Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Residents' association / Danger ahead / Toyota Prius Hybrid / Hybrid Vehicles / Allergy Case / Fear / Is it safe?

W.E.E.P. News

Wireless Electrical and Electromagnetic Pollution News  11March 2010

Residents' association launches campaign against telephony base stations

Wednesday, 10th March 2010 - 16:12CET

A residents' association has launched a national campaign to raise awareness about the possible harmful effects of electrogagnetic radiation from base stations used for mobile telephony.

The Kortin Residents' Association this morning held a meeting with a British expert in the subject, Barrie Trower to discuss the issue.

It will also raise the issue at a meeting with the Social Affairs Committee of the House of Representatives.

The association is complaining that there are 2,200 antennae in Malta, giving the island the highest concentration of electromagnetic smog in Europe with one antenna for every 194 inhabitants.

The association is complaining that not enough is being done by the Department of Health, the Malta Communications Authority and Mepa to monitor the antennae.

It is insisting that they should be moved away from built-up areas, and where that is not possible, their power output should be reduced.

The association said some of its members had complained of health problems which could have been caused by the base stations.

Health authorities in Malta and abroad have insisted there is no health risk from base stations.

See Mr Trower on video - 

(Important information and comments)
Barnidge: Danger ahead: Cell phone in operation

By Tom Barnidge
Contra Costa Times columnist
Posted: 03/08/2010 06:54:18 PM PST

A MEMORABLE SCENE in "Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid" has the two outlaws eluding a posse by leaping from a cliff into a river far below.

Sundance hesitates because he is unable swim, until Butch bluntly dismisses his worry: "Hell, the fall will probably kill you."

We were reminded of that recently when residents of Walnut Creek's Buena Vista area rose up to protest the erection of a 12-foot cell phone antenna on St. Stephen's Church property. Among their concerns were the unknown health risks of living so close to the tower.

They can quit worrying about that. Hell, their cell phones are more apt to kill them.

Spend any time surfing the Web, and you can find countless medical studies noting the risks of exposure to the electromagnetic radiation emitted by cell phones. Two books in particular caught our eye: "Cell Phones: Invisible Hazards in the Wireless Age," by George Louis Carlo, Ph.D., and "Cellular Telephone Russian roulette," by Dr. Robert Kane.

Neither book endorses the Friends and Family Plan.

Another authority, Dr. Lawrence Wilson, writing for The Center for Development, provides this disturbingly graphic assessment: "Microwave radiation is quite penetrating, even at low power.

This is why your cell phone will work inside buildings and garages. ... it also means that the waves easily penetrate your cranium." That doesn't sound good.

It's enough to send you to a land line, as long as you're not using a cordless receiver. Those are even worse, according to the Physicians and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and Technology, because the antenna base "irradiates microwaves day and night with a high intensity."

Good grief, isn't anything safe?

Of course, many people are placed on this earth for the sole purpose of scaring the bejabbers out of us. Mothers fill this role when we're young ("Keep crossing your eyes and they'll stay stuck that way").

Once upon a time, saccharine was going to kill us.

Then it was cyclamates. And cranberry sauce. We've been warned about lead in our paint, asbestos in our insulation and DDT on our crops. More perils await:

Listening to iPods at high volume can cause hearing loss, the first signs of which are a ringing in the ears, says Andrew Reid, head of audiology at Britain's Royal United Hospital, and Dr. William Maisel of Boston's Beth Israel Medical Center found that iPod earphones can interfere with heart pacemakers. Keep great-granddad away from the teenagers.

Your BlackBerry can cause osteoarthritis, according top Prof. Alan Hedge of Cornell University, who says that "the thumb is not very flexible and repetitive use of it can lead to damage to the tendon on the outside."

Laptops are no bargain, either. BBC News reports that of 500 users surveyed by UNISON, a public trade service union in London, 60 percent complained of back or neck problems, eyestrain and headaches.

And that's not the worst. Males who work with computers on their laps put their fertility at risk, according to Dr. Yefim Sheynkin, urology professor at State University of New York. His words give guys a case of the queasies: "The increase in scrotal temperature is significant enough to cause changes in sperm parameters."

Don't even get us started on microwave ovens, overhead power lines and full-body scanners.

We're telling you, Sundance, cell phone towers are the least of our worries.

Contact Tom Barnidge at .
- Public Health Warning: Alert

"Next-up Organisation advises against using the rear right passenger seat in the Toyota Prius Hybrid"  
Is Radiation From Hybrid Vehicles Cause for Concern?

Could hybrid cars actually be dangerous to the environment?  It seems like an unfounded question.

How could hybrids actually hurt the environment?  A study conducted by a research committee funded by the Environmental Protection group of Israel suggests that hybrid could actually be harmful to the environment and humans, as well.  The study found "surplus" radiation in some hybrid models.

The study took 9 months to conduct and the research group focuses on hybrid models sold in Israel, as well as worldwide.  The "surplus" radiation is generated by the electromagnetic field made by AC current flowing from the batteries to the engine and back again.  This type of radiation, known as non ionizing radiation, is similar to that found in a typical cellphone.  How dangerous is this type of radiation?

The answer remains to be discovered.

Numbers for acceptable levels of this type of radiation vary.  According to the Truth About Cars report, "The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) recommends a limit of 1,000 mG (milligauss) for a 24 hour exposure period. While other guidelines pose similar limits, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) deemed extended exposure to electromagnetic fields stronger than 2 mG to be a "possible cause" for cancer. Israel's Ministry of Health recommends a maximum of 4 mG."

Last year, controversial research conducted by a website called Walla! found that driving a  previous generation Toyota Prius in a normal manner at constant speeds produced from 14 to 30 mG.  The numbers vary depending upon your position within the vehicle.  Furthermore, testing has shown that radiation is the highest when the batter is either nearly full or nearly empty.

What do the numbers mean?  Is it unsafe to drive a hybrid?  The numbers have little meaning without comparison to other objects and without medical proof that exposure to this type and level of radiation is harmful.

Even without medical evidence, the Ministry of Environmental Protection in Israel is expected to post the results of the study which includes many different hybrid vehicles.  If published, this radiation list will be the first of its kind in the world.  The list will be broke down into 3 categories including safe, excessive, and an unlisted group.  The current Prius will be placed in the safe group.  But the Honda Insight and Civic Hybrid are expected to land in the excessive group.

The research committee that conducted the investigation also recently advised that the Israeli Police force omit hybrid cars from its fleet of vehicles due to medical concerns.

While it's possible that radiation could be a concern, proof is needed before any undue determination is made. Publicly posting results to this study without concrete proof of proven medical concerns is irresponsible and ill advised.  Take the findings of this study with caution as hybrids have been on our roads here for more than a decade with no known radiation related illnesses reported.

Source:  The Truth About Cars
Detroit Settles Perfume Allergy Case for $100,000 

Tuesday, March 09, 2010 

Susan McBride, a civil servant in Detroit, won a $100,000 settlement from the city after officials failed to accommodate her allergy to perfume.

McBride complained to superiors about a coworker's perfume, claiming the smell made it difficult for her to breath. When managers did nothing to address the situation, McBride sued under the Americans with Disabilities Act and won.

In addition to paying the hundred grand, the city, as part of the settlement, will post signs asking employees to refrain from wearing "scented products, including but not limited to colognes, after-shave lotions, perfumes, deodorants, body/face lotions, hair sprays or similar products."

In 2005, Detroit was the site for a private lawsuit between a DJ, Erin Weber, and a local radio station involving perfume. As in the McBride case, Weber complained about a coworker's perfume, got no relief, then sued and won—a $10.6 million verdict.

The award was later knocked down to $814,000.

Actual settlement:  
Note:  This same type of situation may occur to people suffering from electro hyper-sensitivity!

There are rules, laws, protections that cover accommodation issues.  Do not be afraid to use them, to get help!
Fear and loathing in Sebastopol

Published: Tuesday, March 9, 2010 at 3:00 a.m.

When the Sebastopol City Council voted in February to ask PG&E to delay installing wireless natural gas and electric meters at homes and businesses, the decision was cheered by residents who packed council meetings to share concerns that such technology causes serious health problems, including cancer.

But to others who live in the west county enclave of nearly 8,000, the council action was further evidence that city leaders have fallen under the spell of a fringe element spreading paranoia and junk science.

Even for Sebastopol, where contrarian thinking is celebrated and has brought the city international attention, some of it unflattering, the claims being made about health risks related to the use of cell phones, wireless Internet and other technologies and the public policy decisions that are being made based on those concerns have sparked unusual acrimony.

"I hear it at the store. I hear it at the gym. I hear from a lot of people," said City Councilman Larry Robinson. "It ranges from amusement to disbelief."

The whole of Sonoma County is being drawn into the debate, with west county Supervisor Efren Carrillo planning a countywide public forum in April to discuss PG&E Co.'s SmartMeter program.

In a March 2 letter Carrillo sent to the state Public Utilities Commission, he asked for a delay in installing the meters in his district until issues can be aired, including a "candid discussion of potential health issues" related to use of the devices.

"Personally, I am a cell phone user. I'm a Wi-Fi user. I personally don't feel there are health concerns," Carrillo said. "But when constituents bring it to my attention, I think there's an opportunity to have a public dialogue."

Carrillo's request and that of the Sebastopol City Council are largely symbolic because they lack the authority to halt the new meters.

The PUC is hiring an independent auditor to test the new meters after complaints, mainly from PG&E customers in the Central Valley, that the devices may not be accurate. But the PUC has no plans as of now to slow meter installation.

"There are millions of these meters installed around the globe with no complaints like the ones we are seeing from PG&E," PUC spokeswoman Terrie Prosper said. "We suspect the problem is not the hardware, but we won't know for sure until we do the assessment."

That audit won't focus on health concerns, but such concerns are the driving force locally for resistance to the devices.

Same group fought Wi-Fi

Carrillo's letter followed weeks of lobbying by the Sebastopol-based Electromagnetic Field Safety Network, the same group that successfully killed efforts to bring free wireless Internet to downtown Sebastopol in 2007 and more recently got SmartMeters on the city's agenda.

The network's influence belies their actual size — the group has only 12 or so members, said founder Sandi Maurer.

But Maurer said the "movement is growing."

"The numbers of people that are speaking out against this and working to educate the people through public policy is growing," she said.

The network's basic claim is that radio frequencies used to transmit data from SmartMeters, as well as to laptops, cell phones, TVs and other electronic devices, can cause "electrical sensitivity" and health problems ranging from chronic fatigue, headaches and insomnia, to heart ailments and cancer.

The network advocates "prudent avoidance" of the causes of "electrosmog," as well as such things as a healthy diet built upon organic foods and using alternative medicines, such as acupuncture, to treat ailments.

Risks covered up

Maurer dismisses reports from the World Health Organization, American Cancer Society and other major health organizations that have found no definitive links between radio frequencies and ill health. In her opinion, the scientific community and corporations have vested financial interests in covering up the risks.

"Are we going to wait until the bodies start piling up around us?" she asked.

Maurer said she is a former ceramics maker who has devoted herself full time to the safety network the past three years. She lives in Sebastopol with her husband, 7-year-old daughter and her husband's 88-year-old mother.

Maurer said she relieved her own symptoms of chronic fatigue and other illnesses by re-wiring her home. She also forgoes using a cell phone or Wi-Fi and at night turns off the electricity to her house. Were it not for the needs of her mother-in-law she said she'd go off the grid entirely.

A history of questioning

Her concerns are well outside the mainstream in most areas of the country. But in Sebastopol, where residents have a rich history of challenging widely accepted scientific dogma, the network has found a receptive audience.

Sebastopol is the city, after all, where non-vaccination rates for children are among the highest in California out of concern that such inoculations are the cause of autism and other disorders despite overwhelming evidence of no such link.

Even Sebastopol residents strongly opposed to the safety network's cause say they appreciate living in a place where such debates are encouraged.

"I like the idea of people being allowed to entertain crackpot ideas in Sebastopol. I've lived in places where people don't, and I find that a very stifling experience," said Robert Porter, a former Sonoma State University physics professor and Sebastopol resident who refers to members of the safety network as the "tin-foil-hat crowd."

Seated outside Coffee Catz in Sebastopol this week, Tanja Soelkner tapped away on a Netbook linked to the coffee shop's wireless Internet service. With her was a cell phone.

The German-born woman, who is living in Sebastopol on a tourist visa, said she is not worried about acquiring a serious illness as a result of her exposure to the Wi-Fi or cell phone transmissions.

But as a precaution, she carries an "electromagnetic harmonizer," which looks like a playing card with a magnet stuck to the middle, and that, according to the manufacturer, is supposed to relieve symptoms of "electrostress."

"That makes me feel better," she said of the harmonizer. "I don't know if it works or not."

Inside the cafe, Jay Ma said he relies heavily on wireless networks for his work as an event coordinator, which takes him all over the West Coast and to Hawaii.

Despite his own belief that such technology is safe, he said he doesn't mind people raising doubts.

"I'm interested to learn more," he said.

Fueling fears

But critics of Maurer and the safety network say the group is fueling irrational fears to the detriment of Sebastopol.

The debate has gotten personal. On Facebook, the "Sandi Maurer Killed Free Wi-Fi in Sebastopol" group has 191 members. Maurer said she's received hate mail and she has grown weary of people taking her to task in the opinion pages of local newspapers.

Robinson, the councilman who supported bringing free wireless Internet downtown and supports the new gas and electric meters, has felt the wrath of those claiming health problems from electrosmog.

In turn, he minces no words in describing his critics as "the west county's equivalent of the Tea Party movement," which he said is gripped by an irrational mistrust of government, corporations and authority.

A former psychotherapist, Robinson said people who claim health problems related to radio frequencies are suffering psychosomatic illnesses — which is basically another way of saying he thinks it's all in their heads.

"I don't want to diminish their suffering because I know it's legitimate and real," he said. "But attributing that suffering to electrosensitivity or chemical trails is fallacious thinking."

A 2005 World Health Organization study stated people who claim to be suffering from health problems related to electromagnetic fields may have "pre-existing psychiatric conditions as well as stress reactions as a result of worrying about EMF health effects, rather than the EMF exposure itself."
But Maurer bristled at suggestions that her health problems are psychological in nature.

"They're looking for a stereotype," she said. "I read that and I know in time the truth is going to come out about all of this, just like it did about cigarettes."

Robinson criticized his fellow council members for what he views as public policy being driven by unfounded claims, calling it a "disservice to the people who are suffering from the psychosomatic illness, as well as for the larger community."

Mayor Sarah Gurney, Vice Mayor Guy Wilson and Councilwoman Kathleen Shaffer voted to send the letter to the PUC seeking the SmartMeter delay.

Councilwoman Linda Kelley was absent from that meeting but in 2007 opposed bringing free Wi-Fi to town.

Gurney noted her concerns about the new meters go beyond health issues to also include concerns about the accuracy of the devices, the loss of meter reader jobs and privacy issues.

Wilson, an attorney, said he does not believe city leaders are catering to a minority at the expense of what others in Sebastopol might want, saying he mostly hears from people who have health concerns about wireless Internet and other technologies.

"I don't think we can decide things on what the perceived majority is. If there is a minority, even a small minority, suffering from a technology, I'm not willing to dismiss that concern," he said.

Need to prove it's safe

He said the onus is on people who support such technology to prove that it is safe.

"Maybe those concerns will be proven unfounded. Or maybe not," he said. "I don't think we have definitive scientific information to say there are no health risks from exposure to Wi-Fi or EMF."

But critics say city leaders and safety network members are seeking an impossible standard, wanting absolute assurances about technologies that even if proven to be detrimental to some people, provide benefits to a vast many more.

"It's a good idea to study all of this stuff. It's relatively new," said Dale Dougherty, general manager of the Maker Media division of O'Reilly Media in Sebastopol. "But that doesn't mean it should be banned until we have a body of evidence that it's safe. I think our practice has been that unless we see real evidence it's causing harm, we move along."

Research into electromagnetic fields has been ongoing since the 1950s, with much of the attention recently focused on cell phones.

A story in the March edition of Popular Science said that unlike cigarettes, which have been proven to cause disease, there is yet "no proven mechanism by which cell phones do the same."

The report stated most studies have found no link between cell phone use and cancer, although a few have, including a Swedish study that found increased risk for malignant tumors after 10 years of regular cell phone use. A 2004 government report also found the rate of childhood brain and spinal-cord tumors in Britain rose from just less than 20 per million in the early 1970s to just less than 30 per million in the late 1990s, prompting calls for awareness campaigns urging decreased cell phone use among children and adolescents.

The Popular Science report said research is continuing to determine whether there is something, as yet undiscovered, in these phones, or in electromagnetic fields in general, that should be cause for worry.

Some communities are sounding the alarm. State Sen. Mark Leno, a San Francisco Democrat whose district includes southern Sonoma County, has introduced legislation that would require information about radiation levels on cell phone packaging. In Maine, legislators are debating whether cell phones sold there should display warnings about brain cancer.

Sebastopol's stance on free wireless Internet downtown and on SmartMeters takes the concerns to a new — some say, hysterical — level.

Jeff Mich, an Analy High School senior who gathered 1,700 signatures in 2007 in a losing effort to have the free wireless Internet installed, said he remains disappointed in city leaders.

"I don't want my town to be known for choosing unsubstantiated claims over science and reason," said Mich, who hopes for a career in computer engineering.

Emit less than microwaves

Research funded by PG&E found SmartMeters emit less radio frequencies than many other electronic devices, including cell phones and microwave ovens.

PG&E has begun rolling out the new meters in Santa Rosa and other North Coast cities and had planned to start work last month on converting 22,572 electric and gas meters in the Sebastopol area to the upgraded devices. But that has been pushed back for an undetermined amount of time for reasons unrelated to the city's request for a delay, PG&E spokesman Paul Moreno said.

He said the company routinely adjusts schedules as the need arises, and that it's only a matter of time before every meter in Sebastopol will be upgraded.

"There is no opt out," he said. "Every meter is going to be upgraded to a SmartMeter meter because they will no longer be manually read."

Is it safe?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 10:11 AM PST

In reply to Jack Singleton's letter, and adding to Beate Nilsen's legitimate concern, cell phone companies' high frequency microwave radiation towers and antennas, sometimes disguised to look like fake trees, now number over 200,000 cell sites in the U.S. Many of them are placed on or near schools, parks, churches and other areas where people congregate.

All life on earth, including human beings, has evolved with the earth's existing natural frequency waves. However, we now face radio frequency radiation that is 10,000 times the natural level created by the earth itself. This acceleration has happened so quickly that we have not developed protective defenses against all this electrical radiation frequency pollution.

The powers that be tell us not to worry, that the levels are safe. But in the past we have been told erroneously that lead, asbestos, and cigarettes were safe, until the facts could no longer be hidden. Many large corporations have a lot to lose financially if high frequency microwaves are declared hazardous to the health of the population.

Most independent scientists agree that there is strong evidence that electromagnetic radiation from cell phone tower antennas can be damaging to both human and animal health. The constant pulsed (HF) microwave radiation that most cell towers emit may over-stimulate or change electrical activity in the human brain and body and may also cause breaks in DNA. Unfortunately, studies that come up with the opposite conclusion are usually industry-funded.

What is becoming more and more evident is that the world's electromagnetic signature is being changed. The more susceptible people who feel the effects now may be the "canary in the coal mine" warning for the rest of us. As the damaging effects slowly build up momentum, could they eventually overwhelm the immune system that protects the human body? Convenience at any cost-is your cell phone reception worth it?

Please call your local representative and city council to object to the placement of these high frequency microwave radiation towers in residential areas and near schools or parks.

Cindy Emminger

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