Teachers begin using cell phones for class lessons
Associated Press Writer
Cell phones, the subject of tugs of war between parents, teachers and students across the nation, are taking on a new role in the classroom: learning tool.
Tech savvy teachers are asking students to use their phones to record foreign language assignments, take photographs for projects and do mini-Internet searches if they have a Web browser.
That's a stark contrast to the emphasis that has been placed on prohibiting their use, often out of fear students will cheat or take inappropriate pictures then passed on to friends.
A majority of teens have a cell phone today, and with many schools unable to afford a computer for every student, teachers are starting to see them as a helpful learning device instead.
How Mobile Phone Towers Work
Cell phone towers emit signals in a "flower petal" pattern around the tower. This 360-degree radius around the tower is called a "cell" and this is what the term "cell" in cell phone means. (5) When your phone is in a "cell" you get good reception and when it isn't in a "cell" you get poor reception. So, for a cell phone company to provide complete coverage cell phone towers and antenna towers must be positioned all across the country so that the "cells" overlap. You can begin to see what a huge infrastructure needs to be created to provide complete cell phone coverage. That's why cell phone towers and antenna towers are so prevalent. Furthermore, that's why these antennas are installed in so many places like rooftops, fire stations, schools and churches. This is what is necessary for complete coverage.
Studies Show Adverse Health Effects From Cell Phone Towers
If you aren't sure that cell phone towers and masts are harmful the following study summaries should convince you. Below are listed six studies that have shown significant adverse health effects on people living near cell phone towers. According to Dr. Grahame Blackwell "these are the only studies known that specifically consider the effects of masts on people. All six studies show clear and significant ill-health effects. There are no known studies relating to health effects of masts that do not show such ill-health effects." (6)
1. Santini et al. found significant health problems in people living within 300 meters of a cell phone base station or tower. The recommendation was made from the study that cell phone base stations should not be placed closer than 300 meters to populated areas. Pathol Biol (Paris) 2002; 50: 369-373.
2. A Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research study entitled, "Effects of Global Communications System Radio-Frequency Fields On Well Being and Cognitive Function of Human Subjects With and Without Subjective Complaints" found significant effects on well being including headaches, muscle fatigue, pain, and dizziness from tower emissions well below the "safety" level.
3. Gerd, Enrique, Manuel, Ceferino and Claludio conducted a Spanish study called "The Microwave Syndrome" and found adverse health effects from those living near two cell phone base stations. The health effects included fatigue, a tendency toward depression, sleeping disorders, difficulty in concentration and cardiovascular problems.
4. From an Israeli study published in the International Journal of Cancer Prevention, Vol. 1, No. 2, April 2004, Wolf and Wolf reported a fourfold increase in the incidence of cancer in people living within 350 meters of a cell phone tower as compared to the Israeli general population. They also reported a tenfold increase specifically among women.
5. In the Naila Study from Germany, November 2004, five medical doctors collaborated to assess the risk to people living near a cell phone tower. The retrospective study was taken from patient case histories between 1994 and 2004 from those who had lived during the past ten years at a distance up to 400 meters from the tower site. The results showed that the proportion of newly developed cancer cases was significantly higher in those patients living within the 400-meter distance and that the patients became ill on average eight years earlier. In the years 1999 to 2004, after five years of operation of the transmitting tower, the relative risk of getting cancer had trebled for residents of the area in the proximity of the installation compared to the inhabitants of Naila outside the area.
6. An Austrian Study released in May 2005, showed that radiation from a cell phone tower at a distance of 80 meters causes significant changes of the electrical currents in the brains of test subjects. All test subjects indicated they felt unwell during the radiation and some reported being seriously ill. According to the scientists doing the study, this is the first worldwide proof of significant changes of the electrical currents in the brain, as measured by EEG, by a cell phone base station at a distance of 80 meters. Subjects reported symptoms such as buzzing in the head, tinnitus, palpitations of the heart, lightheadedness, anxiety, shortness of breath, nervousness, agitation, headache, heat sensation and depression. According to scientists this is the first proof that electrical circuits in the brain are significantly affected by a cell phone tower. The distance in this study was a mere 80 meters.
Two-time Nobel Prize nominee Dr. Gerald Hyland, a physicist, had this to say about cell phone towers. "Existing safety guidelines for cell phone towers are completely inadequate. Quite justifiably, the public remains skeptical of attempts by governments and industry to reassure them that all is well, particularly given the unethical way in which they often operate symbiotically so as to promote their own vested interests."
Dr. Bruce Hocking did a study in Syndey, Australia, of children living near TV and FM broadcast towers, which by the way, are very similar to cell phone towers. He found that these children had more than twice the rate of leukemia as children living more than seven miles away from these towers.
Results in yet another recent study (7) conducted on inhabitants living near or under a mobile phone base station antenna yielded the following prevalence of neuropsychiatric complaints: headache (23.5%), memory changes (28.2%), dizziness (18.8%), tremors (9.4%), depressive symptoms (21.7%), and sleep disturbances
(23.5%). In this study the participants were given a neurobehavioral test battery measuring such things as problem solving, visuomotor speed, attention and emory. Symptoms of exposed inhabitants were significantly higher than control groups.
Furthermore, Europe's top environmental watchdog group, European Environment Agency (EEA), is calling for immediate action to reduce exposure to mobile phone masts. EEA suggests action to reduce exposure immediately to vulnerable groups such as children.
The development of brain tumors in staff members working in a building in Melbourne, Australia, prompted the closing of the top floors of the building. The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology is housed in the building. Seven staff members were diagnosed with brain tumors and five of the seven worked on the top floor. A cell phone antenna is located on the roof of the building. (8)
The Orange phone company in England is being forced to remove its mast tower on a building in Bristol, England. The removal is a result of a five-year effort by residents and local authorities to have the mast removed. Cancer rates in the building, which has become known internationally as the "Tower of Doom," have soared to ten times the national average for the 110 residents living there. The two masts sitting on the roof, one owned by Orange and the other by Vodafone, were installed in 1994. Vodafone has refused the remove its mast. (9)
Written by Ann Mathisen Friday, 27 November 2009 10:16
At some point in the near future, Port Washington may be circled by a halo of cell-towers. Their effect would be anything but angelic judging from recent public opinion. Tonight, Nov. 19 at 8 p.m., Manorhaven's village hall should be packed for the second time with angry and concerned citizens. Giovanna Giunta, a Manhasset Isle resident and local organizer, commented, "This battle is about the safety and well being of our community. We will stand united to protect our children, Port Washington and our property values. It's not too late for the tower to be removed and to correct the errors of the past. We're only in Round 2 and will continue fighting."
Currently, a Stop Work order is in effect. Since the last meeting, residents discovered that the tower is placed in the wrong location despite the variances granted by Manorhaven's Board of Zoning Appeals. Mayor Meehan didn't return a call for comment.
A few blocks away, the Village of Baxter Estates is involved in a similar controversy. A village meeting held last week, attended by residents and representatives from T-Mobile, discussed the proposed cellular antennas for the rooftop at 299 Main Street. Kristin Vonkoff, a Baxter Estates homeowner, succinctly outlined the situation after an hour of discussion. She referred to The Telecommunications Act of 1996 that prohibits municipalities from rejecting tower applications based on health issues, (perceived or otherwise.)
It's interesting to note that Vonkoff formerly "troubleshooted" for a private satellite network. She said that back in 1991, when she had to service satellite dishes, 23 stories above Lexington Avenue, she was given a stopwatch and told not to spend more than 10 minutes working near the cell phone towers that were adjacent to the dishes. This was five years prior to the legislation and eerily reminiscent of the tobacco industry's knowledge about the dangers of cigarette smoking years prior to public awareness.
Patti Wood, local environmentalist who heads up Grassroots and is a board member on Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington, commented, "Considering the rapidly growing body of scientific data about the harmful health effects of electromagnetic fields, and in particular radiofrequency (RF) radiation, it is irresponsible to say that cell phone towers pose no risk to the public. In fact, contrary to popular belief, wireless technology has not been proven safe by either the FCC or the wireless industry itself."
Ms. Wood advised that in August 2004, one of the largest labor unions in the U.S., The International Association of Firefighters, decided not to allow antennas near or on top of fire stations because firemen are already "beginning to show symptoms of electromagnetic radiation." Other countries, alerted to the indication of harm, use precautionary principles in regard to the cellular industry, she noted, continuing that some prohibit cell-phone sales to children and began issuing warning labels on packaging.
Ms. Wood referred to the thousands of people living within the eight block transmitting radius and the number of children (including those playing on the PAL Field, studying in the library or enrolled in the Landmark's facilities and programs) that would be exposed to electronmagnetic radiation, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
She said that cellular phone companies continue to use data more than 20 years old and employ the defense that the data found in academic journals doesn't hold up to scientific standards. They also issue comments that relate to the effects of thermal values, meaning no one will be burned by standing or living close to a tower, rather than to the effects of radio frequency waves. However, she adds, international studies continue to report that people are experiencing, and will in increasing numbers, chromosomal damage that leads to specific types of cancers from electromagnetic radiation. These include cancers of the brain and auditory system, she said.
Unlike the 125-foot tower now standing in Manhasset Isle, T-Mobile designed a rooftop placement west of the "penthouse" utility room for 299 Main Street. Three sets of antennas facing south, east and north, originally designed to be placed on a steel mount, will now stand enclosed approximately 7' high. Although the cell-tower on Manhasset Isle remains visible from Shore Road, T-Mobile was apparently unaware of the FCC's mandate to coordinate cellular locations. The mayor of Baxter Estates, Fred Nicholson commented, "The village is very sensitive to community concerns. We're anxious to hear back from T-Mobile on the aggregate or the compounding effects of having too many antennas in close proximity."
The building's owner, Convas Holdings LLC, didn't return a call for comment. Jolani Jewelers has nothing to do with the antennas and unfortunately has received too much negative attention about them. Although the building's recent high-end renovation added to the ongoing beautification of lower Main Street, it's been suggested that the antennas will block waterviews, disturb perspectives and erode lovely aesthetics.
Nancy Curtin, the executive director of the Port Library expressed the library's concern that the site is a dismal one because it disrupts "one of the more historic streetscapes that has been captured in art books and the library's local collections." Currently, the view down Main Street from the library's outdoor balcony is unobstructed much like it might have appeared when Port was originally settled. She said a worse location couldn't have been chosen.
Most Port residents agree that the preservation, maintenance and renovation of lower Main Street needs to be addressed. Although it's not yet designated as a historical district, the proposed antennas may strike some as visually displeasing and a mar on the landscape. Ms. Vonkoff commented, "We live here because Port is beautiful and how long we stay this way remains to be seen."
One resident noted, "People who don't live within the 8-block radius of these towers may not care presently, but as cellular companies map out plans for cell towers and antennas for the rest of the Port peninsula without objections, any future concerns may be moot."
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