Wireless Electrical and Electromagnetic Pollution News
10 January 2011
OVER five billion people use cell phones today. We are immersed in a sea of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) generated by electrical and wireless devices in our homes, offices, schools, cars, restaurants - just about everywhere.
In Pegeia, as elsewhere in Cyprus, more and more cell phone antennas are popping up in neighbourhoods. Along with this mushrooming of antennas, public reaction is starting to grow too. The recent furore over the new antennas installed in the occupied north, near the British Bases in Dhekelia, has missed the point. Aside from flexing its muscles as an occupying power, Turkey is doing what happens in every community, as industry and government dismiss concerns about a lack of research on long-term exposure and the laxity of regulations.
There are dangers over possible health effects of this massive human experiment, without due care for the precautionary principle, which has been adopted in Europe. This principle calls for care when there is insufficient scientific evidence to prove public safety. The example of inadequate regulation of cell phones is not the first time the public has been subjected to a biological experiment without informed consent.
To understand how "electrosmog" has developed, there is a revealing study, published by the Canadian Government's National Research Council last November*. This 26-page, peer-reviewed scientific report details concerns for public safety and suggests that we don't know how much exposure people experience and that current regulations are inadequate. The "gold standards" of scientific research, replication and control groups, have been conveniently ignored. Background levels of electropollution have increased by many thousands of times in the last decade, making exposure to long-term, low-level radiofrequency radiation (RFR) difficult to quantify. Basically, as we're all immersed in constant EMF pollution, there is no longer a control group to study!
Moreover, original studies from the 1950s, on which current legislation is based, were never replicated and industrial/military interests dominated that research. These standards, incredibly, are based on the "thermal effect", i.e., RFR's ability to heat tissue. This ignores non-thermal effects and long-term exposure from multiple sources. The current standards for Europe -International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection or ICNIRP - date back to 1998 and are based on whole-body exposure over very short durations (minutes) and not on long-term, low-level exposures such as affect people on a daily basis. These standards do not take into account that children are more susceptible to damage from cell phone radiation as it penetrates deeper into their skulls and their brains absorb far more energy than those of an adult.
A new industry has developed over the last few decades that provides protection to sensitive people who have figured out that electrosmog is a factor in their ill health. An EMF consultant in the USA told me that he now has a different sort of client - wives of lawyers. It seems that hushed-up industry settlements are having an effect: lawyers' families are scrambling to protect themselves from what they now know is a public health hazard. There are even a few towns in the USA that advertise "wi-fi free" and people are flocking to live there.
A few months ago in Pegeia, a Residents' Initiative Group formed to protest the growing number of antennas. There is disquiet amongst Cypriots who report an increase in headaches and what appears to be a high number of cancer cases, especially among children. These are typical symptoms of EMF radiation, although it is too early yet to be certain of the cause of the illnesses.
A decade ago there were only a handful of studies that reported low-intensity biological effects. Currently, there are about 60 papers showing such effects from exposures at levels below existing guidelines. A 2004 Israeli study indicates an association between increased incidence of cancer and living in proximity to a cell phone base station (within a 350 metre half circle of the antennas). The Canadian NRC report states: "The measured level of RFR, between 0.3 to 0.5 ?W/cm2,was far below the thermal guidelines." The Full Signal**, a 2010 DVD documentary, details this Israeli study and covers related issues in interviews with scientists in several countries.
As a Pegeia Councillor, I am anxious to see this situation handled properly. Pegeia Council agreed to investigate the residents' complaints, presented at a Council meeting in October 2010. Research revealed that town planning and building permits are required for antennas. In Pegeia, seven of eight installed antennas are without building permits and several lack planning permission. Pegeia Council hired two consultants to measure EMF emissions in 10 locations in Pegeia, one from a private company and one from the University of Cyprus. A public meeting was held in December to present their findings. Predictably, all measurements were well within the current limits of the existing dangerously outdated legislation, often tens of thousands times below the standards. Several times during the meeting, the Mayor called for quiet from the audience, many of whom clearly were not satisfied with the lectures, which included slick Powerpoint presentations from the two representatives who carried out the measurements and from a Ministry of Communications official.
In contrast to what was presented at the Pegeia meeting, the Canadian National Research Council report suggests that, "as a general guideline, cell base stations should not be located less than about 500 metres from the population and at a height of about 50 metres."
In Pegeia some antennas are at ground level in residential areas. More unsettling is that weeks have passed since the public meeting and no action about removing illegal antennas has been taken, despite declarations by the Mayor that he would be first to act if antennas were illegal. When I spoke of this to the Mayor or Municipal Engineer, the replies are the usual, "Ma, ti na kanoume?" ("What can we do?"), accompanied by the characteristic shrug of the shoulders. They also say that they are under pressure from Nicosia to grant the building permits.
Let's hope that the grassroots revolt in Pegeia continues to gain strength. Inspired by the parents of Pegeia concerned for the health of their children, they have so far collected over 400 signatures calling for the removal of illegal antennas and demanding that cell phone bases not be placed in residential areas.
I believe that probably the only way that the issue will be resolved is through grassroots activists calling for improvement in legislation. There are important gaps in RFR research and there is a need to create safer infrastructure and better antenna tower siting. It is possible to develop safer technology which reduces RFR exposure but this will cost money. Industry is about private profit and global financial interests have their own agendas.
As we start the year 2011, I'm hoping, yet again, that maybe this is the year of people power not just on this issue but on many fronts waiting to be tackled at the level of vested public interest vs vested private interest. It is way past time to wake up!
Linda Leblanc is a Councillor for Pegeia Municipal Council for the Coalition of Independents and Cyprus Green Party
* "Biological effects from exposure to electromagnetic radiation emitted by cell tower base stations and other antenna arrays", by B. Blake Levitt and Henry Lai 5 November 2010 (published by the National Research Council of Canada Research Press, the foremost scientific publisher in Canada)
Marin Voice: Smart to worry about Smart Meters
WHAT is all the fuss about the installation of wireless SmartMeters on our homes and businesses?
People and whole communities are demanding an "opt out;" some are standing defiantly in front of the SmartMeter installation trucks; others are closing down PG&E's offices, risking arrest.
Now Assemblyman Jared Huffman is piecing together legislation, allowing a permanent "opt out" provision.
Does this concern make sense when PG&E's response to the health issues state wireless SmartMeters fall well below the current FCC standards? Wireless SmartMeters, it claims, are far below the strength of a cell phone against your head and they only transmit up to 45 seconds per day?
What you are not being told is:
1. PG&E is using time-averaged measurements of radio frequency (RF) transmissions over a 24- hour period, which does not address the exposure from the peak pulses of RF.
This is a concern because a single-pulsed transmission from a SmartMeter can be thousands of times greater than the stated average, which upon inspection may even exceed the obsolete and inadequate FCC regulations set back in 1996.
Newer studies indicate that pulsed radiation transmission have greater biological effects.
2. According to new information from PG&E SmartMeter RF pulses are between 2 to 20 millisecond-pulses. Using PG&E's figure of a 24- hour total average transmission of
You can turn off a cellphone or other wireless devices, but you cannot turn off your SmartMeter or your many neighbors' SmartMeters, whose pulses are transmitting constantly and continuously 24/7.
3. These wireless SmartMeter devices are designed to communicate and control your appliances within your home and broadcast your usage information to multiple cell tower-like receivers strategically placed in your neighborhood.
All SmartMeters are both transmitting and receiving in a mesh system from one home's meter to others, which adds to the ever-increasing load of electromagnetic smog where you live and work.
4. The pulses radiating from meters from dozens if not 100s of homes and businesses will be passing through our home, environment and the bodies of you and your family.
5. The FCC thermal-based regulations that PG&E is basing their RF levels on is obsolete as the studies were only based on cell damage caused by tissue heating on an adult male and do not address the health effects now associated with non-thermal, pulsed, or low-intensity levels especially on children, women and our most vulnerable citizens.
The FCC guidelines for public RF exposure are based on 30 minute exposures, not every day 24/7 type of exposures.
Current regulations do not take into account the plethora of peer reviewed studies that show health effects and cellular damage a 1,000 to 10,000 times lower than the thermal-based standard used today.
Our concern is with the rapidly expanding development of new wireless technologies such as the SmartMeter. The long latency for the development of such serious diseases as brain cancers, means the failure to take immediate action to reduce risks may result in an epidemic of potentially fatal diseases in the future.
Waiting 40 years to document the damage, as was done with tobacco use, will be too late for our children.
Taking action to reduce exposure is imperative to protect our future generation and that is why we are speaking out on this issue.
David Wientjes of Woodacre is president of the Council on Wireless Technology Impacts. He is a leader of the Prove-it Initiative.
Why not radiate the horse farms? Risk future horse breeding? Harm the population? But at least they will be able to use their cell phones!
Chicago Daily Herald
"There's a lot of people that rely on their cell phone and when you dial ... Alex Gamota, director of Distributed Antenna System strategic relations and ...
The next tech-driven malady: 'Text Neck'
Plantation chiropractor spreads the word about posture and pain problems, creates app to help mobile device users
Jennifer Chambers of Fort Lauderdale knew something was wrong when she noticed chronic pain shooting down her neck, through her arms to her fingertips, whenever she used her cell phone or laptop for prolonged periods.
Jenny Ottoson of Plantation sought medical help after suffering several years' of neck, back and shoulder pain that often flared up shortly after using her cell phone and laptop.
Chambers and Ottoson both have one thing in common, bouts of what Plantation chiropractor Dean L. Fishman calls "text neck."
It's the modern equivalent of tennis elbow, Fishman says, but instead of being brought on by sports activities it is exacerbated by improper posture while using smart phones, netbooks, iPads or any other mobile device.
"I had been talking about the problem with patients for years, using correct medical terms, but it was hard for people to understand what was going on until I gave it a name like 'Text Neck,'" says Fishman, who runs a sports rehabilitation practice.
Although the name has not caught on widely with the medical community, other experts say the relationship between bad posture and the use of mobile devices is a legitimate concern.
"I have not heard of text neck, but theoretically anytime you hold your neck in an awkward position for a prolonged time it will cause inflammation and irritation," said Jeffrey Cantor, a spine surgeon and founder of the South Florida Spine Clinic in Fort Lauderdale. "That could ultimately damage joints and cause arthritis."
Fortunately, fixing the ailment can be relatively simple, particularly when the condition is caught early. Experts recommend taking regular breaks when using mobile devices and resisting the temptation to flex the neck too much while using them. Fishman teaches his patients how to hold cell phones and mobile devices properly. He also advocates exercises that develop neck and shoulder muscles and chiropractic adjustments.
Fishman also developed a mobile phone app that helps alert users of a posture problem while texting or playing games on Android phones.
He came up with the name a year ago while trying to explain to a patient's mother why the girl was in pain. He noticed her teen-aged daughter in the corner texting friends, bending her neck forward as she typed. "I told the mom, 'See, that's what I am talking about, text neck.'"
Is 'Text Neck' on the rise in your chiropractic clinic?
The condition is caused by excessive strain on the spine from looking in a forward and downward position at a hand-held mobile device.
We want to hear from you! Are you currently seeing patients with text neck? Have you noticed any trends with regard to the condition? If so, please e-mail Melissa Lee, ACA's public and media relations manager, at email@example.com.
'Text Neck', neck pain due to mobile phone
'Text-neck' on the rise from mobile phone overuse
The number of cases of "text neck" from overuse of mobile phones and MP3 players is on the rise, the Chiropractors' Association says.
The association has said the repetitive stress injury is particularly prevalent in young people, who look down at mobile devices for extended periods of time.
Association spokesman Hayden Thomas told the New Zealand Herald he alone was treating about 20 patients each week.
"It's believed that when someone has their head flexed forward while looking down at the screen on their hand-held device for long periods, the bones and muscles of the spine adapt to that posture and functional changes ensue," he told the NZ Herald.
"These changes in the curve, supporting ligaments, tendons, musculature, as well as the bony segments, can eventually lead to nerve involvement, muscle spasms and pain."
Dr Thomas said hand-held technology was such an integral part of our lives but changes could be made to reduce the impact.
These changes include paying attention to posture when texting or looking at a hand-held device, holding the phone directly in front of the face while texting or reading emails to avoid bending the neck downward, and taking regular breaks.
Text neck was discovered about two years ago by American chiropractic physician Dean Fishman.
Are we messing with Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution? Text-Neck and its impact on mobile users with Dr. Dean Fishman
We've all heard of
How To Text Message And Avoid Sore Thumbs, Neck And Hands
ScienceDaily (June 24, 2009) While it is well known that excessive text messaging can result in sore thumbs, less is known about its possible effects on the neck, arms and hands. Young adults with symptoms in these parts of the body use a different technique when texting, according to a study at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090623150131.htm
As if carpal tunnel, driving while texting and the possibility that your cell phone might be seeding a tumor in your brain weren't enough, meet another new ailment of the information age -- Text Neck.
"Medical research has shown that long term forward head posture will cause early spinal arthritis, disc degeneration, headaches, up to a 30% decrease in lung capacity to just name a few conditions. A survey was conducted with 6,000 chronic headache sufferers and the only common finding among them was the loss or reversal of the normal curve in the neck."