• 06 JAN 06
    • 0

    Comments on DECT phones, etc

    From Katharina Gustavs:

    Yes, wireless cordless phones using the DECT technology (or here in Canada it usually says 2.4 GHz or 5.8 GHz on the base station) are the stuff nightmares are made of. I would rate it the single most trouble-causing device in modern homes. This technology was first introduced to Europe, around 1988 I believe. When I took my building biology training in Germany, Leberecht von Klitzing, a medical physicist from the University of Luebeck who observed EEG changes during cell phone radiation exposure (von Klitzing L: Low-frequency pulsed electromagnetic fields influence EEG of man. Physica Medica 1995; 11 (2): 77-80.), was one of the instructors. He told me in a personal conversation that in the beginning of the 1990s he all of sudden had infants brought to him who were perfectly healthy, but their heart beat started going crazy for no obvious reasons. As soon as the DECT cordless phone was removed from the bedroom or neighboring apartment, the infant’s heart beat went back to normal.

    RF radiation emitted from DECT cordless phones have a similar pulsed low-frequency (100 Hz) signal like certain cell phone technologies (e.g. 217 Hz) and in the case of DECT phones this type of radiation easily reaches up to 30′. And the worst thing about these phones is that they do radiate 24 hours a day whether you place a phone call or not! Peak power can be up to 250 mW.

    Back in 1999 Leberecht von Klitzing already told me that there are much higher frequencies occurring within human brain wave patterns than previously thought. So the ELF signals attached to a lot of wireless communication technologies are not operating in a void space, but living organisms obviously already make use of these frequency bands. Imagine Industry Canada (or the FCC or whatever the name of the agency in a country that is allowed to sell the usage of frequency bands) would have a chart at their office wall, which shows all the frequency bands already utilized by living organisms. And the most essential frequency bands are highlighted and designated as protected frequencies so they cannot be auctioned off anymore for “human consumption”.

    Well, if my memory serves me right, he mentioned such numbers like 100 Hz for human brain wave frequencies. He explained that EEG monitoring instrumentation was not capable to actually pick up on the higher frequencies until recently. The first brain waves (alpha and beta) were recorded by Berger back in 1929. By now neuroscience textbooks describe a gamma frequency range, between 20 up to 60 Hz and sometimes up to 100 Hz for humans. Brain wave frequencies for rodents are documented up to 200 Hz. Gamma oscillations in the human brain seem to be related to meaningful object perception, learning and memory. (Memory-matches evoke human gamma-responses: www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2202/5/13) And it looks like that certain patterns in the high frequency range (> 20 Hz) during sleep are associated with symptoms of schizophrenia and depression. (High frequency EEG activity during sleep: characteristics in schizophrenia and depression: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi? cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=15683195&query_hl=12&itoo l=pubmed_docsum).

    In 1999 the Professional Association of Building Biology Consultants in Germany (Verband Deutscher Baubiologen www.baubiologie.net) demanded to ban the DECT cordless phone technology. In October 2002, fifty medical doctors from Germany shared their concern about negative health impacts associated with the use of 2.4 GHz cordless as well as mobile phones in the Freiburg Appeal – an initiative of the Interdisciplinary Society of Environmental Medicine (IGUMED). The Freiburg Appeal states that heart disturbances, extreme fluctuations in blood pressure and behavioral disorders among others could be observed in an increasing number of people using such mobile phone devices and demands that current digital phone technologies should be reviewed and adjusted to our biological needs. The English version of the Freiburg Appeal can be found in the News Archives of the Swedish Association for the Electrosensitivewww.feb.se/NEWS/news2001-2002.html

    After the first results of the REFLEX study came out last summer 2005, the Association of Medical Doctors from Vienna (Austria) (Ärtztekammer aus Wien www.aekwien.at) joined the British Medical Association and issued a warning that children under the age of 16 should not be using cell phones. And in fall 2005, the Medical Doctors from Vienna even went a step further and wrote up “10 Medical Rules for Cell Phone Use” for everybody, not just children. The poster, which was sent out to all members of the association, also recommends against the use of cell phones in waiting rooms.

    Here you find the original poster in German

    Please find my English translation, which was authorized by the Ärtztekammer Wien, attached further below. You are very welcome and even encouraged to distribute it on your e-mail list.

    [Don’s note: I cannot attach pdf files on this list so if you want a copy of the poster please email me.]

    And while I finally sit down to write to you, I also wanted to apologize for not responding earlier to your e-mail about a year ago, in which you asked me about my opinion on RF radiation and filter technologies. It took me a little while to borrow some Stetzer filters and do some experimentation. I never had luck with those filters on the projects I was consulted on.

    First of all, I would like to point out that in building biology, the first line of defense is to eliminate all AC electric and magnetic fields from the sleep environment. The installation of Stetzer filters in the best-case scenario reduces harmonics, but does nothing about the 60 or 50 Hz that can be just as damaging during sleep. So for sleep any external (transmitters) or internal (DECT cordless phones) RF sources including voltages on the home wiring should be eliminated.

    Now it sounds like when you shut off the main panel, the hum is still there, which would mean that the external field is quite high and/or building components of the house seem also to go in resonance. It would be interesting to know how well the grounding system performed. The few experiments in a rural setting I did with the Stetzer filters taught me that when the grounding system of the electrical installation has a real good ground connection, the filters did not make such a huge difference, but when the grounding system is poor, the filters may first increase the actual exposure. I would agree with your assumption that certain portions of the energy must be traveling along the neutral conductor or any metal piping, which usually is not shut off in the main panel. If a system is grounded at some metal piping AND a grounding rod or plate, things usually get even worse.

    It would be interesting to here how the mitigation efforts in the house at Hobart turned out and whether the installation of Stetzer filters removed the humming, which would surprise me because those filters would be unable to shield against the incoming wireless microwave radiation. I find humming worse in homes with a strong RF source nearby and that have more metal in the building components such as metal roofing, metal mesh for stucco, metal cladding, extra steel reinforcing, etc. To eliminate such humming is often a daunting task.

    Once I had a client who had an entire array of cell phone repeaters right across from his windows. He opted for shielding the whole house, which seemed to be cheaper than moving his business, and it felt amazingly quiet inside afterwards. Occupants could sleep again and did not have to be bothered by humming. It was a challenging project because the original home wiring was not shielded and RF shielding and electrical wires, of course, interact.

    Thanks again for your invaluable service to keep everybody connected, informed and encouraged.

    With best wishes for a healthy and happy New Year,

    Katharina Gustavs
    Building Biology Consultant

    Phone: 250-642-2774
    Fax: 250-642-2785
    E-mail: gustavs@buildingbiology.ca

    HIDDEN-SEE Building Biology Services
    5237 Mt. Matheson Rd.
    Sooke BC V0S 1N0 Canada

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