Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Safety Code 6 draws criticism / May EHS Month / Cell Tower not approved / Children are at greater risk / Chernobyl Radiation Killed Nearly One Million People

W.E.E.P. News

Wireless Electrical and Electromagnetic Pollution News

4 May 2010

Safety Code 6 draws criticism at Commons committee meeting

Health advocates and industry clash over health effects from wireless technology


May 3,2010

John O'Connor
News Editor

Concerns over the possible health effects from everyday wireless devices has prompted the federal government to take action.

The House of Commons Standing Committee on Health heard from several health experts from around the world last Tuesday to discuss concerns over the safety of the burgeoning use of wireless technology in Canada.

Several health experts say that everything from wireless routers, cell phones, cell phone towers, cordless phones, and other devices are harmful to humans, especially to children.

Also in attendance were representatives from Health Canada, Members of Parliament, and members from the telecommunications industry.

"People are no longer having confidence in our government authorities in telling us that things or good or things are bad, because they have made so many mistakes in the past," said Magda Havas, a professor of environmental and resource studies at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario.

While most European countries are reducing or eliminating their dependence on wireless technology and reverting back to cable systems and fiber optics because of concerns over health effects, North America is going in the opposite direction and expanding its wireless infrastructure with no end in sight and with little or no consultation.

"They're simply turning a blind eye to the research that's showing we should be precautionary and they're not even recommending precaution as a measure."

Havas helps those who are electro-sensitive and delivers presentations around North America showing health effects from EMF.

Industry Canada says if exposures don't exceed the limits of Safety Code 6, there is no "convincing scientific evidence" that any adverse health effects will occur. However, Safety Code 6 deals with thermal (heating) radiation and does not specifically deal with the more common non-thermal radiation emitted from everyday wireless devices in households.

"There is no convincing scientific evidence of adverse health effects from exposures to EMF at levels below the levels outlined in Canada's Safety Code 6," said Bernard Lord, former premier of New Brunswick and now the president of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association.

Lord says the telecommunications industry in Canada adheres to all applicable laws and says Canadian standards are based on "actual science and not unsupported conjecture."

Olle Johansson, a professor at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, attended the standing committee meeting by video conference and says he was both disappointed and surprised by the proceedings.

"There was not any official goal or aim presented to me beforehand; as a problem-handling or problem-solving scientist, I am used to having one."

"I was surprised about the rather low level of knowledge (of health effects) among the committee members, as well as their willingness to take a risk with the entire Canadian population based on this low level of knowledge," continued Johansson.

Concerns over the health effects from wireless technology is nothing new to Canada.

In 2003, the Vancouver School Board passed a motion to ban all future cell phone towers from school property over the potential health hazards posed to its students.

Ontario's Lakehead University is another educational institution that has limited Wi-Fi technology over health concerns.

The International Firefighters Association has also placed a ban on cell phone towers from fire hall roofs, citing dozens of scientific studies showing a link to cancer and other negative biological effects.

An increase in cell growth of brain cancer cells, changes in the protective blood-brain-barrier, increase strand breaks in DNA, childhood leukemia, changes in sleep patterns, headaches, neurodegenerative diseases, a doubling of the rate of lymphoma in mice, and changes in tumour growth in rats are just some of the findings of studies associated with the International Firefighter Association's report on RF and EMF health risks.

Reports of higher cancer rates among those living near cell phone towers have also surfaced in mainstream media outlets in Britain over the past few years.

"There are no research studies on Wi-Fi that I know of that the (Canadian) government did prior to putting them in anywhere, because they simply assumed the technology is safe and this is certainly unacceptable," says Havas.

In Merritt, there is a cell phone tower in the downtown core as well as Wi-Fi hotspots around the city.

Havas says a buffer zone of at least 400 metres between cell phone towers and humans is necessary for safety, but with the addition of 3G and 4G technology, the radiation levels are even higher and require further distance from humans.

Several buildings close to the cell phone tower downtown are directly below or beside the tower, the location of greatest exposure to radiation.

Merritt elementary, middle, and high schools all have several wireless access points available for staff and students to connect to.

"We looked at it and it didn't seem to be a big concern," said School District 58 technology coordinator Burt Bergman, who helped implement a student laptop program.

"We did some research online and what the effects are, what they impacts are, and compared to a cell phone, it's actually quite significantly less than your typical cell phone, which most people seem to use without any problems at all."

Havas has carried out studies involving schools in North America that have antennas and Wi-Fi access points.

"It's definitely not safe to put Wi-fi into schools and its especially not safe to put them into elementary schools," says Havas.

Havas says a common symptom among children who attend schools with Wi-Fi are headaches. She says when the children return home, the symptoms usually subside.

Although she doesn't expect anything to happen overnight, Havas says she would like to see Ottawa take the precautions that European countries have and reduce or eliminate wireless technology.

In 2007, Germany's environment ministry issued a warning to German citizens to avoid using wireless technology whenever possible and go back to wired and cabled means of communication and media because of the health risks Wi-Fi poses.

Havas says Canada's limits for radiation emissions, which are lower than even Russia's threshold, also need to be revised. Safety Code 6 was published in 1999. It was amended last year over a minor statistical error.

Robert & Hans


May Declared "Electromagnetic Sensitivity Month"

Monday May 03, 2010

Alliance for Irish Radiation Protection


The Alliance for Irish Radiation Protection (AIRP) has declared the month of May as Electromagnetic Sensitivity Month in Ireland in line with growing world-wide concern about the dangers of microwave radiation.

Microwave technology is behind the proliferation of cell phones, the use of the Tetra signal by the emergency services and the MiMAX signal developed at NUI Maynooth.

The Alliance for Irish Radiation Protection (AIRP) has declared the month of May as Electromagnetic Sensitivity Month in Ireland in line with growing world-wide concern about the dangers of microwave radiation.

Microwave technology is behind the proliferation of cell phones, the use of the Tetra signal by the emergency services and the MiMAX signal developed at NUI Maynooth.

The biggest study to date into the effects of mobile-phone usage on long-term health was launched on April 23, aiming to track at least a quarter of a million of people in five European countries for up to 30 years. The COSMOS study is recruiting participants aged 18-69 in Britain, Finland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark. Ireland is not included in the study.

In a report by Kildare resident Dr. Elizabeth Cullen to a Joint Oireachtas Committee in February, 2005, she asked, "Because of the present fragmentary scientific database, a precautionary approach when dealing with radio and microwave frequency radiation is recommended for the individual and the general population (Roosli et al 2003). Irish Doctors' Environmental Association earnestly requests that a full assessment of health impacts of electromagnetic radiation be undertaken."

According to an April 29, 2010 World Health Organisation report, as of 2006, "eight out of ten published peer reviewed studies point towards positive results: microwave syndrome, increased risk of cancer, absence of psychological factors, etc."

Again in 2007 a group of citizens appeared before the Oireachtas with no results. Con Colbert, of Dublin, a long-time sufferer and activist commented, "The group One in Four made their submission to the same Committee (as IERVIN, BEST and other groups) on the same day. Immediately after we made our submission. Should we be calling for a public enquiry as to why we were dumped?"

During the 20007 meeting, John Gormley, now Minister for the Environment, called the estimated 200,000 electromagnetic hypersensitivity victims as the "forgotten victims". Because electromagnetic sensitivity is cumulative in nature, the number of sufferers increases over time. Children are particularly susceptible with their brains absorbing up to seventy-five percent of the radiation from cell phones, masts and other electrical equipment.

Activist Pauline Keeley of Dublin West, added that standards for exposure to non-ionising radiation establish by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) are misleading. "The ICNIRP standards do not take into account long-term exposure," she said.

Electromagnetic sensitivity gained its first publicized observance month in the United States and Canada in 2009. Since then, it has gained ground.

Connecticut Governor Jodi Rell is the first in the United States this year to declares May 2010 as Electromagnetic Sensitivity Awareness Month. "People of all ages in Connecticut and throughout the world have developed the illness of Electromagnetic Sensitivity (EMS) as a result of global electromagnetic pollution," says Rell on the proclamation.

January 2010 was observed in Canada as Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Awareness Month. "This illness may be preventable through the reduction or avoidance of electromagnetic radiation in both indoor and outdoor environments andby further medical research," says Don Coombs, Mayor of Harbour Grace, Newfoundland on his proclamation.

This is the fourth proclamation in Canada according to Christiane Tourtet in a recent news release. The first one was signed by David Saunders, Mayor of the City of Colwood, B.C. (August 2009). The second one was signed by Dennis O ´ Keefe, Mayor of St Johns´s in Newfoundland (August 2009). And the third one was signed by Mayor Fred Budgell of Norris Arms, Newfounland (October 2009).

In Iowa May has been designated at "Toxic Injury and Education Awareness Month.

"People suffering from EHS have significantly higher natural rates of membrane leakage as measured by their skin conductance (Eltiti et al. 2007). Since their leakage rates are already high, even small amounts of electromagnetic radiation that would not affect non-sensitive individuals can trigger their symptoms. Not everyone gets exactly the same symp toms, but they include false feelings of heat, touch, pressure, crawling sensations, pins and needles and pain," says Andrew Goldsworthy BSc PhD, a retired lecturer in biology at the Imperial College London. "The radiation can also affect the "hair cells of the inner ear, which work in much the same way. Leakage here can trigger false sensations of sound (tinnitus). There is a similar effect on the hair cells of the part of the inner ear that controls balance. Leakage here gives feelings of dizziness and symptoms of motion sickness, including nausea."

EMS may become a major problem for everyone in the world according to Goldsworthy. "Although only a few percent of the population are at present electrosensitive, the condition can be brought on in hitherto healthy people by repeated or prolonged exposure to the radiation. However, it sometimes takes many years to develop so, even if you are currently one of the lucky ones who are not affected, there is no guarantee that it will stay that way."

According to Leixlip resident, John Weigel, who lives facing a mast, Goldsworthy's predictions are not far-fetched. "When they activated the mast at the new Leixlip Garda station that has five schools and 2,000 students within a 1,000 metre radius Gardai were unable to enter their cars because the remote locking sensors were over-ridden by the Tetra signal on the mast. The Tetra signal was on at full strength. How many children were damaged, their DNA damaged? How many Gardai got cancer? We'll never know and there's no one to keep track."

Related Link: http://www.eirewaves.com


Cell Tower not approved

April 2010

I think we are fortunate that our local government and school district is rather responsive to the community.

The school officials weren't overly thoughtful at first, as they did not consult with the parents regarding the proposed cell tower, and in fact, if it weren't for one parent who happened to notice a sign partially obscured by trees posted on a part of the campus that is not really used, it would have slipped by. Luckily we have a mom's group with a great e-mail tree. She put an FYI email out to me and I sent emails out to the group with requests to pass it on to anyone who might want to be informed about it.

By the time she saw the sign and immediately emailed, we only had 2 days until the town council meeting (meanwhile many of us were very involved in our volunteer work for the school preparing for the big annual carnival which would be two days after the meeting). It was a very busy time, but approximately 7 of us (parents) showed up at the meeting thinking it would be basically informative (here is what is being proposed, etc.). We were surprised to see that it was not that kind of meeting at all. The matter, having supposedly met all legal requirements, was scheduled for rubber stamp approval, no discussion planned.

Luckily one of the council members recognized that we were there to discuss the issue and took it off the fast track part of the meeting where permits are approved and moved the issue to place the item further down the agenda with time for members of the community to be heard. No one in our group felt prepared and none of us were really at ease with speaking before the council (to add to the stage fright all our meetings are televised), however, I convinced them that, as only we 7 could come on such short notice, everyone needed to speak if we were going to get them to hold off until we could check on safety issues. So we did.

We spoke from the heart, and, for the most, part no one tried to claim knowledge that they didn't have. We spoke out most about the lack of notice and consultation of the parents, the lack of certainty that placing the tower there would be safe for our kids. I pointed out on a map how close it would be to the preschool classes and preschool and kindergarten playground and how there were ongoing studies concerning possible health effects and that even the reports with the most positive spin admitted that there were cell changes and other effects, but that they had no "definite proof" that those would be adverse to one's health. I reminded them that especially when it comes to children "no proof of harm" is not equal to "safe" and that they were our last line of defense.

We did not try to get them to deny the permit, but rather to put it off for 30 days so that we could research the safety issues because we hadn't had adequate time. It turned out that the Chair of the permit committee had a child going to the school and this was the first he had heard of it too. They rescheduled for 30 days, and when we left the employee of Clearwire who was responsible for choosing the site of the tower spoke to us in the lobby and scheduled a meeting on site in 20 days (he promised to have an RF engineer there to answer questions as he knew nothing of the technical data and in fact gave us some incorrect information about the part he thought he knew). Unbeknownst to us, an official from the school district was at the council meeting and went back to inform her superior about our concerns. There was also a reporter from the Arizona Republic there and he requested information and in fact published a story on the matter within a day or two. The fact is, he spun it a bit against us (focused on the one or two individuals who got a bit emotional and took their quotes out of context) but it still helped get the word out.

We knew that we had better make fast work of our research and let other parents know what was being proposed. A few of the parents prepared and passed out flyers with a strictly unbiased message (e.g. Here is what is being proposed. Here are the meeting dates. Get informed/ Come be heard). Others of us added to our pile of daily duties the job of trying to get a crash course on cell towers and research findings on bio-effects. We requested the help of an engineer parent whose spouse was very pro-tower as it meant money for the school which in our economy is really needed (although it turned out that money received from the proposed tower would have been used mostly for an electronic marquis as money for teachers comes from a different kind of funding). That is one thing to keep in mind. Many of these school sites are being touted as money for the school when it really needs it as if to imply it might help avert teacher layoffs, when it seems for the most part that is not true. Most schools have very structured funding guidelines.

We kept researching and passing on information to everyone concerned. We maintained the attitude of "it's too unclear whether it is safe" as opposed to the hard line of "it is unsafe" because we knew we could not prove it unsafe (too much controversy) and would therefore be dismissed, but that they could not argue that there was a clear answer that it was safe, unless they could find something that we had not been able to, and so the onus was on them. We reminded them that medical research often lags several years behind many of these new products – smoking was given as an example with pictures of old ads with doctors touting the great benefits of smoking. We told them that we didn't want to be 10 years down the line apologizing to hundreds of children for our oversight. We kept a respectful, searching, attitude of, 'we know we all want what is best for the children' and very quickly the school district decided that they would table the matter indefinitely, cancel the meeting and send out a notice that the matter was not going to be pursued.

The engineer parent was also trying to be very through and asked many technical questions of the Town Planning and Development Community, Clearwire and the FCC. The matter was actually tabled before he had completed his research. However, he took meter readings at various locations around our town and neighboring cities and made calculations and prepared a really great presentation which showed that the tower should emit far, far less than the FCC limits even taking in worst case scenario like multiple instances of reflection and that people would be 7 ft. tall and be standing on the roof of the school. We thanked him sincerely for his hard work and for providing the information. I told him I felt that he his research did seem to show that the levels would be far lower than allowed, but that I was still concerned whether FCC standards were sufficient and about possible cumulative effects.

I really appreciate the information you sent, I shared it with the others looking into the matter. I will tell you much of it was semi dismissed by the a representative of the FCC (as one might have predicted) as either opinion or non-reliable based on bias, specifically regarding Bio-Initiative: "the stated purpose of the Bioinitiative Report (BIR) is "to document the reasons why current public exposure standards for non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation are no longer good enough to protect public health." Thus, it is argued by four expert groups (in addition to COMAR) that the BIR is an advocacy document, which presents no new information, and which does not provide a dispassionate, scientific overview."

The report from Dr. Belyaev did garner more interest though as it was acknowledged that he was a very reputable and knowledgeable in the field.

Overall, I think the information collected including that which you sent really helped us illustrate that it was too speculative to allow the tower to go up at the school (partially because we were standing on the ground that there was too little certainty rather then that we were certain there was harm). Many of us even stated we would love to have reliable evidence that it was safe, not only so the school could have the funds, but because clearly we and our children are increasingly exposed almost everywhere we go. Unfortunately, our research did not support that desire.

Thank you again and I hope this information will be helpful.

Stephanie Cox


Children are at greater risk

Fifteen years ago Om Gandhi pointed out that children are exposed to higher levels of radiation from cell phones than adults. He was right then and he is right today.

Yet, no one could blame you for thinking otherwise.

In an article published in the May issue of Harper's, Nathaniel Rich uses this putative controversy, among a number of other examples, to make the case that confusion reigns in all aspects of cell-phone research. "The brain of a child absorbs a much greater amount of radiation from a cell phone than does the brain of an adult," he writes, adding immediately after, "No, it does not."

The truth is that there should be no controversy.

Children do have higher radiation exposures and if cell phones are indeed doing us harm, then children are at greater risk than their parents.

Read the complete story at:


Louis Slesin


'Smart dust' aims to monitor everything

By John D. Sutter, CNN

May 3, 2010 8:27 a.m. EDT May 3, 2010 8:27 a.m. EDT



Chernobyl Radiation Killed Nearly One Million People: New Book


NEW YORK, New York, April 26, 2010 (ENS) - Nearly one million people around the world died from exposure to radiation released by the 1986 nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl reactor, finds a new book from the New York Academy of Sciences published today on the 24th anniversary of the meltdown at the Soviet facility.

The book, "Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment," was compiled by authors Alexey Yablokov of the Center for Russian Environmental Policy in Moscow, and Vassily Nesterenko and Alexey Nesterenko of the Institute of Radiation Safety, in Minsk, Belarus.

The authors examined more than 5,000 published articles and studies, most written in Slavic languages and never before available in English.

The authors said, "For the past 23 years, it has been clear that there is a danger greater than nuclear weapons concealed within nuclear power. Emissions from this one reactor exceeded a hundred-fold the radioactive contamination of the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

"No citizen of any country can be assured that he or she can be protected from radioactive contamination. One nuclear reactor can pollute half the globe," they said. "Chernobyl fallout covers the entire Northern Hemisphere."

Their findings are in contrast to estimates by the World Health Organization and the International Atomic Energy Agency that initially said only 31 people had died among the "liquidators," those approximately 830,000 people who were in charge of extinguishing the fire at the Chernobyl reactor and deactivation and cleanup of the site.

The book finds that by 2005, between 112,000 and 125,000 liquidators had died.

"On this 24th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, we now realize that the consequences were far worse than many researchers had believed," says Janette Sherman, MD, the physician and toxicologist who edited the book.

Drawing upon extensive data, the authors estimate the number of deaths worldwide due to Chernobyl fallout from 1986 through 2004 was 985,000, a number that has since increased.

By contrast, WHO and the IAEA estimated 9,000 deaths and some 200,000 people sickened in 2005.

On April 26, 1986, two explosions occured at reactor number four at the Chernobyl plant which tore the top from the reactor and its building and exposed the reactor core. The resulting fire sent a plume of radioactive fallout into the atmosphere and over large parts of the western Soviet Union, Europe and across the Northern Hemisphere. Large areas in Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia had to be evacuated.

Yablokov and his co-authors find that radioactive emissions from the stricken reactor, once believed to be 50 million curies, may have been as great as 10 billion curies, or 200 times greater than the initial estimate, and hundreds of times larger than the fallout from the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Nations outside the former Soviet Union received high doses of radioactive fallout, most notably Norway, Sweden, Finland, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Austria, Romania, Greece, and parts of the United Kingdom and Germany.

About 550 million Europeans, and 150 to 230 million others in the Northern Hemisphere received notable contamination. Fallout reached the United States and Canada nine days after the disaster.

The proportion of children considered healthy born to irradiated parents in Belarus, the Ukraine, and European Russia considered healthy fell from about 80 percent to less than 20 percent since 1986.

Numerous reports reviewed for this book document elevated disease rates in the Chernobyl area. These include increased fetal and infant deaths, birth defects, and diseases of the respiratory, digestive, musculoskeletal, nervous, endocrine, reproductive, hematological, urological, cardiovascular, genetic, immune, and other systems, as well as cancers and non-cancerous tumors.

In addition to adverse effects in humans, numerous other species have been contaminated, based upon studies of livestock, voles, birds, fish, plants, trees, bacteria, viruses, and other species.

Foods produced in highly contaminated areas in the former Soviet Union were shipped, and consumed worldwide, affecting persons in many other nations. Some, but not all, contamination was detected and contaminated foods not shipped.

The authors warn that the soil, foliage, and water in highly contaminated areas still contain substantial levels of radioactive chemicals, and will continue to harm humans for decades to come.

The book explores effects of Chernobyl fallout that arrived above the United States nine days after the disaster. Fallout entered the U.S. environment and food chain through rainfall. Levels of iodine-131 in milk, for example, were seven to 28 times above normal in May and June 1986. The authors found that the highest U.S. radiation levels were recorded in the Pacific Northwest.

Americans also consumed contaminated food imported from nations affected by the disaster. Four years later, 25 percent of imported food was found to be still contaminated.

Little research on Chernobyl health effects in the United States has been conducted, the authors found, but one study by the Radiation and Public Health Project found that in the early 1990s, a few years after the meltdown, thyroid cancer in Connecticut children had nearly doubled.

This occurred at the same time that childhood thyroid cancer rates in the former Soviet Union were surging, as the thyroid gland is highly sensitive to radioactive iodine exposures.

The world now has 435 nuclear reactors and of these, 104 are in the United States.

The New York Academy of Sciences says not enough attention has been paid to Eastern European research studies on the effects of Chernobyl at a time when corporations in several nations, including the United States, are attempting to build more nuclear reactors and to extend the years of operation of aging reactors.

The academy said in a statement, "Official discussions from the International Atomic Energy Agency and associated United Nations' agencies (e.g. the Chernobyl Forum reports) have largely downplayed or ignored many of the findings reported in the Eastern European scientific literature and consequently have erred by not including these assessments."

To obtain the book from the New York Academy of Sciences, click here.


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