Debate continues on safety of wireless technology
Last month, Nevada City made headlines as its mayor came under fire for, among other things, allegedly soliciting opposition to the city’s 5G wireless telecom facility regulations. Residents packed a contentious meeting Dec. 10 in which Reinette Senum faced official censure, which could have included the loss of the mayor position, for her advocacy.
In the end, Senum escaped any official rebuke, with more than 40 community members coming forward during the meeting to express their support for her and their opposition to 5G technology.
In some cases, these self-proclaimed “Wi-Fi refugees” moved to rural Nevada County to escape the creeping encroachment of wireless technology they believe has literally made them sick.
Now, faced with the spectre of 5G technology that would extend the reach of electromagnetic radiation, they are making their voices heard. Anita Weld-Tuttle has become a familiar face at those meetings. At 92, an age when most people are — at the very least — slowing down, Weld-Tuttle “keeps on trucking” in her efforts to sway local officials into banning 5G.
“I am protesting for a very personal reason — it’s messed up my life,” she said.
Like many wireless opponents, Weld-Tuttle describes an awakening from her prior indiscriminate use of electronics. She believes she sustained a radiation burn on her leg after sitting next to a hard drive for a decade.
“The doctors didn’t have the foggiest idea what it was,” she said. “I got no answers. It didn’t go away — it will never go away.”
Eventually Weld-Tuttle met a doctor of Eastern medicine who diagnosed her with something called “Wi-Fi blood.”
Simply put, “Wi-Fi blood” is caused by electromagnetic hypersensitivity, some people believe.
“I have a death sentence hanging over my head,” Weld-Tuttle said, ascribing her high blood pressure to the disease.
Weld-Tuttle used to work part-time at a local bookstore, but had to quit when a cell phone tower was installed nearby. She tries to minimize her contact with electric and magnetic field (EMF) radiation as much as possible, shielding herself and limiting her time on electronic devices.
“It’s a dangerous world out there,” she said. “We’re guinea pigs for so many things.”
Penn Valley resident Jan Taché also frequently talks on the dangers of wireless radiation, calling it “Russian roulette.”
“We’re basically being bombarded by dirty electricity — I think 5G will be a terminal event,” she said.
According to Taché, several of her relatives have proved so prone to electromagnetic hypersensitivity that she has removed the smart meter from their home. They have invested in EMF-blocking paint and metal sheathing outside the house — going though what she calls “all sorts of contortions” to be comfortable.
“My husband … if he gets near a (wireless) tower, he gets blurry vision, brain fog, then his heart starts acting up,” she said. “Sometimes he fibrillates. We use all kinds of blocking things, but still it gets through to him.”
The Tachés hired a “building biologist” who went through the residence and analyzed “dirty electricity” areas of concern, she said.
“We have spent a lot of money – but it’s worth every penny,” Taché said. “You can just feel the difference.”
They also travel to Reno occasionally for “dark field” live blood analysis.
“It will find cancer years before signs,” Taché said. “It’s a really wonderful diagnostic tool.”
Nevada City Mayor Reinette Senum has been at the forefront of the attempts to ban the expansion of wireless facilities, bringing several advocates to town to talk about health and safety concerns.
Dafna Tachover, the founder of “We Are The Evidence,” describes herself as an “avid user” of wireless technology who suddenly became ill from electromagnetic sensitivity in 2009 after she bought herself a laptop.
“Within six months, I could not be near wireless,” she said, adding she became so desperate she began sleeping in her car to escape the radiation. Moving to the Catskills to get away from a wireless environment “literally saved my life,” Tachover said at a Nevada City forum this past summer.
“I’m focusing now on awakening communities,” Tachover said, pointing out that municipalities have regulatory power. “You’re lucky to have a mayor on board with this issue — that’s really rare.”
Tachover discussed an array of scientific studies she said show wireless radiation has serious health consequences, and provided a seven-page list of those studies (see the handout provided by Tachover online.)
“We have all the scientific data we need,” she said.
The problem with that statement, according to Dr. Jerrold Bushberg, a clinical professor of radiology and radiation oncology at UC Davis, is that laymen tend to interpret data according to their bias.
“People don’t really understand the (scientific) papers they read,” Bushberg said. “It’s just not possible. No scientist can be an expert in every discipline — so people who are not experts will have an even more difficult time. They take what they read on the internet and take it as gospel and run with it.”
According to Tachover, results proving the link of cell phone use to cancer have been subject to “intense” misinformation campaigns. She compares this to the tobacco industry, referencing the film “Thank You For Smoking” with the lobbyist for big tobacco telling his clients they sell doubt.
Along with cancer, Tachover claimed, wireless radiation has been linked to everything from Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and autism, to genetic damage, among other ills.
“It’s the only thing that can explain the exponential increase in these conditions. It’s a major factor,” Tachover said.
Among the studies that she said proved her contention is a 14-year, $30 million study conducted by the U.S. National Toxicology Program funded by the Food and Drug Administration.
Tachover said preliminary results showed clear evidence that radiation causes cancer and DNA damage. But, she said, when the final report was released in 2018, the evidence “was not so clear anymore,” and the FDA concluded the results did not apply to humans. Tachover suggested a cover-up.
But according to the National Cancer Institute, that study — conducted in large part due to the inconsistent findings from epidemiologic studies in humans and the lack of clear data from previous experimental studies in animals — did not clear anything up.
“The exposures used in the studies cannot be compared directly to the exposure that humans experience when using a cell phone,” said John Bucher, a senior scientist with the National Toxicology Program.
For every study that seemingly proves a link between wireless radiation and cancer, there is another that refutes any link.
According to Bushberg, the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements has spent years exhaustively reviewing all the scientific evidence available on both ionizing high-frequency radiation (the type emitted by X-rays) and non-ionizing (low-frequency) radiation emitted by cell phones and microwaves.
“There are studies that show potential horrible effects, but the (findings) cannot be (reproduced),” said Bushberg, who chairs the council’s board. “The vast majority of the science is supportive of current safety standards. There are groups that select individual studies without reference to the broader literature … and ignore studies that don’t support their conclusions.”
The council writes reports on a wide variety of topics involving the effects of radiation in humans, Bushberg said, noting each report might have 20 or more authors from different disciplines.
In Bushberg’s view, the fear of 5G technology is more an issue of public perception than a real public health concern.
The fear of the unknown is not a new phenomenon, he said.
“When ice was introduced to the colonies, people said it was bad for you, to drink ice water,” Bushberg said. “There was no basis (for that belief). … All things that are new, there will be a fraction of the public that are resistant to change.
“All technology comes with good and bad (aspects), our responsibility is to emphasize the good and minimize the bad,” he concluded. “We just need to be vigilant against mis-impressions.”
To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4236.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User