Captured agency: An expose of the FCC

Norm AlsterInvestigative journalist Norm Alster exposes the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in a new 59 page paper published by Harvard University.  “Captured agency: How the Federal Communications Commission is dominated by the industries it presumably regulates.”  http://bit.ly/FCCcaptured

Alster calls on the FCC to acknowledge there may be wireless health risks, to back off wi-fi promotion, to acknowledge children and pregnant women may be more vulnerable and more.  Excerpts:

Perhaps the best example of how the FCC is tangled in a chain of corruption is the cell tower and antenna infrastructure that lies at the heart of the phenomenally successful wireless industry.

Personally, I don‘t believe that just because something can be done it should heedlessly be allowed. Murder, rape and Ponzi schemes are all doable but subject to prohibition and regulation. Government regulators have the responsibility to examine the consequences of new technologies and act to at least contain some of the worst. Beyond legislators and regulators, public outrage and the courts can also play a role but these can be muffled indefinitely by misinformation and bullying.  Norm Alster

Study links cell phones to addiction

http://www.baylor.edu/content/imglib/1/8/8/7/188769.jpgCollege students spend an average of 8 hours or more a day on their cellphones and women spend the most time, up to ten hours a day.  Excessive use poses potential risks for academic performance, according to a Baylor University study on cellphone activity published in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions.

The study notes that approximately 60 percent of college students admit they may be addicted to their cell phone, and some indicated they get agitated when it is not in sight, said Roberts, lead author of the article “The Invisible Addiction: Cellphone Activities and Addiction among Male and Female College Students.”

“That’s astounding,” said researcher James Roberts, Ph.D., Professor of Marketing in Baylor’s School of Business. “As cellphone functions increase, addictions to this seemingly indispensable piece of technology become an increasingly realistic possibility.”

General findings of the study showed that:

• Of the top activities, respondents overall reported spending the most time texting (an average of 94.6 minutes a day), followed by sending emails (48.5 minutes), checking Facebook (38.6 minutes), surfing the Internet (34.4 minutes) and listening to their iPods. (26.9 minutes).

• Men send about the same number of emails but spend less time on each. “That may suggest that they’re sending shorter, more utilitarian messages than their female counterparts,” Roberts said.

• Women spend more time on their cellphones. While that finding runs somewhat contrary to the traditional view that men are more invested in technology, “women may be more inclined to use cellphones for social reasons such as texting or emails to build relationships and have deeper conversations.”

• The men in the study, while more occupied with using their cellphones for utilitarian or entertainment purposes, “are not immune to the allure of social media,” Roberts said. They spent time visiting such social networking sites as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Among reasons they used Twitter were to follow sports figures, catch up on the news — “or, as one male student explained it, ‘waste time,’” Roberts said.

Excessive use of cellphones poses a number of possible risks for students, he said.

“Cellphones may wind up being an escape mechanism from their classrooms. For some, cellphones in class may provide a way to cheat,” Roberts said.

Excessive or obsessive cellphone use also can cause conflict inside and outside the classroom: with professors, employers and families. And “some people use a cellphone to dodge an awkward situation. They may pretend to take a call, send a text or check their phones,” Roberts said.

Roberts noted that the current survey is more extensive than previous research in measuring the number and types of cellphone activities. It also is the first to investigate which activities are associated significantly with cellphone addictions and which are not.

Study participants were asked to respond to 11 statements such as “I get agitated when my cellphone is not in sight” and “I find that I am spending more and more time on my cellphone” to measure the intensity of their addiction.

The study noted that modern cellphone use is a paradox in that it can be “both freeing and enslaving at the same time.”

“We need to identify the activities that push cellphone use from being a helpful tool to one that undermines our well-being and that of others,” Roberts said.

Baylor University did a previous where they reported “Cell phone and instant messaging addictions are driven by materialism and impulsiveness and can be compared to consumption pathologies like compulsive buying and credit card misuse, according to a Baylor University study in the Journal of Behavioral Addictions.”

“Cell phones are a part of our consumer culture,” said study author James Roberts, Ph.D., professor of marketing and the Ben H. Williams Professor of Marketing at Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business. “They are not just a consumer tool, but are used as a status symbol. They’re also eroding our personal relationships.”

To read the complete study follow this link: http://www.akademiai.com/content/q41011j715q26n7h/

 

Cell phones linked to anxiety, lower grades, and unhappiness

KentAlmost everywhere you look  someone has a cell phone pressed to their ear, or has one in their hand.  Students depend on the devices to connect with friends and family.

A recent study led by Kent State University researchers, surveyed more than 500 undergraduate students from 82 different majors. They recorded daily cell phone use along with anxiety and happiness levels.  In addition student grades were included in the study.

Results were students who used their cell phones more had lower grades, higher anxiety, and less happiness relative to their peers who used the cell phone less. 

Earlier this year, Kent researchers linked cell phone use to poor student fitness. These results suggest that people should be encouraged to reduce their cell phone use! Or, better yet, use them for emergencies only!

Safety tips for cell and cordless phone use: Learn more

Dr. Mercola’s comments on this study include raising awareness about second hand radiation effects.

Dr. Mercola writes: “Respect Others Who Are More Sensitive: Some people who have become sensitive can feel the effects of others’ cell phones, iPads, and other gadgets in the same room, even when it is on but not being used. If you are in a meeting, on public transportation, in a courtroom or other public places, such as a doctor’s office, keep your cell phone turned off out of consideration for the “secondhand radiation” effects. Children are also more vulnerable, so please avoid using your cell phone near children.”

Students demonstrate wireless hazards at Science Faire

Two young scientists researched and studied wireless health risks for science fair projects. One student was interested in the controversy surrounding wi-fi and whether it should be in schools or not. She found fruit flies exposed to industrial wi-fi had genome mutations. Another student researched mobile phone radiation and warns about brain cancer, insomnia and other health problems.

In May of 2013 a team of Danish 9th grade girls did a science study on wi-fi and found watercress seeds would not grow near a wi-fi router.

The students placed six trays filled with water cress in a room without radiation, and six trays in another room next to two wi-fi routers. Over the next 12 days, the girls observed, measured, weighed and photographed their results. The cress seeds placed near the routers had not grown, whereas the cress seeds in the other room, away from the routers, thrived.

watercress_wifi studyThe experiment earned the girls top honors in a regional science competition and the interest of scientists around the world. Full story here: Student Science Experiment Finds Plants won’t Grow near Wi-Fi Router

Harvard doctor warns against wireless hazards

The following is a letter sent to the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) from Martha R. Herbert, PhD, MD regarding wireless installations in LA schools.

TO: Los Angeles Unified School District
FROM: Martha R Herbert, PhD, MD
RE: Wireless vs. Wired in Classrooms
DATE: February 8, 2013
 

I am a pediatric neurologist and neuroscientist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and on staff at the Massachusetts General Hospital. I am Board Certified in Neurology with Special Competency in Child Neurology, and Subspecialty Certification in Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

I have an extensive history of research and clinical practice in neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly autism spectrum disorders. I have published papers in brain imaging research, in physiological abnormalities in autism spectrum disorders, and in environmental influences on neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and on brain development and function.

I recently accepted an invitation to review literature pertinent to a potential link between Autism Spectrum Disorders and Electromagnetic Frequencies (EMF) and Radiofrequency Radiation (RFR). I set out to write a paper of modest length, but found much more literature than I had anticipated to review. I ended up producing a 60 page single spaced paper with over 550 citations. It is available at http://www.bioinitiative.org/report/wp-content/uploads/pdfs/sec20_2012_Findings_in_Autism.pdf.

In fact, there are thousands of papers that have accumulated over decades – and are now accumulating at an accelerating pace, as our ability to measure impacts become more sensitive – that document adverse health and neurological impacts of EMF/RFR. Children are more vulnerable than adults, and children with chronic illnesses and/or neurodevelopmental disabilities are even more vulnerable. Elderly or chronically ill adults are more vulnerable than healthy adults.

Current technologies were designed and promulgated without taking account of biological impacts other than thermal impacts. We now know that there are a large array of impacts that have nothing to do with the heating of tissue. The claim from wifi proponents that the only concern is thermal impacts is now definitively outdated scientifically.

EMF/RFR from wifi and cell towers can exert a disorganizing effect on the ability to learn and remember, and can also be destabilizing to immune and metabolic function. This will make it harder for some children to learn, particularly those who are already having problems in the first place.

Powerful industrial entities have a vested interest in leading the public to believe that EMF/RFR, which we cannot see, taste or touch, is harmless, but this is not true. Please do the right and precautionary thing for our children.

I urge you to step back from your intention to go wifi in the LAUSD, and instead opt for wired technologies, particularly for those subpopulations that are most sensitive. It will be easier for you to make a healthier decision now than to undo a misguided decision later.

Thank you.

Martha Herbert, PhD, MD
Pediatric Neurology
Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging
Massachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Boston, Massachusetts
USA
 

Click here for Dr. Herbert’s letter:Harvard MD on Wi-Fi Health Effects

BioInitiative 2012 Report: new urgent warnings on wireless and EMF public health risks

A new updated BioInitiative 2012 Report  says that evidence for risks to health has substantially increased since 2007 from electromagnetic fields (EMF) and wireless technologies/radiofrequency radiation (RFR).  The report reviews over 1800 new scientific studies and includes 29 independent science and medical experts from around the world.  Cell phone users, parents-to-be, young children and pregnant women are at particular risk.

Summary of Key Scientific Evidence:

  • Evidence for Damage to Sperm and Reproduction
  • Evidence that Children are More Vulnerable
  • Evidence for Fetal and Neonatal Effects
  • Evidence for Effects on Autism (Autism Spectrum Disorders)
  • Evidence for Electrohypersensitivity
  • Evidence for Effects from Cell Tower-Level RFR Exposures
  • Evidence for Effects on the Blood-brain Barrier
  • Evidence for Effects on Brain Tumors
  • Evidence for Effects on Genes (Genotoxicity)
  • Evidence for Effects on the Nervous System (Neurotoxicity)
  • Evidence for Effects on Cancer (Childhood Leukemia, Adult Cancers)
  • Melatonin, Breast Cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Stress, Stress Proteins and DNA as a Fractal Antenna
  • Effects of Weak-Field Interactions on Non-Linear Biological Oscillators and Synchronized Neural Activity

Cell and cordless phones linked to cancer

Lennart Hardell, MD at Orebro University, Sweden says, “There is a consistent pattern of increased risk for glioma (a malignant brain tumor) and acoustic neuroma with use of mobile and cordless phones.” He further states:

“Epidemiological evidence shows that radiofrequency should be classified as a human carcinogen. The existing FCC/IEEE and ICNIRP public safety limits and reference levels are not adequate to protect public health.”

A dozen new studies link cell phone radiation to sperm damage. Even a cell phone in the pocket or on a belt may harm sperm DNA, result in misshapen sperm, and impair fertility in men. Laptop computers with wireless internet connections can damage DNA in sperm.

Based on strong evidence for vulnerable biology in autism, EMF/RFR can plausibly increase autism risk and symptoms. ” While we aggressively investigate the links between autism disorders and wireless technologies, we should minimize wireless and EMF exposures for people with autism disorders, children of all ages, people planning a baby, and during pregnancy,” says Martha Herbert, MD, PhD.

Wireless devices such as phones and laptops used by pregnant women may alter brain development of the fetus. This has been linked in both animal and human studies to hyperactivity, learning and behavior problems.

There is more evidence than we need

“The last five years worth of new scientific studies tell us the situation is much worse than in 2007 and yet people around the world have so much more daily exposure than even five years ago. Exposures are linked to a variety of adverse health outcomes that may have significant public health consequences.” (Editor’s notes)

“There is now much more evidence of risks to health affecting billions of people world-wide. The status quo is not acceptable in light of the evidence for harm.” David O. Carpenter, MD, co-editor Bioinitiative 2012 Report.

This study covers EMF from powerlines, electrical wiring, appliances and hand-held devices; and from wireless technologies (cell and cordless phones, cell towers, ‘smart meters’, WI-FI, wireless laptops, wireless routers, baby monitors, and other electronic devices).  Health topics include damage to DNA and genes, effects on memory, learning, behavior, attention, sleep disruption, cancer and neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. New safety standards are urgently needed for protection against EMF and wireless exposures that now appear everywhere in daily life.

A new suggested RFR precautionary level

A reduction from the BioInitiative 2007 recommendation of 0.1 uW/cm2 for cumulative outdoor pulsed RFR down to something three orders of magnitude lower is justified in 2012 on a public health basis. A precautionary action level of 0.0003 uW/cm2 to 0.0006 uW/cm2 is suggested.

Applying a ten-fold reduction to the ‘effects level’ reported in short-term studies or studies on adults is intended to compensate for the lack of long-term exposure in a particular study, or to adjust for using adult studies in considering children as a sensitive subpopulation.

We hold their future in our hands

Acknowledgements for the report go to the “many independent scientists, researchers and experts who have labored, some for decades – many of whom are no longer with us – to bring this body of science into the public arena.”

Cindy Sage, Co-Editor of the report extends gratitude to her husband and family and “to Avery, Drake, Ford, Jenner, Luke, Solei, and all the children whose trusting faces remind us that we hold their future in our hands.” 

Secondhand radiation can be considerable according to a newly published study.

By: Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D. Director, Center for Family and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley

Many people are unaware that they are exposed to cell phone radiation when their cell phones are in standby mode.  This occurs because their cell phone contacts the nearest cell tower periodically to update its location.

In a moving vehicle, cell phones in standby mode contact cell towers more frequently. Thus, exposure to cell phone radiation from one’s cell phone is greater in transit.

Two Swiss researchers, Damiano Urbinello and Martin Roosli, set out to measure personal cell phone radiation exposure during car, bus and train trips when one’s own phone was in standby mode.

Their study just published in the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology identified a source of cell phone radiation that may constitute a public health problem. Namely, secondhand exposure to cell phone radiation from other people’s cell phones can be considerable while traveling on buses and trains (1).

During bus or train trips, individuals may be exposed to considerable amounts of cell phone radiation from other people’s cell phones. Buses and railroad cars act like “Faraday cages” that reflect much of the electromagnetic radiation emitted by cell phones throughout the vehicles’ interiors. Thus, all passengers, including infants and pregnant women as well as those without cell phones, may be exposed to considerable levels of cell phone radiation emitted by others’ phones.

As for car trips, the results of the study suggest that exposure to cell phone radiation from one’s own phone in standby mode is relatively low compared to overall exposures during public transit. Nonetheless, those who are concerned about their exposure to cell phone radiation should turn off their phones during car trips, or at the very least, avoid using their phones for calls.

● “The study indicates that own uplink exposure during car driving can be considerably reduced (about a fraction of 100) when turning off ones own mobile phone in order to prevent it from location updates.”  (1)

The researchers found that GSM, the 2G carrier system in Europe which is used in the U.S. for voice communication by AT&T and T-Mobile, is particularly problematic compared to UMTS, a 3G carrier system used for data transmission. The researchers did not test CDMA which in the U.S. is used by Verizon and Sprint for voice calls. Other research has found that GSM emits 13 to 28 times more radiation on average than CDMA during phone calls. No published studies have examined exposures from LTE, the 4G carrier system now in widespread use in this country.

● “GSM levels in the reference scenario during bus and train rides were about 100 times higher than those during car rides. As a consequence of this high background exposure in trains, due to the use of other people’s mobile phone in a closed area intensified by the Faraday cage effect, the relative contribution of the location update from ones own mobile phone is small”  (1)

The study also reported that smart phones, including the iPhone 4 and the Blackberry Bold 8800, which can operate on four radiofrequency bands emit more radiation during standby mode than classic phones, like the Nokia 2600, which operate on two bands.

Earlier this year, a study was published that examined cell phones in standby mode while stationary. Kjell Mild and his colleagues from Sweden found that under these conditions cell phones contacted the cell towers only once every two to five hours. They concluded that exposure to cell phone radiation in this situation “can be considered negligible.”  (2)

These studies should be replicated in the U.S. as well as in other countries since every cell phone carrier system operates differently.

In the meantime it is advisable to keep cell phone use in moving vehicles to a minimum as low level exposures to cell phone radiation have been associated with deleterious effects in humans.

To protect us from the health risks associated with cell phones and related devices (e.g., cordless phones, Wi-Fi, wireless Smart Meters and security systems, and cell towers), we need research independent of industry to develop biologically-based standards and safer technologies.  A nickel a month from each cell phone subscription would suffice to fund a comprehensive program of research. Since the average cell phone subscription costs more than $47.00 per month, this tiny fee constitutes a prudent investment in our health and our children’s health.

References

1) Urbinello D, Roosli M. Impact of one’s own mobile phone in stand-by mode on personal radiofrequency electromagnetic field exposure. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology advance online publication, Oct 24, 2012.

Source  Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland and the University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland.

Abstract

When moving around, mobile phones in stand-by mode periodically send data about their positions. The aim of this paper is to evaluate how personal radiofrequency electromagnetic field (RF-EMF) measurements are affected by such location updates. Exposure from a mobile phone handset (uplink) was measured during commuting by using a randomized cross-over study with three different scenarios: disabled mobile phone (reference), an activated dual-band phone and a quad-band phone. In the reference scenario, uplink exposure was highest during train rides (1.19 mW/m(2)) and lowest during car rides in rural areas (0.001 mW/m(2)). In public transports, the impact of one’s own mobile phone on personal RF-EMF measurements was not observable because of high background uplink radiation from other people’s mobile phone. In a car, uplink exposure with an activated phone was orders of magnitude higher compared with the reference scenario. This study demonstrates that personal RF-EMF exposure is affected by one’s own mobile phone in stand-by mode because of its regular location update. Further dosimetric studies should quantify the contribution of location updates to the total RF-EMF exposure in order to clarify whether the duration of mobile phone use, the most common exposure surrogate in the epidemiological RF-EMF research, is actually an adequate exposure proxy.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=23093102

2) Mild KH, Andersen JB, Pedersen GF. Is there any exposure from a mobile phone in stand-by mode? Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine. 2012 Mar;31(1):52-6.

Source  Department of Radiation Sciences, Ume niversity, Ume Sweden. kjell.hansson.mild@radfys.umu.se

Abstract

Several studies have been using a GSM mobile phone in stand-by mode as the source for exposure, and they claimed that this caused effects on for instance sleep and testicular function. In stand-by mode the phone is only active in periodic location updates, and this occurs with a frequency set by the net operator. Typical updates occur with 2-5 h in between, and between these updates the phone is to be considered as a passive radio receiver with no microwave emission. Thus, the exposure in stand-by mode can be considered negligible.

http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/15368378.201…