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“Anti-radiation battery” touted

It was only a matter of time before the “electrosensitivity” stories beloved of the British national press got the attention of the City. It appears that we are about to see a new start up company, Exradia, trying to sell a technological fix to the supposed problem.

We have already seen £50 a gallon ‘radio-reflective paint’ as peddled by Alistair Phillips’s Powerwatch campaign, and a £70 ‘wireless pendant’ as produced by celeb nutritionist Patrick Holford, which was demonstrated to be utterly without function by The Guardian’s Ben Goldacre.

This new solution is a special battery for mobile devices. You might, as we did, wonder what the connection between RF emissions and batteries is, but Exradia’s explanation is unlikely to leave you any the wiser. Apparently, its battery emits less radiation itself.

Presumably this has absolutely no effect on the radio transmitter, which is a good thing if you want the device to work.

Curiously, this would seem to suggest that there is indeed no danger from low power RF. It would also throw doubt on the claims of various people who experience negative symptoms in the presence of WLAN routers, because if electromagnetic emissions from batteries are a problem, then emissions from mains electricity must be several orders of magnitude worse, and anywhere a router might be working there must also be electricity.

In its defence, Exradia draws your attention to a report drawn up by an Austrian scientist in June, 2006. The paper consists of a literature review, which is primarily made up of studies on RF exposure taken from its US sister company’s website.

There are also some papers about exposure to magnetic fields cycling at 50-60Hz, including some which claim that magnetic fields rendered day old chicks more resistant to anoxia and heat stress. The whole thing floats on an unproven theory that random electromagnetic activity is safe but anything with a pattern is dangerous.

The problem here is that mobile devices don’t use 50Hz AC, or any AC, for that matter. They use DC, which is, well, direct current – it doesn’t alternate at any frequency at all.

Further, Exradia claims that one’s cells alter their metabolism in response to a signal “coherent for more than one second”. However, this also seems implausible, to say that one’s cells are maintaining state on every passing radio waveform. After all, the signals involved change much more rapidly that once a second.

But coming back to the Exradia solution, US-based sister company, EMX BioChip, describes it as a transmitter of random noise. Apparently, the original signal “transmits a digital information message into the cellular system characterised as a warning message informing the cellular system about the EMF exposure”, and disrupting the signal prevents this.

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