Dr. Beatrice Alexandra Golomb Opposes SB.649

Read the letter here: 2017-0822-SB649-Dr-Golomb-Opposition-Letter or below.

I urge in the strongest terms that you vigorously oppose California SB 649. If this bill passes, many people will suffer greatly, and needlessly, as a direct result. This sounds like hyperbole. It is not.

My research group at UC San Diego alone has received hundreds of communications from people who have developed serious health problems from electromagnetic radiation, following introduction of new technologies. Others with whom I am in communication, have independently received hundreds of similar reports. Most likely these are a tip of an iceberg of tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of affected people. As each new technology that leads to further electromagnetic radiation exposure is introduced — and particularly introduced in a fashion that prevents vulnerable individuals from avoiding it — a new group becomes sensitized. This is particularly true for pulsed signals in the radiowave and microwave portion of the spectrum, the type for which the proposed bill, SB 649, will bypass local control.

Mechanisms by which health effects are exerted have been shown to include

  • oxidative stress (the type of injury against which antioxidants protect (see optional section below),
  • damage to mitochondria (the energy producing parts of cells),
  • damage to cell membranes1,21,
  • an impaired blood-brain barrier3-5 (the blood brain barrier defends the brain against introduction of foreign substances and toxins; additionally, disruption can lead to brain edema6),
  • constriction of blood vessels and impaired blood flow to the brain7, and
  • triggering of autoimmune reactions8,9.

Exposures to pulsed, modulated, Radiofrequency Microwave radiation (‘RF/MW radiation’) depresses antioxidant defenses and magnifies vulnerability to future exposures. Some affected people can then no longer tolerate many other forms and intensities of electromagnetic radiation that had previously caused them no problem, and that currently cause others no problem. Electromagnitically Sensitive and disabled Californians deserve — and actually have their rights guaranteed by the Americans with Disabilities Act — to be able to avoid these exposures to RF/MW radiation.

Affected individuals experience symptoms that cause them distress and suffering when they are exposed to RF/MW radiation: symptoms like headaches10,11, ringing in their ears10,11 and chest pains10 from impaired blood flow, heart rhythm abnormalities10,11, and inability to sleep10,11. These symptoms arise from physiological injury form this environmentally-induced illness.

Fully half who were employed when their problems developed lost their job because of the problem, among participants of a survey we conducted. They reported that their condition had cost them up to 2 million dollars to date. Many had lost their homes. A number became homeless, and have swelled the ranks of so-called “EMF refugees”17-19. Among those affected, many were previously high functioning individuals — engineers, doctors, and lawyers.

The best and the brightest are among those whose lives and ability to contribute to society will be destroyed. High profile individuals with acknowledged Electromagnetic Sensitivity (‘EMS’) include, for instance, Gro Harlem Brundtland, the former three-time Prime Minister of Norway and former Director General of the World Health Organization20, Matti Niemela, former Nokia Technology Chief21; and the wife of Frank Clegg22, the former head of Microsoft Canada and the current head of Canadians for Safe Technology23.

Each new roll-out of RF/MW radiation technology for which exposure is obligatory, swells the ranks of EMS sensitive and disabled people, particularly following a significant exposure to pulsed, modulated RF/MW radiation, and particularly when people have no ability to avoid it. Many state that they didn’t understand the problem (if they had heard of it at all) until they themselves fell prey to it.

This is not a psychologically driven condition. Multiple objective physiological changes reflecting mechanisms of injury have been shown in persons with this condition24,25.

The role of oxidative stress, that has been shown in innumerable studies (below), is affirmed by evidence of a link of this condition to genetic variants in antioxidant defenses, that are less avid in defending against oxidative stress307 by suggestibility. People cannot manipulate their genes, to produce such an outcome.

An analysis by a University of Washington researcher showed that most studies funded by industry reported failure to show physiological effects. However, most studies without such industry bias concluded effects. This is redolent of findings shown in medicine26, regarding which the former editor in chief of the BMJ (the British Medical Journal), Richard Smith, noted, based on findings of a study,

This [result] suggests that, far from conflict of interest being unimportant in the objective and pure world of science where method and the quality of data is everything, it is the main factor determining the result of studies.”27.

So where articles deny injury from RF/MW radiation, there is commonly a stake aligned with financial benefit from such denial.

EMS Californians are in desperate need of protection by our elected officials. They need creation of safe spaces and housing. They need roadways to allow travel, not removal of any prospect of safe travel. They need protection of local rights to make decisions, not removal of any recourse or ability to avoid what injures them.

EMS Californians are far more strongly in need of protections than a great many protected classes – their problems arose due to actions of others to create their environmentally-induced illness, an illness that can be reversed, in most cases, if the RF/MW radiation assault on them is rolled back. Through no fault of their own, and in some cases against their will, (e.g. before opt out was permitted with smart meters), they were subjected to RF/MW radiation exposures that have altered their lives as they knew them, and forced them — needlessly — to the margins of society.

Let our focus be on safer, wired and well-shielded technology — not more Wireless technology. SB.649, if passed, the resulting unrestricted roll-out of this Wireless technology, would predictably and directly injure and disable a larger population of Californians, and would add depth of suffering to those already affected.

In other spheres we abridge freedoms to protect the vulnerable few. We require that every schoolchild be vaccinated, supposedly to protect the vulnerable few who may not respond effectively to a vaccine. The need to protect the vulnerable group is deemed to be so great that it justifies the decision to abridge individual rights.

In contrast, this bill seeks to abridge individual freedoms, and local rights, in the service of harming a vulnerable group, and adding to its ranks. The common factor appears to be that in both cases, the direction is aligned with a powerful industry that influences political decisions.

If any group can opt out (such as, I understand, firefighters)28; then every group deserves that equal right. Others should not be second class citizens, subject to fewer protections.

It would go far to helping this cause if anyone complicit in promoting or passing the legislation (and then after that, their families) were required to be the first subjected, for a substantial test period, to the greatest amount of exposure that anyone else (and their families) may be subjected to, when new policies of this type are rolled out. It will still not do them equal damage; because they may not represent the vulnerabilities that others will have; but such a policy might help them think twice. That is a bill I would strongly endorse.

Most who are now affected were not affected, until they were. This may become you – or your child or grandchild. Moreover, if you have a child, or a grandchild, his sperm, or her eggs (all of which she will already have by the time she is a fetus in utero), will be affected by the oxidative stress damage created by the RF/MW radiation, in a fashion that may affect your future generations irreparably.

Among those surveyed, fully half of those who were employed at the time they developed electrosensitivity, lost employment due to this problem. This may understate the scope of the tragedy, since this most-affected group may be least likely to be able to respond to an online survey.

Many who previously had no problem navigating in the world are now restricted from access to basic services like hospital care, post offices and libraries because of these problems. With each new introduction of Wireless technology that exposes many to yet a new non-discretionary source of RF/MW radiation that emits pulsed radiation in the microwave part of the spectrum, a new group of people are affected; and the suffering of those who are already affected increases greatly.

Please, defend the public and our future. Protect the rights of the individual and the local communities against a form of incursion that would lead to serious harm and would set a terrible precedent. Vote no on California SB 649, and urge that everyone else do the same.


Beatrice Alexandra Golomb, MD, PhD
Professor of Medicine
UC San Diego School of Medicine

SB.649’s Firefighter Exemption

  • The legislature granted an exemption from SB.649 to the firefighters who requested it for health reasons.

  • Throughout California, firefighters have long complained of often disabling symptoms from cell towers on their stations. Cities frequently rent out space on fire stations to add to city revenue.

  • Symptoms experienced by the firefighters have included

    • neurological impairment including severe headache, confusion, and inability to focus,
    • lethargy, inability to sleep, and inability to wake up for 911 emergency calls,
    • Firefighters have reported getting lost on 911 calls in the same community they grew up in
  • One veteran medic forgot where he was in the midst of basic CPR on a cardiac victim and couldn’t recall how to start the procedure over again. Prior to the installation of the tower on his station, this medic had not made a single mistake in 20 years.

  • A pilot study (2004) of California firefighters showed brain abnormalities, cognitive impairment, delayed reaction time, and lack of impulse control in all 6 firefighters tested (https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/7022117660.pdf). This study led to the overwhelming passage of Resolution 15 by the International Association of Firefighters in Boston in August 2004. Resolution 15 called for further study and was amended to impose a moratorium on the placement of cell towers on fire stations throughout the US and Canada.”15,28

  • Clearly, others who experience similar problems also deserve protections.

Substantial Scientific Studies That Conclude Hazards from RF/MW Radiation Exposures

  • There is robust scientific literature showing that electromagnetic radiation, including at non-ionizing frequencies, and at levels29,30 well below those that cause thermal heating of tissue, causes physiological effects, injury, and cell death, not only in humans but in many animals and plants3,7,31-49. Unsurprisingly, the Wireless industry has sought — against the tide of evidence to the contrary — to maintain that radiation must be ionizing or heating to cause injury.

  • Hundreds of studies show that RF/MW radiation can impair antioxidant defenses, increase “oxidative stress” (free radical injury) and damage mitochondria, the energy producing parts of cells1,2,34,50-69, 70-104,105-136,137-171. These effects occur with ionizing and nonionizing radiation, at thermal and subthermal levels. Indeed, most of the damage by ionizing radiation, and radiation above the thermal limit, occurs by mechanisms also documented to occur without ionization, and below the thermal limit. These mechanisms cohere with the mechanisms documented to play a role in symptoms and health conditions that are reported in those who are electromagnetically sensitive – extending to seizures172-176, heart failure177-184 and cognitive decline5,32,57,108,185-195.

  • These mechanisms are involved in brain cancer, metabolic diseases like obesity and diabetes, autism, autoimmune disease, and neurodegenerative conditions, conditions that have exploded in recent years. In each case, these have been linked, or presumptively linked, in some studies, to RF/MW radiation8,9,16,34,196-219.

  • RF/MW radiation has effects on sperm<sup>33, 100, 220-228 and the DNA of sperm229, consistent with recent news reports of marked recent declines in sperm counts and function.

  • RF/MW radiation has toxic effects in pregnancy230, to the fetus and subsequent offspring231-235 including at low levels236, and is tied to developmental problems in later life, including attention deficit and hyperactivity31, 235-241. It is critical to defend pregnant women (and eggs of girls who may at a later time become pregnant) from exposures with such toxicity.

  • Electromagnetic radiation across most of the spectrum (not excluding visible light) has been shown to depress levels of melatonin40,72,242-252, which is known for its cancer-fighting properties and its role in the sleep cycle. Indeed, impaired sleep is the most consistent symptom in affected individuals10, 11. Melatonin a critical antioxidant that defends the body against harm from many toxic exposures253-266 including electromagnetic radiation itself 61,66,67,82,101,107,118,121, 138,144,151,204,249,267-284, reducing the oxidative stress that is implicated in cancer, metabolic diseases like obesity and diabetes, autism, autoimmune disease, bipolar disorder and neurodegenerative conditions, and that also plays a role in heart attack and stroke9,285-329,330-343.

  • RF/MW radiation can also depress levels of other critical antioxidant systems that also defend the body against chemical, radiation, and other sources of injury. These other antioxidant systems include the glutathione system, superoxide dismutase and catalase81, 102, 115, 116, 233, 344-358 which are also involved in defending against health problems. This suggests that depression of antioxidant defenses due to RF/MW radiation may magnify risk of chemically induced health effects (and the depression of antioxidant systems) because some chemicals may amplify harm from RF/MW radiation, as reported.359, 360.

Scientific References

  1. Benderitter M, Vincent-Genod L, Pouget JP, Voisin P. The cell membrane as a biosensor of oxidative stress induced by radiation exposure: a multiparameter investigation. Radiat Res 2003;159:471-83.

  2. Baureus Koch CL, Sommarin M, Persson BR, Salford LG, Eberhardt JL. Interaction between weak low frequency magnetic fields and cell membranes. Bioelectromagnetics 2003;24:395-402.

  3. Tang J, Zhang Y, Yang L, et al. Exposure to 900 MHz electromagnetic fields activates the mkp-1/ERK pathway and causes blood-brain barrier damage and cognitive impairment in rats. Brain Res 2015;1601:92-101.

  4. Nittby H, Brun A, Eberhardt J, Malmgren L, Persson BR, Salford LG. Increased blood-brain barrier permeability in mammalian brain 7 days after exposure to the radiation from a GSM-900 mobile phone. Pathophysiology 2009;16:103-12.

  5. Zhang. Exposure to 900 MHz electromagnetic fields activates the mpk-1/ERK pathway and causes bloodbrain barrier damage and cognitive impairment in rats. Brain Res 2015;1609:92-101.

  6. Adair JC, Baldwin N, Kornfeld M, Rosenberg GA. Radiation-induced blood-brain barrier damage in astrocytoma: relation to elevated gelatinase B and urokinase. J Neurooncol 1999;44:283-9.

  7. Aalto S, Haarala C, Bruck A, Sipila H, Hamalainen H, Rinne JO. Mobile phone affects cerebral blood flow in humans. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 2006;26:885-90.

  8. Ivanov AA, Grigor’ev Iu G, Mal’tsev VN, et al. [Autoimmune processes after long-term low-level exposure to electromagnetic fields (the results of an experiment). Part 3. The effect of the long-term non-thermal RF EMF exposure on complement-fixation antibodies against homologenous tissue]. Radiats Biol Radioecol 2010;50:17-21.

  9. Grigorev Iu G, Mikhailov VF, Ivanov AA, et al. [Autoimmune processes after long-term low-level exposure to electromagnetic fields (the results of an experiment). Part 4. Manifestation of oxidative intracellular stress-reaction after long-term non-thermal EMF exposure of rats]. Radiats Biol Radioecol 2010;50:22-7.

  10. Lamech F. Self-reporting of symptom development from exposure to radiofrequency fields of wireless smart meters in victoria, australia: a case series. Altern Ther Health Med 2014;20:28-39.

  11. Halteman E. Wireless utility meter safety impacts survey: Final Results Summary. Sept 13 2011;(http://emfsafetynetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Wireless-Utility-Meter-SafetyImpacts-Survey-Results-Final.pdf). 97.

  12. Alsanosi AA, Al-Momani MO, Hagr AA, Almomani FM, Shami IM, Al-Habeeb SF. The acute auditory effects of exposure for 60 minutes to mobile`s electromagnetic field. Saudi Med J 2013;34:142-6.

  13. Karaer I, Simsek G, Gul M, et al. Melatonin protects inner ear against radiation damage in rats. Laryngoscope 2015.

  14. Celiker H, Ozgur A, Tumkaya L, et al. Effects of exposure to 2100MHz GSM-like radiofrequency electromagnetic field on auditory system of rats. Braz Otorhinolaryngol 2016;S1808-8694:302221.

  15. Foster S. Health exemption for firefighters sends a message to the world. GALLERY;Posted on June 26, 2017.

  16. Sobel E, Davanipour Z, Sulkava R, et al. Occupations with exposure to EMFs: a possible link for
    Alzheimer’s disease. Amer J Epidemiol 1995;142:515-24

  17. Stein Y. Environmental refugees. UNESCO 10th World Conference on ZBioethics, Medical Ethics and Health Law 2015;Jerusalem, Israel:Jan 6-8.

  18. Frompovich CJ. Environmental refugees: Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) sufferers. Naturalblazecom 2016;Jan 28.

  19. http://www.emfanalysis.com/emf-refugee/.

  20. http://articles.latimes.com/2010/feb/15/health/la-he-electromagnetic-syndrome1-2010feb15.

  21. http://stopsmartmetersorguk/former-nokia-chief-mobile-phones-wrecked-my-health/.

  22. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/frank-clegg/post_5393_b_3745157.html.

  23. Clegg F. Electrohypersensitivity Is Real. The Huffington Post, Canada 2013;June 12, 2013.

  24. Belpomme D, Campagnac C, Irigaray P. Reliable disease biomarkers characterizing and identifying electrohypersensitivity and multiple chemical sensitivity as two etiopathogenic aspects of a unique pathological disorder. Rev Environ Health 2015;30:251-71.

  25. Heuser G, Heuser SA. Functional brain MRI in patients complaining of electrohypersensitivity after long term exposure to electromagnetic fields. . Rev Environ Health 2017;Jul 5.

  26. Golomb BA. Conflict of Interest in Medicine http://thesciencenetwork.org/programs/beyond-belief-candles-in-the-dark/beatrice-golomb: Beyond Belief: Candles in the Dark, sponsored by The Science Network (tsntv.org), session entitled “This is Your Brain on Politics” Salk Institute. La Jolla, CA. Oct 5; 2008.

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  28. International Association of Fire Fighters Division of Occupational Health SaM. Position on the health effects from radio frequency/ microwave (RF/MW) radiation in fire department facilities from base stations for anttennas and towers for the conduction of cell phone transmissions. 2006.

  29. Gurler HS, Bilgici B, Akar AK, Tomak L, Bedir A. Increased DNA oxidation (8-OHdG) and protein oxidation (AOPP) by low level electromagnetic field (2.45 GHz) in rat brain and protective effect of garlic. Int J Radiat Biol 2014;90:892-6.

  30. Jajte J, Zmyslony M. [The role of melatonin in the molecular mechanism of weak, static and extremely low frequency (50 Hz) magnetic fields (ELF)]. Med Pr 2000;51:51-7.

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  32. Deshmukh PS, Nasare N, Megha K, et al. Cognitive impairment and neurogenotoxic effects in rats exposed to low-intensity microwave radiation. Int J Toxicol 2015;34:284-90.

  33. Avendano C, Mata A, Sanchez Sarmiento CA, Doncel GF. Use of laptop computers connected to internet through Wi-Fi decreases human sperm motility and increases sperm DNA fragmentation. Fertil Steril 2012;97:39-45 e2.

  34. Barnes F, Greenenbaum B. Some Effects of Weak Magnetic Fields on Biological Systems: RF fields can change radical concentrations and cancer cell growth rates. IEEE Power Electronics Magazine 2016;3:608.

  35. Blank M, Goodman R. Comment: a biological guide for electromagnetic safety: the stress response.
    Bioelectromagnetics 2004;25:642-6; discussion 7-8

More to come . . .