Wireless Electrical and Electromagnetic Pollution News
4 May 2011
Hearing loss: GSM, CDMA equally risky
Be it the global system for mobile communications (GSM) or the code division multiple access (CDMA) mobiles, both are equally damaging for the ears. This is what a PGI research submitted in an international journal, 'Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery' has found. Despite the different electromagnetic exposure caused by these technologies, the damage is the same.
Last year the main investigator of the study from the department of ENT had conducted a pilot study on GSM mobiles which had found a mention in Parliament. This study has covered both CDMA and GSM mobiles. We found that the damage to the internal ear and the auditory cortex was bilateral, said Dr Naresh Panda, head of the department of ENT and the main author of the study.
Both GSM and CDMA phones operate in the range of about 800 to 900 MHz. Thus, the distance in which the microwaves have their maximum effect comes to about 33 to 37 cm (1 wavelength), which covers the whole head. This could be a probable reason for the bilateral effect. A sample of 125 persons who were long-term mobile phone users (more than 1 year; 63 GSM and 62 CDMA) and 58 controls who had never used mobile phones, underwent various medical investigations. The subjects were in the age group of 18 to 45 years, who were chronic mobile phone users (using mobile phones for more than a year).
'The study found that long-term mobile phone users faced a significantly higher risk of hearing loss," said Dr Ramandeep Virk, co-author of the study. More than three years of mobile phone usage emerged as a risk factor. The external ear may provide a natural route by which emitted radio frequency radiations may reach the peripheral and central nervous system of the brain, said Dr Panda.
This is the first ever study on CDMA mobile users. The study found that the auditory cortex is likely to be more exposed to the electromagnetic field of a mobile phone because it is near the antenna of the phone. 'A daily usage of mobiles for an average one hour in three years can damage the internal ear and result in loss of hearing,' said Dr Virk.
The subjects were recruited from random hospital visitors and people who responded to an awareness campaign about the effects of mobile phones on health.
PG&E to replace 1,600 defective SmartMeters that inflated customers' electric bills
Pacific Gas & Electric said Monday it will replace 1,600 SmartMeters due to a "rare defect" that causes the wireless meters to run fast and inflate customers' electric bills.
It's the first time PG&E has acknowledged experiencing any kind of technical problems with the meters, which have drawn consumer complaints of being inaccurate and causing negative health effects. The 1,600 defective meters, which are manufactured by the Swiss company Landis+Gyr, comprise less than 0.1 percent of the nearly 2.1 million Landis+Gyr meters installed in Northern California to date.
PG&E began calling customers who have the defective meters Monday and will offer full refunds to customers who received inaccurate bills. The utility said the average refund is $40 per customer.
"In a nutshell, Landis+Gyr sent us a small number of meters with a defect that causes them to run fast when they operate at high temperatures, and they may miscalculate energy bills," Greg Kiraly, PG&E's vice president for SmartMeter operations, said Monday.
The 1,600 faulty meters are spread throughout PG&E's service area and are not clustered in a specific location. PG&E and Landis+Gyr said the defective meters sent signals that they were not working properly -- much like the "check engine" light of a car. The two companies said they worked closely to solve the problem, and feel confident it is isolated to the 1,600 meters they have identified.
"We're not happy to have even one defect, because our goal is to be defect-free," said Jerry Figurilli, chief operating officer of Landis+Gyr. "This is a very small number of meters. I would not expect that it will occur again."
Some of PG&E's SmartMeters are made by GE, which also has about 2 million meters installed by PG&E in Northern California.
Utilities across the country and world are installing digital wireless meters that use embedded software to record electricity use by the hour. Advocates say those meters will give consumers greater understanding of and control over their energy usage.
But PG&E's rocky SmartMeter rollout has been a public relations disaster for the utility. PG&E customers in Bakersfield and elsewhere complained that the new meters caused their bills to skyrocket; others have complained that the meters' wireless signals cause headaches and nausea.
So many consumers complained about high bills that regulators with the California Public Utilities Commission ordered an independent investigation into meter accuracy. The report, released last fall, found no accuracy problems with the SmartMeters and noted that high bills could be traced to other causes, such as increased energy use during a summer heat wave or "load changes" like adding a pool or additional room to a house.
Consumer advocates with The Utility Reform Network said PG&E's revelation of 1,600 defective meters should be a wake-up call to the company and regulators to take customer complaints more seriously.
"Customer complaints about SmartMeter accuracy continue to pour into TURN," said Executive Director Mark Toney. "The meters themselves alerted PG&E to the fact they weren't running properly."
All 1,600 defective SmartMeters will be replaced. In addition to the rebates because of overbilling, affected customers will get an additional $25 credit on their bill for "customer inconvenience," as well as a free home energy audit.
San Diego Gas & Electric has installed more than 2.1 million new wireless "smart meters" in its territory. Some customers have complained of serious health effects. Can you please tell me the stand at this time the city has taken on the "smart meter"? ...
Central Maine Power Co. is replacing our familiar wired electric meters with wireless "smart meters," which use pulsed radio-frequency/microwave radiation technology.
Signals are sent from the meter to a "collector meter" and on to CMP in a constant pulsating flow, up to thousands of pulses a day.
These waves not only emanate out from the meter, they also emanate in to the room on the other side of the wall.
What is the potential effect of this continuous pulsating signal on our health, and the health of our children? Children are more vulnerable than adults to health effects from this technology.
Where I live, there are six CMP meters on the building near the area where children wait for the school bus, ride bikes and play ball. What is the cumulative effect on them of signals pulsing from "smart meters" -- in the house, in the door yard, and from the wireless grid throughout the town and across the state?
After doing some research I notified CMP that I would like to "opt out" of the program, which may or may not be possible.
A report detailing potential health effects prepared by SAGE Associates in California can be found at http://sagereports.com/smart-meter-rf. (CMP's "smart meters" and wireless grid are reportedly the same or similar to California's).
FCC regulations are not up to date regarding public safety standards for this technology. CMP and the Maine Public Utilities Commission should have erred on the side of caution until they knew the potential health effects. These pulsing signals will be with us 24 hours a day -- in our homes, work places and door yards. We cannot turn them off or get away from them. We and our children are laboratory animals in a dangerous experiment.
a link to one of the French telcos' hotspot map . HELL
Sylvie French ehs
Threat to church phone masts 'that relay porn'
The church's highest court is to hear an appeal after a diocesan judge ruled that churches were "wrong in law" to "facilitate the transmission of pornography, even in a slight or modest way". 2007
Talking to the Wall
An experimental interface from Microsoft turns any wall into an interactive surface.
Our lives are awash with ambient electromagnetic radiation, from the fields generated by power lines to the signals used to send data between Wi-Fi transmitters. Researchers at Microsoft and the University of Washington have found a way to harness this radiation for a computer interface that turns any wall in a building into a touch-sensitive surface.
The technology could allow light switches, thermostats, stereos, televisions, and security systems to be controlled from anywhere in the house, and could lead to new interfaces for games.
"There's all this electromagnetic radiation in the air," says Desney Tan, senior researcher at Microsoft (and a TR35 honoree in 2007). Radio antennas pick up some of the signals, Tan explains, but people can do this too. "It turns out that the body is a relatively good antenna," he says.
The ambient electromagnetic radiation emitted by home appliances, mobile phones, computers, and the electrical wiring within walls is usually considered noise. But the researchers chose to put it at the core of their new interface.When a person touches a wall with electrical wiring behind it, she becomes an antenna that tunes the background radiation, producing a distinct electrical signal, depending on her body position and proximity to and location on the wall. This unique electrical signal can be collected and interpreted by a device in contact with or close to her body. When a person touches a spot on the wall behind her couch, the gesture can be recognized, and it could be used, for example, to turn down the volume on the stereo.
So far, the researchers have demonstrated only that a body can turn electromagnetic noise into a usable signal for a gesture-based interface. A paper outlining this will be presented next week at the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Vancouver, BC.
In an experiment, test subjects wore a grounding strap on their wrista bracelet that is normally used to prevent the buildup of static electricity in the body. A wire from the strap was connected to an analog-to-digital converter, which fed data from the strap to a laptop worn in a backpack. Machine-learning algorithms then processed the data to identify characteristic changes in the electrical signals corresponding to a person's proximity to a wall, the position of her hand on the wall, and her location within the house.
"Now we can turn any arbitrary wall surface into a touch-input surface," says Shwetak Patel, professor of computer science and engineering and electrical engineering at the University of Washington (and a TR35 honoree in 2009), who was involved with the work. The next step, he says, is to make the data analysis real-time and to make the system even smallerwith a phone or a watch instead of a laptop collecting and analyzing data.
"With Nintendo Wii and Microsoft's Kinect, people are starting to realize that these gesture interfaces can be quite compelling and useful," says Thad Starner, professor in Georgia Tech's College of Computing. "This is the sort of paper that says here is a new direction, an interesting idea; now can we refine it and make it better over time."
Refining the system to make it more user-friendly will be important, says Pattie Maes, a professor in MIT's Media Lab who specializes in computer interfaces. "Many interfaces require some visual, tangible, or auditory feedback so the user knows where to touch." While the researchers suggest using stickers or other marks to denote wall-based controls, this approach might not appeal to everyone. "I think it is intriguing," says Maes, "but may only have limited-use cases."
Joe Paradiso, another professor in MIT's Media Lab, says, "The idea is wild and different enough to attract attention," but he notes that the signal produced could vary depending on the way a person wears the device that collects the signal.
Patel has previously used a building's electrical, water, and ventilation systems to locate people indoors. Tan has worked with sensors that use human brain power for computing and muscle activity to control electronics wirelessly. The two researchers share an interest in pulling useful information out of noisy signals. With the recent joint project, Tan says, the researchers are "taking junk and making sense of it."