Interview With WiredChild
Friday, 11 September 2009 GreenMuze Staff
Cellphones. Wireless internet. Baby monitors. Do you know how much wireless technology your child is exposed to on a daily basis? WiredChild, a new UK-based organization, is working to raise awareness about the connection between wireless technology and the detrimental health effects on children.
We caught up with WiredChild to ask a few questions about their organization.
Please tell us about WiredChild.
As parents of young children, we started to ask ourselves whether we were convinced by all the reassurances that mobile phones and wireless gadgets are safe. A little digging around showed us that the picture the manufacturers want to paint doesn't reflect the scientific evidence emerging. This shows there might be serious health risks when children use mobile phones and when they use or live with wireless devices.
We found out that lots of scientists are worried about the health effects of wireless products because they give off a type of radiation that is known to be damaging, especially for children. We discovered that this radiation is thought to cause cancer and that some scientists fear a big rise in cancers amongst the kids growing up in this new wireless age.
If these products were medicines or even cosmetics, they would have had to be extensively tested before going on the market, but this new technology isn't.
The more we found out, the more we realized that a lot of this information is hidden from the public. There's even a government health warning that under-16s should avoid using mobiles, but none of the parents or teenagers we talked to knew about it. Many governments are giving health warnings and the French government is introducing a raft of measures, including a ban on advertising mobile phones to children. But parents and schools don't seem to know that there is a concern.
We set up WiredChild to raise awareness of the health concerns so parents and schools could make informed choices.
What are the dangers associated with wireless technology?
Most of the science looking at the safety of mobile phones have investigated the link with brain tumors. We found that all the independently funded studies found an association between mobile phone use and these cancers. But studies also indicate that the type of radiation which mobile phones and wireless give off may also be associated with a host of other symptoms, including impaired fertility, pre-natal damage and an increased risk of a range of illnesses like lymphoma, leukemia, breast cancer and Alzheimers. Sometimes, the radiation produces short-term symptoms like headaches, nausea, sleep disturbance and depression.
There have been a number of studies that have shown higher levels of a range of symptoms amongst those living near mobile phone masts. Two studies have found significantly higher rates of cancer.
Why are we just hearing about these dangers now?
A lot of the health damage only happens after long-term exposure. Lung cancer is thought to take between 15 and 35 years to manifest, and it is thought that the health effects of microwave radiation may be similarly long-term. This means that the effects are only just starting to show up in studies, and it may take much longer to see the full effects.
What is "electrosmog"?
Electrosmog is the invisible pollution or "smog" in the form of electro-magnetic fields from the now widespread microwave-emitting devices such as mobile phones, their masts, wireless routers and DECT phones. Just as 'normal' smog is the pollution from car exhausts that causes breathing problems and other health problems, electrosmog is the equivalent pollution from our wireless age.
Why are children more vulnerable?
Research shows that radiation penetrates more deeply into a child's head and also that children's thinner skulls absorb much more radiation than an adult's. One study found that children who had used a mobile phone before they were 20 had five times more chance of getting a brain tumor later in life. That five times greater risk might be the tip of the iceberg because there is every chance the risks increase the longer the phone is used. The increase in risk could turn out to be much greater when the full long-term effects have been studied in the future.
Additionally we do not yet know how significant the impact of exposure to other new radiation sources, like cordless phones, wi-fi, Bluetooth, baby listening monitors and games consoles, will be or how the different sources interact in their effect on children's bodies. These now ubiquitous products add to the radiation "load" experienced by children growing up today but the effects of long-term exposure to them are unknown. Many scientists fear for the impact this will have when today's children grow up.
So when you piece together all the studies, there is a strong indication that this radiation is unsafe at levels our children are being exposed to. How dangerous, and how big the impact on our children's long-term health, is unknown.
Why are there so many misconceptions about the 'safety' of wireless devices?
Firstly, the telecoms industry has funded many scientific studies and most of these indicate the technology is not harmful, while the independent studies tend to indicate harm. Often these studies are taken by the media and by governments as a green light for expansion of the technology and uncertainties about safety become obscured. While our health protection agencies pay lip service to a precautionary approach, in practice the economic benefits of the technology, and the tax revenues, seem to get in the way of the government protecting the public. Time and again we have seen that governments are resistant to recognizing health risks until they are proved beyond a doubt, even though the risks could be very serious.
What should parents know about wireless devices?
As well as the evidence emerging about mobile phone risks, scientists are also worried about children being exposed to cordless phones, digital baby monitors, wi-fi and wireless computer games, which emit the same type of radiation. Some scientists think it might be very damaging especially if children are using these gadgets regularly, sleeping with them nearby or are exposed all day at school.
What do you tell parents that don't feel they can manage without wireless technology?
It really is easier than you think to reduce your children's exposure and you don't have to give up the technology altogether. Some small changes can make a big difference. Here are some easy ones that can cut children's exposure dramatically:
Make sure at least one phone in the house is corded (not cordless) and make sure children use this phone for any long calls.
Encourage children to use their mobile phones for texting and emergency calls only.
Make sure children turn off mobile phones at night and ideally when not in use.
Make sure there is no wi-fi point or cordless phone in your child's bedroom or in an adjacent room. If possible turn off at night.
Replace digital baby monitors with analogue versions.
Limit time playing on wireless computer games and turn off the console when not in use.
Do you think wireless technology is going to ever go away?
It's certainly hard to imagine life without it now and I don't think it will go away in the foreseeable future. At WiredChild, we recognize the benefits of the technology and we are focusing on realistic ways of reducing children's exposure, rather than on eliminating the technology altogether.
I saw this in New Scientist and thought that some people might like to post a comment online.
Brighter by design
Today's street lamps are pretty dim. Stupid, that is. They rely on an unsophisticated light sensor, called a photocell, to tell them when to turn on and off. That's all they do. Then there's the way these lights are maintained. Some poor drudge has to meander through the streets checking every lamp once a month. It's positively 19th-century.
Lights with street smarts
There is, however, a revolution brewing that promises to make street lighting dramatically smarter. Every lamp will be controllable at the click of a mouse and its status readable on a central computer, showing whether it's working, the amount of energy it's consuming and whether it's a pesky "day burner".
This enhanced control will bring benefits not only to people finding their way in the dark. Will Gibson, a director of Telensa, the Essex-based company behind the system, reckons that smart lighting could reduce energy consumption by up to 40 per cent - not an insignificant saving when you consider that street lamps account for 2 per cent of UK electricity consumption.
Telensa's vision looks as much like a cellphone network as it does a street-lighting system. Each lamp is fitted with a "telecell", including a radio transceiver and enough brain power to monitor the lamp's performance. As many as 10,000 telecells connect wirelessly to a base station similar to that in a cellphone network. In turn, all the base stations in an area connect to a central computer.
This arrangement lets the operator control lamps individually or in groups, and also receive status updates. The lights can be programmed to switch on depending on the time of day, the day of the week, the season and the light level - now monitored by photocells located on base stations. Lighting could even be changed for special occasions, with lamps being turned up around a football stadium as the crowd spills out, for example, or dimmed for a firework display.
The idea of radio-controlled street lights is not new, says Caroline Fleming, research and development manager at the Carbon Trust. What sets Telensa's system apart is that it has the experience to develop the technology into a commercial system.
Telensa's scheme aims to cover the widest area with the smallest number of base stations, operating at the lowest power. Low power generally means a short range, but Telensa extends this by using what's called ultra-narrow band (UNB) transmission: each telecell uses only a thin slice of the radio spectrum. The noise in a UNB channel is proportionally lower than for, say, a cellphone signal, so transmissions can travel farther before being swamped by noise.
The trade-off for this improved range is that a UNB channel carries data at a low rate. But this is acceptable for street lamps because they don't have much to say, says Gibson. "It's pretty much just variations on 'Am I on, yes or no?' "
Street lamps don't have much to say. It's variations on 'Am I on, yes or no?'
Telensa put in for a Carbon Trust grant to help it develop the telecells and integrate the UNB technology. It received £250,000, which also funded two initial trials of 100 street lamps in London and Manchester. "We helped them get the system off the lab bench and onto the street," says Fleming.
The system is now undergoing large-scale trials across the UK, with smaller trials being conducted in South Carolina and Austria.
Re story below
Was the depression caused by electro magnetic radiation affecting brain wave patterns?
Are chemicals then used to reverse the damage?
An estimated 15 million people in the United States experience a depressive episode each year!
Another modern epidenic?
UCLA researchers develop biomarker for rapid relief of major depression
Brain-wave patterns may predict how effective medication will be
It is a long, slow slog to treat major depression. Many antidepressant medications are available, but no single biomarker or diagnostic test exists to predict which one is right for an individual. As a result, for more than half of all patients, the first drug prescribed doesn't work, and it can take months to figure out what does.
Now, based on the final results of a nationwide study led by UCLA, clinicians may be able to accurately predict within a week whether a particular drug will be effective by using a non-invasive test that takes less than 15 minutes to administer. The test will allow physicians to quickly switch patients to a more effective treatment, if necessary.
The study, called the Biomarkers for Rapid Identification of Treatment Effectiveness in Major Depression, or BRITE-MD, measured changes in brain-wave patterns using quantitative electroencephalography (QEEG), a non-invasive, computerized measurement that recognizes specific alterations in brain-wave activity. These changes precede improvement in mood by many weeks and appear to serve as a biomarker that accurately predicts how effective a given medication will be. The study results appear in two articles published in the September issue of the journal Psychiatry Research.
Nine sites around the country collaborated on the study, which enrolled a total of 375 people who had been diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD). Each individual was given a baseline QEEG at the beginning of the trial and then prescribed the antidepressant escitalopram, commonly known as Lexapro, one of a class of drugs known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors that are commonly prescribed for depression. After one week, a second QEEG was taken. The researchers examined a biomarker called the antidepressant treatment response (ATR) index — a specific change in brain-wave patterns from the baseline QEEG.
Subjects were then randomly assigned to continue with escitalopram or were given a different drug. A total of 73 patients who remained on escitalopram were tracked for 49 days to see if their results matched the prediction of the ATR biomarker. The ATR predicted both response and remission with an accuracy rate of 74 percent, much higher than any other method available. The researchers also found that they could predict whether subjects were more likely to respond to a different antidepressant, bupropion, also known as Wellbutrin XL.
"Until now, other than waiting, there has been no reliable method for predicting whether a medication would lead to a good response or remission," said Dr. Andrew Leuchter, professor of psychiatry at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA and lead author of the study. "And that wait can be as long as 14 weeks. So these are very exciting findings for the patient suffering from depression. The BRITE results are a milestone in our efforts to develop clinically useful biomarkers for predicting treatment response in MDD."
Major depressive disorder is a leading cause of disability, costing society in excess of $80 billion annually; approximately two-thirds of these costs reflect the enormous disability associated with the disorder. An estimated 15 million people in the United States experience a depressive episode each year, and nearly 17 percent of adults will experience major depression in their lifetime.
"BRITE study results suggest that the ATR biomarker could potentially provide the greatest clinical benefit for those patients who might be receiving a medication that is unlikely to help them," Leuchter said. "Our results suggest that it may be possible to switch these patients to a more effective treatment quickly. This would help patients and their physicians avoid the frustration, risk and expense of long and ineffective medication trials."
Leuchter noted that research has shown that depression patients who do not get better with a first treatment experience prolonged suffering, are more likely to abandon treatment altogether and may become more resistant to treatment over time.
"So the benefits to the individual and to society are enormous," he said.
An added benefit of the biomarker test, according to Leuchter, is that it is non-invasive, painless and fast — about 15 minutes — and only involves the placement of six electrodes around the forehead and on the earlobes.
Aspect Medical Systems, which developed the ATR biomarker, provided financial support for the study. Aspect also participated in the design and conduct of the study; the collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data; and the preparation and review of the manuscript. Final approval of the form and content of the manuscript rested with the authors.
Other UCLA authors included Dr. Ian Cook, Dr. Karl S. Burgoyne and Dr. James T. McCracken. Leuchter is chair of Aspect's neuroscience advisory board and has provided scientific consultation to them.
The Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior is an interdisciplinary research and education institute devoted to the understanding of complex human behavior, including the genetic, biological, behavioral and sociocultural underpinnings of normal behavior and the causes and consequences of neuropsychiatric disorders. In addition to conducting fundamental research, institute faculty seek to develop effective treatments for neurological and psychiatric disorders, improve access to mental health services and shape national health policy regarding neuropsychiatric disorders.
Moulds, chemicals, EMF/EMR, social injustice, bad food, are all known to cause depression and or anxiety. This is not mental illness, but the interference with brain and body biology, often as toxic trespass.
Common mental disorders may be more common than we think
This is a communiqué with the Bloc Québécois to do something to protect citizens against cell companies. Also a link to an article in a Montreal newspaper.
How are you ?
Le SEMO est de retour...
Voir l'article publié dans le quotidien METRO d'aujourd'hui:
Le site internet "dangersemo.com" a été actualisé.
10 septembre 2009
Communiqué de presse
Objet : Le collectif SEMO interpelle le Bloc québécois
Le chef du Bloc Québécois, Gilles Duceppe, reçoit une pétition de 643 citoyens de son comté inquiets pour leur santé à cause des antennes cellulaires sur un immeuble (http://www.dangersemo.com/)
Les normes d'expositions aux micro-ondes relèvent d'Industrie Canada et de Santé Canada
Ces normes sont contestées au Québec et dans de nombreux pays car elles ne protègent pas suffisamment la population contre les effets néfastes sur la santé des micro-ondes à faible intensité.
Autres pétitions au cours de la dernière année:
· Châteauguay, 250 noms: Carole Freeman, députée du Bloc, a donné son appui à ses citoyens.
· Boucherville, 500 noms: Jean Dorion, député du Bloc, a donné son appui à ses citoyens.
· Terrebonne, 840 noms: Diane Bourgeois, députée du Bloc, a donné son appui à ses citoyens.
· Prévost, 800 noms: Monique Guay, députée du Bloc a donné son appui à ses citoyens.
Les grands stratèges du Bloc Québécois vont-ils enfin donner la parole à la population du Québec ou vont-ils encore une fois refuser de parler de ce dossier ?
La démocratie, c'est la voix des citoyens, pas des intérêts financiers des compagnies de cellulaires.
De nombreux pays limitent…
· l'utilisation des cellulaires par les enfants;
· les installations d'antennes relais près des écoles;
· l'exposition des citoyens aux micro-ondes.
Rien de cela au Canada.
Le Bloc doit agir maintenant pour que cela change.
Ce n'est pas un problème scientifique, de nombreux pays l'ont reconnu…
Ce sont des intérêts financiers et politiques qui sont en jeu, et ce, au détriment de la santé de la population.
Le Bloc doit agir maintenant pour que cela change.
Il s'agit d'un dossier politique !
Pour plus d'informations,
Porte-parole du collectif SEMO