Dear Editor,

There is something very fishy about this letter.

Your correspondent is very eager for us to know all the places where he has trained as a ‘statistician and econometrician’. We are aware that those who practice those activities deal entirely with numbers; extracting and assembling relationships amongst them.

What is really strange is that in his letter of roughly 730 words there was not a single number drawn from his conclusions – of the sort we often hear; “there is a 15% chance of such and such happening 19 times out of 20”. Very odd.

We are informed of an effect of cell towers on some trees in Colorado. And it says “No less real, the damage over time to individuals from cell towers does exist and has been measured” But we are not given the privilege of being informed what that damage is, or it’s magnitude. Is it an effect measured in parts per million, or trillion ? What is the nature of the ‘damage’. Nothing.

On the other hand, not taken into account are the tens of millions of people who put a cell phone to their ear and transmit and receive radio signals with no horrible effect reported, nor the tens of thousands of cell towers ( or antenna on buildings ) which operate round the clock and provide life-saving services against fire, medical emergency, or violence, quite apart from allowing concerned parents to contact their children. If there were any significant effects we should be worried about there would be banner headlines. With so many millions of cell phones ( and wifi networks ) in use around the world, one would expect some systemic effects to show up. The one I have observed is that teenagers seem to have very agile thumbs these days.

In fact, there has been a continuing trend, as any statistician can verify, that life expectancy has been increasing in the Western world, and conversely there have been no reports of any sudden increases in birth defects, or other medical issues due to exposure to electromagnetic radiation.  Remember the similar scare about living near hydro towers, which was based on flawed statistics, and was proved groundless?

He writes “ we do not understand the processes” involved in “overwhelming amounts of information ( being ) passed”. Information is an intellectual entity, not a physical one like electrons, and can not have any effect on the physical world, which includes all living things. Electromagnetic radiation can and does have effects, which is why microwave ovens are shielded, and you are not allowed close to the powerful radar transmitters used at airports. Most homes have microwave ovens which generate hundreds of Watts of microwave power; cell phones generate less than one Watt – and it is a two way process!

Science won’t understand for a century” he says – but then exhorts the “scientifically illiterate” to accept his conclusions without providing hard evidence. “They contribute to multiple health problems simultaneously in ways you or science won't understand for another century” Really !!! He understands but all living scientists and the rest of us don’t, so we had better follow his guidance !

In my view this letter is nothing more than scaremongering. The author offers no personal experience in his letter aside from his own conviction, and innuendo about dealing with the telecoms business, and of course, the NIMBY factor.

Regards,

Anthony Sharp, Meaford


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