The great love affair of the 21st century won’t be a copy of the mercurial Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor or the impassioned yet tragic Romeo and Juliet. It might be equally fraught as the human race marks its 13th year of an obsessive and addictive cohabitation with the mobile phone. I can vividly remember when Steve Job’s mini power point presentation was greeted with rapturous enthusiasm and our current full-hearted infatuation would have him beaming in disbelief and amazement from on high. Just about half the world has a smart phone and we just can’t seem to put it down. Many of us have it firmly in our grasp placed like a supplementary appendage close to our faces and our brains to allow immediate access. Witness the mother constantly in conversation ignoring her baby, the pet owner detached from their beloved pet, who sadly disregarded might have to urinate on the run and the couples decoupled by their phone. It’s become public transport’s loud social pollutant countenanced without restriction.
Unquestionably this relationship brings undeniable pleasures and countless often life-saving benefits, but it comes with a huge mostly invisible drawback of which many of us have little awareness. The mobile phone and all current computer technology are powered by wireless radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (RF EMR) and exposure is everywhere. In 2011 RF EMR was classified as a possible carcinogen and there are a group of experts who want it reclassified as a probable carcinogen along with cadmium, alcohol and tobacco, asserting that it needs to be sold with a black box warning alerting consumers to its lethal potential. As much as experts are still quibbling over the weight of evidence all parties are agreed that extensive mobile phone usage, especially if the phone is held close to the head, is firmly connected with brain cancer. Until I reexamined the documentation I thought this notion had been discounted. Breast cancer has been uncovered in those who have habitually transported their cell phones within their bras. Studies on mice and rats confirm that extensive exposure to RF EMR increases cancer risk.
The question can be asked if so many of us are using smartphones and we’ve been doing so with impunity for quite a while why hasn’t the incidence of brain and other cancers sky-rocketed? The answer might have to do with the length of time these diseases take to manifest. All the while RF EMR might be damaging our DNA and the effects might go unnoticed. We might be suffering from headaches, insomnia, diminished intellectual capacity, a hike in blood pressure and raised cholesterol, all found to be linked with exposure to RF EMR and possibly the harbingers of worse things to come like the seeding of cancer. Yet we together with our health providers might be unaware of the connection until it is too late and the harms are irreversible.
Our children will be the first generation to be exposed to mobile phones, computers and numerous smart devices, all driven by RF EMR, from the cradle to the grave. Already studies have noted that intellectual and emotional impairment are grounded by this experience. With further research showing a spike in neurodegenerative disease and Alzheimer’s disease occurring at a much younger age is this the bleak future that awaits the computer generation?
The new 5G superhighway promises to introduce us to the Internet of ‘Things,’ an unprecedented expansion of smart technology to all our current appliances, as well as our clothing and the shoes we wear, and every inanimate mechanized device that we encounter. It promises unlimited and instantaneous connectivity buy it also means that our interface with RF EMR will be significantly upscaled. It will enable us to receive huge downloads much quicker however to facilitate this massive upgrade small antennae would need to be placed every 250m, to transmit microwave RF EMR. This would increase our exposure to these forces in addition to the existing 4G system which won’t be immediately discarded.
In addition to the harms generated by the existing technology these microwave emissions can cause cataracts, undermine the immune system, hardly desirable with coronavirus lurking and increase the risk of antibiotic resistance, a burgeoning global concern. Plants and all living creatures will be equally vulnerable to these toxic effects.
We can attempt to inoculate ourselves against this new technology by distancing ourselves from our phones, using airplane mode and switching of location found on privacy settings when we don’t need to be connected and getting wired to the internet rather than relying on Wi-Fi for access to the network. But once we exit this cocoon and enter the real world we will immediately be marinated in an electromagnetic soup. Unfortunately for many of us the negative effects of this immersion, which are subtle and insidious won’t be immediately experienced. While Romeo and Juliet was a Shakespearean fantasy and Burton and Taylor went on to have a highly combustible relationship the love affair we have with our phones is so serene that for the vast swathes of humanity intoxicated by its charms any contemplation of a divorce would be unthinkable.