Friday, April 2, 2010

MICROWAVE COOKING / Allergies Mysteriously Increase / Water tower / Wi-Fi worries beset new library / Science Update

W.E.E.P. News

Wireless Electrical and Electromagnetic Pollution News

2 April 2010


By William Thomas

Congratulations! You've reclaimed your personal space. The headaches signaling destruction of your brain cells have ceased after you finally ditched your portable phones, cell phone, Bluetooth and wireless routers and disabled your wireless laptop, Kindle and iPad. And everyone on your block's resting easier after stopping that new cell tower from going in down the street.


Americans Sneeze More As Allergies Mysteriously Increase

Rachael Rettner
LiveScience Staff Writer

Fri Mar 26, 11:01 am ET

If you think you're seeing more people sneezing and tearing up this allergy season, you might be right. Studies show that allergies are on the rise in developed countries, including the United States - not just seasonal allergies, but allergies of all kinds.

An allergy is a reaction of your immune system to what are usually harmless, run-of-the-mill substances, such as pollen, cat hair, or even a peanut. About 54 percent of Americans are sensitive to at least one allergy-inducing substance, according to a national survey conducted from 1988 to 1994 by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). That's about two to five times higher, depending on the allergen, than the rates found by NIH between 1976 and 1980.

The result: Americans are sneezing and wheezing and rubbing itchy eyes more than ever.

The insurance claims that people file when they see an allergist also document an increase, according to Dr. Jacqueline S. Eghrari-Sabet, an allergist at Family Asthma & Allergy Care in Gaithersburg, Md., and a fellow of the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology.

And food allergies in children have also experienced an uptick. From 1997 to 2007, the number of children with food allergies rose 18 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"You walk in to any kindergarten, and there all peanut-free kindergarteners because of the high incidence of peanut allergy," said Eghrari-Sabet. "Those kids are real, and they weren't there the generation before."

While no one knows for sure what's fueling the increase in allergies, Eghrari-Sabet and others suggest some possibilities, including:

We're too clean

Cleanliness could be to blame. The "hygiene hypothesis" proposes children aren't exposed to enough dirt, bacteria and other infectious agents early on, and their under-stimulated immune systems goes on the offense when exposed to benign stuff like food.

"Their 'bored' immune system goes out and attacks a peanut, an egg, wheat, milk - foods that are in everybody's diet quiet normally," Eghrari-Sabet said.

Previous studies have shown that children in daycares, known to be hotbeds for spreading germs, have fewer allergies than those raised at home with less contact with other kids, said Dr. Richard Honsinger, an allergist and immunologist at Los Alamos Medical Care Clinic in New Mexico.

However, Eghrari-Sabet notes that while both statements are true - children are kept in cleaner environments, and children have more food allergies than ever before - this doesn't make the hygiene hypothesis true.

Global warming

The rise in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere and warming global temperatures could also be contributing to the allergy increase.

A 2005 study found that plants are flowering earlier in the year, and total pollen production is increasing. A more recent study in Italy found that not only had pollen levels increased in the area, but the populations' sensitivity to pollen had increased as well. While genetics plays a large role in all allergies, a longer and more intense pollen season could exacerbate symptoms.

We're too dirty

All the smog and other types of air pollution might also be making allergies worse, particularly asthma. However, while there is good evidence for the link between pollution and allergies in a test tube, it remains tough to prove in large populations of people, Eghrari-Sabet said.

Just more diagnoses

It's possible that the rising numbers are simply due to more people being diagnosed with allergies, Eghrari-Sabet said. "Whereas before people were told you just have dry skin or a rash, now they're told, you have eczema," she said.

With better allergy treatments, more sufferers might go to their doctor, bumping up diagnoses more. However, more diagnoses alone simply can't explain the entire increase, especially for food allergies Eghrari-Sabet said.

Mystery remains

The real culprit remains a mystery. We're too clean, we're too dirty and everything in between; all of these hypotheses could be operating simultaneously, or all could be untrue.

"They're really pretty much all on the same level, and the reason for that is because they are all equally hard to prove," Eghrari-Sabet said.

However, Honsinger thinks that the hygiene hypothesis has the most backing in terms of evidence, and is becoming more accepted among those in the field. But he agrees that the rise in sniffles and sneezes remains unexplained.

"I don't think we have a single cause, and I don't know if we have an answer for sure," he said.

And it remains unclear if an answer will come anytime soon. Funding tends to go toward research into what to do about the allergy increase, rather than into what's causing it, Eghrari-Sabet said.

Submitted by David


Water tower antenna plan in Bernards Township is terminated

By W. JACOB Perry
Staff Writer

Published: Mar 30th, 5:30 PM

BERNARDS TWP. – Barely a month after its announcement drew objections from the public, a proposal to install a non-commercial FM radio atop the water tower at the Lyons Veterans Administration (VA) Medical Center has been terminated.

Township officials on Tuesday, March 30, publicly released a letter in which New Jersey Water American Company, which leases the water tower site from the VA, said it would deny a request from New Jersey Network (NJN) to install the antenna.

The letter, dated Monday, March 29, and signed by Jason D. Gonzalez, vice president of government affairs for New Jersey American, said the water company had notified the neighbors in late February with the idea that it would not approve the antenna "unless the community supported it."

Based on opposition voiced from several residents at a Township Committee meeting on March 9, followed by an anti-antenna petition signed by 44 residents, "it was made clear that local support for this antenna does not exist," Gonzalez wrote.

"As such," he added, "New Jersey American will not approve NJN's request to place an FM antenna on our Knollcroft (Road) tank." Neighboring residents welcomed the decision.

"I am so relieved," Amy Sherman of Linden Drive said when contacted by this newspaper Tuesday. "What I hope for is, this will just stop them from putting anything on that water tower. I hopefully won't have to go through this again."

Back in 2002, the VA and New Jersey American allowed cell phone antenna panels to be installed on the water tower, raising concerns about health risks and triggering a two-year fight with residents and town officials. The cell panels were finally removed after intervention from Rep. Rod Frelinghuysen, R-11.

The NJN proposal grew out of a long-running effort to launch a pubic radio station in central New Jersey.

Under the proposal, a 24-by-18-inch antenna was to be mounted onto a 20-foot-high, 3.5-inch diameter pole atop the water tower. The water tower, which stands 128 feet high, is located east of Knollcroft Road.

At the March 9 committee meeting, NJN representatives said the network had sought the Bernards site for 11 years before finally receiving approval from the Federal Communications Commission.

They said if NJN didn't put an antenna on the water tower, it would risk losing the area's radio frequency rights to "an out-of-state broadcaster."
Efforts by this newspaper to obtain comment from NJN on the water company's denial were unsuccessful Tuesday.


Wi-Fi worries beset new library

By Sean McIntyre - Gulf Islands Driftwood   (BC Canada)

Published: March 31, 2010 10:00 AM
Updated: March 31, 2010 12:05 PM


Participants at Monday afternoon's library association AGM urged board members to study the science and reconsider plans to make the new library building a Wi-Fi friendly zone.

"A lot of advice and science that is not beholden to industry shows people are getting sick [from Wi-Fi technology.]" said Chris Anderson. "We should take a strong look at this."

Wi-Fi technology gives computer users the ability to connect to the internet without having to physically plug into a network connection. Wireless technology has grown exponentially over the past several years concurrent with the popularity of laptop computers and handheld communication devices.

While the technology has been welcomed by millions of users around the world, Anderson said, evidence suggests Wi-Fi technology's convenience may entail harmful health impacts.

Anderson said incorporating Wi-Fi in the new library building could effectively render the facility off limits to the roughly 30 per cent of people believed by some researchers to suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS).

"This is a disability not recognized by our doctors but recognized by doctors in Sweden and dozens of other countries," he said.

He cited the New Jersey-based Progressive Librarians' Guild's 2008 recommendation that libraries adopt the precautionary principle when considering the use of Wi-Fi technology.

The organization recommends that boards and library staff "address the risks of wireless technology in public spaces, take steps in learning about the risks of wireless in terms of exposure and impact on library services, monitor wireless technology in their facilities, critically evaluate and adopt alternatives to wireless technology especially in children's sections of libraries, and create warning signage on risks of Wi-Fi throughout their libraries."

Anderson made headlines back in 2004 when he led a campaign to oppose the installation of a cellular phone transmission tower in downtown Ganges.

Three other people at Monday afternoon's meeting supported Anderson's request.

"I echo this concern and hope the building committee strongly considers it," said Marion Pape.

Tilly Crawley, chair of the Salt Spring Island Public Library Association, said she and fellow board members will study the potential health impacts and assess alternatives as work on the library progresses.

The board's immediate priority, Crawley said, is to prepare application documents in time for a May local Trust committee meeting.

She said Islands Trust planners are working to correct a possible planning error that could see the library's maximum allowable lot coverage increase from 25 to 75 per cent of the McPhilips Avenue property.

The lengthy application process, Crawley added, means residents shouldn't expect to see any construction on the site until September at the very earliest.

"It's a long, drawn-out process," she said. "It will be months, but it is necessary."


March 2010 - Science Update

The following is a quick summary of another twenty papers that have come out over the last few months related to effects of electromagnetic radiation.

Click here for the full news story

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