Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Aircraft bomb finds may spell end for in-flight Wi-Fi / stroke / Cell Phones and Brain Cancer / Health concerns - Pakistan / The Copenhagen Resolution / Forced to Disconnnect / Ontario hangs

W.E.E.P. News

Wireless Electrical and Electromagnetic Pollution News

4 November 2010

Aircraft bomb finds may spell end for in-flight Wi-Fi

02 November 2010

by Paul Marks

The long-awaited ability to use a cellphone or Wi-Fi connection on an aircraft might become a casualty of the latest aviation security threat.

It was revealed on 29 October that parcels containing a powdered explosive packed in laser printer cartridges had travelled undetected on aircraft to the UK and to Dubai in the UAE. A cellphone connected to a detonation circuit could have allowed a terrorist to trigger an explosion by calling or texting the phone.

This comes as the aviation industry is gearing up to provide broadband in-flight entertainment systems that feature both cellphone and Wi-Fi connections for passengers. These systems would mean that passengers would no longer need to illicitly use their cellphones when they come into range of ground masts at low altitudes near airports – a potentially dangerous activity that could interfere with the aircraft's avionics.

Growing market

In-flight communications is a fast-growing market at the moment. Market researcher InStat of Scottsdale, Arizona, says that 2000 passenger aircraft are expected to have this kind of satellite broadband communications technology by the end of this year, compared with just "a couple of dozen" in 2008.

Last week's discoveries cast doubt on the wisdom of in-flight communications, says Roland Alford, managing director of Alford Technologies, an explosives consultancy in Chippenham, Wiltshire, UK. He says he expects the technology to be scrutinised in the security reviews being undertaken by the UK government and US Department of Homeland Security in the wake of the discovery of the printer bombs.

The UK Department of Transport would not confirm whether the issue would in fact be on its agenda.

Cellphone trigger

It is not yet known whether the cellphones in the printer bombs were intended to be triggered remotely. They may have been intended simply as timers, as in the 2004 Madrid train bombings. But future devices could take advantage of wireless communication.

In-flight Wi-Fi "gives a bomber lots of options for contacting a device on an aircraft", Alford says. Even if ordinary cellphone connections are blocked, it would allow a voice-over-internet connection to reach a handset.

"If it were to be possible to transmit directly from the ground to a plane over the sea, that would be scary," says Alford's colleague, company founder Sidney Alford. "Or if a passenger could use a cellphone to transmit to the hold of the aeroplane he is in, he could become a very effective suicide bomber."

Manufacturers of the technologies will not welcome this fresh security concern, having finally gained airworthiness approval for their in-flight cellphone and Wi-Fi systems by proving that their microwave transmissions do not interfere with avionics.

"There are many ways of coordinating an attack without using a mobile phone," says Aurélie Branchereau-Giles of OnAir, a company based in Geneva, Switzerland, that Airbus is backing as a maker of in-flight cellphone and Wi-Fi systems. "The position of our security experts is that the use of mobile phones on planes does not constitute any additional security threat."

Robert R


Hi Martin.

I read that Grahame Maher former Vodafone CEO variously in Australia, NZ, Sweden & Czech Republic died today age 51. Of a stroke. Described as a fitness fanatic. A stroke is certainly a risk for fitness fanatics. Low cholesterol is another risk factor. And so is working for Vodafone. Has anyone got the time, energy and resources to document the deaths (or serious illness) prior to retirement of telecommunications industry executives? The results may be telling. Just a thought.



Devra Davis, Ph.D.: Cell Phones and Brain Cancer: The Real Story

The long awaited World Health Organization Interphone study of more than 5,000 brain tumors that occurred between 2000-2004 and cell phone use failed to deliver a knock-out punch. This thirteen country report found what every study that has ever examined people who have used phones for a decades or more has determined-- top users of cell phones had a doubled risk of malignant tumors of the brain. When looking at all those in their study who had used cell phones to make one call a week for six months or more, compared to those who used cell phones less no such risk was evident. This is unsurprising.

The story behind the story needs to be told. First of all, although the news reports so far do not acknowledge this fact, Interphone is not the only study to find an increased risk in brain tumors with prolonged cell phone use. All studies that have been able to examine people a decade after heavy use began have found increased risk of brain tumors. Second the Interphone study completely ignored the fact that there is a growing experimental literature showing that pulsed microwave-like radiation from modern cell phones disrupts living cells and causes our DNA to become unstable -- signs of cancer and other chronic disease. Third, the Interphone study was delayed close to six years, while authors debated how to present their results.

Completed in 2004 and promised by 2005, publication was delayed til now.

Among the leading epidemiologists on the team are those from Israel, Spain and Australia, who proclaim that we know enough now to tell people to take precautions. Others from Canada and Sweden are convinced that we lack sufficient evidence of harm and we should wait twenty years to find out whether or not current patterns of cell phone use in children and the rest of us will produce an epidemic of brain cancer.

Much of their work happens to be sponsored by the cell phone industry and forms the basis for a study being launched of a quarter million people in Europe.

In fact, the Interphone study necessarily evaluated out of date technology in use long ago and included no children or teenagers, left out those who are most highly exposed, like rural users who get higher exposures because phones in remote areas emit more radiation trying to reach more distant antennas, did not take into account other experimental or epidemiologic studies on the subject and did not include cordless phone use--which can be just as high as that from cell phones.

While most of the cell phone users in the world today are under age thirty, none of those in the study was. Scientists understand that brain tumors often take three or four decades to develop and less than one in ten people in this study had used a phone for even one decade.

Professor Joel Moskowitz of University of California Berkeley combined information from all other studies ever done on brain tumors and cell phones and found "consistent evidence that heavy cell phone use for a decade or longer increases brain tumor risk at least 30%."

My colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh also reported similarly elevated risks of tumors of the hearing nerve in long-term cell phone users just last year.

No wonder the public is confused. Headlines of some U.K. papers proclaimed: Long term brain cancer risk increased in heavy cell phone users, while those of the National Cancer Institute's in-house online zine noted -- no general risk from cell phone use. In fact, both headlines are technically true, and there's the rub.

All scientists agree that more research is needed.

The question is what do we do, while we wait for that research? Should taxpayers in America stand by while information on this issue from other countries is amassed? The United States of America did not participate in this largest study of brain cancer and cell phone use ever carried out and currently there is almost no public health research underway on the questions of cell phone use and autism, chronic neurologic disease or cancer.

Studies by physician-researcher Lennart Hardell of Sweden -- regarded as some of the best efforts in the world on this challenging topic -- concur with the Interphone and Moskowitz results -- those who have used phones heavily for a decade have a doubled risk of brain tumors and teenagers who begin heavy cell phone use have between four to five times more brain tumors by their late twenties. In fact, the French are not waiting for further research on this matter, and are taking steps based on the notion that it is better to be safe than sorry--codifying advice from the European Environment Agency, the Finnish Nuclear Regulatory Safety Authority and the Israeli Health Ministry among others . Both chambers of the French legislature have recently passed legislation requiring a host of simple actions to reduce direct exposures to the brains from cell phones. For starters, all cell phones must be sold with an earpiece or headset to limit direct brain exposure to radiofrequency signals.

Advertising to children below age fourteen is banned, as is giving cell phones to children under the age of six. In schools, the use of cell phones is forbidden during all teaching activities. Finally, phones must be sold with labels indicating potential risks from excessive use and the reported exposure in terms of the SAR (specific absorption rate).

In France, Professor Daniel Oberhausen--a leader in cell phone safety -- advises, "The absence of definitive human evidence at this point in time should not be misconstrued as proof of cell phone safety." Prof. Moskowitz, experts from a number of countries and I agree with the French policies: cell phone use should be curtailed in children and should include warning labels, After ten years of use, increased risks from tobacco and asbestos were not clearly evident, yet nobody today doubts that we waited far too long before addressing these important health hazards.

For the sake of our children and grandchildren, we should promote simple precautions to reduce direct exposure to the brain by using headsets, speaker phones and texting. This will protect us from whatever health hazards may emerge decades later and also encourage safer development of this revolutionary technology in the meantime.

Award-winning scientist and author, Devra Lee Davis is Founder of Environmental Health Trust, a National Book Award finalist, Carnegie Science Medal winner, author of Disconnect--the truth about cell phone radiation and health, what the industry has done to hide it, and what you can do to protect your family, Dutton, coming September, 2010, and Visiting Professor, Georgetown University. She was the Founding Director of the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology at the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, 1983-1993, a Presidential appointee in the Clinton Adminstration to the National Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board, and Founding Director of the Center for Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, 2004-2009.


Health concerns - Pakistan

Minister stresses study on cell phone towers

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: There is dire need to conduct a national study to assess cumulative environmental and health impacts of 26,000 cell phone towers installed in the country, Federal Minister for Environment Hameedullah Jan Afridi stated this while summing up debate on a motion moved by some members of the National Assembly on Tuesday.

The NA members showed concern on presence of cell phone towers in residential areas and stated that cancer and birth defects were being reported in some areas due to radiation emitting from these towers.

The minister informed the members that the cell phone towers emit non-ionized radiation of low frequency in range of 0.0027- 0.0042 milli watt per square centimeter (mW/Cm2). He said safe limits specified by International Commission on Non-Ionized Radiation Protection and Measurements (ICNIRP) was in range of 0.57 – 1.2 mW/Cm2, which was about 300 times lower than safe limit.

Afridi said that the cell phone towers could cause hazards in earthquake or in case of strong wind besides, creating noise and visual pollution.

He said that biological changes due to long time exposure in low frequency, radiation was still not fully understood by scientists and research was still going on.

He mentioned that general safety rules were observed for public by not giving direct exposure within eight meters (25 feet) from radiating surface of antenna.

Environmental protection agencies at the federal and provincial levels have been authorised to examine environmental and health aspects including installation of towers in public places before issuance of environmental approvals.

Afridi emphasised on conducting a national study to see the cumulative effects of mushrooms of cell phone towers in the country.

Muhammad Pervaiz Malik, Muhammad Hanif Abbasi, Nisar Tanveer, Tahira Aurangzeb, Begum Nuzhat Sadiq, Shireen Arashad Khan, Muhammad Riaz Malik, Rana Mahmoodul-Hassan, Mian Marghoob Ahmad, Muhammad Afzal Khokher and Nighat Parveen Mir moved this motion.


The Copenhagen Resolution

website just went online:

It's in English and Danish.
Please sign the resolution on the website and let others know.

I'm in the process of copying the paper signatures from the conference onto the website so there are only few signatures right now.

Best regards,


Forced to Disconnnect

Imelda O'Connor brought the following short book to our attention this morning. It is available for download at no cost.

"Forced to Disconnnect – electrohypersensitive fugitives in Sweden" –

by Gunilla Ladberg

John Weigel


Ontario hangs up on call for cellphone warning labels

Wed Nov. 03 2010  The Canadian Press

TORONTO — Ontario is hanging up on a call to slap health warning labels on all cellphones sold in the province.

NDP health critic France Gelinas introduced a private member's bill Wednesday that would require a sticker on every cellphone warning of an increased risk of cancer.

The government promptly indicated it would not support the move.

Cellphone manufacturers already include warnings in owner's manuals stating that not using approved holsters could cause the device to exceed radio frequency exposure standards, which could "present a risk of serious harm."

But the companies bury the health warning so deep inside the manual, and in print so small, most people never see it, said Gelinas.

"You really have to be dedicated to read the manual," she said.

Health Promotion Minister Margarett Best said all the best scientific advice she's seen says there are no health risks associated with cellphone use.

"I am informed by scientists and doctors, and the chief medical officer of health, Dr. Arlene King, has assured us that we do not have to worry about the safety of these type of devices," said Best.

"In fact, Health Canada also says that there are no risks associated with this."

Health Canada, on its website, says the radio frequency energy from cellphones and cellphone towers poses no confirmed health risks.

The agency cautions, however, "that some scientists have reported cellphone use may cause changes in brain activity, in reaction times, or in the time it takes to fall asleep, but these findings have not yet been confirmed."

Professor Magda Havas of Trent University in Peterborough, Ont., said there are a lot of studies and evidence showing negative health effects of radiation from cellphones, including cancers in the brain, eyes, ears and face.

"What's very interesting about these studies is that all of the tumours that are associated with cellphone use are occurring on the same side of the head that you use the cellphone," said Havas.

"All of these tumours are showing up after about 10 years of moderate cellphone use, so this is a development we have to be very much concerned about and aware of."

Children are more vulnerable than adults to the radiation, said Havas, but their preference of texting over talking on cellphones is actually a plus.

"Fortunately a lot of young students are text messaging, which is a better way of using your cellphone because it only sends out the radiation when you (press) send, and you're holding it far enough away from your head," she said.

"There have been a growing number of health agencies around the world warning that children under the age of 18 should minimize their use of cellphones."

Toronto Public Health warns children's cellphone usage should be limited. It notes younger and younger kids are using the phones, meaning longer exposure to radiation, and no studies have been done on those longer term exposures to conclude they are safe.

"As a result, the chances that a child could develop harmful health effects from using a cellphone for a long time may be greater," says the Toronto Public Health website.

A sticker on every cellphone warning that long-term exposure could lead to cancer would help all users, said Gelinas.

"I call it giving ammunition to parents to fight the battles with their teens," she said.

However, the Opposition joined the government in saying there was no need for warning labels on cellphones.

"Cellphones come with a warning within the instructions when you get the cellphone," said Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak.

"I put my faith in the ability of families to make decisions to inform themselves about proper use."

Best said it was up to parents to educate kids about the proper use of cellphones.

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