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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 4/21/15

"Aiming to First Do No Harm: The Education of Electronics Users"

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Since 1996, telecom corporations have rolled out infrastructure that supports higher speeds, greater bandwidth and more ubiquitous services. Federal and local governments, school boards, businesses, hospitals and individuals have purchased devices in step with this infrastructure. Gas, water and electricity providers now commonly measure every household and office building's utility usage with wireless transmitting "smart" meters.

What are the consequences of such deployment for infants in utero, for children with developing brains, for those who began using mobile devices as children, for anyone who works and sleeps in Wi-Fi and uses a cell phone? What are the consequences of using a mobile device for more than six minutes? Of living, studying or working within 100 feet of a cell tower?

What are the health and environmental effects of EMR exposure that Section 704 of the Telecommunications Act prohibits municipalities from considering?

Answers to these questions are usually divided between the thermal and non-thermal effects of exposure.

When exposure heats tissue, like it does when you put meat in a microwave oven, you have a thermal effect.

To determine whether cell phones are safe, engineers took a 200-pound mannequin--a Standard Anthropomorphic Man, called SAM. They filled SAM's head with salty fluid and took his temperature. Then they gave him a cell phone for six minutes. Because this plastic dummy's temperature did not change by two degrees within those six minutes, the FCC determined that you can safely use a mobile phone.

What are the non-thermal effects of exposure?

Before I share some of these studies--and you can find thousands of them at places like and that U.S. telecom corporations will not give their subscribers' usage data to epidemiologists. Peer-reviewed studies about EMR's biological effects come primarily from other countries and the World Health Organization.

Let me name some of these studies' findings: Man-made EMR exposure affects the rate of calcium efflux through cell membranes, melatonin production and metabolism, the brain's metabolic rate, and the rate of DNA breakage, exactly what the President's 1971 report warned could become disastrous to the public health.

Three independent, case-controlled studies find a two-to-three-fold increased risk for brain cancer from using a cell phone.

People who begin using a digital cell phone as teenagers or younger have a 420% increased risk of brain cancer.

South Korean teens now commonly have dementia. Their doctors think this comes from excessive screen time--and using only one side of their brains.

If you type "Internet addiction" into Google, you'll find over 29 million sites. "Cell phone addiction" results in four and a half million sites. Frequently now, I read about teenagers and children who become violent when their Internet privileges are taken away. I read statements from physicians who liken Internet addiction to heroin addiction.

Lots of folks just don't feel well after they get Wi-Fi or a new mobile device or their utility installs smart meters or a cell tower goes up nearby. They don't sleep. They develop headaches and memory problems, eye strain, nausea and strange rashes. Plenty of European and Russian studies since the 1960s associate these symptoms and many more with exposure to radiofrequency radiation from military radar and now mobile devices, cell towers, Wi-Fi and smart meters.

As for wildlife, a Spanish biologist studied a common frog habitat 140 meters from a cell tower. He placed metal screens--shields--around some frogs. Two months later, these shielded frogs had a mortality of 4.2%. The unshielded frogs had a mortality of 90%.

In a German study, 65% of bee colonies abandoned their hives after nearby cell towers went live. GMOs, pesticides and monocultures likely also play roles in bee-colony collapse. But ill bees typically die in or near their hives. In this study--as with most cases of bee-colony collapse--no ill bees were found.

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Katie Singer works on public policy with the Electromagnetic Radiation Policy Institute. A medical journalist, her books include The Garden of Fertility; Honoring Our Cycles, and An Electronic Silent Spring: Facing the Dangers and Creating Safe Limits. 

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