Raise awareness of environmental health issues in order to better protect our children and future generations.

EMF Studies

08 December 2016

Switzerland: News from Parliament: Council of States Buries Motion on Easing Non-Ionizing Radiation Norms

News from the Swiss Parliament
rts.info, 8 December 2016

Mobile telephony:  No question of easing radiation norms

The Council of States has buried a motion by the National Council on limit values for non-ionizing radiation by a narrow margin (20 votes against, 19 for, and 3 abstentions).

The Upper Chamber believes there is no question of placing the demands of the operators before the health of the population because there exists too much doubt about the effects of these rays.

The development of the mobile network is being held back in Switzerland by very strict conditions regarding protection against non-ionizing radiation, pleaded Hans Wicki (PLR/NW).  Lowering norms could facilitate construction of new mobile phone antennas.

The only other option is to contruct thousands of new base stations.  Of the 15,000 existing mobile phone installations, more than 6,000 have already reached the authorized limit values.

Original article in French:

Should Children Get to Have Cellphones in Elementary School?

One Maryland school district could allow elementary
schoolchildren to take cellphones and other devices to
school if a proposed update to district regulations is
adopted.  (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
Should children get to have cellphones in elementary school?
by Donna St. George, The Washington Post, 7 December 2016

The youngest children in Montgomery County’s public schools could soon be allowed to bring cellphones and other electronic devices to campus under newly proposed rules.

Students would not be able to use the devices during the school day in elementary schools unless a teacher permits them as part of classroom instruction, but students could use phones and tablets after dismissal or on school buses if the rules pass.

“The reality is, they are in our elementaries now,” said Patricia O’Neill, a county school board member who noted that cellphones are “ubiquitous” in middle schools and high schools. She said the proposed change would largely focus on “keeping up with the times.”

Winners and Losers of 21st Century Cures Bill

(Choice of image by Editor of "Towards Better Health")
The losers?  Public health and consumer and patient safety groups.  There is no mention of prevention here.  This bill will further erode the health of Americans.

Winners and losers of 21st Century Cures bill becomes law

Sydney Lupkin and Steven Findlay | NPR, Kaiser Health News, 3  December 2016

A sprawling health bill expected to pass the Senate, gain President Obama's signature and become law before the end of the year is a grab bag for industries, academic institutions and patient groups that spent oodles of time and money lobbying to advance their interests.

Who wins and who loses?

Here's the rundown of what's at stake in the 21st Century Cures Act:


Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Companies

United States: $5 Billion 21st Century Cures Act Is a Huge Handout to the Drug and Medical Device Industries

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), left, embraces Rep. Fred Upton
(R-Mich.), the sponsor of the 21st Century Cures Act.
(Susan Walsh / Associated Press)
No provision for prevention in this bill. It cuts $3.5 billion, or about 30%, from Obamacare’s Prevention and Public Health Fund. It favors Big Pharma, the medical device industry, computer, software, and telecoms companies, among others. It is an offense to consumer and patient safety groups, reducing regulations on drug and medical devices and failing to lower the high prices of medications.

Column : The 21st Century Cures Act: A huge handout to the drug industry disguised as a pro-research bounty
by Michael HiltzikContact Reporter, latimes.com, 5 December 2016

The problem with bills in Congress that roar toward passage like juggernauts is that they’re especially worthy of close examination, and especially unlikely to get it. That’s the story with the 21st Century Cures Act, which reaches the Senate this week after achieving overwhelming bipartisan support in the House. Almost certain approval by President Obama lies on the horizon.

07 December 2016

Parents Who Want Kids to Get Off Their Phones Should Look in the Mirror First

Photographer:  SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg
Parents who want kids to get off their phones should look in the mirror first
by Hayley Tsukayama, The Washington Post, 
6 December 2016 

Want to get your kids off their phones and back into the real world? A new study suggests that before you launch into the lecture about how you only see the tops of their heads these days, you may want to take stock of what your own technology habits are telling your kids.

Parents are spending an average of 9 hours and 22 minutes with screen media per day, the study found -- and only an hour and a half of that is for work. That means parents use their devices overall as much as their teens and tween. In fact the average parent spends about a half-hour more each day in the glow of screens than the average teen, excluding school or time spent with homework.

United States: Auto Safety Regulators Seek a Driver Mode to Block Apps

Highway safety administrators are increasingly concerned
about distractions posed by smartphones and the apps
that Americans use while behind the wheel.  
Fabrizio Costantini for The New York Times
Auto Safety Regulators Seek a Driver Mode to Block Apps
by Neal E. Boudette, The New York Times, 
22 November 2016

Apple iPhones and other hand-held devices have long had an airplane mode that shuts off wireless communications to prevent interference with the vast electronics systems that control modern aircraft.

Now federal auto safety regulators want makers of these devices to add a driver mode to modify or block certain apps and features to keep a driver’s attention on the road.

The initiative comes in the form of voluntary guidelines that will be issued Wednesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They arrive amid a spike in traffic fatalities in the last two years and increasing concerns about the distractions posed by smartphones and the many apps that Americans are using while behind the wheel.

United Kingdom: Asbestos Claims Hit £10 Million Over English Schools

2 million microscopic asbestos fibres
could fit on a pin head.  
US Geological Survey
Asbestos claims hit £10m over English schools
by David Rhodes, BBC News, 2 December 2016

Councils in England have paid out at least £10m in compensation to people who developed illnesses because of asbestos in school buildings.

Figures obtained by BBC News show that in the past decade 32 councils have settled claims from former teachers, school staff or pupils.

The National Union of Teachers says up to 300 adults die each year because of exposure to asbestos while at school.

The government says it is investing £23bn to improve school buildings.

But campaigners warn that the presence of asbestos in schools continues to put pupils lives at risk.

U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration Warns of Worker Deaths Tied to 5G Rollout

[Even one death is too many, but, in addition to communication tower workers, how many of us will sicken and die from exposure to 5G technology?]

OSHA warns of worker deaths tied to bandwidth sale, 5G rollout
by Gloria Gonzalez, businessinsurance.com, 1st December 2016

The Federal Communications Commission’s planned auction of bandwidth from broadcast television to wireless carriers and the upcoming rollout of faster wireless internet access will increase workplace safety risks, according to an OSHA official.

Six communications towers workers have died in 2016, twice the number who died last year, according to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

06 December 2016

Poland: Protection of Population from Mobile Tower Radiation

Dariuz Leszczynski will deliver an opening presentation on  "Cell Phone Radiation, Health Hazard and Precaution" at the EMF conference in Warsaw, Poland on 15 December 2016.   We are posting his June article on the Polish government's act to protect the population from the radiation emitted by mobile base stations. 

Here is what he has written about the conference:
"As part of the process, science on EMF and health is being evaluated and a conference was organized by the National Institute of Telecommunications on “Medical, Biological, Technical and Legal Aspects of Electromagnetic Field Influence on Environment” (warsaw-conference-on-emf). Speakers from Poland, Finland and Japan will be presenting the latest research and opinions about EMF technology and health."

Conference will take place on December 15, 2016 at the Hotel Mercure Warszawa Grand, Warszawa, 28 Krucza Street.

Slides of the  presentation, as well as brief report from the conference will be available after the meeting on his blog.

Ref:  https://betweenrockandhardplace.wordpress.com/2016/12/06/leszczynski-to-speak-at-the-emf-conference-in-warsaw-poland/

Poland: Protection of population from mobile tower radiation
by Dariuz Leszczynski, betweenarockandahardplace, 3 June 2016

05 December 2016

Samsung's Aggressive Battery Design Led to the Galaxy Note 7 Explosions

The battery for the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 had very
thin margins for safety.
Report: Samsung's aggressive battery design led to the Galaxy Note 7 explosions
by Alan F., phonearena.com, 4 December 2016

According to a new report, Samsung's aggressive design for the battery employed by the Galaxy Note 7might have been the culprit behind the multiple explosions that led the company to pull the phablet from the market. The way the cell was designed, a pair of polymer layers drenched in electrolytes was used to separate a positive layer made of lithium cobalt oxide, and a negative layer made of graphite. Should those two layers meet, the electrolytes would heat up causing an explosion.

As the report points out, compressing the battery would force the positive and negative layers to squeeze together. Samsung itself said that it might have been too aggressive with the design. In addition, there is a normal amount of swelling that takes place. Some of it comes from the pressure on the battery created through pushing on the back cover (for example, by putting the phone in one's back pocket and then sitting on a chair).