Arthur Firstenberg – Words attributed to him

[SS: bold text = highlights by me; see also Arthur Firstenberg – In his own words and The World According to Arthur Firstenberg]

(1997)  Microwaving Our Planet

  • At Arthur’s request, we have only a few paragraphs and the bibliography here. He believes, and rightly so, that “the Internet is part of the problem.”

(January 2002)  Microwave Hot Seat (Wired.com)

  • “The world is a minefield for people with electrical sensitivity,” said Firstenberg, the author of Microwaving Our Planet, a book that blames radio frequencies for everything from irritability to cancer.
  • “I have people calling me, crying to me that they’re in pain all the time, asking me where they can live,” Firstenberg said. “I tell them we’re trying to save Mendocino as a refuge.”
  • Electrical sensitivity is not recognized by the U.S. medical establishment, and Firstenberg refused to disclose his diagnosis, which allows him to collect disability income. He also says he suffers from chemical sensitivity, a condition denounced by many doctors as quackery.
  • Firstenberg says he became electrically sensitive in 1982 as a pre-med student at the University of California at Irvine, after he received more than 40 dental X-rays. One day he collapsed on the hospital floor with heart pains and subsequently he lost 15 pounds in two weeks. He also grew short of breath around electrical equipment. Finally he dropped out of med school and moved to the “clean environment” of Mendocino.
  • “The reason I’m lobbying so hard to stop the expansion of wireless facilities all over the country is because I firmly believe this is affecting the health of the nation,” said Firstenberg, who graduated from Cornell University with a degree in mathematics and a minor in physics. “There has to be widespread recognition among scientists and the public that this is a problem.”

(Spring 2002)  Positive Health News:  No Place To Hide – Cellular phone Towers and Electrical Sensitivity

  • “These excerpts were taken from the Cellular Phone Task Force, PO Box 1337, Mendocino, CA 95460 718-434-4499 written and published by Arthur Firstenberg. For a copy of Vol. 3, No 2, include $4.00. There are a number of informative articles in this 32 page magazine like one on Computer vision and memory loss, attention deficit disorder, and asthma increasing in children at an alarming rate world-wide that is linked to an increase in radio waves.”

(January 2007)  Worries cell phones could damage your cells (San Francisco Chronicle, sfgate.com)

  • Firstenberg says the millions of people who are expected to buy Apple’s iPhone should consider this first: Mobile phones emit radiation, cause damage to brain tissue, and produce the kind of cancer that kills rats in laboratory experiments. Surfing the Internet on BART, listening to your favorite iPod song and texting a message to your lover — all at the same time — may seem like the ultimate in 21st-century bohemia, but it’s really a new form of self-torture, say Firstenberg and others who have spent years worrying about the effects of electromagnetic radiation.
  • “Nobody wants to think they’re putting a harmful thing next to their head,” says Firstenberg in a phone interview from Santa Fe, N.M., where he moved after living for several years in Mendocino. “This radiation is not confined to your cell phone — it goes everywhere, and everyone is being affected, whether they know it or not.”
  • People who use cell phones for hours are basically heating their brains to dangerous levels, says Firstenberg.
  • The New Mexico capital has cell-phone towers, but Firstenberg thinks its location (Santa Fe is almost 7,000 feet above sea level) lessens the effects of the towers. Still, if the city allows widespread installation of Wi-Fi antennae, “I’ll leave,” Firstenberg says.

(September 2008) Are You Sensitive to Electromagnetic Energy? (BioEnergiMed.com)

  • Source of Symptoms: “No Place To Hide” vol 3, no. 1 April, 2001, “Special Issue on Russian and Ukrainian Research” by Arthur Firstenberg, Editor of The Cellular Phone Taskforce.
  • Between 3 and 35% of the population may have symptoms of EHS [electrohypersensitivity] according to The Power Watch Handbook by Alasdair and Jean Philips.
  • Symptoms of Electrohypersensitiviy or Radio Wave Sickness: headaches, dizziness, nausea, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, irritability, depression, anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, weakness, tremors, muscle spasms, numbness, tingling, altered reflexes, muscle and joint pain, leg/foot pain, flu-like symptoms, fever. More severe reactions can include seizures, paralysis, psychosis and stroke; Cardiac: palpitations, arrhythmias, pain or pressure in the chest, low or high blood pressure, slow or fast heart rate, shortness of breath; sinusitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, and asthma; skin rash, itching, burning, and facial flushing; pain or burning in the eyes, pressure in/behind the eyes, deteriorating vision, floaters, and cataracts; digestive problems; abdominal pain; enlarged thyroid, testicular/ovarian pain; dryness of lips, tongue, mouth, eyes; great thirst; dehydration; nosebleeds, internal bleeding; altered sugar metabolism; immune abnormalities; redistribution of metals within the body; hair loss; pain in the teeth; deteriorating fillings; impaired sense of smell; ringing in the ears.
  • Sources include:  1) Lighting in Stores; 2) Mobile Phones (both cell phones and cordless phones); 3)  Some Energy Efficient Light Bulbs, Especially Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL)
  • Common Sources of Radio Waves (wired & wireless) If you suffer from EHS, avoid or disable these common trouble devices. Outdoors: broadcast and cell phone antennas, radar, cell phones, pagers, two-way radios, Wi-Fi antennas Indoors: cordless telephones and their base units, wireless computers and their wireless routers, wired computers, televisions, microwave ovens, dimmer switches, security systems, remote controls, fax machines, answering machines, assistive listening system and devices for the hearing impaired, wireless microphones, variable speed motors, transformers, child monitors, electric utility smart meters, signal- broadcasting smoke alarms, some electronic games… Vehicles: CB radios, ignition systems, spark plugs, alternator, mobile radar units, electric trains and subways, wiring in airplanes.
  • If you said yes to several categories above, you may be electromagnetically sensitive… Those who suffer from EHS often associate their symptoms with aging or living a stressful life-style, which may be the case, but for EHS sufferers their symptoms become worse in environments with higher EMF exposure. The more sensitive a person becomes the faster they respond following electromagnetic exposure, the more extreme their reaction, and the longer it takes them to recover.

(June 2009)  Tuned Out: Wi-Fi Group Now Fears Digital TV (Santa Fe Reporter)

  • The man who placed the ad, anti-wireless activist Arthur Firstenberg, says he got a “few dozen” calls in response. In a mass email, Firstenberg claimed he’d been inundated with calls about mysterious health problems—from sleeplessness and sore throats to “lethargic” dogs, cats and birds—in the days around the digital transition. [SS: the digital transition from analog to digital broadcast television signals].
  • Since the transition, “the quality of life here has been permanently diminished,” he wrote. “I would not be surprised if mortality temporarily rose in Santa Fe or nationwide during the past two weeks.”
  • On the phone with SFR, Firstenberg backpedaled. Why did he tell people DTV might cause their illnesses? “I made a leap,” Firstenberg says. “I don’t have enough facts to back up what I’m saying.”

(January 2010)  Wi-Fi foe sues neighbor for using electronics (Santa Fe New Mexican)

  • Firstenberg “cannot stay in a hotel, because hotels and motels all employ wi-fi connections, which trigger a severe illness,” says the request for a preliminary injunction. “If (Firstenberg) cannot obtain preliminary relief, he will be forced to continue to sleep in his car, enduring winter cold and discomfort, until this case can be heard.”
  • “Within a day of (Monribot) moving in, I began to feel sick when I was in my house,” Firstenberg wrote in his affidavit. “(Monribot’s) house is located 25 feet from my house. Further, because the two houses at one time were on a single lot, their electrical systems are fed from a single main cable. In fact, the electric meter for my house is mounted on (Monribot’s) house. Electromagnetic fields emitted in (Monribot’s) house are transmitted by wire directly into my house.”
  • Firstenberg said that when he visited Monribot in her new house, she told him she had purchased a new iPhone and leaves it turned on at all times so family members can reach her. When he asked her if she could use a land line in the house, she “flatly refused without explanation,” he said.
  • “I also observed a computer in use, compact fluorescent lights, dimmer rheostats, and other sources of electromagnetic radiation,” he said. Monribot “agreed to phase out the fluorescent lights, but she declined to consider any limitation on her cell phone, or to turn off her computer when not in use, or to replace dimmer switches. In fact, a few days later, (Monribot) installed a wireless network for her computer. All of these devices emitted electromagnetic radiation and triggered my EMS with life-threatening reactions, which included a heart arrhythmia.
  • Firstenberg declined to be photographed Thursday outside his home on one-lane Barela Street. The back seat of his car, a Nissan with California license plates, contained the bedding he uses to stay warm at night.
  • “Everybody’s trying to find me,” he said. “I’m trying to lay low.”

(January 2010)  There’s No App for That: Electrosensitive activist sues to stop neighbors iPhone use (SFReeper.com)

  • Firstenberg claims that the low-level electromagnetic radiation emitted by cell phones and other modern gadgets makes him, and others “sensitive” to radio waves, suffer terribly. The side-effects of exposure, he believes, include nausea, vertigo, diarrhea, ringing in the ears, severe headaches and body aches, crippling joint pains, insomnia, impaired vision, impaired muscular control” and other ailments, some potentially deadly.

(March 2010)  Wi-Fi anxiety: Man sues neighbor to shut off electronics (LA Times)

  • Arthur Firstenberg, who says he is hypersensitive to certain frequencies of electromagnetic radiation, saw the house at the end of a narrow lane as a refuge from physical and neurological symptoms that have plagued him for three decades.
  • “It’s been difficult because of my electromagnetic sensitivities,” he said. “I had a lot of difficulty finding a house that I could be comfortable in.”
  • But last October, when a friend of his rented a house on the next block that backed up to Firstenberg’s property, the familiar waves of nausea, vertigo, body aches, dizziness, heart arrhythmia and insomnia returned — all, he says, because she was using an iPhone, a laptop computer, a wireless router and dimmer switches.

(March 2010)  ‘Allergic’ to Electronics: Man Sues Neighbor over Gadget Use (ABC News.com)

  • “I’ve been dealing with this for 30 years and I was in medical school at the time when this became a problem,” he [Firstenberg] said. “I had completed three years of medical school and was unable to finish.”
  • Firstenberg said he has been diagnosed with electromagnetic hypersensitivity, a controversial condition that makes him extremely sensitive to electromagnetic fields. In the presence of appliances, computers, wireless routers and other consumer electronics, he said, he experiences nausea, headaches, insomnia and heart arrhythmia.
  • Firstenberg said that the only real treatment for his condition is to avoid electronics and for, about a year, his home had been his sanctuary. But, in September 2009, when Monribot returned to Sante Fe and moved into a house about 25 from his own, his symptoms returned, he said.
  • Within days, he said, he started having cardiac problems, including heart arrhythmia.
  • He said he approached Monribot and asked for help in figuring out which appliances were behind the symptoms.
  • “I didn’t want to go to court. I just wanted her to work with me,” he said. “She basically refused. I felt like I had no choice but to give up my home.”
  • Since moving out, he has stayed with a friend who shares his sensitivity to electronics and some nights, he said, he has slept in his car.

(April 2010)  Decision and Order Denying Motion for Preliminary Injunction, No. D-OIOI-CV-201O-00029, Arthur Firstenberg, Plaintiff v. Raphaela Monribot, Defendant. by Judge Sarah M. Singleton

  • According to Plaintiff’s witnesses and other doctors who have examined Plaintiff, he has symptoms that reflect electromagnetic sensitivity (“EMS”). Plaintiff has a long history of being diagnosed with chemical sensitivity and sensitivity to electromagnetic fields (“EMF”). Plaintiff claims that Defendant’s use of various electronic devices in her house causes him to have severe adverse reactions. Specifically, he complains of her use of an iPhone, a cordless phone, an iPhone charger, a Wi-Fi modem, laptop computer, desk top computer, scanner, dimmer switches, and compact fluorescent bulbs. He also complains that he would be bothered by her use of a television if she had one and by the use of other unspecified wireless devices that Defendant might obtain.
  • Plaintiff lives in a high-density neighborhood. On one side of Plaintiffs house is an eight unit condominium complex. At least one of those condo owners uses a cellphone while on a balcony that overlooks Plaintiffs house. Nevertheless, Plaintiff claims that he is particularly influenced by Defendant’s use of these devices, as opposed to other people in the neighborhood.
  • Plaintiff claims he can tell that the electromagnetic waves that are bothering him are coming from Plaintiff s because he has tracked the source of the waves with devices he has.
  • Plaintiff’s family history also reveals two aunts and a grandmother with mental problems. Further, at least since 1999 he has been advised to live in a location which does not have significant electromagnetic fields. This advice appears to have referred initially to cell towers, radio towers, and high voltage lines.
  • … commonly there is testimony as to what dosage is capable of causing harm. … This is notably lacking in this case. For example, when Plaintiff was initially diagnosed with EMS the concern seemed to be exposure to sources of large amounts of electromagnetic radiation such as high voltage transmission lines, broadcast and radio towers, and cellular phone towers. Now the concern seems to encompass power sources like dimmer switches.
  • One of the articles provided by Plaintiff states: “Everyone in our modem society is exposed to the electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) that surround all electric devices.Recently, scientific studies have raised questions about the possible health effects of EMFs …. [T]he scientific evidence does not yet show whether EMF exposures are hazardous.” NIOSH Fact Sheet. This paper raises considerable question in the Court’s mind as to whether Plaintiff is likely to prevail on the merits. This suggests that Plaintiff might at most be able to raise questions about EMFs as a cause of his problems. This is insufficient to obtain a preliminary injunction.
  • In addition, and more importantly, one of the alternative potential causes for Plaintiff’s problems is a psychiatric condition. According to Defendant’s expert, “medical evaluation [should include] a psychological evaluation to identify alternative psychiatric psychological conditions that may be responsible for symptoms. Thus, in any process of differential diagnosis a psychiatric/psychological evaluation should be included.” (Staudenmayer Affidavit, p. 4.) Given Plaintiff’s familial history of mental illness, complete psychological evaluation, including testing, should have been included in the differential diagnosis. Yet, according to their testimony, neither of Plaintiff’s testifying experts did this. No convincing explanation was given for why this critical step was omitted.