To avoid prolonged exposure to electromagnetic radiation, the engineer Adilza Condessa (Countess) Dode uses her mobile only in cases of extreme necessity. Her caution stems from studies that have been developing for about a decade, with the aim of discovering the physical, chemical and biological radiofrequency in living beings. In her thesis defense at the University in late March 2010, Adilza Condessa Dode confirms the hypothesis that a correlation exists between the cases of death from cancer and the location of cellular telephone antennas in Belo Horizonte.
Through GIS, the researcher notes that the South-Central region of Belo Horizonte has the highest concentration of antennas and the highest rate of cumulative incidence of cancer deaths. The lowest mortality rates from cancer are in the area of Barreiro, where the lowest number of antennas were installed.
“The pollution caused by electromagnetic radiation is the biggest environmental problem of the 21st century,” said the engineer, who in her thesis recommends the adoption by the Brazilian government of the so-called precautionary principle, adopted at the Rio-92 Conference. Under this premise, while there is no scientific certainty of no risk, launching new product or technology must be accompanied by measures to predict and prevent possible damage to health and the environment.
Professor Alvaro Augusto Almeida de Salles, Department of Electrical Engineering, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), stressed that the research confirms results of studies conducted in Germany and Israel . “With this work, Belo Horizonte arises in an important position in this research area,” he said.
Concerned with the near absence of data on the effects of a technology that quickly became popular, Professor Adilza Condessa Dode defended her 2003 Master’s thesis supervised by Professor Maria Diniz Monica Lion, the Department of Sanitary and Environmental Engineering, UFMG, which proved the existence of overlapping radiation in areas where there are antennas installed, causing electromagnetic pollution.
For her doctorate, she worked with the hypothesis of a relationship between cancer mortality and residential proximity to antennas – base stations (BTS) for mobile phones. Adilza Condessa Dode conducted research on pre-existing databases, cross-referencing information on deaths in Belo Horizonte, from 1996 to 2006, with population information provided by IBGE.
Among the 22,543 deaths from cancer in the years 1996 to 2006, the researcher selected 4924 cancer deaths, from types – prostate, breast, lung, kidney, liver–that are recognized in the scientific literature as related to electromagnetic radiation. To process this information, she had the co-supervision of Professor Caiaffa Waleska Teixeira, one of the coordinators of the Centre for Urban Health of Belo Horizonte and the Epidemiology Research Group, Faculty of Medicine.
In the next phase of the study, Professor Adilza Dode developed a new methodology, using the GIS of the city to find out how far away from the antennas lived 4,924 people who died during the period. “They lived up to 500 meters from the antennas, and made up 81.37% of deaths by cancer,” says the researcher, Professor Izabela Hendrix, of the University Center and the Faculty of Medical Sciences of Minas Gerais.A total of 7191 cancer deaths occurred to those residing within 1000 meters of cell towers.
Professor Izabela Hendrix said that in recent years there was growth of brain cancer cases in the country, as evidenced by data from the National Cancer Institute (Inca), and increased use of mobile phones. “I can not say that this is the cause of death, but what is the new factor in this period? The environmental factor that the public domain is a cell phone, no other system. ” She said the scientific literature suggests that people with cancer have only chemotherapy and avoid exposure to electromagnetic fields.
Are there safe levels of radiation to human health? “This is exactly the problem: Until now, nobody knows what the limits of EMR is harmless to health,” explains Dr. Adilza Dode, while emphasizing that the standards allowed in Brazil are the same ones adopted by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), normalized in federal legislation in May 2009. For the researcher, these standards are inadequate. “They were drafted with the look of technology, efficiency and cost reduction, and not based on epidemiological studies,” she asserts.
According to Professor Alvaro Augusto Almeida de Salles, UFRGS, there are no epidemiological studies demonstrating the effects of waves emitted by wireless equipment, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, beaming at lower, but continuous levels. “We are guinea pigs for technologies that were not yet safe”, he states.
Dode Adilza reports that electromagnetic fields interfere also with biomedical equipment. “It is therefore necessary to turn off the phone when entering hospitals, and we should not in any way, install ERB in the hospital,” she warns, recalling that even people who do not use cellular phones receive radiation continuously via the antennas.
Professor Dode Adilza advises that countries like Switzerland, Italy, Russia and China have adopted standards much lower than those allowed by the ICNIRP. And in Brazil, the municipality of Porto Alegre edited laws defining levels of radiation emissions similar to those of Switzerland.
In her thesis, Adilza cited several international studies that seek to understand the effects of electromagnetic fields. One, the Reflex project, funded by the European Union, held in 2004 in 12 specialized laboratories in seven countries, states that the electromagnetic radiation emitted by mobile phones can affect human cells and cause DNA damage by impairing the function of certain genes, enabling them or disabling them. Another study, in Naila (Germany), found three times higher incidence of cancer in people who lived in a radius of up to 400 meters of cellular telephone antennas.
In Netanya, Israel, another study showed an increase of 4.15 times the incidence of cancer among residents who lived within a radius of 350 meters from the cellular telephone antennas. There are also studies that indicate increased risks for children due to the specifics of their bodies.
“The penetration of electromagnetic radiation in the brain of children is much greater than in adults,” said Adilza Dode, who is preparing to begin a new phase of studies. Her goal now is to measure levels of human exposure to electromagnetic radiation in homes of people diagnosed with cancer.
“We are not against mobile phones, but want Brazil to adopt the precautionary principle, until new scientific discoveries are recognized as a criterion to establish or modify standards for human exposure to non-ionizing radiation,” says the researcher.
In a chapter of her thesis, Adilza Dode lists a series of recommendations. Among them, that Brazil adopts the limits already followed by countries such as Switzerland. It also suggests that the government does not allow signal transmission of wireless technologies for nurseries, schools, nursing homes, homes and hospitals; the creation of infrastructure to monitor and measure the electromagnetic fields from telecommunication stations and discouraging or banning the use of phones by children and preadolescents.
The thesis recommends the production of mobile phones with radiation in the opposite direction to the user’s head, and investment in research to find safe limits and reduced levels of radiation emitted by the antennas. Adilza Dode suggests users do not walk along with the cell phone in contact with their body, to adopt the practice of sending text messages, avoid cell phone proximity to the ear, and move away from other people to use the device.
The author recommends further that each building has reserved area for cell phone use, and that residents do not accept the installation of antennas. “There is a belief that the building that a cellular antenna does not receive radiation. This was contradicted by recent research, “warns the researcher.
The Doctoral work of Professor Adilza Countess Dode was accepted for presentation at the 7th International Congress on Urban Health in Vancouver, Canada
Posted June 7, 2011. Reposted August 4, 2011