Friday, December 20, 2013

A Primer On Electromagnetic Sensitivity

A Primer On Electromagnetic Sensitivity  

by Michael P. Milburn, PhD. 
UPdate Winter 1997

     There are a growing number of reports from people around the globe on sensitivity to electromagnetic fields - areas of electric and magnetic energy that surround everyday devices like televisions and hair dryers.  There is a great similarity between the symptoms experienced: often there appears to be a link to chemical sensitivity.
     While most individuals still have trouble getting recognition or treatment for this condition, it has attracted the attention of some researchers.  Several conferences have been held specifically addressing the problem, but scientific understanding and solutions seem a long way off.  It is ironic that the first reported case of electrical sensitivity was that of Nikola Tesla, the Croatin-born American electrical engineer who played a crucial role in the development of modern electronics.
Employment Triggers
     Ottawa resident Pamela Schreiner describes herself as electrically sensitive.  She reports “brain fog” and headaches brought on by sitting in front of a computer screen and feels her electrical sensitivity (ES) was triggered by employment in Vienna, Austria, where she worked for several years surrounded by computer displays in an office close to an electric railway.  She felt very uncomfortable sitting at her desk and at that time lost half her hair.  Pamela also reports being chemically sensitive, noting reactions to perfume and outgassing offices.  “Regular doctors have no idea what to do about ES”, claims Pamela who sought the help of an environmental medicine specialist.  Based on her experiences, she believes “that there is a lot more hope in getting help from complementary medicine with the new ailments we now have in this modern world.”  She has made improvement in her condition after a variety of treatments, including removal of amalgam dental fillings.
     In April of 1994, Ruth Swisher-Schultz, a registered nurse and a University of Wisconsin at Whitewater health administrator, was stricken with headache, dizziness, and nausea to the point where she could no longer function at her workplace.  Ruth links her sudden illness to two events in her Health Center building:  a new energy efficient lighting system had just been installed, and the building had been evacuated due to a “chemical smell”, both around the time her problems appeared.
     In the first hour of working under the new fluorescent lights, she developed a headache and felt uncomfortable.  Symptoms were relieved by turning the lights off in her office, but after exposure in other areas of the building, her symptoms were exacerbated.  Ruth was eventually unable to continue working in her building, and exposures had a cumulative effect.  Her health complaints did not fully resolve, even at home.
     Ruth managed to return to work and cope with her sensitivity by reducing exposure to electromagnetic fields and seeking treatment from an environmental medicine specialist, who treated her for chemical sensitivity, rather than for the electrical sensitivity directly.  Another nurse, who reported a problem with the new lighting, had to give up her hobby as a seamstress, unable to work at her electric sewing machine.
Microwave News
     A New York City-based periodical reporting on research, policy and politics surrounding the human interaction with non-ionizing electromagnetic energy - cited the case of Per Segerback, an engineer at Ellemtel, a Swedish telecommunications firm.  Segerback, one of the most severe of a number of cases of electrical hypersensitivity at the company, progressed from mild computer-induced symptoms like slight nausea and eye irritation in the mid 80’s, to more severe symptoms in the late 80’s.  After spending long hours at his computer workstation, the engineer was stricken with nausea, dizziness and burning skin.
     By early 1990, Segerback was forced to take sick leave.  His condition had deteriorated to the point where hew as unable to sleep in his own electrically-heated home, retiring instead outdoors to a car - even during the cold Swedish winter.  Once, he took vacation with his family on an isolated electricity-free island, but was forced to cut the holiday short because sheep on the island were controlled with an electrified fence.
     Microwave News reported that he has improved, but still cannot live a normal life.  “While he has been able to return to work and is a valued Ellemtel employee, Segerback is limited to a daily routine in which he is confined to moving between a shielded room in his home and a similarly protected office.”  He travels to work in an old Mercedes that, because of its extra length, allows him to sit farther back from the fields created by the engine, and he carefully follows a route away from power lines and transformers.  Helped by engineers from his company, Segerback lowered the fields in one of his home’s rooms to a tolerable level by covering windows and doors with aluminum blinds, ceiling, walls, and floors with special field-reducing sheets, and changing both the wiring and plumbing.
     Based on his wife Ruth’s series of negative experiences with conventional medicine, James Schultz reports that “the mainstream American medical establishment, despite an awareness [of numerous research studies], apparently chooses to view individuals with ES as candidates for neuropsychiatric evaluation”.  In my opinion, it is not the psychological health of those afflicted with electrical sensitivity that needs further study but the mindset of those who choose the road of denial.  Perhaps it is as 19th century philosopher William James said:  “When a thing is new people said - ‘It is not true’.  Later, when its truth became obvious, people said - ‘Anyway, it is not important’.  And when its importance could not be denied, people said - ‘Anyway, it is not new’”.
Clinical Research
     Despite the fact ES is still in the first of the three stages described by William James, some pioneering medical and scientific people are tackling the problem.  William Rea, a medical doctor specializing in the treatment of chemical and electrical sensitivity at the Dallas-based Environmental Health Center, has carried out clinical research on electromagnetic hypersensitivity.  In a 1991 paper published in the Journal of Bioelectricity, for example, Rea and his colleagues reported on an effective method to evaluate electromagnetic field sensitivity of patients.  The scientists and medical personnel created a special environment with low background levels of chemical and electrical contamination.  They tested patients for sensitivity to individual frequencies of electromagnetic energy over a wide range.  Reactive patients were repeatedly sensitive to the same frequencies, leading Rea to conclude that “this study gives strong evidence that electromagnetic field sensitivity exists and can be elicited under environmentally controlled conditions”.
     Supported by the British Environmental Medicine Foundation, Jean Monro, medical director of the Allergy and Environmental Medicine Unit in The Lister Hospital, London, and Cyril Smith, an electrical engineering professor at Salford University, studied the diagnosis and therapy of electrical hypersensitivity.  They used a special test room, exposing patients to individual frequencies in a manner similar to that of Rea and his colleagues in Dallas.  They found people reacted to some frequencies, and that other frequencies “neutralized” all symptoms.  According to Smith and Monroe, “The patients usually find the experience of having their symptoms turned on and off by an external agency quite comforting, particularly if they have been told by many doctors for many years that, ‘It is all in your mind!’”
     One of the most interesting things about this British research was the observation of a cyclical recurrence of symptoms and their neutralization.  That is to say, as patients were tested, starting from low and going to higher frequencies progressively, there would be points that would trigger symptoms and others where they were improved.  There was a precise mathematical relationship (it was logarithmic) between the neutralization frequency and the sequence number (i.e. first, second, third, etc., neutralization frequency).  As the researchers claim, “Such an unusual mathematical function would be almost impossible for a patient to generate by mental arithmetic”, something with which anyone who has studied logarithms would surely agree!

The author would like to hear from anyone with an interest in ES.  He can be contacted through UPdate, or by email at:

Useful Contacts
Swedish Association for the Electrically and VDT Injured (FEB) Daltorpsgatan
7, S-41273 Goteborg, Sweden  Web page

Microwave News
PO Box 1799 Grand Central Station
New York, NY 10163, USA

EMR Alliance
410 West 53rd Street, Suite 402
New York, NY 10019, USA

Arbeitskreis fur Elektrosensible i. V Action Group for Electrically Sensitive Aleestrasse
135 D-44793 Bochum, Germany

Michael P. Milburn, PhD. is a biophysicist and Canadian authority on the effects of non-ionizing radiations.  He is the author of Electromagnetic Fields and Your Health (New Star Books, Vancouver) with Maren Oelbermann.  His consulting firm, ELMAG Research, is based in Waterloo, Ontario. 

Cell Phone Use Linked to Lower Grades, Anxiety, and Much Worse...

Cell Phone Use Linked to Lower Grades, Anxiety, and Much Worse…

December 19, 2013 | 153,069 views

By Dr. Mercola
Mounting research raises tremendously important questions about the long-term safety of saturating ourselves in electromagnetic frequencies. As a result, at least a dozen countries around the world have begun to adopt a precautionary approach toward cell phone use and other wireless technologies.
For example, two years ago, a Council of Europe committee concluded that “immediate action was required to protect children” after examining the evidence.1 Russian officials have issued the recommendation that all children under the age of 18 should avoid using cell phones entirely. And the UK, Israel, Germany, India and Finland also urge citizens to err on the side of caution with respect to their children’s use of cell phones.
Most recently, Belgium adopted new cell phone regulations2 prohibiting the sale of mobile phones designed for, and marketed to children under the age of seven.3 The regulations take effect in March 2014. Retailers and internet marketers will also be required to disclose the specific absorption rate (SAR) of the phones they sell, and must display posters with recommendations for safer cell phone use.
Qualifying the new regulations, officials said, “But it is not the intention to use it for hours at a time: the way in which you use your mobile phone also determines your exposure.”
Such measures, while not going far enough to ensure safety, are at least a step in the right direction. I firmly believe the health ramifications of our modern technologies need to be properly assessed before coming to market—and addressed, the sooner the better. Pre-market testing and post-market surveillance should be the norm for any technology with biological consequences.

With Whom Does Responsibility of Safety Reside?

Alas, in the US, both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) have chosen to ignore the evidence of health risks associated with cell phones. As noted by the Environmental Working Group in a recent guide4 to safer cell phone usage:
“The FCC adopted radiation standards developed by the cell phone industry 17 years ago. These standards, still in use, allow 20 times more radiation to reach the head than the rest of the body. They do not account for risks to children.”
Camilla Rees, MBA of says clarification is also needed about where exactly responsibility and accountability reside on this subject between the FCC and FDA:
“If the FCC says it relies on the safety expertise of the FDA, and states it considered opinions from the FDA in setting its safety guidelines, but the FDA officially does not review the safety of radiation-emitting consumer products such as cell phones and PDAs before they can be sold, as it does with new drugs or medical devices, then where is the responsibility for assuring safety actually domiciled?”
She asks, in a long piece on this subject:
"On what basis does the FCC, a communications commission charged with regulating interstate and international communications, not a health agency, have authority to ascertain safety and establish safety guidelines, such as the SAR limit for cell phones, in the first place? On what basis has the FCC assumed this responsibility?"

No Regulatory Agency Currently Looks at Biological Effects...

If the SAR value is a measure of the power or heating effects from a phone, and is a physics measure unrelated to biology, what regulatory agency is looking at the biological effects? This would include biological effects from all forms of radiation being emitted by a cell phone, including
  1. The heating effects (that the SAR attempts to reflect)
  2. Non-heating effects from the frequencies and modulation, and
  3. Low frequency (ELF) fields emitted by the devices.
Has responsibility and accountability on this issue conveniently fallen through the cracks? Parallels can and have been drawn between the tobacco industry’s longstanding efforts to hide the truth about the health effects of smoking, and the wireless industry’s denial’s of harm without evidence of safety—and despite a plethora of scientific evidence of harm!

Frequent Cell Phone Use Promotes Anxiety and Poor Academic Performance

In one recent study, researchers from the College of Education, Health and Human Services at Kent State University in Ohio reported that frequent cell phone use appears to be associated with reduced academic performance, anxiety and unhappiness in college students. As reported by Medical News Today:5
“Not decrying the usefulness of the smartphone to today's college students, which allows them to stay in touch with family and friends and easily browse the Internet, the researchers suggest there is merit in considering what potential harms they may pose.”
The study, published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior6 surveyed more than 500 college students to assess their cell phone usage and then compared it to their grades and clinical anxiety- and life-satisfaction testsCell phone usage levels were linked to both GPA scores and anxiety levels in a “dose” dependent manner. The higher a student’s cell phone use, the lower their grades and the higher their reported anxiety level.
While it could be argued that perhaps people who are more anxious tend to spend more time on their smartphones, or that fiddling around on your phone too much will have a more or less obvious adverse effect on your academic performance, the authors urge students to consider the impact their cell phone use may be having on their grades, mental health and well-being.
This includes negative effects on activity levels. Earlier this year, researchers from the same University found that higher cell phone use was linked with reduced physical activity and fitness.7 Apparently, portability does not mean that people actually use them while staying active... According to the authors, “their findings suggest that cell phone use may be able to gauge a person's risk for a multitude of health issues related to an inactive lifestyle.”

Can Cell Phones Cause Cancer?

This is a Flash-based video and may not be viewable on mobile devices.
While still lagging behind many other countries, local authorities around the US are starting to pay more attention to these issues. For example, in November, 2012 the city of Pembroke Pines, Florida passed a resolution to warn its residents about the potential risk of cancer related to cell phone radiation. As reported by WCSH68 at the time:
“The resolution, believed to be the first of its kind in the state, encourages residents to keep their cellphones at least one-inch away from their bodies, use a headset or speakerphone and send messages by text or email... The resolution was passed after resident Jimmy Gonzalez told the commission about his brush with cancer, which he believes was caused by his cell phone.
Gonzalez had a cancerous tumor above his left ear removed in August 2011, a year after he'd had another tumor removed from his left hand. Gonzalez, an attorney who used to use his cellphone for several hours a day, is now cancer-free. "Do I have 100 percent scientific study that can say well this is what caused it?" Gonzalez said. "No, but I can't think of anything that would explain this otherwise.”
I believe such concerns are valid. While the reporter of that story did not mention any of the evidence supporting Gonzalez’ suspicion, mounting research indeed suggests there is such a link. For example, a review of 11 long-term epidemiologic studies published in the journal Surgical Neurology9 by leading international brain surgeons and scientists revealed that using a cell phone for 10 years or longer approximately doubles your risk of being diagnosed with a brain tumor on the same side of the head where the cell phone is typically held.
Professor Mild, lead researcher of that particular study, cautioned that the danger may be even greater than what they found because cancers need a minimum of 10 years to develop.  Children and teens are at greatest risk, as their thinner skulls allow more radiation to penetrate into their brains.10 Lloyd Morgan, Senior Research Fellow, Environmental Health Trust, says,
“There are many studies which have significant risks brain cancer, acoustic neuroma, parotid gland cancer, and leukemia from wireless (cell and cordless) phone use. In totality, there is strong evidence for each of these tumors. I am convinced that this will lead to a pandemic of wireless phone induced tumors. While there is a decades long average latency time (30-40 years for brain cancer), we have already seen a doubled risk of glioblastoma in Australia, Denmark, and the United States in the previous 10 years.
“Assuming that long-time use of wireless devices affects 10% of the users with one of more of these cancers (similar to long-term smokers and lung cancer). It would mean, at minimum, 10% of such users will be diagnosed with one or moreof these tumors. Thus, possibly 30% of such users would have at least one of these 4 cancers.
“Should this occur it would create a calamity like the world has not seen since the black plagues of the 13th century. Maybe it will only be 5% or even 1%. No matter the assumption, the result will have profound ramifications for our society.”
At the program on “Cell Phones & WiFi: Are Children, Fetuses and Fertility at Risk” in June, leading NY State public health physician, Dr. David Carpenter, MD, said, “The strongest evidence for EMF effects are the science showing the connection between cell phone use and brain cancer. Brain cancer rates are double for people who’ve been using cell phones for 10 years or more, appearing on the side of the head where they hold their phones, and risks are 5x greater for children using cell phones under the age of 20 compared to those over the age of 50.”

Radiofrequency Fields Currently Classified as “Possibly Carcinogenic”

More importantly—and I cannot fathom how WCSH6 (Who is this?) missed this one—the World Health Organization (WHO)/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” (Class 2B) in May of 2011.11 The classification—which also covers lead and chloroform—came in part in response to research showing wireless telephones increase the risk for brain cancer. According to the press release:12
“Dr Jonathan Samet (University of Southern California, USA), overall Chairman of the Working Group, indicated that "the evidence, while still accumulating, is strong enough to support a conclusion and the 2B classification. The conclusion means that there could be some risk, and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cell phones and cancer risk."
"Given the potential consequences for public health of this classification and findings," said IARC Director Christopher Wild, "it is important that additional research be conducted into the longterm, heavy use of mobile phones. Pending the availability of such information, it is important to take pragmatic measures to reduce exposure such as handsfree devices or texting. "
Since then, additional research has further strengthened the link between cancer and radiofrequency (RF) fields. According to Dr. Anthony Miller, who was on the IARC committee, the accumulated evidence is now strong enough to suggest RF fields really should be classified as a 2A or “probable carcinogen.”
A study published in September 2013, “Case-control study of the association between malignant brain tumors diagnosed between 2007 and 2009 and mobile and cordless phone use” by Hardell et al also confirmed previously reported results showing an association between cell phones and malignant brain tumors, suggesting RFs from cell phones may play a role in both the initiation and promotion of cancer.
And another study by Hardell et al, published in December 2013, used the Bradford Hill criteria for establishing causality in long-term users of cell phones, showed that the evidence available suggests that RF-EMF exposure from mobile (and cordless) phones should be regarded as an IARC class 1 human carcinogen. Alasdair Philips of Powerwatch (U.K.) says, “The criteria on strength, consistency, specificity, temporality, and biologic gradient for evidence of increased risk for glioma and acoustic neuroma were fulfilled.”
To learn more, I highly recommend listening to the excellent Media Teleclass on Cellphones and Brain Tumors moderated by Camilla Rees, MBA of Listen for yourself to experts who are independent of the telecom industry and close to the science. The teleclass features Devra Davis, PhD, MPH, David Carpenter, MD, Lloyd Morgan, BS and Joel Moskowitz, PhD.

Other Health Hazards Linked to Cell Phone Use

Experts in the area of the biological effects of electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) and wireless technologies believe there’s virtually no doubt that cell phones and related gadgets are capable of causing not only cancer but contributing to a wide variety of other conditions, from depression and diabetes to heart irregularities and impaired fertility.  For example, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health13 (ANSES) recently published an expert appraisal and risk assessment of radiofrequencies, linking cell phone use to:
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Male infertility
  • Cognitive problems
  • Brain Tumors
In their 2-year review of the RF science (10/15/13), where they warn the public to reduce exposure to mobile phone radiation, they say:
“…Against a background of rapid development of technologies and practices, ANSES recommends limiting the population's exposure to radiofrequencies – in particular from mobile phones - especially for children and intensive users, and controlling the overall exposure that results from mobile phone masts."
Regarding wireless devices, ANSES says:
  • For intensive adult mobile phone users (in talk mode): use of hands-free kits and more generally, for all users, favoring the purchase of phones with the lowest SAR values
  • That all common devices emitting electromagnetic fields intended for use near the body (DECT telephones, tablet computers, baby monitors, etc.) display the maximum level of exposure generated (SAR, for example), as is already the case for mobile phones.
Regarding ambient fields, ANSES has recommended:
Ambient RF:
  • Reducing the exposure of children by encouraging only moderate use of mobile phones
  • Continuing to improve characterisation of population exposure in outdoor and indoor environments through the use of measurement campaigns
  • New mobile phone network infrastructures be subject to prior studies concerning the characterisation of exposures
  • Study of consequences of multiplying the number of relay antennas in order to reduce levels of environmental exposure
  • Documenting existing installations causing the highest exposure to the public and investigating how these exposures can be reduced by technical means
One 2008 study 14 linked cell phone use to an 80 percent increased risk of emotional problems and hyperactivity in children.  Scientists have also found that microwaves transmitted by cell phones and other wireless devices can:
Harm your blood cellsDamage your eyes
Damage your DNAContribute to salivary gland tumors
Cause nerve cell damage15Cause decreased bone density in the pelvic region
Possibly accelerate and contribute to onset of autismLead to electromagnetic hypersensitivity
Trigger Alzheimer’s diseaseAffect your heart rate and blood pressure

How is all of this possible? In a nutshell, human beings are influenced by all kinds of electromagnetic fields. Energy, frequencies, sounds, and vibrations are all around us, even if you can’t hear them, see them or sense them in any way, and they can have a profound impact on your health. Those found in nature can be profoundly healing. But today, these natural frequencies and rhythms are being drowned out by wholly unnatural wireless transmissions and emissions. Michael Gilbert, a leading New York integrative health practitioner, explains, from a nervous system persective, why the energy from wireless devices is harmful, how we can actively work with our nervous systems to modulate this unnatural energy, and why cultivating variability in our lives is essential in a wireless age:
This video may not be available in all countries.

The Spectrum of Frequencies that Surround You

Dr. Martin Blank, PhD—an experienced researchers of the cellular and molecular effects of electromagnetic fields at Columbia University—gave an informative speech in which he explains how electromagnetic fields affect your DNA. His explanation sheds light on the truly profound implications of our current situation. When looking at a spectrum chart of frequencies, you’ll find that cell phones operate in the middle of the spectrum, in the microwave section of the Radiofrequency range. Below it are radio frequencies from radio and tv, and at the bottom of the spectrum you have Extremely Low Frequencies known as ELF, which include fields from electrical wiring and household appliances, for example. All of these frequencies are within the non-ionizing radiation range.
Above that, you enter the ionizing frequency range, which include infrared, ultraviolet (UV) rays, x-rays, gamma rays and cosmic radiation. Some of these frequencies exist in nature while others are man-made. Larry Gust, President of the Board of the Institute for Building Biology & Ecology, presents an overview of the electromagnetic spectrum and technical aspects of electromagnetic fields here:
Just one of the many reasons why we need to thoroughly investigate the biological repercussions of broadcasting a range of these frequencies is that technologies keep shifting upward, using higher and higher frequencies.The reason for this is because the higher the frequency, the more information you can transmit, but also potentially, in some cases, the more biologically active.
It’s quite clear that ionizing radiation causes significant damage to your body, but scientists are wrong when they claim you cannot get any kind of biological reaction as long as you stay within the non-ionizing range of frequencies as the radiation is not hot enough to heat tissues. The claim has been that non-ionizing radiation cannot cause harm because there’s not enough energy in this range to knock an electron out of an atom.
It’s true that there’s an insufficient amount of energy to dislodge an electron, “but boy, you can get a lot of biological reactions in the non-ionizing range!” Dr. Blank says. To learn more, I highly recommend reviewing my previous article The Hardcore Science of How Cell Phones and Other EMF Damages You.
One of the core issues is use of the SAR, a measure of power, as a measure of safety. The SAR is anything but a measure of safety as there are many other risks besides heating, and even the way one uses the phone can impact the SAR exposure. (See previous Mercola article by Camilla Rees, “Top Safe Cell Phones that Aren’t Safe”! But even the means of measuring the SAR, or heating, are inadequate and misleading, as has been demonstrated by Memorial Sloan-Kettering scientist, David Gultekin, PhD., in a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Gultekin, using NMR or nuclear magnetic resonance imaging, shows effects on brain tissue are not uniform, but instead there are hot spots in the brain tissue where the temperature can increase up to 5o C in about 12 minutes. Importantly, Gultekin says “The volume of the hot spot generated by absorbed cell phone radiation depends on the antenna power level and the irradiation time”. Thus, the very basis for determining SAR levels are ‘safe’, from the thermal perspective, may not, as it turns out, be safe at all. This research was conducted on animal brain tissue. Human in vivo studies are expected to prove the inadequacy of current means of measuring SAR for assessing thermal effects and safety.
Please remember, also, that there are very important new risks from ‘wearable wireless’ devices. These include eyewear, like Google Glass, smart watches, wireless pedometers, etc. This category, according to Wall Street analysts, is projected to grow from $2-3 billion today to $50 billion in 2-3 years. Unlike a cell phone against the head, for example, radiation impacting the eye has no skull to even partly shield the wireless radiation, and both the radiation and heating levels can be substantial.
See “Does Wearable Technology on Holiday Shopping List Pose Health Risks?,” with comments from Dr. Gultekin, Hugh Taylor, MD from Yale University, Joel Moskowitz, PhD from University of California, Berkeley and Martin Blank, PhD from Columbia University, all weighing in on wireless and wearable wireless risks.

Steps You Can Take to Protect Yourself and Your Family

In the end, all the evidence points to the fact that our current safety standards are completely inadequate. Our rapidly expanding wireless technologies must be properly evaluated, first of all, the ALARA principle (“As Low As Reasonably Achievable”) should be invoked in development of RF technologies, and the Precautionary Principle must be invoked, protecting the public from exposure to harm, as a matter of social responsibility, when scientific investigation has found possible risks.  While you can’t completely avoid radiation in today’s wireless world, if you’re ready to give up your cell phone, you can virtually eliminate that one hazard, at least. If you’re not prepared to take that step, you can minimize your exposure by heeding the following advice:
  • Children Should Never Use Cell Phones: Barring a life-threatening emergency, children should not use a cell phone, or a wireless device of any type. Children are far more vulnerable to cell phone radiation than adults, because of their thinner skull bones.  See “Children’s Health Expert Panel: Cell Phones & WiFi—Are Children Fetuses and Fertility at Risk?” for an overview of the risks to children.
  • Reduce Your Cell Phone Use: Turn your cell phone off more often. Reserve it for emergencies or important matters. As long as your cell phone is on, it emits radiation intermittently, even when you are not actually making a call.
  • Use a Land Line at Home and at Work: Although more and more people are switching to using cell phones as their exclusive phone contact, it is a dangerous trend and you can choose to opt out of the madness.
  • Reduce or Eliminate Your Use of Other Wireless Devices: You would be wise to cut down your use of these devices. Just as with cell phones, it is important to ask yourself whether or not you really need to use them every single time, and be on alert for addiction.
  • If you must use a portable home phone, use the older kind that operates at 900 MHz. They are no safer during calls, but at least many of them do not broadcast constantly even when no call is being made. Note the only way to truly be sure if there is an exposure from your cordless phone is to measure with an electrosmog meter, and it must be one that goes up to the frequency of your portable phone (so old meters won’t help much). See meters at You can pretty much be sure your portable phone is a problem if the technology is DECT, or digitally enhanced cordless technology.
  • Use Your Cell Phone Only Where Reception is Good: The weaker the reception, the more power your phone must use to transmit, and the more power it uses, the more radiation it emits, and the deeper the dangerous radio waves penetrate into your body. Ideally, you should only use your phone with full bars and good reception. Also seek to avoid carrying your phone on your body as that merely maximizes any potential exposure. Ideally put it in your purse or carrying bag.
  • Don’t Assume One Cell Phone is Safer Than Another.There’s no such thing as a “safe” cell phone, and rankings by SAR are misleading people into thinking some phones are safe.
  • Keep Your Cell Phone Away From Your Body When it is On: The most dangerous place to be, in terms of radiation exposure, is within about six inches of the emitting antenna. You do not want any part of your body within that area.
  • Use Safer Headset Technology: Wired headsets will certainly allow you to keep the cell phone farther away from your body. However, if a wired headset is not well-shielded -- and some of them are not -- the wire itself acts as an antenna attracting ambient information carrying radio waves and transmitting radiation directly to your brain.
  • Make sure that the wire used to transmit the signal to your ear is shielded. The best kind of headset to use is a combination shielded wire and air-tube headset. These operate like a stethoscope, transmitting the information to your head as an actual sound wave; although there are wires that still must be shielded, there is no wire that goes all the way up to your head.
  • Respect Others Who are More Sensitive: Some people who have become sensitive can feel the effects of others' cell phones, iPads, and other gadgets in the same room, even when it is on but not being used. If you are in a meeting, on public transportation, in a courtroom or other public places, such as a doctor's office, keep your cell phone turned off out of consideration for the 'second hand radiation' effects. Children are also more vulnerable, so please avoid using your cell phone near children. 

Ho, Ho, No! Why iPads and iPhones are Not Kids’ Toys

Ho, Ho, No! Why iPads and iPhones are Not Kids’ Toys

Posted by  on Dec 16, 2013

Ho, Ho, No! Why iPads and iPhones are Not Kids’ Toys
Teton Village, WY – December 2, 2013 — Good news for parents: the annual tradition involving a mad rush on one hot toy is over. In its place, parents are scurrying to find the coolest electronic devices.  Those clamoring to stuff their kids’ holiday stockings with the latest electronic gadgets would do well to ponder experts’ warnings first, advises Environmental Health Trust (EHT), a group promoting safer phone use.  
“We all need to “#PracticeSafeTech,” advises Dr. Devra Davis, President of EHT.” What may be appropriate for adults may not be at all suitable for toddlers with their more rapidly growing brains and bodies.” Would you give your child the keys to the car or a shot of whiskey just because she really wanted it?
According to the newest survey from BDO, 69% of retailers say that consumer electronics will be the hottest spending category for the holidays. Back in 2009, just 24% pointed to electronics as the top hot gift category. In another survey, from the shopping site, 88% of kids ages 12 to 17 said that they most wanted a gadget as a holiday gift, with the majority (69%) requesting some kind of Apple device.
Should you get your young child that chillin’ shiny tablet, or buy your teen her own mobile phone in her favorite color? After all, mobile phone prices have dropped, making them easier to gift. “What harm could it do to youngsters to have such a cool, hot gadget—especially if they can use it to learn to read, see movies, or just play Angry Birds? The answer is: plenty,” advises EHT founder Dr.  Davis.
“Every parent needs to read the important messages offered by Raffi, the renowned children’s advocate, in his new bookLIGHTWEB DARKWEB: THREE REASONS TO REFORM SOCIAL MEDIA B4 IT RE-FORMS US,” Dr. Davis advises. “These devices can short circuit childhood and easily become tools for cyberbullying.”
Few people appreciate that all of these wireless electronic devices come with manufacturers’ fine print warnings to not hold them next to an adult body, or that controlled studies show that microwave radiation emitted by mobile phones weakens the brain’s protective barrier and male users produce fewer and more damaged offspring and sperm. The kicker is this: All safety warnings for mobile phones (e.g., “keep 0.98 inches from the body”) were never designed with children in mind, but in order to protect a large adult man with a big head who talks on his phone for less than 30 minutes per day.  Even fewer realize that iPads contain 4 or more microwave radiating antennas that are never to be held directly on the body.
According to a published scientific report from EHT, children’s heads absorb twice as much microwave radiation from mobile phones as adults’ heads. Radiation emissions from mobile phones carried in shirts or pants pockets of adults are four to seven times higher than the guidelines set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the U.S. For the smaller bodies of children, of course, radiation exposure levels would be greater both because of relative size and keeping in mind that children are not simply small adults.
The reason for the discrepancy, EHT says, is that the process to determine radiation exposures from mobile phones is modeled on a 6-foot 2-inch tall, 220-pound man, with an 11-pound head. Because this large skull represents only about three percent of the population, the test cannot accurately predict the radiation exposure of the other 97 percent, including children, nor does it even try to estimate exposures from pocket use.
“The standard for mobile devices was developed based on old science, old models and old assumptions about how we use mobile phones, and that’s why standards must change to protect our children and grandchildren,” said Dr. Davis.

Read the Fine Print:
EHT urges parents to make sure they read the phone/tablet/device safety manual to find the minimum distance that the device must be kept away whenever it is in use and also when it is in stand-by mode. Keeping it closer than the designated distance can result in a violation of the FCC Exposure Limit.

“Whenever you must give your child a device to play with, keep it on airplane mode. It’s important to safeguard your children whenever they use these devices. Aside from radiation exposure, keep in mind that child experts recommend no more than two hours of daily screen time. The goal is to protect our children’s growing brains and bodies from harm,” advises Dr. Davis.
Dr. Davis also calls parents’ attention to another iPad fine print warning that states, “a small percentage of people may be susceptible to blackouts or seizures (even if they have never had one before) when exposed to flashing lights or light patterns such as when playing games or watching videos. Discontinue use of iPad and consult a physician if you experience headaches, blackouts, seizures, convulsion, eye or muscle twitching, loss of awareness, involuntary movement, or disorientation. To reduce risk of headaches, blackouts, seizures and eyestrain, avoid prolonged use, hold iPad some distance from your eyes, use iPad in a well-lit room, and take frequent breaks.”
Consumers can find this and more in the iPad safety pamphlet. “Whoever wrote this probably had in mind the adult who can fork over $400 to $500 for an iPad,” advises Dr. Davis. “Yet nowadays, even babies and toddlers are learning to read from wireless devices and falling asleep to white noise played from phones placed under their pillows. A child’s brain, healthy or otherwise, is cased in a thinner skull; that’s why they absorb more microwave radiation. The brains of children with learning problems, autism or other neurological disorders may be more vulnerable to damage than those of their healthy friends and family members.”
The iPad safety advice doesn’t consider these issues, but does include information about exposure to radiofrequency (RF) energy. The pamphlet notes, “If you are…concerned about exposure to RF energy, you can further limit your exposure by limiting the amount of time using iPad Wi-Fi +3G in wireless mode…and by placing more distance between your body and iPad Wi-Fi +3G.” Children simply cannot keep “more distance” between themselves and these devices; their arms are too short.
Power Down in 2014 – Reduce WiFi Gadget Use in Children
If parents do decide to engage their children with electronic gadgets, the new recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urge parents to ban electronic media during mealtimes and after bedtime as part of a comprehensive “family media use plan.” The influential new guidelines recognize the need to protect the young brain from round-the-clock use of digital devices and electronic media, which includes everything from television to texting and other social and anti-social activities.
Under the AAP power down policy: children should limit screen time for entertainment to less than two hours per day; children younger than 2 should have no TV and no Internet exposure. Also, televisions and Internet-accessible devices should be kept out of kids’ bedrooms. According to Dr. Davis, along with gifts, parents should also set family rules covering the use of mobile phones and texting. “Many parents do not realize that tablets, mobile phones, laptops and other wireless gear send and receive microwave radiation, unless they are set on airplane mode or disconnected from the Internet or wifi systems. We protect our children’s brains when they ride in cars or on bikes. We also need to protect their rapidly growing brains from wireless radiation.”

 “The best present a parent can give their child is the gift of safety,” says Dr. Davis. “That’s why I’m urging each and every parent on our list to access and share the potentially life-saving tips we offer on cell phone safety.” On its website, EHT provides information parents can print and distribute to their local schools, daycare centers, parent groups, stroller groups and Parent-Teacher Association meetings. For a free brochure, please visit EHT’s resource page. Parents can also access information on volunteering and donations at