European Leaders Call for Ban of Cell Phones and WiFi in Schools
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Browse By CategoryPosted by: Dr. Mercola
June 02 2011
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Next »« PreviousA Council of Europe committee examined evidence that the cell phones and wireless internet connections have "potentially harmful" effects on humans, and decided that immediate action was required to protect children. They ruled that the technologies pose a health risk and should be banned from schools.
The committee report argued that it was crucial to avoid repeating the mistakes made when public health officials failed to recognize the dangers of asbestos, tobacco smoking and lead.
According to the Telegraph:
“The report also highlighted the potential health risks of cordless telephones and baby monitors, which rely on similar technology ... The Council of Europe ... is highly influential in policy-making and has often seen its decisions enacted through conventions and treaties.”
The Telegraph May 14, 2011
Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly May 6, 2011
Dr. Mercola's Comments:
The powerful Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly has echoed the warning I have been making for years now, that children should be protected from cell phones and "one must respect the precautionary principle" in regard to cell phones and other wireless technologies.
In a new report, they conclude that evidence is strong enough to warrant immediate action to protect children and others from the potentially harmful effects of electromagnetic radiation emitted by wireless devices:
"… non-ionizing frequencies, be they sourced from extremely low frequencies, power lines or certain high frequency waves used in the fields of radar, telecommunications and mobile telephony, appear to have more or less potentially harmful, non-thermal, biological effects on plants, insects and animals, as well as the human body when exposed to levels that are below the official threshold values.
One must respect the precautionary principle and revise the current threshold values; waiting for high levels of scientific and clinical proof can lead to very high health and economic costs, as was the case in the past with asbestos, leaded petrol and tobacco."
Experts Advise a Cell Phone Ban in Schools
The European Council has taken the exemplary step of recommending that mobile phones and wireless networks be banned in classrooms and schools. They note, correctly, that young people and children are most vulnerable to emissions of electromagnetic fields and suggest the following:
" … develop within different ministries (education, environment and health) targeted information campaigns aimed at teachers, parents and children to alert them to the specific risks of early, ill-considered and prolonged use of mobiles and other devices emitting microwaves;
" …ban all mobile phones, DECT phones or WiFi or WLAN systems from classrooms and schools, as advocated by some regional authorities, medical associations and civil society organizations"
If you are not yet aware of the increased risks to children from cell phones, I suggest viewing this graphic from the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, which is based on research by Oh Ghandi, PhD at the University of Utah. It shows quite clearly that electromagnetic fields are likely to penetrate the brain far more deeply for children than adults. In fact, due to their thinner skulls, smaller brains and softer brain tissue, children are FAR more susceptible to damage from cell phone use than adults.
Despite this, some schools in the United States have even allowed the installation of cell phone towers directly on school grounds! They are accepting large amounts of money from cell phone companies to do this, helping their budgets, but unfortunately locking them into long-term contracts they will not be able to break once they realize there are serious health hazards.
Cell phones have been widely used for only about a decade, so we haven't even hit the tip of the iceberg in terms of the REAL effects of this radiation exposure. If cell phone popularity continues at its current rate—or increases, which is likely—we could be headed for a brain cancer epidemic the likes of which the world has never seen.
Of course, not everyone who smokes gets lung cancer, and not every cell phone user will develop brain cancer or suffer neurological damage. There are many variables that contribute to your susceptibility.
But why risk it?
Why gamble with your life or the life of your child?
European Leaders Call for Immediate Precautionary Approach to Cell Phones
You may be surprised to learn that several countries including France, Germany and India have already issued recommendations to limit exposure to electromagnetic fields, including those from cell phones and other wireless technologies.
This includes Toronto's Department of Public Health, which has advised teenagers and young children to limit their use of cell phones to avoid potential health risks.
What these countries are doing is applying the precautionary principle, and taking action now to protect their population from a potentially devastating health tragedy. This is precisely the advice given in the new European report, which calls for the 47 member states of the Council of Europe to:
"Take all reasonable measures to reduce exposure to electromagnetic fields, especially to radio frequencies from mobile phones, and particularly the exposure to children and young people who seem to be most at risk from head tumors"
"Put in place information and awareness-raising campaigns on the risks of potentially harmful long-term biological effects on the environment and on human health, especially targeting children, teenagers and young people of reproductive age"
"Pay particular attention to "electrosensitive" persons suffering from a syndrome of intolerance to electromagnetic fields and introduce special measures to protect them, including the creation of wave-free areas not covered by the wireless network"
"Raise awareness on potential health risks of DECT-type wireless telephones, baby monitors and other domestic appliances which emit continuous pulse waves, if all electrical equipment is left permanently on standby, and recommend the use of wired, fixed telephones at home or, failing that, models which do not permanently emit pulse waves"
"Set preventive thresholds for levels of long-term exposure to microwaves in all indoor areas, in accordance with the precautionary principle, not exceeding 0.6 volts per metre, and in the medium term to reduce it to 0.2 volts per metre"
Last year, the U.S. President's Cancer Panel, which pointed to cell phones and other wireless technologies as potential causes of cancer, similarly reported "when credible evidence exists that there may be a hazard, a precautionary approach should be adopted and alternatives should be sought to remove the potential hazard and still achieve the same social benefit."
In the case of cell phones and wireless technologies, there is more than credible evidence that a hazard exists, and immediate steps should be taken to prevent further exposure.
It's Still Too Soon to See the Damage …
One of the most important points made by the European Council report, which most mainstream studies attempt to downplay or completely ignore, is the fact that the latency period for brain tumors from cell phone use may be three to four decades.
As the report noted, cell phone use is still a new phenomenon, so its true impact has yet to be seen:
"Obviously, in evolutionary terms, living or working in artificial electromagnetic extremely low frequency and high frequency fields, on top of the electromagnetic fields naturally occurring in the environment, is still a relatively new experience for human beings, fauna and flora.
It goes back no further than fifty years or so, when intensive industrial and domestic exposure began with radars, radio waves and televisions and electromagnetic fields generated by high-voltage lines and household electrical appliances.
It was only from the 1990s onwards that the new telephony and wireless mobile communication technologies began to boom ever faster Europe-wide and even worldwide thanks to increasingly diverse and sophisticated applications: mobile telephones, cordless telephones, WiFi, WLAN (wireless local area network), etc."
So many current studies showing "no risk" from cell phone use are flawed because they're focused on the short term -- too short to predict the real heath outcome for heavy users who start using the technology at an early age.
For example, Devra Davis, PhD, of the Environmental Health Trust, has also pointed out the danger of believing the media spin of a European study published in 2009 that proclaimed cell phones safe.
In that study, researchers analyzed annual incidence rates of two types of brain tumors -- glioma and meningioma -- among adults aged 20 to 79 from Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden from 1974 to 2003. But they did NOT tie these trends in any way to actual patterns of use of cell phones!
"In Sweden, Norway and Finland, about half of all persons had cell phones in 2000," Davis said. "It would be unreasonable to expect to see any general population effect from such phone use in such a short period of time. Scientists know that brain cancer can take a decade or longer to develop in adults."
It has taken almost a century for smoking to morph from a popular, seemingly sophisticated and "harmless" practice into what's now regarded as a nasty habit that will lead you to an early grave. It took decades of cancer deaths for the truth to finally meet the public's eye.
In the same way the dangers of smoking were downplayed and ignored for so many years, the adverse effects of cell phone radiation are not acknowledged by the media, and therefore remain unknown to the majority of consumers.
The Risks Can No Longer be Ignored
Despite what you may have heard, the link between cell phone use and brain tumors is well substantiated and backed by more than 100 scientific studies.
In 2008, Dr. Vini Gautam Khurana, a Mayo Clinic-trained neurosurgeon with an advanced neurosurgery fellowship in cerebral vascular and tumor microsurgery, concluded:
"There is currently enough evidence and technology available to warrant industry and governments alike in taking immediate steps to reduce exposure of consumers to mobile phone-related electromagnetic radiation and to make consumers clearly aware of potential dangers and how to use this technology sensibly and safely."
Besides brain tumors, scientists have shown that radiation from cell phones and other wireless devices can:
Harm your blood cells and cause cellular changes Possibly accelerate and contribute to onset of autism, and trigger Alzheimer's disease
Damage your DNA Damage your eyes
Cause nerve-cell damage Cause sleep disruptions, fatigue and headaches
There are now numerous peer-reviewed published studies showing harm. For a great overview of the latest research that helps explain the mechanism that causes damage to cells and DNA, please see this recent article featuring Martin Blank, PhD of Columbia University.
And for a more comprehensive summary of the science see the Electrosensitivity Primer, developed for physicians by Michael Bevington in the U.K., which documents hundreds of studies, or the legendary Ecolog Report, commissioned by T-Mobile and Deutsche Telecom MobilNet GmbH. This report offers an extensive, well-organized summary of the known biological effects from microwave radiation, as does the BioInitiave Report, much of which was later published in Pathophysiology.
Please Use These Tips to Protect Yourself and Your Family
All the evidence points to the fact that our current safety standards are seriously inappropriate to protect you and your family. It is beginning to be more widely accepted that our rapidly expanding wireless technologies must be properly evaluated, first of all, and the precautionary principle must be invoked when new technologies emerge.
But as it stands, governments are not going far enough to protect you, and you can't completely avoid radiation in today's wireless world. But, you can at least minimize your exposure by heeding the following advice:
Children Should Always Avoid Using 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 and also because they have not yet completed their child-bearing years.
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.
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). As many portable phones are 5.8 Gigahertz, we recommend you look for RF meters that go up to 8 Gigahertz, the highest range now available in a meter suitable for consumers.
Alternatively you can be very careful with the base station placement as that causes the bulk of the problem since it transmits signals 24/7, even when you aren't talking. So if you can keep the base station at least three rooms away from where you spend most of your time, and especially your bedroom, they may not be as damaging to your health. Another option is to just simply turn the portable phone off, only using it when you specifically need the convenience of moving about while on a call.
Ideally it would be helpful to turn off your base station every night before you go to bed.
You can find RF meters as well as remediation supplies at www.emfsafetystore.com. But 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. Placing a cell phone in a shirt pocket over the heart is asking for trouble, as is placing it in a man's pocket if he seeks to preserve his fertility. (See ElectromagneticHealth.org's Letter to Parents on Fertility and Other Risks to Children from Wireless Technologies)
Don't Assume One Cell Phone is Safer Than Another. There's no such thing as a "safe" cell phone.
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.
Respect Others Who are More Sensitive: Some people who have become sensitive can feel the effects of others' cell phones 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.
Use a Safe 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 most 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.
Cell Phones Raise Children's Risk of Brain Cancer 500 Percent
45 Healthy Adults Used a Cell Phone for 50 Minutes - What Happened?
What is the Real Cancer Threat from Cell Phones?
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