Friday, November 5, 2010

Researcher is not a 'fear-monger' / Call for cancer warning labels on cellphones / What the FCC Didn't Test / WIFI in Schools CFAX Victoria / Commonwealth Club Event / Stop 'Smart' Meters

Researcher is not a 'fear-monger'

Kingston Whig-Standard 3 nov. 2010

Re: "Wi-Fi story irresponsible, dangerous" (Letter to the Editor, Oct. 18).

For the past 40 years technology has been developing so rapidly that studies of the long-term effects of many inventions, particularly in the telecommunications area, are only gradually becoming fully recognized. One of the most urgent areas of study has been the biological effects of electro-magnetic radiation (EMR) on human health with governments, the military and industry in many cases reluctant to recognize the need for regulation. We are surrounded by cellphones, cordless phones, high voltage transmission lines, microwave towers and antennas, GPS systems, microwave ovens, computers, and many other sources of electro-magnetic radiation.

Recently, one of the foremost researchers who has been studying the biological effects of electromagnetic radiation in animals and humans for two decades, Dr. Magda Havas, spoke to a community organization and a Whig reporter on Oct. 13. It is regrettable that D.S. Lay in a recent letter, while presenting no scientific studies, described Dr. Havas as a "fear-monger." Fear mongers generally tend to create fear by presenting false, imprecise, vague or exaggerated information.

It is regrettable that Mr. Lay is relying on outdated concepts about the nature of radiation which have caused him to dismiss research which is internationally recognized and respected. Dr. Havas is a member of the Environmental and Resource Studies Department at Trent University whose reputation is international. She is frequently called on as a speaker in the U.S. and Europe, and is a science adviser to several non-profit organizations on EMR-related issues in Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and the European Union.

Since much of the research she presents defines startling health effects of electro-magnetic radiation emissions that have damaged immune systems and the DNA of many of those exposed to low levels of non-ionizing radiation, fear is a logical human reaction. When risks to human health are described clearly and repeatedly in scientific journals, it is natural and wise for society to feel fear. A corollary of fear, however, can be the constructive research and problem solving that can result from scientific reporting of integrity.

For many years when scientific or medical research studies in their early stages identified risks to human health, it was easier for governments and professional organizations to assert that these risks had not been proven. One of the bestknown illustrations of governments accepting industry denials of health risk was the tobacco industry's well-financed defensive campaign that ended only after many years in long-delayed legislation to curb the tobacco industry. For this reason many countries have adopted the Precautionary Principle first endorsed by the UN General Assembly in 1982, which states that when an activity raises threats of serious or irreversible damage to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken, even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.

Because the biological effects of electro-magnetic radiation may only appear after 10-15 years of exposure, though earlier in children, the rapid increase in the childhood leukemia rate and recently the growing incidence of brain tumours with a possible link to long-term cellphone use have now become matters of public discussion. Research continues in 22 countries even as new technology emitting EMR is produced monthly.

A new instance of health effects in young children exposed to electro-magnetic radiation in their schools was observed in Barrie, Ont., in the past year after the Barrie school board authorized the installation of Wi-Fi transmitters in several schools. The transmitters generate constant, pulsed digital microwave radiation, which has been shown to have adverse biological effects at levels well below Health Canada's Safety Code 6.

It is worth noting that in Switzerland guidelines for exposure to microwave radiation are 1% the power density of those in Canada. The children in Barrie were identified with health concerns that included lack of concentration and cardiac problems in schools in which the Wi-Fi transmitters had been installed. It will be very regrettable if school boards across Ontario do not quickly become well informed and make the decision to replace the Wi-Fi radio frequency transmitters by wired systems or fibre-optic links.

The Precautionary Principle should be prominent in the minds of school board trustees, teachers, and parents at all levels. It would be wise also to recognize that the biological changes that affect children will also affect exposed adults over a longer period (teachers, administrative staff and volunteers).

Ignorance is not bliss. Our great appreciation is due to dedicated researchers like Dr. Magda Havas for educating us.

Margaret Baird



Call for cancer warning labels on cellphones

By ANTONELLA ARTUSO, Queen's Park Bureau Chief

Last Updated: November 3, 2010 6:30pm

TORONTO - Ontario doesn't need to slap warning stickers on cellphones because the devices are safe, Health Promotion Minister Margarett Best says.

"In my work, I am informed by scientists and doctors," Best said Wednesday. "One of our key doctors, the chief medical officer of health, Dr. Arlene King, has assured us that we do not have to worry about the safety of these types of devices."

NDP MPP France Gelinas is introducing a private member's bill that would force retailers to put warning stickers on the backs of cellphones and BlackBerrys.

If the law passes, customers would be given clear information about the radiation levels of each device and the possible negative health effects, including cancer, of long-term use, she said.

Currently, information advising users to avoid direct flesh-to-phone contact is printed in manuals.

"But frankly, who reads those?" Gelinas said.

Dr. Magda Havas, an associate professor of environmental and resource studies at Trent University, said there is reliable scientific evidence of an increased risk of tumours of the brain, eye and face with cellphone use.

In particular, children should be protected from unnecessary exposure up to the age of 18, and maybe up to 20 years of age, she said.

"Children are particularly sensitive to all sorts of chemical toxicants and radiation in the environment and there have been a growing number of health agencies around the world warning that children should minimize their use of cellphones," she said.

A proposal by the Toronto District School Board to extend the use of cellphones to the classroom would be a mistake, Havas said.

Texting is generally safer than using the cellphone directly and keeping the device in a front pant pocket is a bad idea, she said. Best said Health Canada has deemed cellphone use to be safe.

However, the minister said that children should not be on the phone for hours for other reasons.

"They have homework, they have so many other things that they should be doing," Best said. "And it's up to the parents and the family members to ensure that children are engaged actively and that they are engaged with their homework...instead of spending all the time on the cellphone."

Private member's bills rarely become law, and then only with the support of the ruling majority party.

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak said he would not support such a bill, saying cellphones already come with a warning within the instruction manual and families should be left alone to make their own decisions.


Cell-Phone Safety: What the FCC Didn't Test

By Michael Scherer / Washington Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2010,8599,2027523,00.html


WIFI in Schools - Part 1 - CFAX Victoria Oct 19 2010



Nov 18th Commonwealth Club Event -

"The Health Effects of Electromagnetic Fields"


How YOU Can Stop 'Smart' Meters

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