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

EMF Studies

29 December 2016

Infantalizing Robots for the Elderly

Not only children may be adversely affected by interactive robots but also the elderly...  

No to the infantalizing robot
by Martial Van der Linden and Anne-Claude Juillerat Van der Linden, Readers' Mail, Tribune de Genève, 14 June 2016

Certain EMS [homes for the elderly] in the canton have acquired or are planning to acquire, a roboticized baby seal named Paro costing 5,000 francs ($4,900).  This baby seal, which responds to caresses and can also show dissatisfaction would stimulate interactions of persons who have dementia, awakening their emotions and easing their anxiety...

Hatchimals Could Have a Worrying Side Effect on Your Child

A young girl plays with a Hatchimal by Spin Master.
ZUMA Press
"These toys teach children all the wrong lessons about how to relate to other beings."

by Naomi Schaefer Riley, New York Post,
3 December 2016

It has become so difficult to get a Hatchimal, the hot new toy of the season, that parents have reportedly taken to giving their kids apology letters from Santa. One reads: “Dear Children, Due to the current climate within the North Pole, Hatchimals will no longer be given out as presents. We are now forming a colony . . . to protect them from their future decline and possible extinction.”

Hottest Toy of the Holiday Season is Making Kids Cry

"Hatchimal", an interactive robot recommended for children aged 5 and up, is one of the hottest toys this Christmas season. All the fuss - even noted by a lawyers' association ! - is being made over the fact that sometimes the robot inside the egg fails to hatch. But who bothers to be concerned about its "hazardous" features? Who reads the users' manual? Our question is: when will parents wake up to the fact that such "radiating" toys are a danger to children's health?  See excerpts from the manual at the end of this post.

Hottest toy of the holiday season is making kids cry
by Alexandra Klausner, New York Post, 28 December 2016

The season’s most coveted toy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Scores of kids across the country were inconsolable on Christmas morning when their Hatchimal toys failed to come to life.

The European Union Is Banning Toxic Silver Mercury Fillings

The European Union Is Banning Toxic Silver Mercury Fillings
by SafBaby, 20 December 2016

“The children of Europe have won. The next generation in Europe will be safe from mercury dental fillings.”
– Charlie Brown, President of the World Alliance for Mercury-Free Dentistry

This week the EU announced its historical decision to ban the use of amalgam (aka silver mercury) fillings for use in children, pregnant women and breastfeeding women to protect them against the toxic effects of mercury.

The use of mercury “for dental treatment of milk teeth, children under 15 years and pregnant or breastfeeding women will be banned from 1 July 2018 unless there are specific medical needs.” The full text from the landmark announcement on Mercury Pollution released December 16, 2016 is available here.

Once the European Council formally endorses the legislation, it will be sent to the European Parliament for a vote and then back to the Council for final adoption.

Wireless Radiation is the New Asbestos

WIRELESS RADIATION IS THE NEW ASBESTOS
Canadians for Safe Technology
December 2016

The Government of Canada recently announced that it would move forward on a total ban of asbestos and asbestos-containing products by 2018. Kirsty Duncan, the Minister of Science, was quoted as stating, “Protecting the health and safety of Canadians is of utmost importance to the government. There is irrefutable evidence that has led us to take concrete action to ban asbestos.”1 If the Government were truly concerned with the health and safety of Canadians, they would also address the dangers of wireless radiation, learning from history, rather than repeating it.

There are many parallels in the history of asbestos and what is currently happening with wireless radiation in Canada. If we fail to learn the lessons from asbestos, thousands of Canadians will suffer the consequences.

Harmful Effects Only Surface Years Later:

28 December 2016

Got a Chronic Disease? There Will Soon Be a Prescription App for That

Credit:  Christopher Furlong/Staff/Getty
[A hacker's dream?]

Got a chronic disease? There will soon be a prescription app for that
by Daniel Kraft, wired.co.uk, 
26 December 2016

The healthcare industry is poised to start treating illnesses with a little help from big data

The era of "Quantified Self" (a term coined in 2007 by US WIRED founding executive editor Kevin Kelly) is relatively new. The first Fitbit digital step counters launched in late 2009 and we've since seen an explosion of various wearables, apps and digital health devices all riding the exponential wave of smaller and cheaper mobile-connected and app-ified sensors and computing.

Should You Dump Your Smartphone for a Flip-Phone?

Actress Scarlett Johansson. (Credit: Getty Images)
"The rise of the flip-phone is a reaction to feeling as if one is subservient to your smartphone. Adopting a flip-phone is a bold and luxurious statement to proclaim that you have control."

Should you dump your smartphone for a flip-phone?
by Nick Clayton, BBC News, 21 April 2016

Bigwigs, celebrities and ordinary people are saying no to smartphones and going — or staying — old school flip.
Editor’s Note (26 December 2016): Through the end of the year, BBC Capital is bringing back some of your favourite stories from 2016.

On the subway, commuting into the heart of New York City, Danny Groner stands out. He is one of the only people in the carriage not staring at a small screen.

He’s proud to not be one of the more than two-thirds of Americans who own a smartphone.

Like billionaire business leaders Warren Buffett and Blackstone private equity’s Stephen Schwartzman, Groner's only mobile connection with the world is an old-school flip-phone used just for calls and SMS (text messages).

Early Pregnancy Flu Shots: New Research Hints of Autism Link

Early Pregnancy Flu Shots: New Research Hints of Autism Link
by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Lyn Redwood, RN, MSN, EcoWatch, 22 December 2016

A Nov. 19 study, of 45,231 women, published in JAMA Pediatrics, identified a heightened risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis in the children of mothers who received a flu shot during their first trimester of pregnancy. The study, Association Between Influenza Infection and Vaccination During Pregnancy and Risk of Autism Spectrum Disorder, was authored by Ousseny Zerbo and his colleagues affiliated with the Division of Research at Kaiser Permanente.

While the researchers found no increased risk when the mother received flu shots in the second or third trimester, the data demonstrated a 20 percent higher risk of an autism spectrum disorder among children of mothers receiving the flu vaccine during the first trimester. That risk was statistically significant. (The P value, .01, indicates a 99 percent likelihood that the result isn't due to chance.)

27 December 2016

These Toys Don't Just Listen to Your Kid, They Send What They Hear to a Defense Contractor

“With the growing Internet of Things, American consumers face unprecedented levels of surveillance in their most private spaces, and young children are uniquely vulnerable to these invasive practices.”

These Toys Don't Just Listen to Your Kid, They Send What They Hear to a Defense Contractor
by Kate Cox, consumerist.com, 
6 December 2016

Kids say a lot of random, unsolicited, or just plain personal things to their toys while playing. When that toy is stuffed with just fluff and beans, it doesn’t matter what the kid says: their toy is a safe sounding board. When their playtime companion is an internet-connected recording device that ships off audio files to a remote server without even notifying parents — that’s a whole other kind of problem.

According to a coalition of consumer-interest organizations, the makers of two “smart” kids toys — the My Friend Cayla doll and the i-Que Intelligent Robot — are allegedly violating laws in the U.S. and overseas by collecting this sort of voice data without obtaining consent.

Should We Be Afraid of Waves? (Article in Swiss Consumers' Magazine)

[Young children - or anyone, for that matter, should NOT
hold a cell phone next to their ear.]
Should we be afraid of waves?
by Sandra Imsand, Fédération romande des consommateurs, 6 December 2016 (translated by the Editor of "Towards Better Health"

Harmful or inoffensive, electromagnetic fields emitted by electronic gadgets continue to divide scientists and the population

High frequency radiation?  The subject has been written about extensively for many years.  While 97% of the population over age 16 uses a mobile phone or a smartphone, the harm caused by waves is disregarded.  It is all the more problematical as inumerous devices are emitting all the time.  From connected watches to eyeglasses to enhanced reality, the number of gadgets carried permanently on oneself or close to the head is alarming.

The Hidden Energy Cost of Smart Homes

Controlling our homes with the tap of an app may have
hidden energy costs.  Smart home image from
www.shutterstock.com
In one recent estimate, connected devices were forecast to grow globally from 10 billion in 2014 to between 30 billion and 50 billion by 2020. With potentially billions of networked devices in the not-too-distant future, globally these impacts could be considerable.

The hidden energy cost of smart homes
theconversation.com, 12 June 2016

Light globes that change colour with the tap of an app, coffee machines you can talk to, and ovens that know exactly how long to cook your food: our homes are getting smart. These devices, just a few examples of what is known as “the internet of things” (or IOT), have been called the “next great disruptor” and “the second digital revolution”.

1 Out of Every 6 American Adults Takes Psychiatric Drugs

1 Out of Every 6 American Adults Takes Psychiatric Drugs
by Joe Graedon, People's Pharmacy,
15 December 2016

Tens of millions of Americans take anti-anxiety agents, antidepressants, sleeping pills and antipsychotic medications. Never stop such drugs suddenly!

The numbers are startling: one in six American adults has taken a psychiatric drug. This is the finding from a study reported in JAMA Internal Medicine (online, Dec. 12, 2016). The researchers reviewed data from 2013 on medical expenditures. Extrapolating from their calculations, we estimate that over 40 million Americans are likely taking psychiatric drugs.

Antidepressants, Anti-Anxiety Agents & Sleeping Pills Top the List:

As Prices 'Skyrocket,' 20 States Sue Drug Companies for Collusion, Conspiracy

"Prices for dozens of generic drugs have uncharacteristically
risen - some have skyrocketed - for no apparent reason,"
the federal lawsuit alleges
(Photo: Jamie/flickr/cc)
As Prices 'Skyrocket,' 20 States Sue Drug Companies for Collusion, Conspiracy
by Deirdre Fulton, staff writer, Common Dreams, 15 December 2016

'We have evidence of widespread participation in illegal conspiracies across the generic drug industry,' says Connecticut attorney general

Twenty state attorneys general filed a lawsuit on Thursday against several pharmaceutical companies, accusing them of entering into "numerous illegal conspiracies" to fix generic drug prices at consumers' expense.

Privacy Protections for Wearable Devices Are Weak

Credit:  Center for Digital Democracy and American University
Privacy protections for wearable devices are weak, study says
by Grant Gross, computerworld.com, 
15 December 2016

Wearables are collecting a huge amount of personal information, but regulations are lax, privacy groups say

The rapidly expanding wearable device market raises serious privacy concerns, as some device makers collect a massive amount of personal data and share it with other companies, according to a new study.

Existing health privacy laws don't generally apply to wearable makers, the study says. While consumers are embracing fitness trackers, smart watches, and smart clothing, a "weak and fragmented" health privacy regulatory system in the U.S. fails to give consumers the privacy protections they may expect, said the study, released Thursday by the Center for Digital Democracy and the School of Communication at American University.

Planned Obsolescence: Why the Products You Buy are Designed to Break

Planned Obsolescence: Why the Products You Buy are Designed to Break
by Sofo Archon, Guest writer for Wake Up World, 12 December 2016

How many times have you bought an electronic device, only to find out that it has stopped functioning properly just a short time after your purchase? You spent so much money on it, and suddenly you’re sad to know that it’s not working well anymore. The result? Wasted expenses, labor, energy and finite resources, not to mention the toxic waste that ends up in landfills, poisoning the planet.

But why is that so? Why is it that most products’ lifespan is so short, considering the advanced modern technological means of production? The answer is planned obsolescence.

Planned Obsolescence and the Cycle of Perpetual Consumption

Artificial Intelligence Makes Way into Daily Life

Mark Zuckerberg, chairman and CEO of Facebook,
unveiled his new artificial intelligence assistant named
'Jarvis' on December 19.  (AP file photo)
[Will these technologies really “help improve our safety, our health, and our productivity”?]

As the year ends, artificial intelligence makes way into daily life
AFP, San Francisco / hindustanitimes.com, 
23 December 2016

Mark Zuckerberg envisions a software system inspired by the ‘Iron Man’ character Jarvis as a virtual butler managing his household.

The Facebook founder’s dream is about artificial intelligence, which is slowly but surely creeping into our daily lives, no longer just science fiction.

Artificial intelligence or AI is getting a foothold in people’s homes, starting with the Amazon devices like its Echo speaker which links to a personal assistant ‘Alexa’ to answer questions and control connected devices such as appliances or light bulbs.

U.S. Government Quietly Starts Asking Travelers for Social Media Accounts

Social media accounts are "gateways into an enormous 
amount of [users'] online expression and associations, which
can reflect highly sensitive information about that person's
opinions, beliefs, identity, and community."
(Photo: The Hamster Factor/flickr/cc)
US Government Quietly Starts Asking Travelers for Social Media Accounts
by Nadia Prupis, staff writer, Common Dreams, 23 December 2016

Controversial program met with opposition from civil liberties groups when first proposed in June

The U.S. government has quietly started to ask foreign travelers to hand over their social media accounts upon arriving in the country, a program that aims to spot potential terrorist threats but which civil liberties advocates have long opposed as a threat to privacy.

The program has been active since Tuesday, asking travelers arriving to the U.S. on visa waivers to voluntarily enter information associated with their online presence, including "Facebook, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube, as well as a space for users to input their account names on those sites," Politico reports.

WHO RF EHC Core Group Membership is Unacceptable

WHO Monograph on Radiofrequency Radiation and ICNIRP
Lennart Hardell's blog, 21 December 2016

There is growing international concern on the biased representation of persons in the preparation of the WHO Monograph on Radiofrequency Radiation. As discussed earlier the group is dominated by members of ICNIRP. In fact the Ethical Board at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden concluded already in 2008 that being a member of ICNIRP may be a conflict of interest that should be stated in scientific publications (Karolinska Institute Diary Number 3753-2008-609).

A recent letter to WHO [Dr. Emilie van Deventer] written by members of the BioInitiative Working Group describes the unbalanced ‘no-risk’ group at WHO preparing the document. The full text may be read here.

https://lennarthardellenglish.wordpress.com/2016/12/21/who-monograph-on-radiofrequency-radiation-and-icnirp/

U.S. Wearables Market is Doing Much Worse than Expected

U.S. wearables market is doing much worse than expected
by Sarah Perez (@sarahintampa), techcrunch.com, 21 December 2016

Apple may still be claiming that sales of its Apple Watch are “doing great,” but overall, the wearable device category is failing to grow at the rates forecasted earlier. According to a new report from eMarketer, wearables like Apple Watch and Fitbit were expected to grow more than 60 percent year-over-year from 2015 to 2016. However, the firm is now cutting that estimate down to just 25 percent growth this year.

“Smartwatches in particular,” the report said, “have failed to impress customers.”

Unlike other device categories, wearable devices have struggled to gain traction beyond early adopters. And with smartwatches, consumers struggle to find a reason to buy.


22 December 2016

United States: Rise in Infant Drug Dependence Is Felt Most in Rural Areas

Two Massachusetts sisters, including one reaching into
crib, who were born dependent on methadone.  Their
mother is a recovering heroin addict.  Credit:
Peter Pereira/Standard-Times, via Associated Press
Rise in Infant Drug Dependence Is Felt Most in Rural Areas
by Catherine Saint Louis, The New York Times, 12 December 2016

As the opioid epidemic sweeps through rural America, an ever-greater number of drug-dependent newborns are straining hospital neonatal units and draining precious medical resources.

The problem has grown more quickly than realized and shows no signs of abating, researchers reported on Monday. Their study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, concludes for the first time that the increase in drug-dependent newborns has been disproportionately larger in rural areas.

Sanders Calls for Investigation of Big Pharma Drug Pushers Over Shocking New Report

Unfettered shipments of opioids "amount to 433 pain pills
for every, man, woman and child in West Virginia," notes
Charleston Gazette-Mail reporter Eric Eyre.
(Photo:  Melanie Tata/cc/flickr)
A recent article by Dr. Mercola, posted on this blog, Opioid addiction appears to be a significant contributor to declining life expectancy in the United States.

Sanders Calls for Investigation of Big Pharma Drug Pushers Over Shocking New Report
by Lauren McCauley, staff writer, Common Dreams, 20 December 2016

From 2007-2012, the Big Three wholesalers earned a combined $17 billion while they collectively shipped 423 million pain pills to West Virginia

Drug-pushing, multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical companies should be "investigated and prosecuted," declared Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) in response to revelations that out-of-state drug wholesalers have been pouring highly-addictive and lethal opioids into rural West Virginia towns, reaping profits while countless suffer.

Paraquat: This Pesticide Is Prohibited in Britain. Why Is It Still Being Exported?

Spraying paraquat at a plantation near Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia.  Pesticides that are prohibited in Europe are
exported for sale elsewhere in the world.
Credit: Zainal Abd Halim/Reuters
This Pesticide Is Prohibited in Britain. Why Is It Still Being Exported?
by Danny Hakim, The New York Times,
20 December 2016

Paraquat, one of many pesticides that can’t be used in Europe
but is sold in the United States and elsewhere, has been
linked to Parkinson’s disease in a growing body of research.

HUDDERSFIELD, England — The factory here, set amid a brick campus in a green and hilly industrial town, recently celebrated its centennial.

It produces paraquat, one of the world’s most enduring weed killers — but not one that can be purchased in this part of northern England, in the rest of Britain or across the Channel in the rest of the European Union.

Exxon Mobile is Fighting to Keep Its Dangerous Chemicals in Children's Toys

Examples of unsafe toys are shown during a press conference at the U.S.
Public Interest Group as they release the 29th annual Trouble in Toyland
report about dangerous or toxic toys in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 1, 2014.
Photo:  Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Exxon Mobile is Fighting to Keep Its Dangerous Chemicals in Children's Toys
by Sharon Lerner, theintercept.com, 
20 December 2016

MOST OF US KNOW Exxon Mobil Corp. as an energy giant, which makes sense given that it is the world’s largest publicly held oil and gas company. Rex Tillerson, the company’s CEO, has spent his entire professional life prioritizing Exxon Mobil’s corporate interests over human rights, the environment, and the diplomatic interests of the U.S., all of which has prompted many journalists and commentators to point out that his appointment as secretary of state is not just a terrible idea but a joke seemingly ripped from the pages of a Marxist comic book.

What’s less well known is that Exxon Mobil is also one of the world’s biggest chemical companies, and that its chemical interests also sometimes run counter to those of people in the U.S. and beyond. Petrochemicals accounted for more than a quarter of Exxon Mobil’s $16 billion in net profits last year and wound up in wide range of consumer products such as plastics, tires, batteries, detergents, adhesives, synthetic fibers, and household detergents.

American Lifespan Declines as Obesity and Opioid Epidemic Takes Its Toll

American Lifespan Declines as Obesity and Opioid Epidemic Takes Its Toll
by Dr. Mercola, 21 December 2016

Story at-a-glance

  • For the first time in two decades, life expectancy has declined in the U.S. — a consequence of obesity and rising rates of eight leading causes of death, including heart disease, diabetes, dementia and opioid addiction
  • The decline in life expectancy is primarily caused by a rise in several categories of preventable deaths, highlighting the failure of the American health care system to properly address the root causes of chronic disease
  • Half of Americans are living with chronic illness, and the cost of health care now accounts for 17 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product

For the first time in two decades, life expectancy has declined in the U.S.1,2,3 Obesity appears to have a major role along with the rising rates of eight leading causes of death, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and dementia, the latter of which rose by 15.7 percent rise between 2014 and 2015.

21 December 2016

Kids Turn Violent as Parents Battle 'Digital Heroin' Addiction

"If screens are indeed digital drugs, then schools have become drug dealers." 

Kids turn violent as parents battle ‘digital heroin’ addiction
by Dr. Nicholas Kardarasm nypost.com,
17 December 2016 - Extracts

On August 28, The Post published a piece by Dr. Nicholas Kardaras,“The Frightening Effects of Digital Heroin,” that was based on his book “Glow Kids.” In it, he argued that young children exposed to too much screen time are at risk of developing an addiction “harder to kick than drugs.” The response was overwhelming, generating more than 3.3 million views on The Post’s website and hundreds of letters from anxious parents. Now Dr. Kardaras writes about this parental revolt against digital heroin and reminds readers of the worst effects of the obsession.

Missouri Bill Would Allow People to Opt Out of Smart Meters

Missouri Bill Would Allow People to Opt Out of Smart Meters; Undermine Federal Program
tenthamendmentcenter.com, 16 December 2016

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Dec. 16, 2016) – A bill prefiled in the Missouri legislature for the 2017 session would ensure customers can opt out of installing “smart meter” technology on their homes and businesses. Passage of the bill would allow Missourians to protect their own privacy, and it would take a step toward blocking a federal program in effect.

Rep. Tim Remole (R- Excello) prefiled House Bill 196 (HB196) on Dec. 12. The legislation would require utilities regulated by the Public Service Commission to allow customers to choose between smart meters and traditional meters, and would prohibit utilities from disincentivizing traditional meter usage.

Nicholas Kardaras Petitions U.S. Senate and House for Warning Labels on Cellphones, Computers

Nicholas Kardaras, author of Glow Kids, which warns of the dangers of excessive screen time by children, is petitioning the U.S. Senate and House to demand warning labels on cellphones, computers.  


Kardaras Petitions for Warning Labels on Cellphones, Computers
by Jack O'Dwyer, odwyerpr.com, 
20 December 2016

Psychotherapist Nicholas Kardaras, author of Glow Kids, which warns of the dangers of excessive screen time by children, is petitioning the U.S. Senate and House to demand warning labels on cellphones, computers.

Tweet with Flashing Images Sent to Epileptic Writer

A scene from the Pokemon cartoon that allegedly caused
children to have seizures in Japan.
Tweet with flashing images sent to epileptic writer
BBC News, 19 December 2016

Vanity Fair and Newsweek writer Kurt Eichenwald has claimed he suffered an epileptic seizure after receiving a malicious tweet containing flashing images.

The message, sent from an account which has since been suspended said: "you deserve a seizure for your posts".

Shortly afterwards, Mr Eichenwald's wife tweeted from his account saying the images had caused a seizure.

The incident was reported to the police in the US.

Mercury from Fillings in Your Teeth Can't Go Down Public Sewers Anymore, EPA Rules

Mercury from fillings in your teeth can’t go down public sewers anymore, EPA rules
by Greg Gordon, bellinghamherald.com, 
19 December 2016
ggordon@mcclatchydc.com

WASHINGTON

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has adopted a rule to require dentists, whose treatment of tooth decay with mercury compounds has sent the toxic substance into public sewers for decades, to contain their discharges by early 2020.

On Friday, the day after EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy signed the final rule, European authorities approved a draft rule that would bar dentists from using mercury compounds to fill cavities in vulnerable populations.

United Kingdom: Testimony of Electrohypersensitivity

Kim De'Atta, from Chard, Somerset, is rarely able to
leave her home because of her electromagnetic sensitivity.
To try and protect herself, she wears a shielded head net
(pictured) and sleeps under a net.
Allergic to Wi-Fi: Woman claims electromagnetic waves that cause her crippling headaches have left her housebound
20 Decenber 2916

  • Kim De'Atta firmly believes that she suffers from electromagnetic sensitivity
  • Despite not being recognised by the NHS, many people claim to be affected
  • It causes her migraines whenever she's near Wi-Fi and mobile phone signals
  • To try and protect herself she wears a shielded helmet and sleeps under a net

A woman claims she has been left housebound by mobile phone masts and Wi-Fi in her local area.

Kim De'Atta believes she suffers from electromagnetic sensitivity - meaning signals can cause her migraines, fatigue and infections.

Google Wants Driverless Cars, but Do We?

Daniel Salmieri
Google Wants Driverless Cars, but Do We?
by Jamie Lincoln Kitman, Opinion, The New York Times, 19 December 2016

Love was in the air at President-elect Donald J. Trump’s summit meeting last week with tech executives. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, was really feeling it, coming as it did a day after the company announced that its self-driving technology was ready for commercialization. The meeting was a giant green light for an industry and the multitrillion-dollar investment it will represent, the cost largely to be borne by consumers and government.

Automobile, telecom, tech and e-commerce industries, and their marketers, have spent the last decade enabling the public’s addiction to wired living, working feverishly to bring the phone and the internet into the driving environment. And yet this trend has never been voted on or discussed seriously by our politicians. Even when the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation brought industry leaders to Washington for hearings last spring, congressional interlocutors sought mainly to have their guests tell them how government could help usher in this new age of driverless technology. The assumption was: game on.

Switzerland: Asbestos Fund Set Up to Support Victims

A worker in protective gear clears asbestos from a
Swiss building (Keystone)
Asbestos fund set up to support victims
swissinfo.ch/mga, 19 December 2016

A CHF100 million ($97 million) fund is to be created in Switzerland to offer support for victims of asbestos-related illnesses who are not eligible for accident insurance. The construction industry and insurers will voluntarily contribute to the fund that will run until 2025.

Around 120 people every year develop malignant tumours in Switzerland as a result of having breathed in carcinogenic asbestos fibres. A quarter of these victims cannot claim through accident insurance because their condition is not work related or they were self-employed.

In some cases, people became ill from living near to a building that contained asbestos.

20 December 2016

Monsanto Shareholders Approve Bayer Merger to Form World's Largest Seed and Chemical Company

Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer AG, and Hugh Grant, CEO of
Monsanto.  Credit:  Bayer AG
"The existence of such a powerful player would substantially harm both farmers and the environment by decreasing competition and innovation, resulting in increased costs, and allowing for greater corporate control over farmers' planting choice. It's lose-lose for farmers and consumers," the organization said. "Of particular concern to NRDC is that the merger would reinforce the chemical-intensive growing practices currently threatening bees and wild pollinators that support between $200-600 billion worth of crops in the global food supply."

Monsanto Shareholders Approve Bayer Merger to Form World's Largest Seed and Chemical Company
by Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch, 14 December 2016

Monsanto shareholders voted to approve the company's $66 billion takeover by German pesticide and pharmaceutical corporation Bayer AG on Tuesday.

The acquisition faces intense regulatory scrutiny in the U.S., the European Union and other markets, as combining the two multinational juggernauts would form the world's largest seed and chemical company.

As Reuters reported, the combined companies plan to increase research and development spending and develop a global seeds and biotechnology hub in St. Louis to help spur regulatory approval.

"I think those augur well for the deal," Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant told the news service.

Grant told the St. Louis Dispatch that regulatory filings have now been made in the U.S. The deal also needs to be upheld in the European Union, Brazil, India and China. The Monsanto boss is hopeful that the proposed merger would pass in all jurisdictions, since "the overlap between the two [companies] is really quite small."

But last month, several U.S. state attorneys generals reportedly joined federal antitrust investigations of the pending multibillion dollar deal. One concern is Bayer and Monsanto's overlapping cotton seeds. Bayer licenses genetic traits that make seeds resistant to the herbicide Liberty, while Monsanto licenses traits that make seeds resistant to its herbicide Roundup.

Monsanto and Bayer control the two top cotton seed brands in the U.S., respectively—or about 70 percent of all cotton acreage in the country.

"One of the worst things you could do is to link Liberty and Roundup in the same company," Peter Carstensen, a law professor at the University of Wisconsin and leading agricultural antitrust expert, explained to the St. Louis Dispatch. "There's no incentive for somebody to develop a third alternative."

Critics of the takeover have many concerns including increased prices for farmers and consumers due to reduced competition, the monopolization of the global food supply and the proliferation of pesticides.

Rat Study Launches New Debate Over Cell Radiation and Cancer

Rat study launches new debate over cell radiation and cancer
by Rachel Polansky, Reporter, nbc-2.com, 19 December 2016

SOUTHWEST FLORIDA -

A study in rats has reignited the long-time debate over cell phone radiation and cancer.

The NBC2 Investigators are taking a closer look at the cell phones and cell towers that are all around us to find out if they’re putting you and your children in danger.

It's a sound or a buzz that’s all too familiar. It's a tool we cannot live without: Cell phones.

"I'm on my phone pretty much all day long," said Margo Brewster.

The study

19 December 2016

In Apple's Backyard, iPads Ignite Furor in Schools

Students in Laura Plamondon's sixth grade social studies
class use iPads to work on a project at Lawson Middle
School Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, in Cupertino, Calif.
(Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
Not one mention of Wi-Fi or radiofrequency radiation, although one child's parents are concerned about the increased risk of ergonomic problems and eye strain.  

"District officials and  many teachers tout the iPads as innovative learning tools. Students, it seems, are thrilled to have them. But many parents in the affluent district — including some software engineers, Apple employees and a brain researcher — question the benefit of the devices, and hundreds have signed a petition to limit their use."

In Apple’s backyard, iPads ignite furor in schools
by Sharon Noguchi |
 snoguchi@bayareanewsgroup.com, mercurynews.com, 13 December 2016


Students in Laura Plamondon's sixth grade social studies class use iPads to work on a project at Lawson Middle School Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016, in Cupertino, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

CUPERTINO — In the shadow of Apple Computer’s 1 Infinite Loop headquarters, an initiative requiring public middle schoolers to use iPads in class and at home has spawned a growing battle over education in the digital age.

Radioactive Plume From Fukushima Makes Landfall on America’s West Coast

"Seaborne cesium 134, the so-called “fingerprint of Fukushima,” has been detected on US shores for the first time...

"Airborne radioactive fallout from the initial explosion and meltdowns at Fukushima in 2011 reached the US and Canada within days, and circled the globe falling out wherever the currents and precipitation carried it..." 

It’s Finally Here: Radioactive Plume From Fukushima Makes Landfall on America’s West Coast 
by Emerson Urry, EnviroNews Oregon, 12 December 2016

(EnviroNews Oregon) — Tillamook County, Oregon — Seaborne cesium 134, the so-called “fingerprint of Fukushima,” has been detected on US shores for the first time researchers from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) said this month. 

UK Government 'Must Take Action' on 5G

[Our comment: South Korea is the most connected
 country in the world, and it is also the country with
the highest rate of autism in the world and one of the
highest suicide rates.]
UK government 'must take action' on 5G
BBC News, 14 December 2016

The rollout of the UK's future 5G mobile network must be handled better than 4G was, according to a new report.

The current 4G network ranks only 54th in the world in terms of coverage, the government-appointed experts said.

Lord Adonis, who led the investigation, told the BBC that coverage on the UK's trains and motorways was "frankly appalling".

He urged ministers to ensure there would be far fewer dead spots on the next-generation network.

Suicide Rates in UK 'Unacceptable', Say MPs

Suicides in England have risen from 4,202 in 2010 to
4,820 last year.
Suicide rates in UK 'unacceptable', say MPs
by Willem Marx, Sky News Reporter, 
19 December 2016

MPs are urging the Government to develop a strategy with strong national leadership and clear accountability to combat suicide.

A group of MPs have said the UK's suicide rate is "unacceptable" and called on the Department of Health to improve awareness training for GPs and increase monitoring for those patients most at risk.

Total suicides in England have risen from 4,202 in 2010 to 4,820 last year, and it remains the biggest killer of men under 49 and those aged between 15 and 24.

Sleep Loss May Cause Brain Damage and Accelerate Onset of Alzheimer’s

Sleep Loss May Cause Brain Damage and Accelerate Onset of Alzheimer’s, Two New Studies Show
by Dr. Joseph Mercola, Guest Writer for Wake Up World, 29 May 2015 - Extracts

Could poor sleeping habits cause brain damage and even accelerate onset of Alzheimer’s disease? According to recent research, the answer is yes on both accounts.

According to neuroscientist Dr. Sigrid Veasey, associate professor of Medicine and a member of the Center for Sleep and Circadian Neurobiology at the Perelman School of Medicine, this is the first time they’ve been able to show that sleep loss actually results in the loss of neurons.

A second study also suggests that if you sleep poorly, you’re at increased risk for earlier onset of severe dementia.

Sleep Loss Linked to ‘Massive Brain Damage’

Deadly Remnants of Asbestos in Italy

Carmen Vecchi walks in an area near an old industrial
plant where asbestos reclamation was carried out.  The
area is fenced off, but many teenagers still go there.
Bagnoli district, Naples, Italy, 2016.  Cinzia Canneri
A major shareholder of Eternit was found guilty in 2012 of negligence during the 1970s and 1980s that led to about 3,000 asbestos-related deaths. Two years later, the charges were dropped after courts ruled that too much time had passed since the allegations.  Despite setbacks like these, people like Romana Blasotti Pavesi... continue to fight. She has already outlived her husband — a former employee at Eternit — their daughter, a sister and her niece, all of whom died from mesothelioma in recent years.

Deadly Remnants of Asbestos in Italy
by Andrew Boryga, The New York Times, 
19 December 2016 (with 22 photos)

Although Italy joined asbestos-producing nations in banning the carcinogenic material at the end of the 20th century, thousands of people working in factories and living in public housing had already been exposed. In other words, as the Italian photographer Cinzia Canneri explained, the damage had been done by the 1980s.

18 December 2016

Why Wireless Technologies Can Place Childhood Development at Risk

Why Wireless Technologies Can Place Childhood Development at Risk
sageliving.us, 14 December 2016

Lately, we've been all about finding the most concise, simplest and easy to understand ways to share information about the low-EMF movement, especially for those who are new to it.

You're in luck with this week's posting. We just got a preview of a new article on the health impacts of wireless on children. It will appear in a spring 2017 issue of the journal Child Development. Parents who are trying to navigate the issues around kids, cell phones and screen time will want to read this.

Are you a parent? Are you considering getting pregnant? Are you an educator? Then this article is particularly relevant for you.

Virtual Reality Raises Real Risk of Motion Sickness

GAME ON Playing a virtual reality game using a headset could give you
motion sickness, particularly if you are a woman, a study using the 
Oculus Rift concluded.  
Heinrich Böll Foundation/ Flickr ( CC BY-SA 2.0 )
Virtual reality raises real risk of motion sickness
by  Betsy Mason, sciencenews.org,
6 December 2016

Women more likely to feel nausea than men using gaming headset

With virtual reality finally hitting the consumer market this year, VR headsets are bound to make their way onto a lot of holiday shopping lists. But new research suggests these gifts could also give some of their recipients motion sickness — especially if they’re women.

In a test of people playing one virtual reality game using an Oculus Rift headset, more than half felt sick within 15 minutes, a team of scientists at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis reports online December 3 in Experimental Brain Research. Among women, nearly four out of five felt sick.

The State of California Wants the Right to Take Your Child From You

The U.S. House of Representatives just approved a bill (HR 4919) to authorize law enforcement to track persons with Alzheimer's, autism, and other "mental disabilities" by "micro-chipping" them.  And now this! 


The State of California Wants the Right to Take Your Child From You
circleofdocs.com, December 2016

Proposed on the senate floor on December 5th 2016, SB -18 the Bill of Rights for Children and Youth in California, would give the state of California the right to take away your child if ‘they’ deem necessary.

Dr. Richard Pan, the pediatrician behind SB277, the CA bill that removed vaccination exemptions from thousands of California families is at it again. Apparently he feels that if his agenda is not met, then the state has a better chance of raising your child then you do!

Wi-Fil Health Hazards Shown in Video Series

Cecelia Doucette, ex-president of the Ashland Education Foundation, and parent Keith Marciniak have created a five-part YouTube series that describes the health hazards of pulsed electro-magnetic radiation that floods the environment.  The series covers radiation sources such as cellphones, computers, iPads, cordless phones, cell towers, and powerful Wi-Fi routers that are in most classrooms in the U.S.  Episodes are “Discovering the Dangers”; “Educating the Greater Community”; “Why We Don’t Know”; “Impacts of Excessive Screen Time,” and “Solutions.”

Worcester, Mass., to Study Wi-Fi Threat in Schools
by Jack O'Dwyer, odywerpr.com, 13 December 2016

A school committee of Worcester, second largest city in Massachusetts (pop. 180,000) is taking up the issue whether Wi-Fi and other sources of radiation pose a threat to its 24,000 students.

Health Apps Might Not Be so Hot, Doctors Find

Using Smartphone.  Getty Images/iStockphoto
Health Apps Might Not Be so Hot, Doctors Find
by Reuters, 15 December 2016

Some of the top-rated health apps aimed at people with chronic medical problems don't do a very good job of actually helping to manage those conditions, a recent study suggests.

Doctors reviewed 137 of the most highly rated or commonly recommended apps available for Apple's iPhone and handsets running Google's Android software that target people with high health costs or substantial medical needs. Often, though, the doctors gave these popular apps poor marks.

17 December 2016

Thousands of Airline Pilots Flying Every Day with Suicidal Thoughts, Says Landmark Study

12.6 per cent of pilots in the survey met the criteria for
depression.  Credit:  DPA
Thousands of airline pilots flying every day with suicidal thoughts, says landmark study
by Henry Bodkin, The Telegraph, 
15 December 2016

More than 4,000 commercial flights on any given day are being flown by pilots who have experienced suicidal thoughts, a landmark study on the airline industry suggests.

An international survey of pilots by Harvard University found 4.1 per cent had contemplated killing themselves at least once in the previous fortnight, and 12.6 per cent met the criteria for depression.

Pilots diagnosed with acute depression are automatically deemed unfit to fly, but experts have warned many cover up their symptoms for fear of losing their careers.

Mercury, Vaccines and the CDC's Worst Nightmare: Interview with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

(Left to right) Laura Bono, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
and Lyn Redwood are leading the charge against
toxic mercury exposures.
RFK, JR: "My brother Max's wife, Vicky Strauss Kennedy, introduced me to a psychologist named Sarah Bridges. Her son Porter was vaccine-injured and later diagnosed with autism. After an eight year legal battle, she had finally received compensation from the vaccine court, which acknowledged that Porter got his autism, seizures and brain damage from thimerosal and pertussis vaccines. She persuaded me to start looking into the science".

Mercury, Vaccines and the CDC's Worst Nightmareby Rita Shreffler, EcoWatch, 
15 December 2016

For over three decades, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has been one of the world's leading environmental advocates. He is the founder and president of Waterkeeper Alliance, the umbrella group for 300 local waterkeeper organizations, in 34 countries, that track down and sue polluters. Under his leadership, Waterkeeper has grown to become the world's largest clean water advocacy organization.

Stealth Canada - Deep-Sixing the Science on Wireless Radiation

STEALTH CANADA—deep-sixing the science on wireless radiation
by Olga Sheean, olgasheean.com
15 December 2016

Health Canada is inspiring activism in even the most passive Canadians (especially those harmed by wireless microwave radiation from WiFi, cell phones etc)—motivating them to protect their own health, ensure their own survival, stand up for their rights, and tap into their compassion and humanity—since Health Canada seems incapable of doing any of these things for them.

Teachers, too, are being challenged to become empowered. If they dare to test the levels of radiation coming from WiFi routers in their school, to protect their own health as well as the health of the schoolchildren, or if they turn the router off when not in use, they can lose their job. One teacher in BC—Maria Plant—who has been teaching for 30 years, was forced to retire because the WiFi in her school became intolerable, and she now has such severe electro-sensitivity, as a result, that she can no longer lead a normal life. "It's been emotionally and physically devastating to slowly succumb to this disorder of EHS [electromagnetic hypersensitivity]," she says, "as it forced me to give up the two loves of my life: teaching and physical outdoor activity, because my inner ear and balance are most severely affected by radiofrequency signals."

Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity: Nation-wide Survey among General Practitioners, Occupational Physicians & Hygienists in the Netherlands

Conclusions:  "About a third of occupational hygienist, occupational physicians and general practitioners in the Netherlands are consulted by patients attributing symptoms to EMF exposure. Many of these professionals consider a causal relationship between EMF and health complaints to some degree plausible, and their approach often also includes exposure reduction advice. Given the lack of a scientific evidence basis for EMF to cause symptoms and the finding that the majority of these professionals feels insufficiently informed about EMF and health, targeted information campaigns might assist them in their evidence based dealing with patients who attribute symptoms to EMF."

Electromagnetic hypersensitivity: Nation-wide survey among general practitioners, occupational physicians & hygienists in the Netherlands

Slottje P, van Moorselaar I, van Strien R, Vermeulen R, Kromhout H, Huss A. Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) in occupational and primary health care: A nation-wide survey among general practitioners, occupational physicians and hygienists in the Netherlands. Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2016 Dec 2. pii: S1438-4639(16)30385-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2016.11.013. [Epub ahead of print]

Abstract

Major Influences in Households and Business Spaces - Wi-Fi, Telecommunication Masts Outputs and Electrical Pollution

"Considering the way other crucial health-related issues (asbestos, tobacco, ionizing radiation) were dealt with over the years, it seems that there is a long way ahead in tackling EMF exposure risks. However, this time is different, since our own long term wellbeing as a species is at risk, due to the genotoxic effect of the presented stressors."

Major influences in households and business spaces — Wi-Fi, telecommunication masts outputs and electrical pollution

Francis Markho, Ioan Tuleasca. 
Electrical and Power Engineering (EPE), 2016 International Conference and Exposition on Electrical and Power Engineering. Oct 20-22, 2016. Iasi, Romania.

Abstract

The paper offers a non-exhaustive perspective, as well as a spectrum of performed measurements, in the field of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation. Shielding Wi-Fi is shown to be an effective means of counteracting its health risks. The effects of cell phone towers positioning next to living and working spaces is presented and analyzed. Electrical pollution mitigation is described, as well as the problem of earth bound stray electrical currents. Effective actions and measures to be taken for the benefit of future generations are suggested and justified.

Inaccurate Official Assessment of Radiofrequency Safety by the Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation

Extract from "Conclusions":  "Schools, hospitals, employers, organisations and individuals have legal responsibilities to safeguard the health, safety, well-being and development of children, employees and members of the public. But they are unable to fulfil their legal responsibilities when they have been provided with inaccurate information and the evidence of possible harm has been covered up... PHE (Public Health England) and AGNIR (Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation) had a responsibility to provide accurate information about the safety of RF fields. Unfortunately, the report suffered from an incorrect and misleading executive summary and overall conclusions, inaccurate statements, omissions and conflict of interest. Public health and the well-being of other species in the natural world cannot be protected when evidence of harm, no matter how inconvenient, is covered up.

Inaccurate official assessment of radiofrequency safety by the Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation
Reviews on Environmental Health. Volume 31, Issue 4, Pages 493–503
https://doi.org/10.1515/reveh-2016-0060, November 2016

Sarah J. Starkey1
1Independent Neuroscience and Environmental Health Research, 27 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3AX, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Full text available.

Abstract:

15 December 2016

Are These Toys Spying on Your Kids?

A new high-tech "Hello Barbie" doll transmits kids' conversations
over the internet.  Here, dolls are seen on display in a retail store.
Mike Segar/Reuters
Are these toys spying on your kids?
by Jack Detsch, The Christian Science Monitor, 
10 December 2016

This week privacy groups filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission alleging that the popular My Friend Cayla and I-Que Intelligent Robot dolls collected kids' personal information without consent.

DECEMBER 10, 2016 —Finn Myrstad makes his living reading the cryptic privacy policies that most consumers give merely a passing glance before opening an app or plugging in internet-connected gadgets.

And much of the language he encounters in those dense and lengthy contracts is the same whether it's for dating applications or fitness trackers. But when Mr. Myrstad, head of Norway's national consumer protection agency, examined the privacy policies for two popular internet-connected toys, he noticed something particularly striking.

United States: House Passes Bill Allowing Government To Microchip Citizens With “Mental Disabilities”

House Passes Bill Allowing Government To Microchip Citizens With “Mental Disabilities”
by Whitney Webb / TrueActivist.com
13 December 2016

Six years ago, NBC Nightly News boldly predicted that all Americans would be fitted with RFID microchips by the year 2017. Though, at the time, NBC’s prediction seemed far-fetched, the House recently passed a bill that would bring a microchipped populace closer to reality before year’s end.

Last Thursday, the House passed HR 4919, also known as Kevin and Avonte’s Law, which would allow the US attorney general to award grants to law enforcement for the creation and operation of “locative tracking technology programs.” Though the program’s mission is to find “individuals with forms of dementia or children with developmental disabilities who have wandered from safe environments,” it provides no restriction on the tracking program’s inclusion of other individuals. The bill would also require the attorney general to work with the secretary of health and human services and unnamed health organizations to establish the “best practices” for the use of tracking devices.