Wifi and the Effects of Crying Wolf

| April 25, 2011 | 11 Comments
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The issue of parents paying for mobile phones and data plans for school use has hit a nerve with some reader. But the conversation has veered away from parents’ opinions about cell phones as an educational tool.

We’ve received vehement comments from members or fans of Citizens for Safe Technology — whose motto is “empowering the public to protect children and youth from unsafe wireless technologies.” Most of them refer to possible negative side effects of cell phones:

“Many scientists are now discovering wireless radiation causes a stress like response in our bodies releasing hormones that increase anxiety, depression, fatigue, and inflammation to name a few.”

Another brings up the issue of risking children’s safety for wireless industry profit.

“Wi-Fi and other wireless “learning aides” in school, embraced naively by parents and educators with the shameless encouragement of the wireless industry, are not the blessing they appear to be.”

And one discredits altogether the benefits of using a mobile phone in class.

“As a parent, this thought is scary to me. As a teacher, the suggestion is LUDICROUS to me. Health issues aside, I can just envision my intermediate aged students texting, msning, facebooking etc.etc..when they are supposed to be working.”

For as many studies that can connect the use of cell phones to cancer (none of which were linked to in any of the comments), there are as many or more that show the connection to be loose and inconclusive. A lengthy feature in last week’s New York Times magazine about cell phones and cancer concluded with the following:

It’s absolutely worthwhile identifying these, so that we can focus on the real carcinogens around us. If we lump everything into the category of “potentially carcinogenic,” from toxic potatoes to McCarthy’s grave, then our scientific language around cancer begins to degenerate. The effect is like crying “wolf” about cancer: the public progressively numbs itself to real environmental toxins and becomes disinvested in finding bona fide carcinogens.

To keep ourselves on the right path on environmental carcinogens, then, we need not just standards to rule carcinogens “in” but also standards to rule them “out.” The final, definitive trials on phone radiation may settle this issue — but, as of now, the evidence remains far from convincing. Understanding the rigor, labor, evidence and time required to identify a real carcinogen is the first step to understanding what does and does not cause cancer.

All that said, do I want my daughter sleeping with a cell phone under her pillow? No. And when I use my cell during a phone call, I always err on the side of caution by using a headset.

Still, I’m not sure the alarmist theories of tossing aside all Internet-based or related technology is the answer. Furthermore, for critics to frame the issue as if parents are sacrificing or endangering their children by allowing them access to the Internet is irresponsible and inflammatory. The use of fear tactics on either side only degrades the conversation.

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  • Concerned Parent

    >>”to frame the issue as if parents are sacrificing or endangering their children by allowing them access to the Internet is irresponsible and inflammatory.”

    Just wish to clarify that wireless access doesn’t equate internet access. Internet can be accessed by hardwired computers, without the health risk of microwave radiation (wi-fi). I am a parent (a computer-literate one, too). I fully support having computer and internet access as part of my child’s education, but I make sure that the technology is implemented in a safe manner. I understand parents’ concern for children’s academic development. I believe that most parents have the best intention when they acquire the wireless equipment for the children. However, in North America, the awareness about the potential health effects of such technology is very low. In case most readers are not aware, the microwave exposure limit in US an Canada is 1000 microwatts/cm2. The microwave exposure limits in countries like Switzerland, Italy, France, Luxembourg, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Austria and Israel are at 0.1 to 10 μW/cm2. China and Russia have conducted large-scale microwave radiation studies on humans, and they set their maximums at 10 μW/cm2.
    In other words, the limit in all these countries are 100 to 10000 times lower than ours!
    As a parent to a young child, I will definitely err on the side of caution. As testified by Dr. Annie Sasco, Director of Epidemiology at National Institutes of Health, at the Canadian House of Commons committee meeting on health effects of radiofrequency and microwave last year, “If we want to wait for final proof, at least in terms of cancer, it may still take 20 years and the issue will become that we will not have unexposed population to act as control… But we have enough data to go ahead with a Precautionary Principle to avoid exposures which are unnecessary, if our goal is to reduce somewhat the burden of cancer in the years to come and other chronic diseases.” Audio Archive:http://www2.parl.gc.ca/CommitteeBusiness/CommitteeMeetings.aspx?Cmte=HESA&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=40&Ses=3DT20100429HESAMEE13

    In 2008 and 2009, the European Parliament adopted two resolutions – by near-unanimous votes – to set stricter electromagnetic exposure limits and stated specifically: “wireless technology (mobile phones, Wi-Fi / WiMAX, Bluetooth, DECT landline telephones) emits EMFs that may have adverse effects on human health… particularly to young people whose brains are still developing”.
    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ oeil/FindByProcnum.do?lang=en& procnum=INI/2008/2211
    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/ oeil/FindByProcnum.do?lang=en& procnum=INI/2007/2252

    Below are a some studies that found biological effects from microwave radiation at Wi-Fi range (2.45 Ghz) frequency:

    Mutagenic response of 2.45 GHz radiation exposure on rat brain.
    “The authors conclude that the chronic exposure to 2.45 GHz microwaves may cause a significant damage to the brain, which may be an indication of possible tumour promotion.”
    http://www. kawarthasafetechnology.org/wp- content/uploads/2011/03/ RatBrainEMFExposureStudyApr201 0.pdf

    Single strand DNA breaks in rat brain cells exposed to microwave radiation.
    “The data showed that the chronic exposure to 2.45 and 16.5 GHz under these experimental conditions caused a statistically significant increase in DNA single-strand breaks (increase in the length of DNA migration) in brain cells of rats.”
    http://www.emf-portal.de/ viewer.php?aid=18097&sid= 0daa718ad1e5d7ea320f34f82abe84 91&sform=6&pag_idx=110&l=e

    Some behavioral effects of short-term exposure of rats to 2.45 GHz microwave radiation.
    “Microwave-exposed animals exhibited less activity than sham-exposed animals… Both the locomotor activity and acoustic startle data demonstrate that, under the conditions of this experiment, microwave exposure may alter responsiveness of rats to novel environmental conditions or stimuli.”
    http://ukpmc.ac.uk/abstract/ MED/3178900/reload=0; jsessionid= 32BB4DF2A4EED34F041CE31DD3489E 2F.jvm1

    Erythropoietic changes in rats after 2.45 GHz nonthermal irradiation.
    “In the applied experimental condition, RF/MW radiation might cause disturbance in red cell maturation and proliferation, and induce micronucleus formation in erythropoietic cells.”
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/ science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi= B7GVY-4GFMPDW-7&_user=10&_ coverDate=12%2F31%2F2004&_ rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig= gateway&_origin=gateway&_sort= d&_docanchor=&view=c&_ searchStrId=1725577642&_ rerunOrigin=google&_acct= C000050221&_version=1&_ urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5= 1e9ac87e46ae4d139e784fc9db5040 2b&searchtype=a

    Genotoxic effects of low 2.45 GHz microwave radiation exposures on Sprague Dawley rats.
    “We conclude that low SAR 2.45 GHz MW radiation exposures can induce DNA single strand breaks and the direct genome analysis of DNA of various tissues demonstrated potential for genotoxicity.”
    http://www.academicjournals. org/ijgmb/PDF/pdf2010/Nov/ Aweda%20et%20al.pdf

    Effects of exposure to 2.45 GHZ microwave radiation on male rat reproductive system.
    “Conclusion: MW radiation exposures caused reduction in sperm counts and motility and increased the proportion of abnormal sperm cells and induced reduction in sperm count and motility while increasing the proportion of abnormal sperm cells.”
    http://www.journalcra.com/?q= node/380

    Testicular apoptosis and histopathological changes induced by a 2.45 GHz electromagnetic field.
    “Electromagnetic field affects spermatogenesis and causes to apoptosis due to the heat and other stress-related events in testis tissue.”
    http://tih.sagepub.com/ content/early/2011/01/27/ 0748233710389851.abstract

    Effects of 2.45 GHz microwaves on meiotic chromosomes of male CBA/CAY mice.
    “The findings are interpreted to indicate interference with normal spermatogenesis during the exposure period.”
    http://jhered.oxfordjournals. org/content/76/1/71.short

    Effects of microwave at 2.45 GHz radiations on reproductive system of male rats.
    “Chronic exposure to these radiations produced formation of apoptotic cells in testis. In addition, a significant decrease in the levels of GPx, and SOD activities as well as an increase in CAT activity was observed in the exposed group. These results indicate that a low level exposure of microwave radiations exerts a negative impact on male reproductive system function.”
    http://www.informaworld.com/ smpp/content~content= a922592632~db=all~jumptype=rss

    Provocation study using heart rate variability shows microwave radiation from DECT phone (2.45 Ghz) affects autonomic nervous system.
    M. Havas, J. Marrongelle, B. Pollner, E. Kelley, C.R.G. Rees, L. Tully
    European Journal of Oncology Library Vol. 5, 273-300
    “This is the first study that documents immediate and dramatic changes in both Heart Rate (HR) and HR variability (HRV) associated with MW exposure at levels well below (0.5%) federal guidelines in Canada and the United States (1000 microW/cm2).”
    http://www.avaate.org/article. php3?id_article=2043
    http://www.avaate.org/IMG/pdf/ Dect_and_WifiHavas-HRV- Ramazzini1.pdf

    Here are some studies on biological effects from cell phone Towers (pulsed Microwave Radiation similar to Wi-Fi)

    Report On Cell Tower Radiation
    Submitted to Secretary, Dept of Telecommunication, Delhi, India
    Prepared by Prof. Girish Kumar gkumar@ee.iitb.ac Electrical Engineering Department IIT Bombay, Powai, Mumai – December 2010
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/ 44736879/Cell-Tower-Radiation- Report-sent-to-DOT-Department- of-Telecommunications
    (Note: Typo on Exposure limit in Canada. It should be 1000μW/cm2, or 10W/m2)

    Neurobehavioral effects among inhabitants around mobile phone base stations. Neurotoxicology. 28(2):434-40 Abdel-Rassoul G, El-Fateh OA, Salem MA, Michael A, Farahat F, El-Batanouny M, Salem E (March 2007).
    “Inhabitants living nearby mobile phone base stations are at risk for developing neuropsychiatric problems and some changes in the performance of neurobehavioral functions either by facilitation or inhibition. So, revision of standard guidelines for public exposure to RER from mobile phone base station antennas and using of NBTB (neurobehavioral test battery) for regular assessment and early detection of biological effects among inhabitants around the stations are recommended.”
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16962663

    GSM base station electromagnetic radiation and oxidative stress in rats.
    Electromagn Biol Med. ;25(3):177-88Yurekli AI, Ozkan M, Kalkan T, Saybasili H, Tuncel H, Atukeren P, Gumustas K, Seker S (2006).
    “When EM fields at a power density of 3.67 W/m2 (specific absorption rate = 11.3 mW/kg), which is well below current exposure limits, were applied, MDA (malondialdehyde – a marker for oxidative stress) level was found to increase and GSH (reduced glutathione, a major antioxidant) concentration was found to decrease significantly (p < 0.0001). Additionally, there was a less significant (p = 0.0190) increase in SOD (superoxide dismutase) activity (cell-repair) under EM exposure."
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16954120

    Risk Evaluation of Potential Environmental Hazards From Low Frequency Electromagnetic Field Exposure Using Sensitive in vitro Methods. EU Programme.
    "Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources"
    "Genotoxic effects and a modified expression of numerous genes and proteins after EMF exposure could be demonstrated with great certainty, while effects on cell proliferation, cell differentiation and apoptosis (the process of programmed cell death) were much less conclusive. Since all these observations were made in in vitro studies, the results obtained neither preclude nor confirm a health risk due to EMF exposure, but they speak in favour of such a possibility."
    http://www.powerwatch.org.uk/news/20041222_reflex.asp

    Investigation on the health of people living near mobile telephone relay stations: I/Incidence according to distance and sex.
    Pathol Biol (Paris). 50(6):369-73Santini R, Santini P, Danze JM, Le Ruz P, Seigne M (July 2002).
    "Women significantly more often than men (p < 0.05) complained of headache, nausea, loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, depression, discomfort and visual perturbations. This first study on symptoms experienced by people living in vicinity of base stations shows that, in view of radio protection, minimal distance of people from cellular phone base stations should not be < 300 m."
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12168254

    Symptoms experienced by people in vicinity of base stations: II/ Incidences of age, duration of exposure, location of subjects in relation to the antennas and other electromagnetic factors.
    Santini R, Santini P, Danze JM, Le Ruz P, Seigne M (September 2003). . Pathol Biol (Paris). 51(7):412-5
    "Our results show significant increase (p < 0.05) in relation with age of subjects (elder subjects are more sensitive) and also, that the facing location is the worst position for some symptoms studied, especially for distances till 100 m from base stations."
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12948762

    Possible Effects of Electromagnetic Fields from Phone Masts on a Population of White Stork (Ciconia ciconia).
    Balmori Alfonso (2005). Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, 24: 109-119
    "Total productivity (number of young per couple, including nests with 0 chicks) for nests within 200m of the antenna was 0.86 (0.7 – 1.02), whereas productivity for nests further than 300m away was 1.6 (1.46- 1.74). Both were statistically significant, with a p value of 0.001. A large part of the difference here appears to be due to the likelihood of the couples in the nests near the mast (cell tower) not having any chicks: 40% of those within 200m had no chicks, whereas in the nests greater than 300m away only 3.3% did not have chicks!Odd behaviour was also noted in the storks, happening much more frequently the closer the nests were to the masts."
    http://www.powerwatch.org.uk/news/20051006_storks.asp

    Increased incidence of cancer near a cell-phone transmitter station.Wolf R, Wolf D (April 2004). International Journal of Cancer Prevention Vol1, No2 – [Download Report]
    "The measured level of RF radiation (power density) in the area was low; far below the current guidelines based on the thermal effects of RF exposure. We suggest, therefore, that the current guidelines be re-evaluated. The enormous short latency period; less than 2 years, indicates that if there is a real causal association between RF radiation emitted from the cell-phone base station and the cancer cases (which we strongly believe there is), then the RF radiation should have a very strong promoting effect on cancer at very low radiation! Although the possibility remains that this clustering of cancer cases in one year was a chance event, the unusual sex pattern of these cases, the 6 different cancer kinds, and the fact that only one patient smoked make this possibility very improbable and remote. It should be noted that 7 out of 8 cancer cases were women, like in the work of Maskarinec (25) who found 6 out of 7 leukemia cases in proximity to radio towers to occur in girls. Such unusual appearances of cancer cases due to one accused factor on two completely different occasions is alarming."
    http://www.powerwatch.org.uk/news/20050207_israel.pdf

    The Influence of Being Physically Near to a Cell Phone Transmission Mast on the Incidence of Cancer.
    Horst Eger, Klaus Uwe Hagen, Birgitt Lucas, Peter Vogel, Helmut Voit (April 2004). Umwelt Medizin Gesellschaft 17
    "People living within 400 metres of the mast in Naila had three times the risk of developing cancer than those living further away. This seems to be an undeniable clustering of cancer cases."
    http://www.powerwatch.org.uk/news/20041118_naila.asp

    The Microwave Syndrome – Further aspects of a Spanish Study.
    Oberfeld Gerd, Navarro A. Enrique, Portoles Manuel, Maestu Ceferino, Gomez-Perretta Claudio (August 2004). Conference Proceedings.
    "All models showed statistical significant associations between the measured electric field (~ 400 MHz – 3 GHz) and 13 out of 16 health related symptoms. The strongest five associations found are depressive tendency, fatigue, sleeping disorder, difficulty in concentration and cardiovascular problems. The symptoms associated are in line with the symptoms reported in the literature as “Microwave Syndrom… Based on the data of this study the advice would be to strive for levels not higher than 0.02 V/m for the sum total, which is equal to a power density of 0.0001 μW/cm²…”.
    http://www.powerwatch.org.uk/news/20040809_spain.asp

    Some people might ignore these studies and choose instead to look at all the industry-funded studies to have "a peace of mind". Industry-funded studies mostly indicate that there are no adverse effects from electromagnetic radiation (remember the tactics of the tobacco industry?) http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.9149
    http://www.sante-radiofrequences.org/fileadmin/templates/pdf/Presentations_colloque_09/Pres_A.HUSS.pdf

    For readers who are parents, I would invite you to look at the evidence from both sides and make the safest choice for your child. I have done that. I hope you will, too.

  • Concerned Parent

    Sorry, some links in the last message were broken during transfer, so I’m posting again. Thanks.

    >>”to frame the issue as if parents are sacrificing or endangering their children by allowing them access to the Internet is irresponsible and inflammatory.”

    Just wish to clarify that wireless access doesn’t equate internet access. Internet can be accessed by hardwired computers, without the health risk of microwave radiation (wi-fi). I am a parent (a computer-literate one, too). I fully support having computer and internet access as part of my child’s education, but I make sure that the technology is implemented in a safe manner. I understand parents’ concern for children’s academic development. I believe that most parents have the best intention when they acquire the wireless equipment for the children. However, in North America, the awareness about the potential health effects of such technology is very low. In case most readers are not aware, the microwave exposure limit in US an Canada is 1000 microwatts/cm2. The microwave exposure limits in countries like Switzerland, Italy, France, Luxembourg, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Austria and Israel are at 0.1 to 10 μW/cm2. China and Russia have conducted large-scale microwave radiation studies on humans, and they set their maximums at 10 μW/cm2. In other words, the limit in all these countries are 100 to 10000 times lower than ours! As a parent to a young child, I will definitely err on the side of caution. At the Canadian House of Commons committee meeting on health effects of radiofrequency and microwave last year, Dr. Annie Sasco, Director of Epidemiology at National Institutes of Health testified, “If we want to wait for final proof, at least in terms of cancer, it may still take 20 years and the issue will become that we will not have unexposed population to act as control… But we have enough data to go ahead with a Precautionary Principle to avoid exposures which are unnecessary, if our goal is to reduce somewhat the burden of cancer in the years to come and other chronic diseases.” Audio Archive: http://www2.parl.gc.ca/CommitteeBusiness/CommitteeMeetings.aspx?Cmte=HESA&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=40&Ses=3DT20100429HESAMEE13

    In 2008 and 2009, the European Parliament adopted two resolutions – by near-unanimous votes – to set stricter electromagnetic exposure limits and stated specifically: “wireless technology (mobile phones, Wi-Fi / WiMAX, Bluetooth, DECT landline telephones) emits EMFs that may have adverse effects on human health… particularly to young people whose brains are still developing”.
    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/FindByProcnum.do?lang=en&procnum=INI/2008/2211
    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/FindByProcnum.do?lang=en&procnum=INI/2007/2252

    Here is a recent press release from Karolinska Institute in Sweden (the highest-ranked medical school in Europe, which appoints the laureates for the “Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine”):
    http://electromagnetichealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/Karolinska_Institute_press_release1.pdf

    Below are a some studies that found biological effects from microwave radiation at Wi-Fi range (2.45 Ghz) frequency:

    Mutagenic response of 2.45 GHz radiation exposure on rat brain.
    “The authors conclude that the chronic exposure to 2.45 GHz microwaves may cause a significant damage to the brain, which may be an indication of possible tumour promotion.”
    http://www.kawarthasafetechnology.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/RatBrainEMFExposureStudyApr2010.pdf

    Single strand DNA breaks in rat brain cells exposed to microwave radiation.
    “The data showed that the chronic exposure to 2.45 and 16.5 GHz under these experimental conditions caused a statistically significant increase in DNA single-strand breaks (increase in the length of DNA migration) in brain cells of rats.”
    http://www.emf-portal.de/viewer.php?aid=18097&sid=0daa718ad1e5d7ea320f34f82abe8491&sform=6&pag_idx=110&l=e

    Some behavioral effects of short-term exposure of rats to 2.45 GHz microwave radiation.
    “Microwave-exposed animals exhibited less activity than sham-exposed animals… Both the locomotor activity and acoustic startle data demonstrate that, under the conditions of this experiment, microwave exposure may alter responsiveness of rats to novel environmental conditions or stimuli.”
    http://ukpmc.ac.uk/abstract/MED/3178900/reload=0;jsessionid=32BB4DF2A4EED34F041CE31DD3489E2F.jvm1

    Erythropoietic changes in rats after 2.45 GHz nonthermal irradiation.
    “In the applied experimental condition, RF/MW radiation might cause disturbance in red cell maturation and proliferation, and induce micronucleus formation in erythropoietic cells.”
    linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1438463905703205

    Genotoxic effects of low 2.45 GHz microwave radiation exposures on Sprague Dawley rats.
    “We conclude that low SAR 2.45 GHz MW radiation exposures can induce DNA single strand breaks and the direct genome analysis of DNA of various tissues demonstrated potential for genotoxicity.”
    http://www.academicjournals.org/ijgmb/PDF/pdf2010/Nov/Aweda%20et%20al.pdf

    Effects of exposure to 2.45 GHZ microwave radiation on male rat reproductive system.
    “Conclusion: MW radiation exposures caused reduction in sperm counts and motility and increased the proportion of abnormal sperm cells and induced reduction in sperm count and motility while increasing the proportion of abnormal sperm cells.”
    http://www.journalcra.com/?q=node/380

    Testicular apoptosis and histopathological changes induced by a 2.45 GHz electromagnetic field.
    “Electromagnetic field affects spermatogenesis and causes to apoptosis due to the heat and other stress-related events in testis tissue.”
    http://tih.sagepub.com/content/early/2011/01/27/0748233710389851.abstract

    Effects of 2.45 GHz microwaves on meiotic chromosomes of male CBA/CAY mice.
    “The findings are interpreted to indicate interference with normal spermatogenesis during the exposure period.”
    http://jhered.oxfordjournals.org/content/76/1/71.short

    Effects of microwave at 2.45 GHz radiations on reproductive system of male rats.
    “Chronic exposure to these radiations produced formation of apoptotic cells in testis. In addition, a significant decrease in the levels of GPx, and SOD activities as well as an increase in CAT activity was observed in the exposed group. These results indicate that a low level exposure of microwave radiations exerts a negative impact on male reproductive system function.”
    http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a922592632~db=all~jumptype=rss

    Provocation study using heart rate variability shows microwave radiation from DECT phone (2.45 Ghz) affects autonomic nervous system.
    M. Havas, J. Marrongelle, B. Pollner, E. Kelley, C.R.G. Rees, L. Tully
    European Journal of Oncology Library Vol. 5, 273-300
    “This is the first study that documents immediate and dramatic changes in both Heart Rate (HR) and HR variability (HRV) associated with MW exposure at levels well below (0.5%) federal guidelines in Canada and the United States (1000 microW/cm2).”
    http://www.avaate.org/article.php3?id_article=2043
    http://www.avaate.org/IMG/pdf/Dect_and_WifiHavas-HRV-Ramazzini1.pdf

    Here are some studies on biological effects from cell phone Towers (pulsed Microwave Radiation similar to Wi-Fi)

    Report On Cell Tower Radiation
    Submitted to Secretary, Dept of Telecommunication, Delhi, India
    Prepared by Prof. Girish Kumar gkumar@ee.iitb.ac Electrical Engineering Department IIT Bombay, Powai, Mumai – December 2010
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/44736879/Cell-Tower-Radiation-Report-sent-to-DOT-Department-of-Telecommunications
    (Note: Typo on Exposure limit in Canada. It should be 1000μW/cm2, or 10W/m2)

    Neurobehavioral effects among inhabitants around mobile phone base stations. Neurotoxicology. 28(2):434-40 Abdel-Rassoul G, El-Fateh OA, Salem MA, Michael A, Farahat F, El-Batanouny M, Salem E (March 2007).
    “Inhabitants living nearby mobile phone base stations are at risk for developing neuropsychiatric problems and some changes in the performance of neurobehavioral functions either by facilitation or inhibition. So, revision of standard guidelines for public exposure to RER from mobile phone base station antennas and using of NBTB (neurobehavioral test battery) for regular assessment and early detection of biological effects among inhabitants around the stations are recommended.”
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16962663

    GSM base station electromagnetic radiation and oxidative stress in rats.
    Electromagn Biol Med. ;25(3):177-88Yurekli AI, Ozkan M, Kalkan T, Saybasili H, Tuncel H, Atukeren P, Gumustas K, Seker S (2006).
    “When EM fields at a power density of 3.67 W/m2 (specific absorption rate = 11.3 mW/kg), which is well below current exposure limits, were applied, MDA (malondialdehyde – a marker for oxidative stress) level was found to increase and GSH (reduced glutathione, a major antioxidant) concentration was found to decrease significantly (p < 0.0001). Additionally, there was a less significant (p = 0.0190) increase in SOD (superoxide dismutase) activity (cell-repair) under EM exposure."
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16954120

    Risk Evaluation of Potential Environmental Hazards From Low Frequency Electromagnetic Field Exposure Using Sensitive in vitro Methods. EU Programme.
    "Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources"
    "Genotoxic effects and a modified expression of numerous genes and proteins after EMF exposure could be demonstrated with great certainty, while effects on cell proliferation, cell differentiation and apoptosis (the process of programmed cell death) were much less conclusive. Since all these observations were made in in vitro studies, the results obtained neither preclude nor confirm a health risk due to EMF exposure, but they speak in favour of such a possibility."
    http://www.powerwatch.org.uk/news/20041222_reflex.asp

    Investigation on the health of people living near mobile telephone relay stations: I/Incidence according to distance and sex.
    Pathol Biol (Paris). 50(6):369-73Santini R, Santini P, Danze JM, Le Ruz P, Seigne M (July 2002).
    "Women significantly more often than men (p < 0.05) complained of headache, nausea, loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, depression, discomfort and visual perturbations. This first study on symptoms experienced by people living in vicinity of base stations shows that, in view of radio protection, minimal distance of people from cellular phone base stations should not be < 300 m."
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12168254

    Symptoms experienced by people in vicinity of base stations: II/ Incidences of age, duration of exposure, location of subjects in relation to the antennas and other electromagnetic factors.
    Santini R, Santini P, Danze JM, Le Ruz P, Seigne M (September 2003). . Pathol Biol (Paris). 51(7):412-5
    "Our results show significant increase (p < 0.05) in relation with age of subjects (elder subjects are more sensitive) and also, that the facing location is the worst position for some symptoms studied, especially for distances till 100 m from base stations."
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12948762

    Possible Effects of Electromagnetic Fields from Phone Masts on a Population of White Stork (Ciconia ciconia).
    Balmori Alfonso (2005). Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, 24: 109-119
    "Total productivity (number of young per couple, including nests with 0 chicks) for nests within 200m of the antenna was 0.86 (0.7 – 1.02), whereas productivity for nests further than 300m away was 1.6 (1.46- 1.74). Both were statistically significant, with a p value of 0.001. A large part of the difference here appears to be due to the likelihood of the couples in the nests near the mast (cell tower) not having any chicks: 40% of those within 200m had no chicks, whereas in the nests greater than 300m away only 3.3% did not have chicks!Odd behaviour was also noted in the storks, happening much more frequently the closer the nests were to the masts."
    http://www.powerwatch.org.uk/news/20051006_storks.asp

    Increased incidence of cancer near a cell-phone transmitter station.Wolf R, Wolf D (April 2004). International Journal of Cancer Prevention Vol1, No2 – [Download Report]
    "The measured level of RF radiation (power density) in the area was low; far below the current guidelines based on the thermal effects of RF exposure. We suggest, therefore, that the current guidelines be re-evaluated. The enormous short latency period; less than 2 years, indicates that if there is a real causal association between RF radiation emitted from the cell-phone base station and the cancer cases (which we strongly believe there is), then the RF radiation should have a very strong promoting effect on cancer at very low radiation! Although the possibility remains that this clustering of cancer cases in one year was a chance event, the unusual sex pattern of these cases, the 6 different cancer kinds, and the fact that only one patient smoked make this possibility very improbable and remote. It should be noted that 7 out of 8 cancer cases were women, like in the work of Maskarinec (25) who found 6 out of 7 leukemia cases in proximity to radio towers to occur in girls. Such unusual appearances of cancer cases due to one accused factor on two completely different occasions is alarming."
    http://www.powerwatch.org.uk/news/20050207_israel.pdf

    The Influence of Being Physically Near to a Cell Phone Transmission Mast on the Incidence of Cancer.
    Horst Eger, Klaus Uwe Hagen, Birgitt Lucas, Peter Vogel, Helmut Voit (April 2004). Umwelt Medizin Gesellschaft 17
    "People living within 400 metres of the mast in Naila had three times the risk of developing cancer than those living further away. This seems to be an undeniable clustering of cancer cases."
    http://www.powerwatch.org.uk/news/20041118_naila.asp

    The Microwave Syndrome – Further aspects of a Spanish Study.
    Oberfeld Gerd, Navarro A. Enrique, Portoles Manuel, Maestu Ceferino, Gomez-Perretta Claudio (August 2004). Conference Proceedings.
    "All models showed statistical significant associations between the measured electric field (~ 400 MHz – 3 GHz) and 13 out of 16 health related symptoms. The strongest five associations found are depressive tendency, fatigue, sleeping disorder, difficulty in concentration and cardiovascular problems. The symptoms associated are in line with the symptoms reported in the literature as “Microwave Syndrom… Based on the data of this study the advice would be to strive for levels not higher than 0.02 V/m for the sum total, which is equal to a power density of 0.0001 μW/cm²…”.
    http://www.powerwatch.org.uk/news/20040809_spain.asp

    Some people might ignore these studies and choose instead to look at all the industry-funded studies to have "a peace of mind". Industry-funded studies mostly indicate that there is no adverse effects from electromagnetic radiation (remember the tactics of the tobacco industry?)
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1797826/
    http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:e0RXz4jOFsYJ:www.sante-radiofrequences.org/fileadmin/templates/pdf/Presentations_colloque_09/Pres_A.HUSS.pdf+Source+of+Funding+and+Results+of+Studies+of+Health+Effects+of+Mobile+Phone+Use:+Systematic+Review+of+Experimental+Studies&hl=en&gl=ca&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESgJMV-mShkF7qPDAZf_aRyqLC0USoit9UQWHAs9lFQw4NOMKhSUyB2bwzANsr96orXjWQ12LPxUMKItF9hT22E2y7Iei2IAMFZc5nQDRbmEWR8ow1nEb_YJomZOnpGnjAAxHL1f&sig=AHIEtbRyg76Qi0e464aM7NYywu2NEMk7tA&pli=1

    For readers who are parents, I would invite you to look at the evidence from both sides and make the SAFEST choice for your child. I have done that. I hope you will, too.

    On a side note, the massive roll-out of wireless devices is hurting our environment as well. Where are the Wi-Fi routers and wireless gadgets going to end up in two years when it's time for upgrade? Please take a minute to look at this very thoughtful and entertaining short film called “The Story of Electronics” http://storyofstuff.org/electronics/

  • Spiinneyhorse

    Electro-Sensitivity (ES)
    Electro-sensitive people suffer from a variety of symptoms in close vicinity to electromagnetic fields, Wi-fi, mobiles, DECT phones, baby monitors, certain light sources etc: Headaches, Speech problems, dizziness, chest palpations, tinnitus, sweating at night. skin irritations, pins and needles in the hands in the mornings, short-term memory loss, nauseas, joint aches and pressures at the back of the head as well as in the sinus or forehead area.

    Even if you are not ES, it is beneficial to turn off your Wifi over night, as well as to ban electrical items, your cordless phones and mobiles from your bedroom. You will sleep much better and are less likely to have an interrupted sleep pattern. Usually waking around 4 am.

    Another simple test is to stop carrying your mobile on your body (chest or trouser pockets). in many cases people experience the so-called “phantom text messages”. This describes a situation where every now and then you think you had a text message, when keeping the phone in your pockets, but when you checked there was no message. Some even suffer from heart palpitations. If that is case, just try for a while to carry your mobile in a bag or switch it off, while you have it in your pocket.

    If you want to find out more:
    es-uk.info/
    magdahavas.com (Canadian website)

  • EHS and don’t like it

    Like other Citizens for Safe Technology, I’m not against computers or internet use; as a matter of fact, I’m using a fully-wired computer right now. I just cannot personally tolerate–my body objects strenuously with diverse and ugly symptoms–to being exposed to microwave radiation from wireless technologies.

    I’ve been a perpetual student all my life. When I retired, the first thing I did was register at university. I can no longer attend any university in Canada because they all have wifi and allow cell phones/towers on their premises and I have an invisible disability, called electro-hyper-sensitivity.

    By UK data, 35% of the general population is mildly-moderately affected by electromagnetic fields; another 3% is severely affected. Many people don’t know they’re EHS until something dramatic happens–and then they’re often misdiagnosed and mis-treated because their doctors don’t know either.

    It’s like peanuts: I can eat peanuts to my heart’s content, but your child may be so allergic that a single sniff can kill him. Result: nobody in your child’s school is allowed to bring peanut butter sandwiches for lunch. How is it OK for the school to ban peanuts because only One child–yours–is deathly allergic while EHS people are effectively banned from school?

    Because my disability is invisible (although wireless radiation affects everyone), I am cannot live a normal life. I can’t use public transportation, fly, attend public meetings, spend time in government offices or community centers, libraries, shopping malls, or hospitals–Heaven help me if I get acutely ill!–or even visit friends who have wireless gadgets.

    Before you call us scaremongers, walk a mile in our shoes. Educate yourself, and quit depending on government to protect you from profit-hungry corporations with immense advertising budgets.

    Research the very real conflicts of interest between North American regulatory agencies and the companies they are supposed to regulate. You’ll find former drug company executives working at the World Health Organization, FDA, Health Canada, etc. giving approvals to drugs that their former employers designed. Keep hunting and you’ll find connections between Industry Canada and wireless tech companies–and the media they own whose journalists supposedly give us unbiased information. You’ll find university professors who teach students about fish farming and work for fish farms on the side. Now tell me that’s unbiased.

    Without the internet, neither of us would have websites to give our readers untainted information. For that, I am very grateful.

  • Grant Holmes

    Documented, peer reviewed, published and replicated (gold standard) scientific studies provide information on the real and demonstrated non-thermal biological effects of radio frequency electromagnetic radiation at very low intensities, as is the case with the exposure to Wi-fi base station beacon signal used in schools. There is much misinformation regarding the workings of wireless access points, however, it needs to be understood that the Wi-Fi base station beacon signal emits a continuous pulse modulated microwave signal at full strength in a radius of approximately 300 to 500 feet depending on the system. This beacon signal is comparable to exposure 20 to 500 feet from a cell tower base station depending on proximity, both to the access point and also to the wireless device, such as laptop or ipad. The Wi-Fi beacon signal is not to be confused with the data stream, which is an intermittent exposure coinciding with downloading digital information. This download, however, can exceed safety guidelines for thermal protection depending on proximity to the computer receiving information (see report by Tony Muc – Thermografix has it posted on website). Exposure to intermittent data stream has been compared to cell phone use by some, although there is really no scientific basis for this comparison – more a seat of the pants subjective judgement.

    A typical exposure to Wi-Fi base station beacon signal in schools is approximately 6 hours per day, 5 days per week, over a period of many years. As yet, there are no studies on humans or children that analyze this long term chronic low level exposure. This is understood by regulatory agencies who specifically state that only by watching exposed populations over a period of 20 years or more will the “truth” be known about this exposure. There is general acknowledgement that we are all participating involuntarily in a biological experiment without informed consent.

    With regard to animal studies, the non-thermal biological effects scientifically documented and replicated are evidenced by well over two thousand published articles.These documented shorter term exposures at very low intensities in the radiofrequency radiation ranges similar to those used by the Wi-Fi base station beacon signal include:

    Changes in immune (0.001 mW/cm2) and decrease in reproductive functions ( at 0.000168-0.0010532 mW/cm2) – irreversible infertility

    Increases in calcium efllux from human neuroblastoma cells (at 0.005 W/kg) altering normal cellular functions

    Increases in permeability of blood brain barrier (at 0.0004-0.008 W/kg)

    Increase in DNA damage in brain cells (at 0.0008 W/kg)

    Changes in DNA repair mechanisms (at 0.0037 W/kg)

    Effects on skin

    Tinnitus and ear damage and effects on eyes (Uveal Melanoma)

    Behavioural changes

    Sleep disorders and Melatonin reduction

    Neurodegenerative diseases

    Increases in cancer risks.

    See a) Report on Cell Tower Radiation, Professor Girish Kumar b) Lai/Levitt – 2010 – Biological effects from exposure to electromagnetic radiation emitted by cell tower base stations and other antenna arrays” – published National Research Council November 2010, c) Khurana, Hardell et al – 2010 “Epidemiological Evidence for a Health Risk from Mobile Phone Base Stations” – published International Journal of Occupational & Environmental Health 2010 d) International Journal of Occupational Health – Epidemiological Evidence for a Health Risk from Mobile Phone Base Stations, Khurana, Hardell et al – 2010, e) Specific Health Symptoms and Cell PHone Radiation – Evidence of a Dose-Response Relationship – Eger/Jahn 2010.

    Specific studies evidencing biological effects of pulse modulated radio frequency radiation at 2.45 GhZ (2450 MHz), a frequency used in Wi-Fi base stations are as follows:

    Kerari et al (2010) (in vivo) (rat whole body ) – DNA double strand breaks in brain cells causing significant brain damage and indication of tumour promotion ( exposure 2 hours per day for 35 days).

    Navakatikian and Tomashevskaya (1994) (in vivo) (rat whole body) – Behavioural and endocrine changes and decrease in blood concentrations of testosterone and insulin

    Pologeau-Moraru et al (2002) (in vitro) – change in membrane cells in retina

    Somosy et al (1991) (in vitro) – molecular and structural changes in cells of mouse embryo

    Chou et al (1992) (in vivo) (rat whole body) – alterations in immune system and four fold incrase in primary malignancies and incrase in secondary cancers – 22 months exposure

    Havas et al (2010) – pulse modulated 2.45 GhZ radio frequency radiation affects autonomic nervous system at 0.5% of federal guidelines

    Avanendo

  • Grant Holmes

    Continuation of last comment:

    Avanendo – 2010 – as reported at American Society for Reproductive Medicine – 4 hours exposure to Wi-Fi from laptop – radio frequency radiation non – thermal effects caused significant damage to human sperm

    2.45 GhZ radiofrequency fields alter gene expression in cultured human cells – Lee et al, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, 2004

    Trees being damaged from Wi-Fi radiation over 3 months – See recent Dutch University study

    Regarding emerging understanding on risks from cell phones, just have a look at the Motorola manual, October 2010 – keep cell phone away from abdomen of pregnant women and teenages, mice developed more than twice as many cancers…..assocation found between mobile phone use and rare glioma….micronucleus assay, which detects structural effects on genetic material…showed changes after exposure to cell phone radiation…

    Interphone was the largest study so far and the head was Elisabeth Cardis – see science article 2011 – Occoupational Environmental Medicine, Cardis/Sadetzki – 27 minutes per day over 10 years corresponded to 40% increase in glioma (brain tumors). Volkow et al 2011 -published in Journal of American Medicine Association – cell phone in receiving mode caused change in brain function within 50 minutes – non-thermal.

    Also look at ECOLOG study commissioned by T-Mobil in Holland.

    Scientists working for agencies using obsolete safety standards for thermal effects only, continually say the same thing – “there are gaps in the existing literature related to long term low level exposure and brain function and reproductive outcomes and effects of long term exposure on children” Scientists exclusively responsible for setting standards have identified the following risk areas:

    1. Unknown risks from modulation of signal which shows evidence of altering biological systems, including immune system and cellular functioning;

    2. Unkown risks from long term low level exposure specifically to brain function and reproductive outcomes – DNA and genetic damage.

    3. Unkown risks to children, pregnant women, the elderly and ill.

    These are the same scientists who also tell us it is safe to be exposed, and then in the next breath compare exposure to risks of driving a car (see October transcript from Canadian Parliamentary hearings (HESA) on risks to humans from radio frequency radiation).

    Bottom line – those calling for immediate reduction of exposure to children and full warnings on wireless devices are not scared of “new” technology – – No – this technology has been around long enough that the ill health effects and risks are now becoming apparent. This is not the time to roll this out and expose more children – unless wholesale sterility, altered brain function, compromised immune system, younger people having degenerative diseases and cancers is something that is wanted. At the very least, parents have the legal right and moral obligation to protect their children by saying No to exposure in schools. There is a risk to this technology – that is the truth. Don’t impose it on people and children unless the parents are fully aware of the risk, and consent to their children being radiated on a daily basis in schools, work places, community areas, etc.

  • guest

    You’ve suggested that parents are suggesting access to the internet be denied and this so called suggestion has come up before, the internet is not the issue. Using the technology safely with wired connections is the point, not denying access.

    While it’s true, providing students with internet at school with all these devices can cause other problems distraction by facebook, twitter, and other social media venues we need to look at the practically at combining safe technology with education in a reasonable manner, not just for the sake of following the lead of industry to increase their profits “so our children won’t be left behind” Are we so sure of that? Read the New York Times, Growing Up Wired for Distraction. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/21/technology/21brain.html

    The recent study on cell phones released in Feb 2011 demonstrates the increase in brain glucose metabolism when exposed to cell phones for 50 minutes. Like all studies they state that more study is needed but what’s key here is that an increase in brain glucose metabolism is a precursor for tumours. I’ve read more studies are in the works. I would hope this to be true but I would guess that there will be extreme pressure from industry to kibosh this further research.

    I wouldn’t be so quick to judge those speaking out and would suggest it’s a sensible move to stop sleeping with your cell phone nad keep it held away from your body. Many scientists in the past have spoken out and been criticized and discredited for years only to be proven correct and the rest of the world left wondering why someone didn’t stop the madness sooner in order to avoid such harm to people. With cell phones and other wireless devices being marketted to more of our population and younger crowds it would appear we’re asking for big trouble given the latency period for tumours is 20+ years.

  • Anonymous

    Please don’t jump to conclusions that new information, or new ideas not yet known to you, are wrong. In the story “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” there was a wolf. To deny that fact on the third call was understandable in light of empty warnings, but more diligence and communication would not have been foolhardy. Why are we so slow to learn? Our societal experience has many examples of late lessons from early warnings. In the past, the general population trusted governments and health agencies to assure the safety of asbestos, pesticides, thalidomide, tobacco, BPA and other environmental toxins. We trusted too much, and neglected to question or act. Even with these historical precedents we are so easily apathetic and skeptical. It would be so much less damaging if due diligence could be shown in the early stages, and precautionary steps and truly unbiased research could be done before countless people are impacted by negative effects.

    Defensiveness makes the road to awareness a much longer journey than it needs to be. The information offered, and the responses you received to your first post, were not based on “fear tactics”. The precautionary principle is certainly not an alarmist theory. In this response to comments offered, you assert that “tossing aside all Internet-based or related technology” is not the answer. This is not what was said in the commentary. It is simply being explained that wireless technology is, most profoundly, not the “best” technology. The only thing it has to recommend it is convenience and low production cost, making it “easy” and profitable for the Wireless Industry. It is less secure, slower and more toxic at a biological level than wired technology. Wired, fibre optic and other alternate technologies are far superior in that they are faster, more secure and far less damaging.

    No parents in their right minds deliberately sacrifice or endanger their children. However, in this case, because of blind trust in outdated safety codes and governments that benefit from the proceeds, they are kept in the dark, and profoundly unaware of their rights and their choices. Along with the overwhelming majority in our society, they are simply buying into a bill of goods marketed as progressive and indispensable, when it is anything but. Of course the information age needs to access the Internet. However, the Internet is easily accessible through wired connections. There are far better ways to tap into and effectively use information, and they needn’t threaten the welfare, and the futures, of children.

  • Tina Barseghian

    To be clear, I understand that those from Citizens for Safe Technology have genuine concerns, but I don’t want to lump those in with the separate question of parents paying for mobile data plans, which is what’s at issue in the original article. Concerns for health and safety are legitimate, but we risk talking past each other if we continue the thread in this vein.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, Tina, for your acknowledgement of genuine concerns. I know your original editorial was an invitation to talk about the use of technology, mobile phones in particular, as tools for school children, and to explore all the possibilities technology offers for learning. Children would dive in without a second thought if teachers and parents let them. Children love anything that is “fun.” Parents are the ones who decide whether the fun is harmful or safe.

    In the commentary that you received, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t anyone’s aim to “talk past each other.” No one was “crying wolf,” either. They simply brought to light the fact that, in your article, and in the media with its pro-tech advertising, vital information is missing. The links that were offered, not by CST but by people who are not connected with our “group” are worth looking at.

    Your invitation to comment on the results of a survey that asked parents to say whether or not they would welcome technology, and contribute with their dollars if it meant better learning for their children, is based on uninformed consent. I would be very interested to see the actual questions in the survey report, and the way they were posed. For instance, if it were put to me, as a parent, that my monetary contribution would support a worthwhile movement to involve my child in a forward-looking initiative, and make learning fun, I would say yes, especially if others agreed. If I were also told, fully, about the health risks associated with such an initiative, I wouldn’t be as likely to participate with the same enthusiasm. I would hold off until I knew more on both sides of the issue.

    Your mandate is “to explore the future of learning in all its dimensions – covering cultural and technology trends, groundbreaking research, education policy and more.” Your assertion that “technology is revolutionizing the world of education – replacing familiar classroom tools and changing the way we learn” is absolutely true. Therefore, wouldn’t it be wise to look at all the ramifications of diving headlong into this important pool of knowledge without knowing how deep it is, what is at the bottom, and whether or not it is polluted or stocked with poisonous jellyfish? Doesn’t mean no one can ever swim again. Just means that maybe there are better places to swim, or better ways to enter the water.

    You used the analogy of a wolf in a folk tale, equating the boy’s practical joking with scientifically supported, precautionary advice. This analogy doesn’t really work in this case, as it overlooks the reality that there is a very large number of gold-standard, peer-reviewed, published studies that government and industry are ignoring. It’s becoming clear that the Emperor has no clothes. Now it will take the brave souls among us to point this out.

    To dwell only on this initiative from a superficial vantage point of whether or not parents will pay for technology in school, is doing a great disservice to parents and children. It rules out the safe use of other exciting technologies that would benefit children’s learning. Bring on the technology. Just wire it.

    I would pay for that.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SSLBKFHM6UP5OI6YG26TYKKVWI bruce

    http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2011/pdfs/pr208_E.pdf
    Lyon, France, May 31, 2011 ‐‐ The WHO/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer1, associated with wireless phone use.

    From May 24–31 2011, a Working Group of 31 scientists from 14 countries has been meeting at IARC in Lyon, France, to assess the potential carcinogenic hazards from exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields. These assessments will be published as Volume 102 of the IARC Monographs, which will be the fifth volume in this series to focus on physical agents

    ResultsThe evidence was reviewed critically, and overall evaluated as being limited2 among users of wireless telephones for glioma and acoustic neuroma, and inadequate3 to draw conclusions for other types of cancers. The evidence from the occupational and environmental exposures mentioned above was similarly judged inadequate. The Working Group did not quantitate the risk; however, one study of past cell phone use (up to the year 2004), showed a 40% increased risk for gliomas in the highest category of heavy users (reported average: 30 minutes per day over a 10‐year period). 
                    ***************************************************

    30 minutes a day….and that would be presumably be less for a child who would absorb more radiation than an adult.  Here is an excellent study showing Dr. Oberfeld’s study for the Austrian government.  The Austrian Health Dept recommends wifi not be used  in school based on the science.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20708499