from an eBook on electromagnetic field radiation:
The Reynard Case - A Short Cell Phone History
Here are three questions I’m very often asked:
If extended exposure to cell phones and cell phone transmitter stations and antennas is such a serious hazard to our health, then…
…why hasn’t somebody already done something about it?
…why hasn’t the industry fixed itself by building safe technology into the next generation of cell phones and safer placement of transmitters and antennas?
…why hasn’t the government corrected the standards and regulated the industry?
Before I answer those questions, and in order to understand the dilemma we face today, we have to go back almost 25 years to when the cell phone industry was in its infancy.
In the early 1990s the US government auctioned rights to a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum to privately owned cell phone carriers, and the industry developed quickly.
The fledging cell phone manufacturers and carriers who purchased electromagnetic spectra rights in the beginning did so with US Government loans, thus making the government a “partner” interested in their quick growth and high profits….a clear conflict of interest for the very body that was supposed to be regulating the industry in the interests of public safety!
There was no government regulation at all in the beginning, but it soon became evident that some safety standards had to be set to regulate the industry.
An important media event that triggered public concern about the safety of cell phones also spurred the cell phone industry – as a gesture in their own interest - to find out more about the safety of the device it was marketing so energetically.
The Case of Deborah Reynard
In 1993 a Florida man, David Reynard, appearing on the TV program Larry King Live, declared he was suing NEC America Corp. because its cell phone had given his wife a fatal brain tumor. In May 1993 he filed suit against the cell phone manufacturer, charging that his pregnant wife’s fatal brain tumor was caused by radiation from her cell phone. Deborah Reynard’s cancer was unusual, with the tumor growing from the outside to the inside of her head, at the precise location of her mobile phone antenna. ABC's 20/20 followed shortly with another report and experts and scientists were quoted supporting both sides of the issue, and many distortions and misinterpretations appeared in the media.
Following that case, and the negative affect on cell phone sales, the industry pledged to fund research to study the health effects of cell phones, but it struck a deal with the US government’s regulating bodies that stipulated they would only research the damaging effects of cell phones as long as they could remain unregulated until all the research was done. Under the terms of the deal, the government agreed to let the telecommunications industry regulate themselves and the cell phone manufacturers pledged to spend $28.5 to carry out research on the dangers. It seemed like a good compromise at the time.
That’s when they set up a committee, set aside $28.5 million dollars for research and hired Dr. George Carlo, a noted scientist, to head a 5-year research program to determine whether cell phones could affect health.
But, some five years later, in late 1998, When Dr. Carlo turned over the preliminary results of the research to the telecommunications industry - who had paid for them - and to the committee - who were very much in awe of the industry’s power and success – something strange happened.
During the previous five years – significantly - cell phone use had increased from a few million to billions of users worldwide, and billions of dollars were being made by the telecommunications industry, now the new darling of the U.S. economy.
Mysteriously, the results of that scientific research never quite reached the light of public scrutiny. They were either blatantly discarded, buried in obscurity, or – worst of all - distorted and used to assure the public that the dangers of cell phone use were negligible or non-existent.
Even before Dr. Carlo’s group’s research was published, the cell phone industry began to file for patents (under various aliases) on devices to make cell phones safer. In a classic Catch-22 situation, the industry sought safer technologies, and at the same time hypocritically advertised that cell phones were completely safe. Until today cell phone manufacturers print cell phone users’ manuals stating that cell phones are not harmful.
The FCC Sets a Safety Standard
During that confusing time of soaring cell phone sales, conflicting scientific results, confusing media reports, and intense pressures on regulatory bodies, the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1996 set the SAR* standard, fixing the maximum amount of electromagnetic radiation emission from a cell phone device.
The SAR standard set by the FCC was not in fact based on scientific evidence; it was actually based on the lack of scientific evidence! The only studies that had been carried out up to that time were not directly related to the issue of long-term, non-thermal, exposure, but to old studies on microwave and thermal exposure that had been made by the U.S. military some years previously. And the only studies made at that time that might have influenced a tougher standard had been sponsored or carried out directly by the telecommunications industry and were buried or distorted.
The SAR* standard set in 1996 was actually a compromise made in a committee made up of government regulatory agencies, cell phone manufacturers, carriers and politicians whose mindset was, “We don’t know, so let’s just set it at the arbitrary number of 1.6 watts per kilogram averaged over 1 gram of human tissue until more studies are done.”
And even more shocking was how the SAR standard testing was carried out. The SAR standard - that every cell phone manufacturer assures you their cell phones meet - is itself faulty, outdated before it was published, unrealistic, and not based on valid information. It was based on political and business considerations…not on scientific facts.
*SAR stands for Specific Absorption Rate, a measure of the rate at which radio frequency (RF) energy is absorbed by the body when exposed to radio-frequency electromagnetic fields. The most common use is in relation to cellular telephones. In the US, the FCC adopted a SAR level for mobile devices at or below 1.6 watts per kilogram (W/kg) taken over a volume of 1 gram of tissue. In the EU the corresponding limit is 2 W/kg taken over a volume of 10 grams.
A Mistaken Premise
The government regulatory agencies were hoodwinked by the telecommunications lobbies, and telecommunications technology went crashing ahead, developing more and more, better and better, highly-sophisticated - and highly-marketable - cell phones, wireless, and electronic devices of every description…..all based on the premise that because they fall within the SAR standard they are completely safe for human use.
This premise is wrong, and has put your health and well being in danger!
When Technology Gets Ahead of Public Safety
In the continuing history of cell phones, advancing telecommunications was deemed good for the economy, so everything boomed along just fine until the medical community started reporting an increase in serious health problems and disorders among people who were exposed over long periods to electromagnetic fields (EMF) or who were using cell phones and other EMF devices frequently.
What’s the current situation TODAY?
Somebody is doing something about it. Recent scientific research is now targeting the real issues, and government agencies and scientists – many of them in Europe – are now seriously questioning the SAR standard in public forums. Recent medical research being carried out all over the world is reporting more serious health problems from prolonged exposure to EMF.
It appears that technology got ahead of regulations and standards, and profits got ahead of public responsibility and concern for public health!
Because they’ve spent the last dozen years denying there’s any danger and hiding or distorting any scientific facts that reported otherwise. Adding built-in protection to cell phones (the technology has existed for some years!) would be a stark admission that they had known all along about the long term health dangers and had ignored them. The ensuing negligence lawsuits could deal a crushing blow to the industry.
The industry’s need to cover-up the hazards of wireless technology has been fuelled not only by fear of lost profits, but also by fear of bankruptcy. Insurance companies gradually withdrew all coverage for claims relating to health problems from cell phones following the first studies showing they were dangerous. Today, there are several pending class action suits against the mobile phone industry [see Legal article]. One successful lawsuit alone, if it carried a significant financial settlement, could bankrupt a cell phone company by setting a precedent for other pending lawsuits. (It should be recalled that it took just one such lawsuit each to bring down the silicone breast implant and asbestos industries.)
Because political and economic considerations have won out over concern about the long term health of U.S. citizens. A very rich and powerful telecommunications lobby has put all its efforts into hiding the problem and avoiding regulation. The regulatory agencies were so deeply involved with the telecommunications industry right from the start that they lost sight of their function as regulators and protectors of the nation’s citizens, rather than champions of advanced technology.
From an economic standpoint, big government has little interest in bringing down or critically wounding the telecommunications industry. After all, a significant portion of the US 104K pension plans are invested in funds based on telecommunications stocks. The government cannot allow pension funds to fail on such a scale, and such a scenario would inevitably end in a costly government bailout of the telecommunications industry.
Sources: A Short Cell Phone History Lesson
Radio interview: Dr. Catherine Saltzmann interviewing Dr. George Carlo, Heal The Cause, Achieve Radio, Potential Public Health Epidemic
http://commonground.ca/iss/0612185/cg185_cellphone.shtml (Amanda Brown, Ph.D. Canada, Dec. 2006)
from an eBook fieldguide on birdwatching:
A Guide for the Beginning Birdwatcher
Let's find out more about the birds we hear and see every day near our homes, school, or garden. Let's learn to recognize them and appreciate them as they make our lives rich and colorful.
Israel's geographic location and temperate climate makes it an environment very inviting to a large number of birds species. Israel can boast of being home to several hundreds species of birds that live year round within the boundaries of the country and host to hundreds more species of birds that visit Israel every year on their biannual migrations between Europe and Africa.
Unless you are an orthinologist (that's someone who studies birds as a profession) you probably don't know the names of more than seven or eight of the birds you encounter every day. The Our Birds Guide is meant to introduce you to several more of the birds you are most likely to find easily whether you live in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Beer Sheva, or Eilat, or somewhere near those cities in suburban neighborhoods.
ONE BIRD AT A TIME...
The Our Birds Guide is designed to help the beginning birdwatcher identify a specific species of bird, discover and observe that specific bird in its natural surroundings, and record its nesting and feeding habits.
Once you've learned a little more about each bird featured in the Our Birds Guide, you'll be ready for a field trip. You can concentrate on each species individually, or target two or three subjects to search for and observe on each trip into the "wilderness" of your own neighborhood or nearby park.
A FEW PREPARATIONS
Bird watching doesn't require a lot of equipment, but here are a few basic items we suggest you take along to make your field trip a productive and exciting one:
= Small notebook or clipboard to hold your Our Birds worksheets.
= Pen or pencil attached to a cord around your neck or fitted to the notebook or clipboard.
= A pair of binoculars. These don't have to be fancy or expensive. Best is a small pair, easy to use and fitted with a strap to hang around your neck.
= Small digital or analog camera. Depending on your interest and skills in photography, this could be anything from a "one use" camera to a sophisticated digital or analog camera with special lens for photographing wildlife. Best for beginners is probably an inexpensive digital camera (so you can upload your photos to your PC) or a "one use" camera you can have developed on a CD for uploading to your PC.
= If photography isn't your thing, then perhaps you could take along a sketchpad and colored pencils to record the subject bird's shape and coloring.
= A backpack or "belly bag" is better than a bag with a strap, as you may be crawling around in the bushes and you'll want to have your hands free.
= Don't forget a hat, water, and sunscreen.
BEGINNING YOUR SEARCH
Start by spending half an hour in your own back yard or in the garden area next to your building. Pick one of the most common species to look for first - maybe the sparrow, pigeon, or dove - for an easy beginning...if the first one flies away there'll be plenty more around. Take your time. Walk slowly, pause often to search all around, and if you're with a friend, speak softly or don't talk at all.
Check your Our Birds guide check list for what to look for, and take notes regarding size, shape, coloring, and distinctive bird calls. Look for nests, but do not disturb or touch any birds' nest.
Patience and concentration will pay off with unexpected discoveries.
NOW LET'S MEET OUR BIRD NEIGHBORS.......