electromagnetic
fields should be regarded as toxins to the body - rather than an
integral feature of its living state - and, secondly, on an outdated
'linear' mindset, which prejudices the conclusion that exposure to weak
radiation (below guideline levels) can entail only correspondingly weak
effects, and vice versa.  The invalidity of the latter is clearly
indicated by the existence of the 'informational' influences referred to
above, which, being contingent on our aliveness, are inherently
non-linear effects: any attempt to understand such effects from a purely
linear perspective are thus doomed, in that they are impotent to address
the most discriminating feature of all, namely, the 'aliveness' of the
system under consideration.

The importance of ensuring non-thermal electromagnetic compatibility
between mobile phone radiation and energised electronic equipment, such
as that in aircraft and hospitals, for example, is, of course, generally
accepted and respected.  Ironically, however, the same does not yet
obtain in the case of the alive human organism, despite (i) the fact
that the latter is itself an electromagnetic instrument par excellence,
as already mentioned, and (ii) the existence of a wide variety of
non-thermal bio-effects induced by low intensity microwave radiation
(both pulsed and continuous) that have been revealed by many
experiments, enjoying varying degrees of corroboration*, which have been
performed over the last 30 years on many different kinds of living
organisms - including humans - most of which have been published in
international, peer reviewed scientific journals.

Of particular concern is the way in which this radiation non-thermally
affects brain function - specifically, its electrical activity (EEG),
its electro-chemistry, and the blood/ brain barrier - and degrades the
immune system.  For these non-thermal influences are of a kind that are
consistent with the nature of some of the adverse health reactions
reported both by some users of mobile phones and by some people
(involuntarily) exposed long-term to the radiation from Base-stations.
Thus, for example, the radiation is known to affect the dopamine-opiate
system of the brain and to increase the permeability of the blood brain
barrier (thereby facilitating the passage of chemical toxins into brain
fluid), both of which are medically considered to underlie headache -
one of the most persistently reported adverse health effects.
Similarly, the duration of REM sleep is shortened by exposure to
radio-frequency radiation, whilst nocturnal secretion of melatonin is
partly inhibited, both of which are consistent with reports of sleep
disruption and concentration problems.  Furthermore, the possibility of
deliberately provoking epileptic seizures in certain animals by exposing
them to pulsed microwave radiation is consistent with reports of an
increased incidence of seizures in some epileptic children when exposed
to the emissions of GSM Base-stations.  The latter finding is not at all
unreasonable, given the known ability of a visible light (such as a
stroboscope) flashing at a rate somewhere between 15-20 times per second
to provoke seizures in the 5% minority of epileptics who are
photosensitive.  For visible light and microwaves are both simply
different realisations of electromagnetic radiation, and the microwave
radiation used in GSM and TETRA similarly 'flashes' (pulses) at rates
that the brain is able to recognise; unlike visible light, however,
pulsed microwaves are not reliant on the eye and optic nerve to access
the brain, since they can penetrate the skull directly.

Another possible contributory factor to sleeping problems is the
phenomenon of so-called 'microwave hearing', whereby people (even those
who are clinically totally deaf) can discern buzzing/clicking sounds in
their heads when exposed to low energy, pulsed microwaves.

It should be noted that although microwave radiation is non-ionising -
i.e. does not have enough energy to break chemical bonds, particularly
in DNA - it can, nevertheless, functionally interfere with the natural
processes involved in DNA replication and repair, by subtly altering
molecular conformation (architecture), for example; this could well
account, respectively, for the reports of chromosome aberrations /
micronuclei formation and for the increased amount of DNA fragmentation
observed under irradiation.  Similarly, the finding that exposure to
pulsed GSM radiation (of an intensity comparable to that realised during
mobile phone use) promotes the development of cancer in mice that have
been genetically engineered to have a predisposition to cancer is
consistent with other studies showing an over-expression of heat shock
proteins (HSPs) in both human and animal cells exposed to GSM radiation;
for HSPs are known to inhibit natural programmed cell death (apoptosis),
whereby cells that should have 'committed suicide' continue to live.
Taken together, these various effects are, in turn, consistent with the
2-3-fold increase in the incidence of a rare form of cancer in the
periphery of the human

* Difficulties in replication can often be traced to some crucial
difference in experimental protocol that effectively undermines the
fidelity of the purported replication; thus the reason why some
experiments have not been replicated is precisely because they have not
been rigorously replicated!
brain, where the radiation from the handset most easily penetrates (the
laterality of which correlates with that of handset use), which has been
found in a recent epidemiological study in the USA.

It is important to appreciate that these and other findings pertaining
to exposure to the emissions of GSM handsets are not irrelevant to the
consideration of the effects of exposure to Base-station radiation,
since the informational content of the latter is the same as that of the
phone signals; indeed, the increasing number of disturbing reports of
rather serious adverse health effects in animals (particularly cattle)
exposed to GSM Base-station radiation could well be valuable warning
portents that should not be ignored.

It is essential to appreciate, however, that because the possibility of
non-thermal influences is dependent on the organism being alive, it
necessarily follows that not everyone will be equally susceptible, even
when exposed to exactly the same radiation - susceptibility depending
not only on the radiation, but also on the genetic predisposition and
physiological state of the individual when irradiated, such as the
stability of electrical brain activity and the person's level of stress
prior to exposure.  Whilst this admittedly makes the occurrence of
non-thermal effects more difficult to predict (and hence to regulate
against) than is the case with thermal effects, it does not mean that
they can be safely ignored, or that they cannot provoke adverse health
reactions in some people, the severity of which will again vary from
person to person, according to the robustness of their immune systems.
It is probably true to say that if the same degree of risk and
uncertainty as to subjective noxiousness obtained in the case of a new
drug or foodstuff, it is unlikely that they would ever be licensed.

Quite apart from their weaker immune systems, children are particularly
vulnerable because of the increased rate at which their cells divide
(making them more susceptible to genetic damage) and because their
nervous system is still developing - the smaller size of their heads and
their thinner skulls increasing the amount of radiation that they
absorb.  Particularly vulnerable to interference by the pulsed microwave
radiation used in GSM is their electrical brain-wave activity, which
does not settle into a stable pattern until puberty.  The use of mobile
phones by pre-adolescent children is thus to be strongly discouraged,
and the siting of Base-station masts in the vicinity of schools and
nurseries strongly resisted: financial gain must not be allowed to be
the overriding consideration.

In connection with Base-station exposure, it must be appreciated that it
is impossible to cite a unique 'safe distance'.  The only meaningful
approach, at present, is to require, in publicly accessible locations
near a mast, that the intensity of the radiation should be below the
level at which any adverse health effects have so far been reported;
including an additional safety factor of 10, a maximum intensity limit
of 10nW/cm2 ( = 10-4 W/m2 - equivalent to 0.2V/m) is indicated.  The
precise distance from a mast at which this level is realised depends,
however, on how powerful are the antennae, the orientations of the main
beams and their 'side lobes' (subsidiary emissions that are much more
localised in the immediate vicinity of a mast), and the local

To cite the examples of radio and television transmission in an attempt
to support the claim that exposure to the (much less intense) radiation
used in mobile telephony is harmless is flawed on at least two accounts:
(i) the occurrence, in any case, of certain health problems that
correlate with exposure to the radiation from these installations, and
(ii) the fact that, unlike the radiation used in GSM / TETRA
installations, this radiation is not emitted in pulses, in patterns
characterised by frequencies that the brain can recognise.  Furthermore,
before taking reassurance from an  apparent absence of health problems
amongst continental users of TETRA, it should be remembered that it is
often the much less biologically active TETRAPOL (as opposed to TETRA)
that is there used.

In conclusion, it can hardly be disputed that to enjoy an acceptable
quality of life requires more than simply an absence of terminal
disease.  Adverse health effects in humans of the kinds already reported
worldwide - such as headaches, sleep disruption, impairment of
short-term memory, etc. - whilst maybe not life-threatening in
themselves, do nevertheless have a debilitating effect that undoubtedly
affects general well-being, and which in the case of some children could
well undermine their neurological and academic development.  It should,
of course, be stressed that the apparent absence, to date, of more
serious pathologies attributable to exposure to the emissions of GSM /
TETRA Base-stations is no guarantee of immunity in the long-term.  For
exposure to this kind of radiation is still in its 'early days' in
comparison to the much longer latency periods that are generally
considered to characterise the kinds of cancers that could well be
promoted or initiated in certain people, although it should be
appreciated that existing latency estimates, based on experience under
non-exposed conditions, are not necessarily relevant here.

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