Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Continuing Controversy / San Francisco / Overexposed to radiation? / The precautionary principle /

W.E.E.P. News

Wireless Electrical and Electromagnetic Pollution News 

26 May 2010

Dear All,
The proceedings for
'Electromagnetic Phenomena and Health – A Continuing Controversy?',
10 September 2008, The Institute of Physics, London, UK, are now
available at:
For my own chapter, please, go to:

Best regards

(Olle Johansson, assoc. prof.
The Experimental Dermatology Unit
Department of Neuroscience
Karolinska Institute
171 77 Stockholm


The Royal Institute of Technology
100 44 Stockholm
San Francisco
Mayor Gavin Newsom's proposed legislation requiring cell phone retailers
in San Francisco to disclose Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) values for
radiation emitted by the cell phones they sell passed out of the City
Operations & Neighborhood Services Committee after a hearing today.
Supervisors Carmen Chu and John Avalos voted to send it to the full Board
with a recommendation in favor of its passage, while Supervisor Sean
Elsbernd voted no.

There was significant opposition to the legislation from the San Francisco
small business community and the San Francisco Small Business Commission
voted against taking legislative action in April.  The wireless industry's
most powerful lobbying organization, CTIA, was also on hand to speak
against the legislation.

However, Supervisor Chu, who was the swing vote on this particular
Committee, ultimately voted in favor after her concerns about the costs
involved and the burdens on small businesses were addressed to her

To read the legislation in its current form, which calls for a gradual
roll-out commencing later this year, go to the following link:
Are we being overexposed to radiation?

Posted by Sarah Harlan - email

(NBC) - When you hear the word radiation, you may think about a bomb or a way to make energy. Truth is, we're exposed to radiation almost every day without even realizing it, but are we being overexposed?

Just the word radiation alone can conjure up fears, hysteria, concern and all sorts of conspiracy theories.

We've seen the power of radiation after the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl in 1986 or the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II, incidents that have been linked to causing widespread cancer in those areas, but the fear and hysteria about radiation only gets ramped up when the focus points to the one thing today many would say they can't live without: their cell phones.

"That is a totally different type of radiation, it's at a totally different end of the spectrum and they really don't need to be talked about in the same breath but they do share the word radiation," Radiologist Dr. Leon Bell said.

So let's break down the science.

There are two different types of radiation. Ionizing radiation and non-ionizing. Dr. Bell said things like cell phones and microwaves use non-ionizing radiation, emitting a low-frequency of electromagnetic waves. Ionizing radiation can come from medical radiation like X-rays and CT-scans which can cause changes to cells in the body and can also increase the risk of cancer. Doctor Bell said the low-frequency waves coming from cell phones simply cannot cause molecular changes in the body leading to cancer. Cancer and medical radiation have stronger ties.

According to the National Council on Radiation Protection, Americans are exposed to seven times more medical radiation today than 20 years ago. Advancements in the medical field with digital imaging products like X-rays and CT-scans may have something to do with it.

"In many cases, the more radiation we give, the more information we can get," Dr. Bell said. "It's constant sliding scale to balance between the need to know and the need to avoid radiation."

But when does the need to know go too far? Last year, Becky Coudert was one of dozens of patients who were notified by an Alabama hospital about receiving "elevated levels" of radiation after getting a CT brain scan.

Coudert said in the weeks following her CT scan, she began losing her hair, having headaches, and memory loss.

"Eventually, I was told, 'you got a little bit too much'," Coudert said.

Her hair grew back but she still wonders what's going on inside her body.

"We are not informed," Coudert said. "None of us know that we are getting so much, when we have a cat scan how dangerous it is."

Just to be clear, Coudert is not a patient of Doctor Bell nor does he speak for that Alabama hospital but he does offer some insight on medical challenges when it comes to the use of radiation.

"We work under an assumption that there is no absolutely safe level because no one knows where the threshold is between harmless amount of radiation and the extreme end, the amount of radiation people got at Chernobyl or Hiroshima or Nagasaki," Dr. Bell said.

The FDA is now investigating the events at that hospital and other instances across the nation of radiation overexposure to patients.

The FDA is already using its regulatory power to push medical imaging companies to install more safety features on their products, and maybe then, a prescribed dose of radiation will be the right dose every time.

Medical procedures like CT scans and radiation therapy used for cancer patients present both benefits and risks, but many won't deny the use of radiation in medicine has changed healthcare as we know it.




The precautionary principle and risk perception: experimental studies in the EMF area

Environmental Health Perspectives, April, 2005 by Peter M. Wiedemann, Holger Schutz


Web site    e-mail

To sign up for WEEP News:  (provide name and e-mail address)

W.E.E.P. – The Canadian initiative to stop Wireless Electrical and Electromagnetic Pollution