Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Wi-Fi Killing Trees / Study blames computer signals for dying leaves / How Cell Phones are Killing Birds / Radiation Worries for Children in Dentists' Chairs / Knesset panel endorses plan

W.E.E.P. News

Wireless Electrical and Electromagnetic Pollution News

24 November 2010

Wi-Fi Radiation Is Killing Trees, New Study Finds

Yes, trees can bleed, and it's our fault

By Dan Nosowitz Posted 11.22.2010


Studies on the impact of wireless radiation on humans are endlessly inconclusive, but a recent study on the effects of Wi-Fi radiation on trees--yes, trees--indicates that our woody friends may be much more vulnerable than we are. And trees can't even enjoy the benefits of Wi-Fi. It's all very unjust.

The study, conducted by Wageningen University, investigated findings that trees in areas with high Wi-Fi activity (urban areas, especially) were suffering from symptoms that couldn't be tied to typical bacterial or viral causes. The symptoms included bleeding (!), fissures in the bark, the death of parts of leaves, and abnormal growth.

To test the hypothesis that the mystery illness was caused by radiation poisoning, the researchers took 20 ash trees and exposed them to various kinds of radiation for three months. Sure enough, the ash trees exposed to Wi-Fi signals showed telltale signs of radiation sickness, including a "lead-like shine" on their leaves, indicating the oncoming death of those leaves. In the Netherlands, a whopping 70% of urban trees are suffering from radiation poisoning, up from only 10% five years ago--understandable, considering the explosion in Wi-Fi use in the past five years.

Of course, trees in rural or even simply non-urban environments are pretty much unaffected, but theoretically, all deciduous trees in the Western world could be affected.

The researchers are planning several more studies to figure out the precise effects of radiation on plant life. In the meantime, they don't really offer any preliminary solutions, but I'm sure they'd approve of wrapping every urban tree you see in tin foil, root to leaf. (Note: Wrapping public trees in tin foil may be illegal in your city, state, arrondissement, or prefecture. PopSci cannot be held responsible if you are arrested for such activities.)


Is wi-fi radiation killing off trees? Study blames computer signals for dying leaves

By Niall Firth

23rd November 2010


As if our magnificent trees didn't have enough problems, they're now being threatened by our emails.

When they're not being assailed by some foreign bug or moth, there's often a council official looking for an excuse to cut them down.

Now researchers say radiation from wi-fi networks that enable our burgeoning online communications may be their latest enemy.

The Dutch scientists carried out their research on ash trees which had been suffering with bark bleeding and dying leaves

Trees planted close to a wireless router had bleeding bark and dying leaves, according to the study in Holland.

The revelation will raise fears that wi-fi radiation may also be having an effect on the human body and supports parents who have campaigned to stop wireless routers being installed in schools.

The city of Alphen aan den Rijn, in the Netherlands, ordered the study after officials found unexplained abnormalities on trees. Researchers took 20 ash trees and for three months exposed them to six sources of radiation.

Trees placed closest to the wi-fi source developed a 'lead-like shine' on their leaves that was caused by the upper and lower epidermis – the leaf's skin – dying.

Researchers also discovered that wi-fi radiation could slow the growth of corn cobs.

In the Netherlands, 70 per cent of all trees in urban areas show the same symptoms, compared with 10 per cent five years ago, the study found. Trees in densely forested areas are not affected.

The Wageningen University scientists behind the research, which has not yet been published, said that further studies were needed to confirm their findings.

The Dutch health agency issued a statement, stressing that 'these are
initial results and that they have not been confirmed in a repeat survey'.

It added: 'There are no far-reaching conclusions from its results. Based on the information now available it cannot be concluded that the wi-fi radio signals leads to damage to trees or other plants.'

Other scientists have expressed scepticism. Marvin Ziskin, a professor of radiology and medical physics at Temple University in Philadelphia, said: 'Stuff like this has been around a long time. There's nothing new about wi-fi emissions. Scientifically there's no evidence to support that these signals are a cause for concern.'

The study is to be the subject of a conference in Holland in February.

In 2007, a BBC Panorama documentary found that radiation levels from wi-fi in one school was up to three times the level of mobile phone mast radiation. However, the readings were 600 times below government safety limits.


How Cell Phones are Killing Birds


Maneka Gandhi

As soon as autumn comes in the west and the leaves start falling, humans start preparing for winter. What do other animals, such as birds, insects and fish, do to prepare for the cold?

The great migrations start. Thousands and thousands of creatures go to the places where their ancestors have always gone to sit out the winter and come back in warmer weather. But how do they know where to go? Migratory birds use a combination of methods to navigate like landmarks and seeing the position and light of the sun and stars. Now there is evidence that magnetic fields play an important role in navigation.

Our senses: sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch, are meant to help us deal with the environment, keep us out of danger and find food and shelter.

Other animals need different information about the world to survive. So they have our senses and more : echolocation, infrared vision, magnetic sense. Radar, compasses, and infrared detectors are all man-made contraptions that enable humans to stretch beyond our natural senses. Other animals have these inbuilt in their bodies.

The flow of molten material in the earth's core and the flow of ions in the atmosphere generate a magnetic field that surrounds the earth. Amazingly, animals can sense this magnetic field. We need compasses to help us navigate by detecting the magnetic north. Chitons, honey bees, sharks, sea turtles, rays, homing pigeons, bats, dolphins, migratory birds, whales, bass, tuna, mosquitoes, butterflies, mollusks, trout, salmon, frogs, salamanders, termites, lobsters, mole rats, even some bacteria have an inbuilt magnetic sense that enables them to go long distances in the correct direction. 

Researchers have found that all these animals have deposits of magnetite in their nervous systems. Magnetite is a type of iron oxide with natural magnetic properties. In fact, it is the most magnetic naturally occurring mineral on Earth and was once used in compasses, under the name lodestone, by mariners from the twelfth century.

Magnetite crystals, align themselves with magnetic fields and act like microscopic compass needles. What is magnetic information and how do animals use it to navigate?

The liquid core of the Earth gives off a magnetic field. Energy goes from the Earth's South Pole and reenters the Earth at the North Pole . Evidence suggests that animals can navigate by detecting the strength of the magnetic field and the angle at which the field meets the earth which is distinct for each spot on the globe. Scientists have suggested that as we have specialized cells to see and smell, animals have specialized nerve cells called "magnetoreceptors" , an internal compass that is hooked up to the body such that the "needle" of the compass moves with the changing magnetic field and triggers  other cells that help the animal sense where to direct its movements.  Studies from rainbow trout showed that brain areas that are sensitive to the magnetic field have nerve cells that contain magnetite.

True navigation is when an animal returns to a place without using landmarks from the destination and the journey.

Normal navigation for the human means relying on visual landmarks. If you've traveled the route many times, you may even be able to do it blindfolded by using non-visual landmarks, such as smell, sound, remembering distances and knowing when to turn. Studies have shown that in addition to using those types of landmarks, some animals use the earth's magnetic field to navigate with an internal compass that enables them to sense direction.

Migratory birds use magnetic clues to find their way south in fall and north in spring. This was demonstrated in 1966 by Wolfgang Wiltschko of the University of Frankfurt, Germany for the first time. He showed that even when migratory birds are caged, when the time comes for migration they faced the direction they want to migrate to, e.g., south in autumn. If the magnetic field is changed, so that magnetic south appeared in a different direction, birds assembled in this new direction.

At the age of 6 weeks, pigeons  who have a lot of magnetite in their beaks adopt a home loft that remains permanent throughout their lives. Pigeons use different landmarks to return to the home loft, including sight and smell. But magnetic information seems to be the strongest guide. When scientists disrupted  the magnetic field by glueing magnets to the back of their necks, pigeons could not find their way back to their lofts.

Loggerhead sea turtles are born on the Florida beaches. After the turtles hatch, they crawl across the beach out into the ocean.

Hatchlings swim along the east coast of the United States and then swim northeast with the Gulf Stream. They complete the circle within the Atlantic Ocean, and then they return to the same beach to nest. The return trip takes them across thousands of miles in the open ocean. Olive Ridley turtles are born on the coast of Orissa and Andhra and do the same in the Indian/Pacific oceans, coming back to the exactly the same place 30 years later to lay their eggs. Magnetic information becomes important once they are in the open sea.

This has been studied in the laboratory by observing the swim direction of hatchlings in a small pool. When the magnetic field surrounding the swimming hatchlings is reversed, the hatchlings change their swim direction

Spiny lobsters live in caves, come out to forage for food and then return to the same cave. They also have an annual migration. Even when they have been placed miles away in a new place by experimenters, they have been found to return to their cave.

Certain types of bacteria have bodies of magnetite. There is no sensible reason unless the magnetic properties of this element were useful in some way. Biologists think that bacteria(e.g., Magnetospirillum magnetotacticum) may use these internal compasses to sense where 'down' is so that they can find food.

The bobolink has the longest migratory path, more than 7000 miles, of any songbird in the West. A study, conducted by Robert Beason of SUNY- Geneseo, validates that magnetite in the bird's brain functions as part of the bird's compass. Beason took migrating bobolinks and treated them with a strong magnetic pulse which reversed the polarity of the magnetite in their bodies. Before the magnetic pulse, the birds hopped toward the southeast, which is their normal migratory direction in the fall. After the treatment, the birds changed direction and hopped northward. This is what would be expected if the compass sense relied on magnetite.

In 1983, Baker, Mather and Kennaugh of the University of Manchester discovered "magnetic bones in human sinuses," a tiny, shiny crystal of magnetite in the ethmoid bone located between the eyes, just behind the nose. But studies show that humans have no capacity for direction finding by magneto-reception.

However since magnetite absorbs microwave radiation and reacts to static and low-frequency fields, this means that fields from power lines, cellular telephones, computers and monitors could be affecting us right now. And the people who say that migratory birds are dying off because of the cell phone towers may well be right.

To join the animal welfare movement contact: gandhim@nic.in


Radiation Worries for Children in Dentists' Chairs

Not only do most dentists continue to use outmoded X-ray film requiring higher amounts of radiation, but orthodontists and other specialists are embracing a new scanning device that emits significantly more radiation than conventional methods, an examination by The New York Times has found


Robert L


Knesset panel endorses plan to minimize electromagnetic radiation exposure in schools

23 nov. 2010 Jerusalem Post


Although it has not yet been clearly proven that exposure to electromagnetic radiation (EMR) poses a danger to schoolchildren's health, a joint session of the Knesset Interior and Labor, Social Affairs and Health committees declared on Monday that a program should be launched to minimize such exposure as a cautionary measure.

The joint session, chaired by Hadash MK Dov Henin, endorsed the recommendations made recently by an interministerial committee of experts headed by Tel Aviv University Prof. Siegal Sadetzki, who conducts research at the Gertner Institute's cancer and radiation epidemiology unit.

Sadetzki, who represented the Health Ministry and is a leading expert on environmental dangers and health, headed the effort to produce recommendations, along with colleagues from the Environmental Protection and Education ministries and the Israel Electric Corporation.

Regarding cellular phones, the committee urged instituting an educational program to reduce pupils' use of the devices by teaching them the potential dangers.

According to the experts, SMS messages are preferable to making calls, and using earbuds is better than holding the phone close to the head. In addition, cellphones should not be used while driving. The devices also have a negative effect on sleep, Sadetzki said.

The program will also include monitoring of this educational initiative via pupil surveys and an interventional program.

In addition, the team recommended installing land-line phones in schools so children can contact their parents (and others) without using cellphones.

The members suggested setting up cellphone-free zones in schools, which would be observed by teachers as well as youngsters.

They also urged the Transportation Ministry to prohibit inexperienced young drivers' use of cellphones in moving vehicles – not just without hands-free headsets or speaker systems, but speaking on cellphones at all. This has already been adopted in 21 US states

The widespread habit, which does not involve dangerous EMR exposure, has been shown in numerous studies to reduce drivers' concentration and their ability to keep their eyes on the road. The team suggested that drivers of buses and taxis with passengers should not be allowed to use cellphones at all – a move that has been adopted in 17 US states.

Henin, who chaired the session, said that "the fact that EMR cannot be seen does not mean that it is not dangerous. We must ensure that children [and staffers] who spend many hours a day in educational institutions are safe."

Concern about exposure to EMR is just part of the "Healthy Educational Environment" view expressed in a bill he presented to the previous Knesset along with additional MKs, he added.


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