Saturday, March 08, 2014



His features were like those of a Greek god. At 28, he was set to travel to the United States of America to further his professional career. A month before he was set to travel, he was diagnosed with advanced cancer of the tongue. She delivered her first child but on the day of discharge, the doctors detected cancer in her uterine cervix. Both lived in this city and were unaware that what undid them was preventable or at least curable if they knew to take certain preventive measures. Neither of these cases, however, tells the singular story of a disease which the author, Siddhartha Mukherjee, calls the “quintessential disease of modernity”. 

Paradoxically the boon and the curse of modernity — long lives as well as toxic skies and abundant, unwholesome indulgences — work in tandem to provide causes for cancer. Identifying the extent to which these causes are extraneous or man-made marks out the scope of reducing incidents of cancer.

In fact, demographics show how communities to a good measure bring unto themselves the cancers they suffer. If some are geographically destined, cluster of cancer villages in China being the most recent examples, others are undone by their own habits. This holds true of the districts of India’s northeastern states. Smoking from an early age — a practice that is prevalent in both sexes — eating smoked meat preserved with salts without refrigeration, the use of fire wood and exposure to pesticides cause cancers of the stomach, oesophagus, and lung. The rates are higher than the national incidence, even surpassing in females the common forms of cancer of the breast and the cervix.
Geographical variations in cancer occur across the world. Environment, diet and life-style choices have a bearing in this context. After two or three generations, migrant populations begin to follow the practices of their adopted countries.

Carcinogenesis is undoubtedly a slow process. It evolves over many years and does not happen as dramatically as the departed Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez, wanted us to believe by speculating about a secret American technology being responsible for five influential South American heads of state, himself included, developing cancer at the same time. With diplomacy on his mind, he stretched the idea too far. But his basic premise — cancers being induced by external agents — has been validated, time and again. From scrotal cancers in chimney sweeps and mule spinners, sarcoma of bones in radium dial painters, urinary bladder cancers in aniline dye workers, liver cancers in polyvinyl industries, mesothelioma in asbestos industry to cluster of cancer villages found in West Bengal in the 1980s due to arsenic pollution to the rising incidence of lung cancers in Calcutta on account of increasing pollution — these are but a few examples from a big list of induced carcinogenesis backed by scientific data.

It is indeed a big list consisting of diverse agents, from betel quid and tobacco to solar radiation and even biological agents like oncogenic viruses. The list of carcinogens prepared and grouped according to their carcinogenic potential by the World Health Organisation is certainly getting “curiouser and curiouser”. For instance, the WHO has already put circadian disruption due to night shift jobs (Group 2A, probably carcinogenic) and electromagnetic wave radiation (EMR, group 2B carcinogen, possible but weak evidence) in its list of carcinogens. One observes that the IT hub, Bangalore, now tops the list of breast cancer incidence in India, ahead of Mumbai and Delhi. But such mysteries usually unravel themselves slowly and cause and effect relations become apparent only after years. Few realized that when Catherine de Medici, the much maligned French queen rumoured to be adept in the use of poisons, extended her royal patronage to tobacco plants brought to her by Jean Nicot, she was helping establish a perpetual source of poison to human lives.

How important then is the knowledge about causes of cancer? On the basis of population-based registry data from major Indian cities,the Indian Council for Medical Research estimates that one out of every eight males and one out of every seven females in urban India will develop cancer in their life time if life expectancy is calculated to be 74 years and death does not occur due to other causes. The ICMR has projected 100,588 new cases for West Bengal alone in 2016. The figure for 2001 was 61,153.

Cancer can no longer be viewed as a pesky phobia. It is now a frightening reality and demands concrete action at both State and individual levels. The National Cancer Control Programme is an ambitious project but with an allocation of only 1.4 per cent of GDP to health care, the NCCP’s efficacy remains restricted. Screening programmes for common cancers, intervention programmes like treating pre-malignant diseases, and vaccination programmes against virus-induced cancers remain rudimentary at best. The same is true of formulating and imposing regulations that can curb the use of known carcinogens or reduce environmental pollution. Setting legal limits for air quality standards for major Indian cities or imposing a green tax for polluting industries remains a remote possibility, even though India has been found to be the worst performer among 132 countries in respect to air pollution, which is now listed as a Group 1 carcinogen.
In the absence of a concerted cancer prevention programme working effectively on the ground, individuals would do well to take matters in their own hands because everyone is vulnerable after a certain age. There is another potent reason for individual initiative. Experts in preventive medicine now ask everyone to do a ‘risk estimation’ for oneself and undergo periodic and repeated examinations as each person has a different risk profile according to family history, genetic make-up, life-style practices and other risk factors like obesity. Risk profiling creates opportunities to avoid an affliction. Breast cancer gene testing and prophylactic removal of breasts have gained media attention but simple tests are possible and are conducted regularly for other target organs that may develop malignant lesions.

Fortunately, 40 per cent of cancers in India are either preventable, easily detectable and curable with the right treatment in proper time. Unfortunately, what is lacking is a high awareness level. Cancer treatment has come a long way. But prevention and early detection still remain the first line of defence. Without winning the battle there, the war is lost. Cancer incidence and mortality rates have indeed gone down in the US on account of sustained campaigns according to official data.

Friday, March 07, 2014



by Contributor on 07 Mar 2014

LETTER: Who’s Paying Attention to the WHO?
For years many people have wondered about the effects of electric and magnetic fields (EMF) on human health. More recently, these concerns have extended to radiofrequency (RF) exposure from wireless technologies like cordless phones, cell phones, cell phone towers, GPS devices, “smart” meters, and WiFi.  In 2011, the WHO (World Health Organization) entered RF radiation to the list of “possible carcinogenic in humans.”
Since then, governments around the world have alerted their populations to approach wireless devices with caution. Many people are unaware that wireless devices use microwaves, the same as your microwave oven. So your cordless phone, WiFi, smart meter, water meter, and the cell tower outside your window are effectively functioning as low-level, constantly-emitting, microwave transmitters. With more and more cell towers and smart meters broadcasting throughout our living spaces, we are experiencing low-level “tasering.”
Sadly, Health Canada is dangerously behind other countries in recognizing electrosensitivity. RF radiation is measured in milliwatts per square meter (mW/m2).   Canada uses ICNIRP’s safety standards, which are 10,000 mW/m2.  However, many countries around the world have heeded WHO’s warning and have set their RF safety standards remarkably lower than the ICNIRP. 
For example, the European Union which is made up of 28 member states (UK being considered one member) has a safety standard of 1 mW/m2; that’s 10,000 times lower than the ICNIRP’s standards. Other countries like Switzerland and Russia’s safety standards are from 20 to 200 mW/m2, and other nations like China are 70-100, which is still 100 times lower than Canada’s safety standards.
In November of 2013, professor Emeritus Anthony Miller, of the University of Toronto spoke to Toronto’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee, warning them of the dangers of RF pollution.  Miller said that a working group for the International Agency for Research on Cancer, of which he was the lead scientist, concluded that RF radiation was a probable carcinogen, upgraded from the earlier WHO designation.  He also warned that increasing the amount of RF radiation in our environment will increase the hazard to people by increasing cancers like brain tumors, etc.
In view of this, the question must be asked: "How much radiation can we be exposed to before having health consequences?"  There is no doubt that we are already being exposed to levels of EMF and RF radiation that are having very serious and real consequences to peoples' health. 
Frank Clegg, former president of Microsoft Canada, is now an advocate for wireless radiation safety.  In a recent article in Vitality Magazine,  he tells of one family’s illnesses that encompassed swelling of tonsils, adenoids, sinus troubles, skin rashes, dizziness, lack of sleep.  When the father connected the dots between his family’s health problems and the installation of WiFi, he turned it off.  The family’s symptoms quickly disappeared.
This is not an isolated family.  Many people are experiencing “strange” symptoms apparently linked to no particular virus or diagnosable illness, yet the cost of our sick society is borne by our overtaxed health care system and lost productivity.  Clegg says that more than 1 in 5 people will develop symptoms over time.  You owe it to yourself to read his article which is available from the link above.
Can the City Council of Grand Forks, in all good conscience, press yet another wireless device on us, and yes, I am speaking of water meters, when there is so much evidence that this technology is hazardous to our health?
Beverley Tripp, Grand Forks

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Israeli cell phone company to compensate customer who contracted cancer

Israeli cell phone company to compensate customer who contracted cancer

Partner Communications, which operates in Israel under the Orange brand name, has reached a settlement with a customer who claims he contracted cancer after using one of their devices.
The customer, who is in his 50s, sued Partner in May, claiming that intensive use of the device resulted in an aggressive lymphoma near his left ear. Partner agreed to pay NIS 400,000 in an out-of-court compromise settlement.
Partner’s settlement is a rare act. The company says they opted to pay the customer as a humanitarian gesture, saying in a statement, “The company is very meticulous about adhering to the guidelines of the World Health Organization, the Health Ministry, the Communications Ministry and all the relevant bodies. No scientific or medical basis was found to the claim and it was rejected by the court. Beyond the letter of the law, in light of [the man's] personal story, the company decided on an exceptional humanitarian gesture. We wish him good health.”
Cell phone
Partner’s move in the settlement is rare and could set a precedent for further lawsuits. Photo by Dan Keinan.
Regardless of their statement, the customer’s lawsuit included a medical opinion linking mobile phone use and his disease, which raises questions about Partner. Was it concerned the opinion would be legally validated if the case when to court? Was it worried about a precedent? Did it prefer to sign the compromise agreement to save face in the media?
This particular settlement by Partner is liable to have an effect on cell phone companies and open the floodgates to a barrage of individual and class-action lawsuits, providing plenty of work for lawyers specializing in the field. Following a ruling in the United States requiring tobacco companies to pay damages for cancer patients who had smoked, lawsuits poured in and the value of tobacco companies plummeted as a result.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

WestJet - We'll protect people from peanuts but we will subject all passengers and crew to a strong possible carcinogen for hours on each flight.

WestJet - We'll protect people from peanuts but we will subject all passengers and crew to a strong possible carcinogen for hours on each flight.

From: "Bob Cummings" <>Sent: Sunday, March 02, 2014 11:47 AM
Subject: Wi-fi sensitivity

Dear Mr. Riedlinger,

First, sorry for my tardy reply.

Thank you for your email outlining your concerns regarding WestJet’s plans
to introduce wi-fi on board its aircraft. I understand you have issues
with our plans to introduce this service and I would like to highlight a
few elements to address these concerns.

The safety and well-being of our people and our guests is of the utmost
concern for WestJet and stands as the principle value upon which we
operate our airline.

Health Canada is the government agency responsible for the health and
well-being of Canadians and has addressed concerns that have been raised
in the past regarding exposure to wi-fi signals.

From the Health Canada website:

A number of media reports have suggested that Wi-Fi could be associated
with a variety of health concerns. Yet, there is no convincing scientific
evidence that exposure to low-level radio frequency (RF) energy from Wi-Fi
causes adverse health effects in humans.

RF energy levels from Wi-Fi equipment in all areas accessible to the
general public are required to meet Health Canada's exposure guidelines.
The limits specified in the guidelines are based on an ongoing review of
thousands of published scientific studies on the health impacts of RF
energy. Based on scientific evidence, Health Canada has determined that
exposure to low-level RF energy, such as that from Wi-Fi equipment, is not
dangerous to the public.


From Health Canada’s website regarding the safety of wi-fi equipment, the
federal agency continues:

As long as RF energy levels remain below Health Canada's RF safety
guidelines, current scientific evidence supports the assertion that RF
energy emissions from Wi-Fi devices are not harmful. Health Canada's
conclusions are consistent with the findings of other international bodies
and regulators, including the World Health Organization, the International
Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, the Institute of
Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the U.K. Health Protection

RF energy exposure from Wi-Fi equipment in all areas accessible to the
general public are required to meet Health Canada's safety guidelines. The
limits specified in the guidelines are far below the threshold for adverse
health effects and are based on an ongoing review of thousands of
published scientific studies on the health impacts of RF energy. The
public exposure limits apply to everyone, including children, and allow
for continuous, 24/7 exposure.


 I respect your opinion regarding wi-fi and in particular the use of it
onboard our aircraft but based on the information and body of evidence
available we will proceed with the implementation of wi-fi onboard our


 Bob Cummings
 EVP, Sales, Marketing & Guest Experience
 403 837 0471 (cell)
In Reply
Bob Cummings
EVP, Sales, Marketing & Guest Experience
WestJet Airlines
15 March 2014

Dear Mr Cummins
I am responding to your message to Robert Riedlinger dated Mar 2 2014, in which you stated: there is no convincing scientific evidence that exposure to low-level radio frequency (RF) energy from Wi-Fi causes adverse health effects in humans.
Your statement is completely wrong and may cause great danger to your passengers, and it is very important that you find the correct information. 
This is a link to a video that was taken by Global TV showing how a Wi Fi router seriously affects my heart - .  Besides changing my heart rate, wireless exposure causes me and many other people tachycardia and arrhythmias.  These conditions can be life threatening, specially when trapped inside the metal body of a passenger aircraft.  Wi Fi on your aircraft is likely to cause heart attacks, serious blood pressure problems and a host of other illnesses to some passengers.  On aircraft that are already using this dangerous technology, you should alert all aircrew to immediately turn off the Wi Fi system when any passenger reports a sudden sickness or heart problems when exposed to microwave radiation and flying on your aircraft.  This is an important fact that may help to save lives.
In case you need further information about wireless radiation being a serious cardiac risk factor, please see this video of Dr. Stephen Sinatra, heart surgeon and author - talking about 'Wireless Microwave Radiation: The New Cardiac Risk Factor'.
I do not understand why you would be happy about filling the interior of your aircraft with a strong source of a possible carcinogen - .  This seems to make your statement - 'The safety and well-being of our people and our guests is of the utmost concern for WestJet and stands as the principle value upon which we operate our airline' - utter nonsense.  The World Health Organization classes wireless radiation as 'a possible carcinogen' but several scientific studies indicate that it is a very harmful carcinogen.  Why would you risk passenger and crew safety, when this is commonly known?
Much of the scientific literature on the adverse health effects of microwave radiation applies to levels of exposure which are much below Canada's Safety Code Six.  That scientific information is available to you from many sources but I can highly recommend The Bioinitiative Report, .  If you chose to ignore this information you will be placing your customers in great danger and your company in danger of large financial settlements to those who may be harmed by Wi Fi.
I would also think that your employees may be able to make the case that an aircraft filled with a possible carcinogen, that damages DNA, that changes blood composition, that causes neurological harm etc. can be described as a dangerous workplace for workplace compensation and legal purposes.
In this one document you can see what the US military knew about the dangers of wireless radiation thirty eight years ago - , so please do not try to say that Wi Fi and wireless radiation is safe.
Instead of Wi Fi, I highly recommend that you show this important EMF documentary on your longer flights - , it would educate your passengers about some of the unknown dangers they face.
If you need further evidence about the dangers of Wi Fi and wireless radiation, I would be pleased to assist you.
Martin Weatherall
Co Director WEEP

W.H.O. Knew: The Elephant in the Room

W.H.O. Knew: The Elephant in the Room

An excellent article about the World Health Organization's failure to call for precaution when using wireless devices and recommend avoidance of exposure to radiofrequency radiation in their World Cancer Report 2014.  They did call for prevention of obesity and physical inactivity, neither of which have ever been listed as carcinogens:
This is an important article that you should consider distributing widely to the press, politicians, environment groups, health professionals etc.


“What was the future trajectory of this RF-EMF Spectrum classification given new science that had come along since May of 2011?” the gentleman queried.  “Since Dr. Lennart Hardell, the scientist whose science was considered as part of the 2B classification, had come out in 2013 and said the classification should now be Group 1, meaning RF radiation is a known human carcinogen, might IARC upgrade the RF Spectrum to 2A, or even Group 1 – a known carcinogen?”  Catching a quick breath, he continued, “In short, RF radiation causes cancer, the concern among independent scientists appears to be growing, and what does the panel see as a potential for upgrading the warning about RF radiation’s status as a carcinogen?”

Dr. Christopher Wild responded to the gentleman mounting the challenge, saying he was a part of that Working Group in May 2011 and up to this point in time there was “no new evidence which suggests there is any cause for concern.”

Prof. Bernard Stewart attempted to further defuse the Advisor’s identification of the Elephant in the Room by saying there was a “mention” of RF radiation in the report and “we are aware.”  The Advisor later found “the mention” around page 140 – in a report of 650 pages.

The RRT Advisor stood his ground.  He told the scientists he had been investigating the dangers around microwave radiation through Wi-Fi and mobile phones for a number of years and he has found there is clear evidence of serious health risks.  Then as if raising the elephant’s trunk himself and trumpeting the truly unspoken, the Advisor reminded the panel they were in a great position to prevent many cancers, and that many people are falling ill.

An uncomfortable shift could be felt in the room.  The Advisor asked one final question:  “Would Drs. Wild and Stewart have a problem with people of all ages being exposed to RF radiation 24/7?”  Dr. Stewart voiced his opinion in a professorial fashion, “I would have no problem at all.”