Monday, November 15, 2010

Tragedy of the Commons / Merchants of Doubt / Snuggling With Your Cellphone? / Dear HESA Committee Members

W.E.E.P. News

Wireless Electrical and Electromagnetic Pollution News

15 November 2010

Tragedy of the Commons Revisited: The High Tech-High Risk Wireless World

Cindy Sage, Sage Associates, Santa Barbara, CA, USA

The attached document gives a very important warning about the massive amounts of Wireless Radiation we are being exposed to.


A Handful of (non) Scientists?

A new Post "1321: Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming" was written on the November 14, 2010 at 5:59 pm on "EMFacts Consultancy". Amazon Book Review by  Jesse Kornbluth "Head Butler"

This review is from: Merchants of Doubt:

How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming (Hardcover)


Should You Be Snuggling With Your Cellphone?

November 14, 2010, New York edition

WARNING: Holding a cellphone against your ear may be hazardous to your health. So may stuffing it in a pocket against your body.

I'm paraphrasing here. But the legal departments of cellphone manufacturers slip a warning about holding the phone against your head or body into the fine print of the little slip that you toss aside when unpacking your phone.

Apple, for example, doesn't want iPhones to come closer than 5/8 of an inch; Research In Motion, BlackBerry's manufacturer, is still more cautious: keep a distance of about an inch.

The warnings may be missed by an awful lot of customers. The United States has 292 million wireless numbers in use, approaching one for every adult and child, according to C.T.I.A.-The Wireless Association, the cellphone industry's primary trade group. It says that as of June, about a quarter of domestic households were wireless-only.

If health issues arise from ordinary use of this hardware, it would affect not just many customers but also a huge industry.

Our voice calls — we chat on our cellphones 2.26 trillion minutes annually, according to the C.T.I.A. — generate $109 billion for the wireless carriers.

The cellphone instructions-cum-warnings were brought to my attention by Devra Davis, an epidemiologist who has worked for the University of Pittsburgh and has published a book about cellphone radiation, "Disconnect." I had assumed that radiation specialists had long ago established that worries about low-energy radiation were unfounded. Her book, however, surveys the scientific investigations and concludes that the question is not yet settled.

Brain cancer is a concern that Ms. Davis takes up. Over all, there has not been a general increase in its incidence since cellphones arrived. But the average masks an increase in brain cancer in the 20-to-29 age group and a drop for the older population.

"Most cancers have multiple causes," she says, but she points to laboratory research that suggests mechanisms by which low-energy radiation could damage cells in ways that could possibly lead to cancer.

Children are more vulnerable to radiation than adults, Ms. Davis and other scientists point out.

Radiation that penetrates only two inches into the brain of an adult will reach much deeper into the brains of children because their skulls are thinner and their brains contain more absorptive fluid. No field studies have been completed to date on cellphone radiation and children, she says.

Henry Lai, a research professor in the bioengineering department at the University of Washington, began laboratory radiation studies in 1980 and found that rats exposed to radiofrequency radiation had damaged brain DNA.

He maintains a database that holds 400 scientific papers on possible biological effects of radiation from wireless communication. He found that 28 percent of studies with cellphone industry funding showed some sort of effect, while 67 percent of studies without such funding did so. "That's not trivial," he said.

The unit of measurement for radiofrequency exposure is called the specific absorption rate, or SAR. The Federal Communications Commission mandates that the SAR produced by phones be no more than 1.6 watts per kilogram.

One study listed by Mr. Lai found effects like loss of memory in rats exposed to SAR values in the range of 0.0006 to 0.06 watts per kilogram. "I did not expect to see effects at low levels," he said.

The city of San Francisco passed an ordinance this year that requires cellphone retailers to post SARs prominently. This angered the C.T.I.A., which announced that it would no longer schedule trade shows in the city.

The association maintains that all F.C.C.-approved phones are perfectly safe.

John Walls, the association's vice president for public affairs, said: "What science tells us is, 'If the sign on the highway says safe clearance is 12 feet,' it doesn't matter if your vehicle is 4 feet, 6 feet or 10 feet tall; you're going to pass through safely. The same theory applies to SAR values and wireless devices."

The association has set up a separate Web site,

Four attractive young people are seen on the home page, each with a cellphone pressed against the ear — and all four are beaming as they listen. By this visual evidence, cellphone use seems to be correlated with elation, not cancer.

The largest study of cellphone use and brain cancer has been the Interphone International Case-Control Study, in which researchers in 13 developed countries (but not the United States) participated. It interviewed brain cancer patients, 30 to 59 years old, from 2000 to 2004, then cobbled together a control group of people who had not regularly used a cellphone.

The study concluded that using a cellphone seemed to decrease the risk of brain tumors, which the authors acknowledged was "implausible" and a product of the study's methodological shortcomings.

The authors included some disturbing data in an appendix available only online. These showed that subjects who used a cellphone 10 or more years doubled the risk of developing brain gliomas, a type of tumor.

The 737 minutes that we talk on cellphones monthly, on average, according to the C.T.I.A., makes today's typical user indistinguishable from the heavy user of 10 years ago.

Ms. Davis recommends keeping a phone out of close proximity to the head or body, by using wired headsets or the phone's speaker. Children should text rather than call, she said, and pregnant women should keep phones away from the abdomen.

The F.C.C. concurs about the best way to avoid exposure. It is not by choosing a phone with a marginally lower SAR, it says, but rather by holding the cellphone "away from the head or body."

It's advice that I find hard to put into practice myself. The comforting sight of everyone around me with phones pressed against their ears, just like me, makes the risk seem abstract.

But Ms. Davis, citing unsettling findings from research in Israel, France, Sweden and Finland, said, "I do think I'm looking at an epidemic in slow motion."

Randall Stross is an author based in Silicon Valley and a professor of business at San Jose State University. E-mail:


Dear HESA Committee Members,

Following is an admission by a major telecommunication company that radiation from wireless technology causes severe harm to human beings.

Why does it admit it?

Because it wants to patent a device which would reduce it.

Can the company be believed?

Standards and Poors, April 2010 rates the comapany "as the leading integrated provider of telecommunications services in Switzerland."

What are the major admissions?

That standard wireless telecommunications equipment produces electromagnetic radiation which causes harm to human beings.

All the the information below is relevant.  I will place in bold type those portions which I think most relevant. You can chose to read only the bold sections to get an understanding of the significance of this relevation, or read the entire sections to see the admissions in context.

The entire document can be found in an international patent application for a device which would "reduce electrosmog in wireless local networks,"  or WiFi, filed 2 September 2004 by Swiss-Com AG at the following link:

Page 1 (page 2 of the application) sections 10-30, and page 2 sections 5-15:

"The influence of electrosmog on the human body is a known problem. The health risk from mobile radio transmitters," (base stations) "handys and DECT telephones has been an explosive subject among the general public at least since the enormous breakthrough in mobile radio technology in the 1990s. To meet the concerns of science from the legislative side, the permissible limit values have thus been lowered several times" (in Switzerland), "and technology has been increasingly focused on this problem. The risk of damage to health through electrosmog has also become better understood as a result of more recent and improved studies. When, for example, human blood cells are irradiated with electromagnetic fields, clear damage to hereditary material has been demonstrated and there have been indications of an increased cancer risk (Mashevich M., Folkman D. , Kesar A., Barbul A. , Korenstein R. , Jerby E. , Avivi L., Department of Human Genetics and Molecular Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel,"Exposure of human peripheral blood lymphocytes to electromagnetic fields associated with cellular phones leads to chromosomal instability,"Bioelectromagnetics, 2003 Feb. , 24 (2): 82-90). In this study, for example, human peripheral lymphocytes were exposed to continuous electromagnetic fields of 830 MHz in order to examine whether this leads to losses or gains in chromosomes (aneuploidy). Bigger changes lead to instability of the genome (= the totality of all genes of a germinal cell) and thereby to cancer. The human peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) were irradiated at different average specific absorption rates (SAR) of 1.6 to 8.8 W/kg over a time period of 72 hours in an exposure system based on a parallel plate resonator in a temperature range of 34.5 to 37.5 °C. The average absorption rate (SAR) and its distribution in the exposed tissue culture flask were determined by combining the measurement results with a numerical analysis based on a finite element simulation code. A linear increase in the chromosome No. 17--an aneuploidy (=numerical chromosome aberration) --was observed as a function of the SAR, demonstrating that this radiation has a genotoxic effect. The SAR-dependent aneuploidy was accompanied by an abnormal mode of replication of the chromosome 17 region engaged in segregation (repetitive DNA arrays associated with the centromere), suggesting that epigenetic alterations are involved in the SAR dependent genetic toxicity. Control experiments (i. e. without any radio frequency radiation) carried out in the temperature range of 34.5 to 38.5 °C showed that elevated temperature is not associated with either the genetic or epigenetic alterations observed following RF radiation, these alterations being the increased levels of aneuploidy and the modification in replication of the centromeric DNA arrays. These findings indicate that the genotoxic effect of electromagnetic radiation is elicited via a non-thermal pathway. Moreover aneuploidy is to be considered as a known phenomenon in the increase of cancer risk."

Please note, the permissible limits in Canada have not been lowered several times, as they have been in Switzerland. Also, as confirmed by ICNIRP and WHO, the agencies setting guidelines Health Canada adopts, their/our guidelines apply to thermal radiation only, and are not applicable in any regard to non-thermal levels.

Page 2, sections 20-25:

"Thus it has been possible to show that mobile radio radiation can cause damage to genetic material, in particular in human white blood cells, whereby both the DNA itself is damaged and the number of chromosomes changed. This mutation can consequently lead to increased cancer risk. In particular, it could also be shown that this destruction is not dependent upon temperature increases, i. e. is non-thermal. Based on the scientific studies in the field, and owing to increasing pressure from the public, especially in the industrialized countries, epidemiological studies have been systematized by the World Health Organization (WHO) in the last few years, such as e.g. the currently running WHO Interphone Project, in order to be able to assess more precisely the health risks from electrosmog and work out corresponding guidelines."

It has been determined that the WHO Interphone Project provided inadequate evidence, based on what many believe to be a poorly designed study, to warrant a revision in WHO or Health Canada's guidelines.

Page 5, section 25:

"Despite increasingly strict national" (Swiss) "guidelines with respect to legally specified limits, the impact of electrosmog in WLANs on the human body can be considerable. Moreover it is to be expected that this impact will continue to increase in the future for many people. Two factors in particular are playing a role in this: First, more and more applications require additional, usually higher- energy frequency bands in order to be able to meet the growing need with respect to transmission rate. Second, the need for WLAN expansion in the private sphere as well as in the public sphere, e. g. in airports, railway stations, trains, restaurants, exhibition halls, etc. , has by far not yet reached its peak."

Page 6, sections 5-15:

"With the state of the art as a basis, there has been a lot of effort put into providing evidence for the detrimental effects of electrosmog and setting corresponding limits. Limits and guidelines alone will not suffice, however, to further contain the electrosmog in WLANs since the development in WLANs runs in exactly the opposite direction, as mentioned above. WLANs even represent zones in which people usually spend longer periods of time (place of work, Internet, network games, etc. ) and are therefore to be considered as particularly problematic with respect to radiation impact. WLANs in the state of the art moreover send base stations, such as access points, so-called beacon signals periodically so that mobile units can recognize the network and authenticate themselves with an access point. These beacon signals comprise recognition signals, such as e. g. SSIDs and/or other radio frequency signals with control parameters. Even if no mobile units are located in the WLAN, the beacon signals continue to be transmitted periodically to the APs. This means that even when the WLAN is not being used at all, an underlying stress from electromagnetic radiation remains for persons in the Basic Service Area of an access point of the WLAN. For example, in the case of WLANs at places of employment, such as offices, etc. , there exists therefore permanent stress from electrosmog from the WLAN on the employees of the company or organization."

If a major telecommunications company acknowledges science and admits its products are dangerous, why can't Health Canada? This application was made more than 6 years ago, at which time convincing evidence of harm was available, yet Canadians still have the same inadequate thermal guideline.  It is urgent that Safety Code 6 be withdrawn as Canada's standard for all current and future wireless communication devices and transmitters. It is vital that a new guideline based on biological effects be developed by independent scientists, credible to all concerned and not associated with the industry.

In addition, regulations must be written requiring that all wireless devices, from radio transmitters to ipods, be proven to be safe before the public is exposed to them. As Swiss-com points out, technological conveniences are proliferating and, most likely, will continue to expand in usage and popularity but limits and guidelines will not contain the electrosmog-health issue.  This requires that new technology be developed that will be safe. Always when regulations require new, safer means of providing a product, the industry responds. Innovation will provide the answer when laws require safer wireless technology. But until the law so requires, industry will continue to operate as cheaply as possible. Already patents are held by cellphone companies for safer phones but they are not yet in use because they would require investment in infrastructure.

Telecommunication companies must be forced to sell safe products through legislation, not by self-monitoring as is allowed today.

Respectfully submitted,

Sharon Noble

Chair, Citizens Against UnSafe Emissions

Victoria, British Columbia

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