The Very Real Health Threat We Just Can't Escape

radiationWhen it comes to health threats, I tend to think along the lines of toxins in food and plastics, maybe bisphenol A (BPA) lining the cans of food I eat, or the pollution that's wrecking our ozone layer. My iPhone isn't exactly at the top of the list of things I worry are going to kill me! But that may be a mistake, say researchers. They've gathered this week on Capitol Hill at an expert conference called the Wireless Safety Summit. It's the first conference to bring national recognition to the growing public concern about health threats associated with wireless technology.

Surely you've heard that your microwave is probably nuking you to death one Hot Pocket at a time, but that's not all this is about. Featured speaker and cardiologist Dr. Stephen Sinatra describes wireless technology as not just microwaves, but also "cellphones, baby monitors, cellular phone towers, cordless phones." And the problem, he says, is that we just cannot escape these things.

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No matter how ubiquitous these items are, the experts involved in the WIreless Safety Summit want to appeal to the government and the Obama administration to do something about this threat. They'd like to ask elected officials to ensure that our health and well-being are protected from potentially hazardous radiation exposure conditions.

There certainly is a precedent for this kind of action. The World Health Organization officially recognized radiofrequency radiation as a possible human carcinogen last May, so it's not like this is news. And there's substantial research that exposure to microwave radiation from cellphones, Wi-Fi, cordless phones, and other wireless transmitters can cause health problems, like electromagnetic hypersensitivity, infertility, cancers, cardiac, and neurological diseases. Eeesh.

I know, it's freaky. But, at the same time, I'm not sure it's something we all need to be up in arms about every day of our lives. Like Dr. Sinatra said, it's not like we can just run away from all of these things. Even if you swore off using a microwave and a cellphone (good luck with that), you'd still have to contend with living around cellphone towers. But maybe that means it really isn't regular citizens' duty to do something about this. It's up to the government -- specifically the FCC -- to intervene and try to create some safety regulations that limit our exposure to harmful radiation. Hopefully by drawing attention to this issue on Capitol Hill, the Wireless Summit is able to press the government to do just that.

Does radiofrequency radiation freak you out?

 

Image via Madhouse Photography/Flickr

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