Friday, December 23, 2011

Radiation From Cell Towers Is A Serious Concern

Radiation From Cell Towers Is A Serious Concern

At least 15 countries or international bodies have issued advisories on wireless devices and/or transmitters. Governments have warned citizens not to abandon their landlines, to hold cell phones away from heads and bodies when not in use, to restrict children’s use of cellular phones and not to install Wi-Fi. Independent scientists assert that cellular phones are linked to brain tumors, brain damage, sperm count drops and cognitive dysfunction and that being in close proximity to a wireless transmitter regularly is also a problem, especially for children whose brains, eyes, immune systems and other organs are more susceptible to the effects of microwave radiation than adults’.

So how do we relate cellular phones to cellular towers and other transmitters? Obviously holding a cell phone to your ear is usually the most intense exposure people receive at a given time — although sitting next to a Wi-Fi transmitter on a train can expose you to the same radiation as talking on a cell phone. But a 2009 Swiss study showed that people in cities were getting more cumulative radiation from moving in and out of areas with transmitters than they were getting from daily use of their cellular phones.

Cellular towers — termed a public health emergency in the 1990s by 40 public health experts at Harvard and Boston University — were supposed to be kept away from schools and hospitals per a 1993 recommendation by the California Public Utilities Commission. In 2009, the European Union delivered a similar resolution.

The documentary film “Full Signal” chronicles effects on people who have lived close to transmitters. So what to make of Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) that are being rolled out or proposed in Westchester towns, most recently in Greenburgh where 20 antennas are proposed to be placed on utility poles in residential areas?

The $3 trillion wireless industry is engaging in misdirection by telling people and public officials that DAS contains much less radiation than cellular towers. While an individual DAS antenna is less powerful than a large tower, your radiation exposure is driven more by proximity to the cell transmitter than by its total power output. So if the transmitter is on a pole outside your house or even on your street, you will get more radiation in your house than you would from most existing cell towers that tend not to be erected in residential areas. The profusion of these antennas mean that more homes will be exposed to higher radiation levels than ever before.

Wired and Tired: Electronics and Sleep Disturbance in Children

Wired and Tired: Electronics and Sleep Disturbance in Children
Wired & Tired: Electronics and Sleep Disturbance in Children
Published on March 12, 2011 by Victoria L. Dunckley, M.D. in Mental Wealth
How Small Investments Create Big Returns
by Victoria L. Dunckley, M.D.

Does your child have trouble sleeping, concentrating, or getting 
up in the morning? Do they sleep plenty of hours but seem exhausted? 
Sleep difficulties in children are on the rise--and I expect this trend will 
get worse before it gets better. 

Read more:

Scientists endorse driver cellphone proposal

Scientists endorse driver cellphone proposal
By M. Alex Johnson,

Medical scientists strongly endorsed the National Transportation Safety Board's recommendation Tuesday to ban nearly all use of cellphones and other portable electronics by drivers, saying the gizmos are just too distracting for the limited multitasking power of the human brain.

"I wholeheartedly support a ban on personal electronic devices, which provide an unprecedented degree of distraction that's very dangerous," said Dr. Lisandro Irizarry, chairman of the emergency department at the Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York.

NTSB: Ban cellphones, texting for drivers
NTSB: Ban cellphones, texting for drivers


The National Transportation Safety Board wants all 50 states to ban personal electronic devices for drivers. NBC's Tom Costello reports.

"Everyone from teenagers to senior citizens is texting," he said in an email to "It's very easy to get distracted, especially when driving, and end up in the ER."
The NTSB's recommendation specifically said so-called hands-free devices, like Bluetooth headsets, don't solve the problem and should be part of the ban. 

That sounds great to Dr. Marcel Just, director of the Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, a neuroscientist who has studied how using cellphones impairs driving ability.

"Use of cellphones while driving — handheld or not — is really a hazard, a threat to public safety," Just told "It costs lives."

The problem is that people think they're better drivers than they really are, and so they believe they can multi-task behind the wheel. 

"When you're driving, it feels kind of automatic, so it feels like you're not doing anything, but it's not true," Just said. "Various parts of your brain are working on scanning the road ahead, maintaining your speed, maintaining your lane — all of those things are being done even when it feels like it's not.

Obviously, we can do two things at the same time," he said. "But the critical point is we can't do them as well at the same time."
Processing a conversation with another person consumes 37 percent of the energy that's normally allocated to driving, Just's research indicates. That's "a very, very large percentage that has serious consequences for safety," he said.

While carrying on a conversation in person with a passenger is distracting, "typically there isn't quite as much a social onus on continuing the conversation," he said.

In other words, a passenger who's in the car with you knows enough to shut up if you encounter a hazard on the road. But "with a person on the other end of a cellphone, they don't know to stop talking if something happens," he said. 
While he hasn't quantified the difference, Just said, he's convinced "it's worse with a cellphone."

How does long term exposure to base stations and mobile phones affect human hormone profiles?

Emad F. EskanderCorresponding Author Contact InformationaE-mail The Corresponding Author, Selim F. Estefana, Ahmed A. Abd-Raboua
aHormones Department, Medical Research Division, National Research Centre, Cairo, Egypt
Received 9 December 2010; revised 2 November 2011; Accepted 6 November 2011. Available online 26 November 2011.



This study is concerned with assessing the role of exposure to radio frequency radiation (RFR) emitted either from mobiles or base stations and its relations with human's hormone profiles.

Design and methods

All volunteers' samples were collected for hormonal analysis.


This study showed significant decrease in volunteers' ACTH, cortisol, thyroid hormones, prolactin for young females, and testosterone levels.


The present study revealed that high RFR effects on pituitary–adrenal axis.


► This study is concerned with assessing the role of long-term exposure to high radio frequency radiation emitted either from mobile phones or from base stations and its relations with human's hormone profiles. ► All volunteers are followed for 6 years and blood samples were collected regularly every 3 years for time intervals of 1 year, 3 years and 6 years for hormonal analysis and the blood samples were taken at 8.0 a.m. ► This study showed reduction in volunteers' plasma ACTH, serum cortisol levels. Also, they showed decrease in the release of the thyroid hormones especially T3. In addition, each of their serum prolactin in young females (14–22 years), and testosterone levels significantly dropped due to long-term exposure to radio frequency radiation. Conversely, serum prolactin levels for adult females (25–60 years) significantly rose with increasing exposure time. ► In conclusion, the present study revealed that high radio frequency radiation effects on pituitary–adrenal axis represented in the reduction of ACTH, cortisol, thyroid hormones, prolactin in young females, and testosterone levels.
Keywords: Mobiles; Base stations; Radio frequency radiation; Hormone profiles

Article Outline

Corresponding Author Contact InformationCorresponding author at: Hormones Department, Medical Research Division, National Research Centre, Cairo, 12622, Egypt. Fax: + 20 2 33370931.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Residents raise concerns about health effects of digital meters

DECEMBER 16, 2011

Residents raise concerns about health effects of digital meters

Michele Hertz stands next to the analog meter that Con Ed installed after she demanded the Smart Meter be removed.
Michele Hertz was sick, and she had no idea why.
Hertz, 54, who lives on Euclid Avenue in Hastings, began experiencing myriad health problems since 2009, shortly after a new digital reading meter was installed on her house that June. Con Edison began replacing analog meters with digital Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) devices in 2007. The meters collect diagnostic and usage data from residences and businesses. 
Before digital meters were installed, Con Edison workers had to walk to and read a meter on a building. With the new equipment, an employee can gather information without ever leaving his vehicle. As a result, meter-reading becomes a less involved, more efficient, and cost-effective process.
Now, concern that AMRs and Smart Meters — which allow for two-way communication of data that can be accessed remotely by an energy or water company — might cause serious health problems is slowly growing across the country.
On Tuesday Dec. 6, Hertz made a presentation to the Hastings Board of Trustees, detailing the health problems she has experienced, which included intense headaches, dizziness, agitation, an accelerated heartbeat and sleeplessness. Eventually, after obtaining a note from her doctor, Con Edison agreed to replace Hertz’s digital meter with an older, analog model. Hertz says her condition improved rapidly when the analog meter was installed. 
“I felt like I was let out of being electrocuted,” she said.
Several other residents also spoke during the meeting, including Lisa Katselas of Overlook Road in Hastings.
Katselas, 52, says she leads an active lifestyle, does not smoke or drink, and has had no serious health problems at any point in her life. But shortly after a digital meter was installed on her property in late 2009, Katselas began having heart palpitations and hearing a ringing in her ear. Katselas saw a doctor but initially no cause for her problems was identified. Her husband also sought medical care for multiple symptoms and obtained a note from a doctor asking Con Edison to remove the meter, which she says the company has refused to do.
“I just wasn’t able to function at the level I was used to functioning at,” she said. “To this day, I don’t feel like myself.”
At the crux of the controversy about whether these new digital meters are in fact safe are some technical and scientific issues. The biggest issue, perhaps, are FCC regulations related to non-thermal radiation (electromagnetic radiation given off by particles for reasons other than their thermal energy) and its possible impact on human health. Scientists generally agree that the thermal impact from digital reading meters is negligible. Non-thermal radiation, however, is still not well understood by the scientific community and is not regulated by the FCC.
In a letter to the California Council on Science and Technology — a not-for-profit corporation established in 1988 by the California Legislature — Dr. De-Kun Li, senior research scientist in Kaiser Permanente’s Division of Research, stated:
“The bottom line is that the safety level for radio frequency exposure related to non-thermal effect is unknown at present and whoever claims that their device is safe regarding non-thermal effect is either ignorant or misleading.” 
When reached by phone, Li stated that it is not possible to say digital meters that emit non-thermal radiation are safe. He added that, in his opinion, utilities should prove digital meters are safe before installing them — not wait for someone to prove they are unsafe.
“If they’re causing cancer, you have no idea until 20 years from now that they cause cancer,” he said.
In a letter to Hertz dated Nov. 1, 2011, Con Edison vice president of environment, health, and safety Randolph Price stated that the digital meters meet the FCC requirements for radio frequency transmission and that the company felt it was “inaccurate to characterize the emissions from these meters as ‘dangerous.’” The letter does not, however, address non-thermal radiation.
Chris Olert, assistant director of media relations for Con Edison, e-mailed the following statement to the Enterprise:
“We follow all government and industry standards. These meters are being deployed worldwide, and safety is our No. 1 priority for our customers and our employees.”
In California, dozens of local governments have demanded a halt to the installation of digital meters by Pacific Gas and Electric. In Nevada, Pacific Utilities Company (PUC) called for an investigation into the adverse health effects and other Smart Meter issues. In Maine, after receiving numerous complaints, the state's Public Utility Commission voted to allow customers to opt out of the meters at a cost of $12 a month.
More than 300,000 Westchester homes and businesses have had digital meters installed, but many people may be unaware. Carolyn Summers of Ferndale Drive in Hastings says a meter was installed on her property with no notice.
“It was a sneak attack,” she said.
Summers said she has felt an increase in her anxiety level since the meter was installed. She added that a fan and light in her house began to turn on randomly in the middle of the night shortly after the meter was installed, causing sleep problems for her daughter. 
Hertz has been searching for answers to this problem for more than two years. She has contacted the FCC, New York State Department of Health, New York State Public Service Commission (PSC), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and several other agencies. She contacted the New York State Attorney General’s office, which referred her, as did several other groups, to the PSC. 
A press release dated July 24, 2009, states that the PSC voted to approve a wide range of smart grid initiatives proposed by major utilities throughout the state. One of the initiatives mentioned in the document was Advanced Metering Infrastructure. “Generally, we recommend that you contact the Department of Health because we do not have jurisdiction over health,” said PSC spokeswoman Anne Dalton when reached for comment by the Enterprise. 
Peter Constantakes, spokesperson for the New York State Department of Health, said the agency was not aware of any evidence to suggest the meters are not safe.
“It’s not really something that’s in our realm,” he said. “If different evidence comes up, it’s something that we would take to the FCC. This is really in the realm of the FCC.”  
A woman in the FCC’s Office of Media Relations who did not identify herself by name said no one was available to talk about the safety of digital meters. 
For now, Hertz, Katselas, and Summers are trying to spread the word about the meters. Hertz suspects more people in the Rivertowns may be feeling sick but do not realize — because they are unaware they even have the meters — that they could be the cause. 
“I feel like there’s an evil thing on my house,” Katselas said.
Time, no doubt, will tell.

Couple sues to have cell tower removed

Couple sues to have cell tower removed
December 3, 2011 - 6:10am BY AARON BESWICK TRURO BUREAU
Edna and Marshall Pettipas are suing Bell Aliant over a cellphone tower erected near their Antigonish County home.  (AARON BESWICK / Truro Bureau)

Edna and Marshall Pettipas are suing Bell Aliant over a cellphone tower erected near their Antigonish County home. (AARON BESWICK / Truro Bureau)
AFTON — An Antigonish County couple is suing Bell Aliant, claiming a cellphone tower on their property has damaged their health.
In Feb. 2002, Marshall and Edna Petti­pas signed a lease with Bell Aliant that allowed the company to erect a tower on an empty, six-hectare lot in exchange for annual payments, which are now $5,800.
In 2007, the Pettipas’s estimate they spent $350,000 building a house about 180 metres from the base of the tower.
In a statement of claim filed with the Nova Scotia Supreme Court on Wednes­day, the couple allege that representatives of Bell Aliant convinced them to allow the tower onto their property by saying they wouldn’t be exposed to danger.
The Pettipas’ family physician has signed a letter attributing Edna’s poor health to the tower. In documents filed with the court, the couple complains of variety of symptoms from burning eyes to nausea.
The Pettipas allege a breach of contract and misrepresentation by Bell Aliant.
The Pettipas’ claims have not been tested in court.
“We were told we wouldn’t be subject to emissions," Edna said in an October in­terview that was conducted before the lawsuit was filed.
“That the only danger would be falling ice, if we were within 300 feet of the tow­er."
An independent study done at the fam­ily’s request found there was radio-fre­quency radiation levels at the Pettipas home, but it was below the maximum exposure limits set by Health Canada.
While the Pettipas claim Health Cana­da’s exposure limits are set too high, the Canadian Wireless Telecom Association disagrees.
“To date there has never been a demon­strated risk to health . . . when in compli­ance with safety standards," spokesman Marc Choma said of base tower radiation.
“Even though there is a safety standard, there is a very large safety margin built into it. Any kind of cell tower is typically operating thousands of times lower than what the standard would be."
The Pettipas, represented by MacGilliv­ray Law Office in New Glasgow, are seek­ing the remission of the Bell Aliant lease, the tower’s removal, general damages for the devaluation of their property and suffering, along with special damages for medical expenses and lost wages.
“Bell Aliant should have disclosed the risks before entering into a lease with Ms.
Pettipas," lawyer Jamie MacGillivray said in a news release Thursday.
“She now has a beautiful brand new Cape Cod-style home that she cannot live in."
In an interview prior to the launching of the lawsuit, a spokeswoman for Bell Aliant said the company “always meets and exceeds the strict regulations" set by Industry Canada.