After moving to Los Angeles in the mid-'90s from the Middle East and Canada, I immediately began to see a startling trend. The number of cellphones I saw people using began to grow at breakneck speed especially in a booming city like Los Angeles, with Hollywood, real estate, sports marketing, shopping and high-end businesses everywhere.
In less than a generation, cellphones and the internet have revolutionized virtually every aspect of our lives, transforming how we work, socialize and communicate. But what are the health consequences of this invisible convenience?
As a mother of teenagers, I am concerned with the shadowy side of wireless technology, and its impact on our children. I am troubled by the increased health risks and how it is sociologically impacting children’s development and behavior. As a citizen and consumer, I am disturbed by the business ethics behind the wireless revolution and its ubiquitous use in schools, at work and at home.
This month the California Department of Health boldly announced new safety guidelines for the use of cellphones after multiple studies rightly showed the health effects of the radiation they emit along with increased problems of concentration. Every state needs to immediately do the same. The facts are indisputable and the wireless companies can’t hide the truth anymore. It eventually will catch up with them like it did with the tobacco industry or pesticides.
I love technology and the many conveniences it has offered us, yet I believe that increased transparency is vital, including pre-market testing, post-market monitoring and revised policies and regulations.
When I first became aware of the invisible dangers of wireless radiation from cellphones and other wireless devices, I knew that as a filmmaker, I had to try and let the rest of the world know what I had discovered. I was shocked that this little electronic device I had become so dependent upon could be responsible for causing health problems ranging from neurological effects to cancer and decreased fertility in men.
I was even more shocked when I found out that wifi in schools was a serious issue. I choose to use my device. My children don’t choose to be irradiated. That’s when I knew I had to do something, so I made a film titled Generation Zapped. I spent years researching and writing, driven by the knowledge that my children were constantly being exposed to potentially harmful radiation. I chose the leading experts on the issue, including David Carpenter, director of the Institute for Health & Environment at New York State University at Albany; Martin Blank, associate professor of physiology and cellular biophysics at Columbia University; Ernesto Burgio, pediatrician and president of the Scientific Committee of the International Society of Doctors for Environment; and many others.
I revealed several dramatic stories of people suffering from health problems they believe to be caused by their cellphones and other wireless radiation sources. One woman showed me the area of breast cancer she has in the shape of the cell phone she used to carry in her bra.
I spoke to a former cellphone industry executive, who told me “had there been pre-market testing, cellphones never would have made it into the marketplace.”
France just the other day announced the banning of cellphones in schools, not only because of how prolonged use affects children sociologically and behaviorally but also because of the related health effects.
At a recent speaking event in San Francisco, I was joined by supporters of the film like Ellen Marks from the California Brain Tumor Association, Peter Sullivan, founder of Clear Light Ventures, along with a co-founder of Physicians for Responsible Technology, Dr. Cindy Russell and Dr. Joel Moskowitz from the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.
Until more states join the fight by following California’s lead, I recommend that everyone around the world consider the case for honoring the precautionary principle when it comes to the adoption of wireless technology—simply to slow down, turn it off at night and “plug it in” until more extensive research is validated and complete.
The tide is turning on the industry. This shocking discovery has empowered me as a mom and a concerned citizen. I won’t stop until people at least hear the facts about the proven health dangers of wireless technology so that they can make an informed decision about how much they allow themselves and their families to be exposed on a daily basis.
I recently privately screened the film to Google and Salesforce employees as part of the Silicon Valley International Film festival. I was surprised to see how well the film was received by industry insiders, which gives me hope that change is on the horizon.