Tuesday, June 29, 2010

England's bees are vanishing faster than anywhere else in Europe / 5-year study to decode effects of cellphones / Trent prof warns of WiFi dangers

W.E.E.P. News

Wireless Electrical and Electromagnetic Pollution News

29 June 2010


According to a previous study, England's bees are vanishing faster than anywhere else in Europe, with more than half of hives dying out over the last 20 years

It is interesting to note that microwave safety standards in England are the worst in the world, meaning that much high exposure levels are allowed there, than anywhere else in the world.  There is good reason to believe that the bees are being seriously harmed and killed by exposure to electro magnetic radiation.

Martin Weatherall


Lack of bees could cause 'wonky strawberries'

Britain faces a food crisis within a generation due to the decline of honey bees, according to the leading thinkers in a new Government project to solve the mystery of why insects are vanishing from the countryside.


By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent
Published: 7:00AM BST 22 Jun 2010

The number of bees is thought to be declining.

The number of bees is thought to be declining. Photo: AP

Bees are responsible for one in three mouthfuls of our food, thanks to pollination, researchers claim.

But if there are no insects to cross fertilise certain plants, farmers may be unable to continue growing crops like apples and pumpkins.

As Wimbledon kicks off, scientists warned that a lack of insect pollinators could even cause "wonky strawberries" as fruit that has not been fertilised properly cannot grow.

According to a previous study, England's bees are vanishing faster than anywhere else in Europe, with more than half of hives dying out over the last 20 years. Butterflies and other insects are also in decline due to habitat loss and climate change.

The situation is so serious that the government has launched a £10 million project to find out what is causing bees and other insects to disappear.

Matt Shardlow, Chief Executive of the insect charity Buglife, said the project is essential to food security.

"Humans depend on the free services of wild pollinators including bees, moths and hoverflies," he said. "However, more than 250 pollinator species are now declining and under threat, animals that pollinated our ancestors' food are heading towards extinction and those that might pollinate our descendant's food may not survive."

Indeed Albert Einstein predicted that if the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life to live.

It is estimated insect pollinators contribute £440 million to the British economy through their role in fertilising crops.

The Insect Pollinator Initiative will be the most comprehensive study ever carried out in Britain into why insects are declining.

Universities and research bodies have already put forward nine projects, including plans to tag bees to find out if they are affected by pesticides.

The University of Dundee study will investigate whether certain pesticides damage the nervous systems of bees and stop them being able to do the "waggle dance" which shows the rest of the hive where a food source is located.

Professor Jane Memmot, of the Univerisity of Bristol, will look at whether bees are more suited to an urban environment than the "monoculture" of large swathes of crops in the countryside.

She said crops like strawberries need wild flowers nearby to maintain a population of bees and other insects to pollinate the fruit in summer.

"If strawberries are not pollinated by insects we end up with distorted fruit that is only good for jam," she said.

Lord Henley, the Environment Minister, said the projects would not only look at why bees are declining but offer ways to boost the population again.

"Bees, butterflies and moths play an essential role in putting food on out tables through the pollination of many vital crops. This initiative will help some of our world-class researchers to identify why bee numbers are declining, and that will help us to take the right action to help," he said.

"It is crucial we all work together on this and the biggest challenge will be to better understand the complex relationships between biological and environmental factors that affect pollinators' health and lifespan."


5-year study to decode effects of cellphones

Kounteya Sinha, TNN, Jun 29, 2010, 03.07am IST


NEW DELHI: The world's largest study to look at how mobile phone use affects human health has finally taken off in India.

Almost three years after India -- home to over 350 million mobile phone users -- expressed interest to study effects of radio frequency radiation (RFR) from mobile phones or mobile towers, the Indian Council of Medical Research sanctioned around Rs 3 crore for the study early this month.

Last week, ICMR which is spearheaded the five-year study held a meeting of its investigators from JNU's School of Environmental Sciences and three departments of AIIMS -- obstetrics and gynaecology, neurology and biochemistry.
Chief investigator Dr R S Sharma from ICMR told TOI, "We are presently recruiting manpower for this mammoth project which will not only look at exactly how harmful cellphone use in both moderate or heavy users can be, but also how dangerous cellphone towers can be to human health. We have almost finalized the protocol of the study."

ICMR director-general Dr V M Katoch said, "This will be a landmark study which will come out with very valuable data."

The ICMR study is all set to recruit 4,000 subjects, who will be divided into five groups -- heavy exposure male group (1,000 men who talk on the mobile phone for more than four hours a day), moderate exposure male group (1,000 men who speak for more than two hours but less than four), control group (1,000 men who don't use a cellphone), 500 heavily exposed women and a 500-strong female control group.

Scientists will calculate the specific absorption rate (SAR) -- how much RFD is absorbed by our body when we speak on the mobile -- and the power density generated by the phone both inside and outside our head when we talk.

This will help quantify the magnitude of damage caused by mobile radiation.

The 4,000 subjects will undergo a series of clinical tests, blood and semen analysis, polysomnography, MRI, ECG, blood chemistry, gynecological and infertility examinations and DNA tests to see exactly how they are affected due to talking on the mobile phone.

In a recent pilot study done at Jawaharlal Nehru University, rats subjected to radiation from mobile phones were found to have damaged DNA and low sperm count, leading to infertility and reduction in testis size. TOI had first reported almost two years ago about India's plans to conduct this study. But ICMR took a lot of time finalising how much funding the project would be given.

Submitted by Robert


Trent prof warns of WiFi dangers

Lance Anderson

Jun 25, 2010

Dr. Magda Havas says public school board plans to have WiFi in local schools puts students at risk; school board argues World Health Organization and Health Canada have found WiFi poses no health risks


(PETERBOROUGH) Trent professor Dr. Magda Havas fears for the health of local children once WiFi internet connection hits local public schools next year.

An expert in the field of electromagnetic radiation, Dr. Havas is concerned with what her research, and others, is discovering about wireless technology.

"(The school board) will use technology to enhance the learning experience while affecting them (students) physiologically," says Dr. Havas.

A number of people listened intently to Dr. Havas' findings and concerns at a free lecture she gave at Trent University on Tuesday (June 22) night. She says her primary concern is with the amount of time students will be exposed to low levels of microwave radiation at school. She adds scientists and medical doctors around the world are recommending prudent avoidance of this type of radiation, especially with children.

"I've worked with people who have developed a sense of sensitivity to this radiation," says Dr, Havas.

"This affects children and adults, but children are much more vulnerable."

Rob Andrews, superintendent of student success with the local public school board, says the plan is to have WiFi in all elementary and secondary schools by June 2011. The technology, he adds, will improve learning opportunities for teachers and students with the use of wireless labs.

"The technology will come to the kids. It will make it much more mobile," says Mr. Andrews.

He adds school board members and employees are well aware of the research Dr. Havas is referring to, but says board members and staff are basing the decision on research released by the World Health Organization and Health Canada regarding electromagnetic radiation.

"There have obviously been some parental concerns, but we defer to the people who have done studies with nothing to suggest it (WiFi) is harmful," says Mr. Andrews.

He adds student safety is the board's paramount concern and stresses nothing would be implemented that would cause harm to children.

But according to Dr. Havas, the effects of WiFi radiation is already being seen in other Ontario schools. She says the Simcoe County school board implemented wireless technology and problems are starting to arise.

"In Simcoe, kids are coming home with headaches and problems with their heart," says Dr. Havas, adding these symptoms started after WiFi was introduced in the schools.

Mr. Andrews says at least two local schools, Adam Scott Collegiate and Colborne Public School, are already wireless and no similar illnesses have been reported by students.

Regardless, Dr. Havas is urging the local school board to reconsider installing WiFi in all schools.

"I''m not opposed to Internet access...but to have (students exposed to WiFi) hours each day, it's criminal. It has to be investigated."

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