Small effects on a cellular level can have large consequences on the organ level

February 11, 2006

In Apeldoorn a meeting was held of the WEO (Dutch Working Group on Electrohypersensitivity) ( // ). Eric van Rongen (secretary of the radiation committee of the Dutch Health Council) clearly stated that the Health council and the government take non ionising radiation as an environmental factor. The providers certainly do not. Van Rongen said the Dutch Health Council will advise investigations into people with EHS, in the lab as well as in the field, with priority (nevertheless it will take years). Van Rongen also answered to a question about DECT-telephones. He said the power of these telephones should adapt to the use. So, radiation only when needed and as low as needed. Some time ago, Van Rongen already has said that research on the effects of DECT-telephones on well-being and health should be done.

Hugo Schooneveld, neurobiologist, gave a lecture about the effects of electromagnetic fields. He emphasized the notions of variety and stress. He showed a flow chart with sources of radiation, different people and multiple effects and consequences. Researchers should be aware of time and windows. People can be exposed before a test, effects can be postponed even 24 hours. Effects can be valued 'positive' at first, changing to 'negative' after lengthy exposure. Sometimes low and high exposure do not have effects, but exposure in between has (this is called a window).

Electromagnetic fields cause small effects in biological systems. Small effects on a cellular level can have large consequences on the organ level. Also the small effects can be part of or trigger biological processes. This happens autonomously, unconsciously. An example is the automatic 'fight or flight' response of the body. If exposure to electromagnetic fields triggers such a response permanently, while no 'fight or flight' actually happens, the body gets deregulated (e.g. problems with glucose, insulin, fat). A wide variety of effects and consequences may happen. The lecture of Schooneveld reminded me of the cascade of effects mentioned by cell biologist Ferdinand Ruzicka ( // )

Are electromagnetic fields the cause of the complaints? "Yes, because if we remove the fields, the complaints disappear", said Schooneveld. Researchers should not only ask if testees feel (un)well. Physiological parameters should be measured. Van Rongen said the proposals of Schooneveld fit well into the future research program of The Netherlands.


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