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Are cell phones more dangerous than terrorists?

Zafar Anjum | March 17, 2010
Is there a connection between cell phones, bees and global food security?

•    Some scientists suggest that our love of the mobile phone could cause massive food shortages, as the world's harvests fail.

•    They are putting forward the theory that radiation given off by mobile phones and other hi-tech gadgets is a possible answer to one of the more bizarre mysteries ever to happen in the natural worldthe abrupt disappearance of the bees that pollinate crops. Late last week, some bee-keepers claimed that the phenomenonwhich started in the US, then spread to continental Europewas beginning to hit Britain as well.

•    The theory is that radiation from mobile phones interferes with bees' navigation systems, preventing the famously home-loving species from finding their way back to their hives. Improbable as it may seem, there is now evidence to back this up.

•    Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) occurs when a hive's inhabitants suddenly disappear, leaving only queens, eggs and a few immature workers. The vanished bees are never found, but thought to die singly far from home.

•    The alarm was first sounded last autumn, but has now hit half of all American states. The West Coast is thought to have lost 60 per cent of its commercial bee population, with 70 per cent missing on the East Coast.

•    CCD has since spread to Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. And last week, John Chapple, one of London's biggest bee-keepers, announced that 23 of his 40 hives have been abruptly abandoned. Other apiarists have recorded losses in Scotland, Wales and north-west England, but the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs insisted: "There is absolutely no evidence of CCD in the UK."

•    German research has long shown that bees' behaviour changes near power lines.

•    A limited study at Landau University has found that bees refuse to return to their hives when mobile phones are placed nearby. Dr Jochen Kuhn, who carried it out, said this could provide a "hint" to a possible cause.

•    Dr George Carlo, who headed a massive study by the US government and mobile phone industry of hazards from mobiles in the Nineties, said: I am convinced the possibility is real.

This was a report published in 2007. If this was true, then in two years, there should be further decline in global honey production. I wanted to find some figures. I found this research paper: The Global Stock of Domesticated Honey Bees Is Growing Slower Than Agricultural Demand for Pollination. The language is clever but you can see the implications. There are recent reports that say that disappearance of bees is due to many environmental factors and not just cell phone radiation. Fair enough. All I am asking for is that cell phone companies and government bodies should conduct research into this area as it ties up with our food security.


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