It started at dinner. Once we were seated, we all instinctively placed our cellphones faced down on the table, which prompted a discussion around how we all unconsciously did it. We concluded that holding a radiation-emitting device so close to our body can’t be good.
But how bad is it really? We’d all heard different versions of the story: brain and testicular cancer; fertility issues; cardiovascular disease. We simply weren’t sure. Cell phones had only been around for a few years, so how could we determine the long-term consequences?
What was certain was that we didn’t know much about cell phone radiation at all, that needed to change. Coming from a scientific background, I decided to do some digging.
And what I discovered blew my mind.
On March 28 2018, the scientific peer review of a landmark United States government study (the National Toxicology Program of the US Department of Health and Human Services) concluded that there is “clear evidence” that radiation from mobile phones causes cancer.
This was one of the hundreds of studies those past few years that linked wireless radiation to higher risks of developing cancer, to lower sperm count (up to 50% diminution) and sperm quality, and to lower levels of testosterone.
Over 200 scientists from top scientific institutions around the world have raised the alarm on the danger of cellphone radiation after publishing over 2,000 research papers on electromagnetic fields (EMF) on biology or health. Comprehensive reports compiled hundreds of studies done on the question.
Yet, the media coverage of the numbers and the studies has been surprisingly low compared to the health impact. That’s when I discovered that the wireless industry was thinking that we are idiots.
“For a quarter of a century now, the industry has been orchestrating a global PR campaign aimed at misleading not only journalists, but also consumers and policymakers about the actual science concerning mobile phone radiation.”
It all started in January 1993, when David Reynard sued the NEC America company, because using a cellphone allegedly gave his wife brain cancer. In reply, the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA) tried to defuse the public relations crisis by announcing that they were hiring George Carlo – an epidemiologist who had conducted research for other controversial industries such as the Agent Orange scandal – to conduct a wide study on the impact of cellphone radiation. This Wireless Technology Research project (WTR) started in 1995.
“The rate of death from brain cancer among handheld phone users was higher than the rate of brain cancer death among [others]”
“The risk of rare neuro epithelial tumours on the outside of the brain was more than doubled, a statistically significant risk increase, in cell phone users”
“The ability of radiation from a phone’s antenna to cause functional genetic damage [was] definitely positive”
“[There is] correlation between brain tumours occurring on the right side of the head and the use of the phone on the right side of the head”
Unfortunately, Carlo found a conclusive link between cellphone radiation and cancer, and informed the CTIA and the CEOs of the industry that they should do the right thing and inform the public of the risk it was taking by using their products.
“[Give] consumers the information they need to make an informed judgment about how much of this unknown risk they wish to assume in their use of wireless phones [especially since] some in the industry [had] repeatedly and falsely claimed that wireless phones are safe for all consumers”
George Carlo to the CTIA
The next day, the CTIA started trashing Carlo in the media and casting doubt on the validity of his studies.
Since the WTR project and Carlo’s letter, wireless companies have known for years the risk associated with cellphone radiation, but chose to apply the very same strategy and tactics as the tobacco industry in the 60s and the oil industry to deceive the public about the risks of smoking and climate change, respectively.
“And like their tobacco and oil counterparts, wireless industry CEOs lied to the public even after their own scientists privately warned that their products could be dangerous.”
A Motorola internal memo refers to it as “war-gaming” science. War-gaming consist involves playing offense as well as defense: seeking to discredit scientists or studies whose views differ from the industry’s, placing industry-friendly experts on advisory bodies such as the World Health Organisation, and most importantly falsely conveying the impression that the scientific community was divided on this question by funding industry-friendly studies:
67% of the independently funded studies found a biological effect of radiation, while only 28% of the industry-funded studies did.
The investigative story reported by The Guardian is fascinating, and the full investigation uncovered the close relationship between the FCC (the regulatory agency) and the wireless industry (the President of the CTIA became chair of the FCC a few years later), or how the wireless industry tries to pressure scientists and scientific institutions to stop funding scientific studies whose results show that radiation has effects.
Bottom line, all of us at dinner were actually underestimating how big the real danger is. But no matter how shocked we were, we also love technology, and were not ready to give up on the Internet and all the convenience our smart devices have provided us. I’m honestly lost without Google Maps. I use “Google-ing” as a verb more often than I wish. And I couldn’t be staying as much in touch with my family (even my 87 year old grand-ma!) without my smartphone.
So during this eye-opening dinner, we set out to create a solution that would allow us to keep using technology without putting our health at risk or changing our habits.
We knew microwaves, which operate with the same radiation as cellphones and wifi routers, have a built-in faraday cage built-in that keep radiation inside. We therefore knew that it was physically feasible.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t just put a radiation shield in form of a case or pouch around the source of the radiation – the phone – since that would block the connection to the antennas, making the phone useless. This meant we needed to put something between the phone and our body to blocks the harmful radiation. The best and non-intrusive way to protect us would be to shield directly our garments.
Further research informed us that the NASA was using anti-radiation technology in their space suits. The underlying principle is that electromagnetic radiation cannot pass through holes in conductive material that are smaller than their wave length. This way, it is possible to shield anything from EMF by surrounding it with a conductive wire-mesh of the appropriate diameter.
Months of work and hundreds of prototypes allowed us to bring this technology into an extra soft fabric that we patented and called WaveStopper. We used silver threads that are sewed as a tight mesh inside the cotton. This mesh shields everything inside the cotton from wireless radiation. MET Labs, a US military-grade laboratory, tested this technology and the results show that this new fabric blocks 99% of microwaves, which includes wifi radiation, bluetooth, and cellphone radiation.
Another awesome property of silver is that it is anti-bacterial. This means that the any garment we would produce with our WaveStopper technology would also be bacteria and odor-free.
As guys tend to keep their phone in their pocket all day long, we started by designing men’s underwear – the first “faraday boxers” equipped with this technology. Now we simply had to make them good looking with a high quality band, comfortable with no ride-up legs and practical with a horizontal fly so that we want to wear them every day.
These new LAMBS boxers really changed my life. I can use my beloved technology every day without any worry by just using underwear that looks and feels even better than my old ones.
And since we loved this product so much, we thought we would make it available to you too. Today, tens of thousands of people love LAMBS. We hope to protect your most important assets too!
Thanks for reading my story, and do not hesitate to reach out if you have any question: I personally read every email.
Art, CEO of LAMBS