Marjorie Lundquist, Ph.D., C.I.H., Bioelectromagnetic Hygienist

Alice Stewart and harmfulness of low-intensity EMR

I very much appreciate that Alasdair Philips passed along the story in the UK Guardian (June 28, 2002) by Anthony Tucker on the life and work of Alice Stewart (,8150,745407,00.html ).


As I was reading it, I was reminded that my own work on the health effects of non-ionizing radiation (done from a hygienic perspective) has implications for ionising radiation, as well.  In fact, I think Alice Stewart long ago discovered them!


Here is my thinking.  For non-ionizing radiation, there are two kinds of health effects (which have different mechanisms): thermal & nonthermal (also called athermal). Increase the photon energy enough to allow ionization to occur, and then (for ionising radiation) there are three ways to damage health:  ionization, nonthermal effects, and thermal effects.


My point is that in the ionizing region of the spectrum, the same mechanisms and health effects exist as for non-ionzing radiation; there is just an additional mechanism of hazard (ionization) added to the mix.


To date, my only publication addressing non-ionizing health effects is Chapter 4 in WIRELESS PHONES AND HEALTH II:  STATE OF THE SCIENCE (published in 2000 by Kluwer Scientific Publishers, NY). In there I show how different the thermal and nonthermal health effects are, in terms of the conditions under which they appear.


These same health effects can be expected to be present in the ionizing portion of the spectrum, along with the well-known health effects of ionization.

I show that nonthermal health effects are likely to occur at very low radiation intensities (and will include cancer).  These are quite unexpected, if one uses thermal effects to predict hazard (which many authorities do indeed do).


What did Alice Stewart find? That there is an unexpectedly high health hazard at very low intensities which includes cancer. This was unexpected, based on the assumption that ionization is the only mechanism of hazard from ionizing radiation.


What do thermal effects (for non-ionizing radiation) and ionization (for ionizing radiation) have in common?  Both these phenomena give rise to a health risk that is monotonic increasing; that is, as the radiation intensity or field strength (for non-ionizing radiation) or the

amount of ionization (for ionizing radiation) goes up, the health hazard increases.  This implies that there is a certain level below which everything should be safe.


Alice Stewart found out that, for ionizing radiation, there is a health hazard at low levels thought to be safe. I think it is the low-intensity nonthermal hazard I discuss in my publication.  So, in effect, I think she long ago proved the existence of what I (and others) postulate is a health hazard in the non-ionzing portion of the spectrum.


Of course, since this hazard has nothing whatever to do with ionization, it ought to exist for electromagnetic radiation at all frequencies in the RF region of the spectrum AND ALL HIGHER FREQUENCIES!


The very fact that the low-intensity radiation hazard Alice Stewart found was unexpected is an indication that it was NOT caused by ionization!  The only phenomenon that could have given rise to it is the same non-thermal phenomenon that we are concerned about with respect to microwave and other RF radiation.  So I consider that Alice Stewart long ago proved the existence (in the ionizing portion of the EMR spectrum) of a low-intensity nonthermal health effect (that includes but isn't limited to cancers of various types) and therefore these same health effects can be expected to occur at similar very low radiation intensities in the non-ionizing portion of the EMR spectrum!


Marjorie Lundquist, Ph.D., C.I.H.

Bioelectromagnetic Hygienist

P. O. Box 11831

Milwaukee, WI  53211-0831  USA


Message from Roy Beavers