Health risks of mobile phones: what we don’t know might be killing us | The Age

Are mobile phones the new cigarettes? Will we discover that the telecommunication industry, like the tobacco industry, has dismissed evidence that their product can kill us? Most Australians own a mobile phone. As we increasingly use our mobiles, evidence is trickling in about their potential for negative physical, psychological and financial consequences. These studies rarely make a blip on the radar.

Ten years ago, when seven people working at RMIT were diagnosed with brain tumours, a Telstra spokesperson was quick to reassure us that there was “no evidence” of a link between mobile phones and cancer.  On the contrary. Although research was in its infancy, there was evidence of a possible relationship between mobile phone use and brain cancers, particularly gliomas, acoustic neuromas and parotid gland tumours. These earlier studies showed an increased risk for malignant brain tumours among the heavier mobile phone users, particularly when it was used mostly on one side of the head.

In 2016, the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer described mobile phones as a potential carcinogen. Yet the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association adamantly rejects any claim that low-energy radiation from mobile phones has any detrimental health effects.

Most studies compare the mobile phone use of people who have cancer with those who don’t.  These studies rely on people remembering how often and for how long they used their mobile phone in the past. The largest case-control study to date is the Interphone study. It included more than 5000 people with head and neck cancer from 13 countries, including Australia. Like research funded by the tobacco industry, the Interphone study claimed complete scientific independence despite receiving partial funding from the telecommunication industry. 

A friend was a participant in the Interphone study. A researcher interviewed her soon after the removal of her brain tumour. She was asked the brand, model, shape, size and level of radioactivity of her first mobile phone and how often she used it. Not surprisingly, she could not remember. Who could?

There is concern that children may be more vulnerable to any effects due to their developing nervous systems, thinner skulls and increased cumulative exposure over their lifetime. The World Health Organisation has ranked the effects of mobile phones on children and adolescents as a “highest priority research need”. To date there have been two studies focusing on childhood cancers and mobile phone use. One has reported no association; the other, “Study of cognition, adolescents and mobile phones” (Scamp) is ongoing.

Several scientific journals no longer publish potentially biased studies that are funded by the tobacco industry. These same standards should apply to research paid for by the telecommunication industry. We need independent research so that we can all know the risks when we pick up our phone.

Sarah Russell, Principal Researcher at Research Matters

Abridged from The Age

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I Am an EMF Refugee….

I can feel Wi-Fi.

And power lines. And smart phones. And electric heat. And LED lights. But, before you get too excited about my real-life “Spidey sense,” let me warn you, it does not feel good. And I didn’t always possess this extrasensory perceptive power.

I was a New York City media maven for 15 years. I strode into dazzling skyscrapers with Don Draper and Peggy Olson wannabes. I clinked glasses of dirty vodka martinis with beat reporters and fedora-wearing publishers. I dwelled in an overpriced studio on Manhattan’s sublime West 57th Street. I stressed over deadlines, sipped wine on rooftops and hopped subways in heels — all with a sparkling, enchanting metropolis of international envy to call my home.

And of course, I had all the digital toys to accompany this persona: A creative director’s dream of a Mac computer system, the smartest smart phone of the moment, the fastest of the fast wireless networks, the streaming tunes, the apps for that, the iEverythings and the incessant surge of digital pings directing and announcing my every move.

That was my life until a few years ago. And now, I am an EMF Refugee.

I wander in exodus seeking asylum from a fierce and escalating worldwide storm of artificial and damaging electromagnetic fields (EMFs). I’m a fugitive on the run from wireless frequencies. I’m an émigré fleeing persecution from dirty electricity. I have relinquished any concept of possession, ownership or permanent residence, ready to pack up and escape for my safety on a moment’s notice. But in a world now filled with overlapping, omnipresent radiofrequency and pulsed microwave technologies, where exactly should I flee? Where is it safe? That is always the question. And there isn’t always an answer.

With my bank account drained from decades of undiagnosed illness and failed medical intervention, I must rely on the kindness of friends and strangers to grant me temporary safe haven — to disable their Wi-Fi, to unplug their cordless phones, even sometimes to shut down their energy-efficient electronics or entire circuit systems — just so I can sleep, so I can eat, so I can rest, so I can work, so I can think, so I might possibly heal. And then, inevitably, energy forces me to move again.

So how does a Notre Dame alumna, the editor-in-chief of the 2000 Dome, who graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with an astounding network of friends and loved ones, wind up as an EMF refugee? Quite simply: It is estimated that 3 to 5 percent of the world’s population suffers from a very modern, very real, yet controversial physiological condition known as electro-hypersensitivity (EHS). I am now one of them.

People always want to prove me wrong. Some have covertly turned on their Wi-Fi routers in my presence, just to see if I can feel it, when I don’t know it’s transmitting. Guess what? I can feel it. I always do. And they’re always astonished. But that’s not a fun parlor game for me.

People like to prove the science wrong, too. They call out “non-specific symptoms.” They cherry-pick the data. They call EHS a “nocebo” that is leading people to feel ill because they think they have been exposed to something that might sicken them. But I challenge those doubters to delve into the published research.

“But what does it feel like?” This is the most popular question I’ve been asked in the last three years. In a nutshell — it feels like unremitting, wired, electrified torture. It feels like I am fused with a force field, that I’m no longer human but part of a circuit. It feels like my body is pulsating to an artificial frequency. If I were to check off some boxes in a physician’s waiting room, my symptom list would include numbness, tingling, muscle twitching, vertigo, loss of balance, pressurized headaches, spinal pain, rashes, insomnia, memory lapses, cognitive dysfunction, altered heart rate, tinnitus, fatigue, gastrointestinal distress and urological spasms — just for starters.

Alison Main

See full article at: Notre Dame Magazine

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Modern life is killing our children – 40% increase in childhood cancer!

Sarah Knapton, the science editor of UK’s The Telegraph reported that the cancer rate in young people has risen 40% in 16 years.  She lays the blame on air pollution, pesticides, poor diets and a rise in electrical and magnetic fields.  [Lucky for Sarah that she doesn’t work for ABC’s Catalyst program or she’d be severely censured for expressing such a view.]

Dr Denis Henshaw, Professor of Human Radiation Effects at Bristol University, the scientific adviser for Children with Cancer UK, listed magnetic fields from power lines, gadgets in homes, and potentially, radiation from mobile phones among the likely culprits.

“When you look at cancers such as childhood leukaemia there is no doubt that environmental factors are playing a big role,” said Dr Henshaw. “We were shocked to see the figures, and it’s modern lifestyle I’m afraid.”

“…….electric fields of power lines, the electricity supply in your home. Hairdryers. It’s all of these things coming together, and it seems to be teenagers and young people that are most affected.

More than 4,000 children and young people are diagnosed with cancer every year in Britain, and cancer is the leading cause of death in children aged one to 14.

Diagnoses of colon cancer among children and young people has risen 200 per cent since 1998, while thyroid cancer has doubled. Ovarian and cervical cancers have also risen by 70 per cent and 50 per cent respectively.

It is estimated that the rise in cases now costs the National Health System an extra £130 million a year compared with 16 years ago.

Nicola Smith, Cancer Research UK’s senior health information officer, said: “There are some factors which can increase the risk of childhood cancer like inherited genetic conditions and exposure to radiation – but these are usually not avoidable and no one should feel blamed for a child getting cancer.

Kate Lee, chief executive of children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent, said that a child cancer diagnosis places a huge emotional and financial burden on the whole family.

Despite the increase, around 80 per cent of child cancer patients now survive for at least five years. But the aggressive treatments they have as children can have a major impact on their future health, even if they survive.

Abridged from The Telegraph

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SSMA Melbourne Seminar (20 November) presentation slides now available

Stop Smart Meters Australia (SSMA) was honoured to host a very well attended presentation by internationally recognised expert Professor Dariusz Leszczynski earlier this month at Oakleigh Grammar Community Conference Centre on How probable are health effects of radiation from wireless transmitting devices?.  Professor Leszczynski has kindly made available the slides for his informative presentation.  The slides are available here: leszczynski-ssma-lecture-nov-2016

Professor Leszczynski’s talk was followed by a presentation by Steve Weller, B.Sc., on the Current state of play – SSMA and science update.  This covered Stop Smart Meters Australia’s interactions with state and federal government departments in relation to smart meter deployments.  Steve also talked about his role as the SSMA community representative on the Electromagnetic Energy Reference Group (EMERG); this committee was established by ARPANSA (Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency) to enable input on public health issues related to the use of radiofrequency spectrum for communications.  His comprehensive presentation is available here: Steve’s SSMA Presentation 20th November

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Smart meters by stealth

The Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) made a new rule last year which is intended to “open up competition in metering and facilitate a market-led deployment of advanced meters”.  The new arrangements commence on 1 December 2017 in South Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory.

Under the new rule, consumers have the right to opt out of having their existing working meter replaced with an advanced (a.k.a. smart) meter where a retailer is undertaking a new meter deployment; however, this option is not available for new connections or where a faulty meter is being replaced.  Opt-outs are also not permitted where there is a prepayment meter and a customer subsequently requires life support equipment; in these circumstances the prepayment meter will be immediately removed and replaced with an advanced meter.  In addition, opt-outs are not permitted for maintenance replacements, where sample testing has indicated existing meters may become faulty.

Is this new rule the slippery slope towards pushing all customers subject to the National Energy Customer Framework on to wireless smart meters?  Although the new rule pointedly specifies the services which the meter must be capable of providing, rather than the technical functionality, the reality is that a device which is capable of wirelessly emitting pulsed microwaves 24 hours a day, every day, will be installed.

Even in cases where there is no existing smart meter network in place and a new or replacement meter is required, a communications-ready meter is to be provided.  The AEMC has acknowledged that where there is no right of opt-out, such as for new connections, faulty meters or maintenance replacement meters, some customers will seek to prevent the installation of a smart meter; in such instances, where the customer has communicated a refusal, provision has also been made to install a communications-ready smart meter. However, in these circumstances the remote access capabilities will not be activated until the customer consents to this.  There is no requirement to notify customers, other than informing the customer of an interruption to their supply of electricity, if a meter is being replaced due to it being faulty or if a maintenance replacement is being undertaken.  It is therefore imperative that customers put in place measures to signify their refusal of a smart meter in advance.

The new rule does not apply in Western Australia or the Northern Territory, as separate energy frameworks apply in these jurisdictions.  Victoria has only partially adopted the National Energy Customer Framework, and is yet to implement this new rule as law.

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Energy Council requested the new rule. COAG Energy Council members are comprised of energy and resources ministers from the Commonwealth, each State and Territory, and New Zealand.

For further information, see:

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Mobile Phone Radiation Warning Sign Sparks First Amendment Battle in the U.S. – Newsweek

In the back of the Apple Store in Berkeley, California, at the end of the bar where those “geniuses” repair iPhones and MacBooks, is a placard with this warning: “If you carry or use your phone in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra when the phone is ON and connected to a wireless network, you may exceed the federal guidelines for exposure to RF radiation.” Read the safety instructions in the manual, it tells consumers. Or else.

The Apple Store posted the notice to comply with a Berkeley city ordinance—the first in the nation—requiring retailers to alert consumers to the federal guidelines for safe cellphone use. The warning drew little attention when I visited that Apple Store in October. But such notices drew the attention—and the ire—of CTIA, a trade association representing some of the nation’s largest cellphone manufacturers and carriers, including Apple, Samsung, Verizon and AT&T. CTIA went to court, arguing that Berkeley’s notice infringes on cellphone retailers’ First Amendment rights. The ordinance, it said, forced retailers to “distribute its one-sided, innuendo-laden, highly misleading and scientifically unsupported opinion on a matter of public controversy.” Berkeley maintains in court documents that the notice is “nothing but an arrow that points to the very manuals written by manufacturers.”

The so-called right-to-know ordinance has sparked an epic dispute between two of the nation’s foremost, and formidable, legal titans.

CTIA hired Theodore Olson, a former solicitor general who argued the case that put George W. Bush in the White House and is considered one of the nation’s most effective U.S. Supreme Court advocates. Berkeley is represented by Lawrence Lessig, a Harvard law professor and cyberlaw expert who last year ran for president as a Democrat to push for an overhaul of campaign finance. The two are now jousting over the Berkeley ordinance in federal court.

Lessig, who helped craft the Berkeley ordinance in a way that he hoped would withstand a cellphone industry lawsuit, is not charging the city for his services. He volunteered because he believes corporations discourage governments from imposing regulations by filing First Amendment lawsuits that are prohibitively expensive to defend, he tells Newsweek. “I’m a constitutional scholar, and I am very concerned,” he says.

U.S. District Judge Edward Chen of San Francisco allowed the Berkeley cellphone warning law to take effect in January. In a hearing last year, Chen read from an iPhone manual cautioning that the device could exceed federal radiation-exposure guidelines if carried closer than five-eighths of an inch from the body. “The mandated disclosure truthfully states that federal guidelines may be exceeded where spacing is not observed, just as the FDA accurately warns that ‘tobacco smoke can harm your children,’” Chen wrote.

The wireless association appealed Chen’s decision to the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. In September, Olson and Lessig debated the matter before a three-judge panel. The judges are expected to issue a written ruling in the next few months.

Read the full article at:  Radiation Waring Sign Sparks First Amendment Battle 

Don’t forget, Professor Leszczynski from the University of Helsinki will be speaking in Melbourne on the harmful effects of wireless technology on Sunday 20 November.  Click here for more information. 

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Melbourne to Host International Speaker on Harmful Health Effects and Wireless Technology


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