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Childhood Cancer Survivors Face Social Challenges
USA Created: 14 Sep 2005
A new study finds children who survive cancer have about twice the rate of educational and social problems compared to children without a history of cancer.

The study, published in the October 15, 2005 issue of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, finds children with brain tumors,
neuroblastoma, or leukemia and children treated with cranial radiation therapy (CRT) are at greatest risk for educational difficulties and social isolation.

As therapies for childhood cancers have become more complex and aggressive, children have benefited with increased cure rates and longer survival.
Increasingly, researchers are studying the long-term outcomes of these treatments and unearthing troubling findings for these children's development.
Though studies are small and limited to leukemias and central nervous system tumors, the findings suggest increased risk of some secondary cancers and decreased quality of life and psychosocial adjustment.

In the first large Canadian study of the long-term effects of childhood cancer and its treatments on survivors' educational and social development,
Maru Barrera, PhD, from The Hospital of Sick Children in Toronto, Canada, and her colleagues surveyed the parents of 800 still school age cancer survivors
and 923 age- and gender-matched cancer-free subjects (controls).

The researchers found that survivors had more difficulties in school and suffered more often from social isolation. Academically, 46% of survivors
reported academic problems compared to only 23% of controls. Compared to controls, cancer survivors more
often repeated a grade (21% vs. 9%); attended learning disability (19% vs. 7%) or special education programs (20% vs. 8%).
Children with brain cancers, leukemia, and neuroblastoma and those treated with CRT or combined CRT and intrathecal methotrexate (IT MTX) were
more likely to report educational difficulties.

Socially, cancer survivors reported no close friends (19% vs. 8%) and less often used friends as confidants (58% vs. 67%). Children with brain tumors
were more likely to report difficulties with friendships.
Children with leukemia or neuroblastoma are also at greater risk for social adjustment difficulties, which has not been previously reported.
Also previously not reported, children treated with CRT alone were at greater risk of developing social problems.

Dr. Barrera concludes, "Child and adolescent survivors of childhood cancer were more likely to experience educational difficulties and less likely to have
close friends or use friends as confidants than population controls of the same age and gender."
The authors conjecture that "the poorer social and educational outcomes of the survivors are the result of a multitude of disease, treatment and situational
factors."

REFERENCE:
Barrera M, et al. Educational and Social Late Effects of Childhood Cancer and Related Clinical, Personal and Familial Characteristics. CANCER;
Published Online: September 12, 2005 (DOI: 10.1002/cncr.21390); Print Issue Date: October 15, 2005.
Click here to view the source article.
Source: DGNews. HOBOKEN, NJ -- September 9, 2005 -- SOURCE: Wiley & Sons, Inc.

U.S. cellphone researcher: `There's so much money involved, that the only thing industry sees is the money.'
USA Created: 14 Aug 2005
Dr Jerry Phillips US cellphone researcher:

Early data for a study he conducted with colleague Narendrah Singh in the early 1990s found DNA damage in rat brain cells exposed to microwave signals considered safe by government standards. In an internal memo that has since been made public, a Motorola executive strategized on how to put a "damper on speculation arising from this research."
"I think we have sufficiently war-gamed the Lai-Singh issue," the memo reads.
Norm Sandler, a senior Motorola communications executive and author of the memo, said it was written to prepare company executives for public reaction to the study.
"I think we were doing what we needed to do in terms of due diligence, informing our people the research was coming out and our take on it," he said in an interview.
Independent studies showing biological effects, or hinting at possible health effects, have faced a similar barrage of industry criticism.
uch studies are typically dismissed as anomalies among an "overwhelming" body of evidence showing no health risks.
"One of the most irrational approaches I see industry taking is trying to use studies on both sides to cancel one another out," says Phillips.
"You don't cancel, you don't weigh. What you do is evaluate carefully."
He says industry arguments may be simple, but they're effective when talking to a public ill-equipped to challenge the information.
Replication of research is another problem. A study that comes out with a new finding generally does not have much credibility in the scientific community unless another research lab has been able to replicate the work and the findings.
When Dr. Leif Salford, a neurosurgeon in Sweden, published a study in 2003 showing that rat brain neurons were dying from exposure to cellphone radiation, he warned there might be similar effects in humans that over time could lead to degenerative diseases of the brain.
His study was written off by the industry as a "novel" finding that needed to be replicated.
But achieving the scientific standard of replication can be complicated.
Salford says if studies aren't absolutely replicated, providing an apples-to-apples comparison, there's wiggle room to dispute follow-up findings.
"We are very, very convinced that what we see is true.
But the other guys who have tried to do the same thing have not got their papers published," said Salford.
"As long as people have major problems in doing these studies, it's a situation where the industry can continue to say there's no scientific evidence."
Industry's dismissal of controversial findings strikes at the heart of scientific credibility, says Dr. Martin Blank, associate professor
of cellular biophysics at Columbia University.
He's also the former president of the Bioelectromagnetics Society, a highly regarded organization of scientists devoted to the "independent" study of electromagnetic fields.
"These guys are naysayers from the word go," says Blank, who last year called for an investigation into "conflicts of interest" within the society that is now under way.
"Everybody tries to influence everybody else. This is reasonable. But there are certain things that go beyond the pale."
Blank says the society's own newsletter, now funded by Motorola and edited by Swicord, is showing "clear instances of bias"
against research that shows effects from radio frequencies.
Swicord responded publicly to Blank's accusation in the society's newsletter, saying that while perceptions of bias need to be taken seriously, there's no "credible evidence" that cellphone signals cause adverse health effects.
"Most of the results in the literature show no effects," wrote Swicord.
"From a public health perspective when do we say enough is enough?"
Dr. Om Gandhi, a Utah-based scientist who has been studying cellphone frequencies since 1973, says there remain plenty of unanswered questions.
In his own attempts, he says he's felt the sting of industry retribution.
His research, showing that cellphone frequencies penetrate much deeper into the heads of children, triggered a backlash that he says has left him without research funding and the subject of mudslinging at industry-dominated meetings.
"I have been marginalized for the last three years because I would not back down from what I was publishing," he says.
"It's very nasty."
Source: Dr. Jerry Phillips. U.S. cellphone researcher:

Motorola scientist: "We were all dependent on money coming in. I was in no position to do anything else."
USA Created: 14 Aug 2005
Dr Jerry Phillips, above, says the mood from Motorola changed when he told them his experiments revealed biological effects from cellular radio frequency signals.
A Motorola official questioned the science behind his study.

In their research, Phillips and his colleagues found changes in the expression of rat genes exposed to cellphone signals.
They didn't know what it meant, but they knew it was noteworthy.
Phillips authored a paper describing the results and submitted a draft to Motorola.
He says he soon received a call from Dr. Mays Swicord, director of electromagnetic research at Motorola.
"He said, `You need to include a statement in here that, even though you see a change in this one gene, that it's of no physiological importance.'
I said, `I can't say that. I don't know whether it is or not.
Whether or not we have consequences, I don't know.'
He said, `No, it has to say it has no physiological consequences.'
I said, `No, I won't do it.' "
When the study was published in 1997, it contained a sentence at the end Phillips says he never wrote.
It states that changes he discovered are "probably of no physiologic consequence."
The origins of that sentence remain a mystery to the now semi-retired Phillips.
"I have no idea how that statement got in there."
While Phillips privately disputed the change, he says he decided at the time that any outspoken challenge would risk a loss of funding that would undermine his livelihood.
"We were all dependent on money coming in. I was in no position to do anything else."
In an interview, Swicord dismisses the allegations as "pure nonsense," saying there was no company interference.
"I thought the results were incomplete and there was a lot of statistical variation," said Swicord, who joined Motorola in 1995 after 26 years with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
"This was a point of difference of opinion. ... We did not tell him what to publish or how to publish."
While Swicord says he was concerned about the public reaction to the research, his concerns about the study were based in science.
"I just didn't think it was properly done."
Lai's review of the science on the biological impacts reveals what he calls a telling pattern.
The Canadian-trained scientist concludes that nearly 60 per cent of published studies on cell radio frequencies have reported some biological effects, including altered gene expression, DNA breaks and even death of animal brain cells.
In some cases, the differences are dramatic.
In 36 studies focused on genetic effects, such as DNA damage, 53 per cent showed some kind of biological effect that might indicate concern.
Of those studies, a vast majority — 79 per cent — were independent. Conversely, studies showing no effects had direct industry funding 82 per cent of the time.
Published research on other potential effects including behaviour, molecular, brainwave and other effects show a similar pattern of funding biases, according to Lai.
Swicord challenges Lai's analysis, saying the quality of each study must be considered in weighing its value. And industry funded studies, he says, have strong scientific credibility.
"We have tried in the industry to fund quality work, and I know there are some sloppy studies out there."
Lai says industry has unfairly painted his work as sloppy.

Is her cellphone safe?
USA Created: 14 Aug 2005
Some scientists trying to find the answer say they've been pressured to soften controversial findings

What you know about the potential health risks of your cellphone may be clouded by powerful corporate interests anxious to protect the image of the world's most successful gadget.
In the high-stakes world of cellphone research, where a $120 billion North American industry's fortunes could rest on the latest findings, scientific interests often collide with corporate bottom lines. Some scientists say they have been pressured to produce the right answers.
"There's so much money involved, that the only thing industry sees is the money," says Dr. Jerry Phillips, a well-known cellphone researcher in the U.S. with dozens of peer-reviewed papers published under his name.
"They couldn't give a damn about basic science."
Allegations by several U.S. scientists interviewed by the Toronto Star include corporate intimidation and having their work altered to soften concerns about potential risks. And they say manipulation of scientific studies is slanting public debate around a legitimate health concern as the cellphone industry, using popular images such as Barbie and Hilary Duff, shifts its marketing efforts to pre-teens.
The U.S. industry vigorously denies the allegations.
Joe Farren, a spokesperson for the U.S.-based Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association, says his members have a strictly hands-off relationship with scientists.
"We have nothing to do with them. We write the cheque and they do the studies."
Dr. Louis Slesin, founder and publisher of New York-based scientific newsletter Microwave News, has spent more than 20 years watching the science around cellphones unfold. He says the public is getting a sanitized version.
"If people had any understanding of what goes on in the trenches, people would change their view. ... If you really go in there and dig into it, you see this is really a sordid business."
An analysis of 252 published studies worldwide on cellular radio frequencies out of the University of Washington, obtained by the Toronto Star, shows a clear difference in results between independent research and studies directly funded by industry.
According to the analysis, research is considered independent when funded by governments, government agencies or academic institutions.
Among the peer-reviewed, published studies with no direct industry funding, biological effects from cellphone frequencies were noted 81 per cent of the time, according to researcher Dr. Henry Lai. When corporate money is directly funding the science, effects are noted only 19 per cent of the time.
Not everyone agrees scientists are pushed to come up with favourable conclusions.
"Certainly not with the research I've been involved in and with the research my Canadian colleagues have been involved in," says Dr. Mary McBride, senior scientist in cancer control research at the B.C. Cancer Agency. "There are ways to arrange (industry) support that puts the researcher at arm's length and in an independent position. The studies I've seen have been designed in that way."
But some scientists who have conducted industry-funded studies say that, far from being the model of pure, objective research, they've seen their results misrepresented or discredited.
Phillips recalls the sudden concern washing over the faces of Motorola executives in 1995 when he began detailing his findings on the impact of cellphone signals on rat cells.
What began as a friendly chat between Phillips and officials with the cellphone giant took an unpleasant turn when he explained that his Motorola-funded experiments revealed biological effects from cellular radio frequency signals, he says.
"There was a lot of agitation, frowning and long faces," Phillips recalls. "Rather than talking about the implications of the work, the (Motorola) attorney and the (public relations) guy immediately asked, `What are you going to do if people call and ask for this?' It was at that point our relationship with Motorola changed."
Source: ROBERT CRIBB AND TYLER HAMILTON. staff reporters

Exposure standards for electromagnetic radiation do not adequately address current realities
USA Created: 3 Aug 2005
Cellphones, Radars, and Health

"We have more than enough experimental evidence to question the validity of formulating standards that take only thermal effects into account." Exposure standards for electromagnetic radiation do not adequately address current realities

Ten years ago, the only source of electromagnetic waves most of us encountered with any regularity was the microwave oven.
Today, we hold cellphones against our heads, walk past cellphone base stations in cities, cradle wireless personal digital assistants in our hands, and clip text-messaging devices and pagers to our belts. We are even starting to connect our computers, cellphones, and peripherals with various wireless schemes.
Yet amid this increasingly dense "electro-smog," we are still using the same outdated and inadequate standards to calculate our exposure to radio and microwaves.
These standards are based on conclusions drawn from many experiments in the decades after World War II. Few of those studies, however, were designed to study low-level, localized biological effects not linked to heat. But electromagnetic theory and decades of experiments clearly indicate that the electromagnetic fields of radio and microwaves can also affect cells mechanically, without producing significant amounts of heat.
These standards, formulated in the late 1980s by the American National Standards Institute, the IEEE, and others, are based on the assumption that if non-ionizing radiation affects living cells and tissue, it must do so by heating the tissue. The standards, known as IEEE/ANSI C95.1-1991, also calculate exposure over a person's entire body, rather than specific organs or the head and cheek (in the case of, say, exposure to a cellphone). These heat-based, whole-body standards are used to calculate maximum exposures permissible for people who work around radiation, such as soldiers or sailors who work around radars, or technicians who work on cellphone base stations. The standards are also used in the design of
antenna towers, to limit what passers-by are exposed to.
The possible link between radio and microwaves, which are forms of nonionizing radiation, and human health remains one of the most complex and controversial subjects in all of biophysics. I couldn't possibly review the vast literature on this topic in a short magazine article.
Nevertheless, there is growing scientific evidence that prolonged exposure to some kinds of radio waves does cause at least low-level changes in the movements, workings, and possibly structure of molecules and cells in living tissue. This evidence raises the possibility of health effects - ones against which our current exposure standards are not adequately protecting us.

"We have more than enough experimental evidence to question the validity of formulating standards that take only thermal effects into account."

The relevant physics starts with the fact that all living things absorb and scatter electromagnetic waves. As they do so, they convert, on a molecular level, the electromagnetic fields of the waves into mechanical forces. Our bodies are full of ions—in nerve endings, in cell nuclei, in muscles.
In addition, the body's most common molecules, including water, have an irregular distribution of charge, so that they are influenced by an electric field (or a magnetic field if the ions or molecules are moving).
Thus electromagnetic fields can physically move, reorient, or even alter molecules or ions—or their distributions—in the body.
They can affect the rate of chemical reactions and the ability of molecules to pass through a membrane. In addition, if charge acceleration occurs, perhaps as a result of radar pulses with extremely fast rise times, the tissue itself may reradiate or scatter this energy inside the human body, complicating and intensifying the radiation's effects.
Possible links between molecular or cellular effects and human health are controversial, but a number of experts are focusing their attention on the blood-brain barrier. This physiological complex, which includes as its primary line of defense the cellular lining of capillaries in the brain,
shields the brain and central nervous system from foreign and harmful substances.
The barrier also seems to control the concentrations of ions in cerebral tissue.
Radiation-caused movements or alterations of ions and molecules can be particularly vigorous when they are caused by electromagnetic pulses
that are sharp and intense. A case in point is the Air Force's early-warning radar, the Pave Paws system in Falmouth, Mass. In a 1994 paper, Richard Albanese, a researcher at Brooks Air Force Base (San Antonio, Texas), reported that ultrashort electromagnetic pulses, of the sort
emitted by Pave Paws and similar phased-array radars, may cause mechanical damage to tissue through what is called precursor radiation. The term describes the secondary bursts of radiation that occur inside living tissue when the tissue is hit by the radar pulses. This precursor radiation is a potential secondary source of tissue damage—and it is ignored in current exposure standards. "Until the issue of tissue damage mechanisms associated [with] pulses that cause precursors is fully studied,"
Albanese wrote in his 1994 publication, "the author recommends zero human exposure to such unique precursor and gendering pulses."
Another study made worldwide headlines little over a month ago, on 20 June. A team at Finland's Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority
reported its discovery that mobile-phone-type radiation has an effect on hundreds of proteins found in lab-grown cells taken from human blood vessels. The leader of the study, Dariusz Leszczynski, refused to cite the results as proof of a connection to human health.
But he did hypothesize that one of the molecules affected, the so-called stress protein, hsp27, might be the key that opened gaps in the blood-brain barrier, letting harmful or at least foreign entities into the brain.
More supporting results come from Henry Lai, in the department of bioengineering at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Lai has documented biological effects caused by rates of radiation absorption at levels down to 0.001 W/kg of irradiated tissue and at power densities in the microwatt-per-centimeter range. These levels are significantly smaller than those permitted under current standards.
The effects include damage to DNA in cells, increases in calcium efflux in cells, and decreases in cell division after exposure.
We have more than enough solid experimental evidence to question the validity of formulating standards that take only thermal effects into account.
It would be irresponsible to continue using standards based on average, whole-body radiation exposures to laboratory animals, more especially because a great deal of tissue damage has been done long before a laboratory animal shows behavior changes or dies from thermal effects.
What next? We must revise our safety standards and set conservative new ones using all of the available results and information - not just the data that fits previously held assumptions. The telecommunications industry, which is in deep denial, needs to face reality.
Professional groups, such as the IEEE's Standards Association, must work with the U.S. government and international agencies to ensure that studies of long-term, low-level, nonthermal bioeffects are put in place. The U.S. Congress needs to recognize the urgency of these studies and not just defer to the telecommunications industry when creating or modifying legislation.
For many of us, cell telephones are an indispensable part of our lives and lifestyles. Cellphone towers now line our highways and dot our communities. There is no turning back now. But we have a right to expect standards that will truly protect our health and well-being.

Appendix:
"The US Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers is, like the UK IEE, a bastion of industry.
It is good to see the US folk allow someone to use their journal to speak out their concerns.
Dr Raymond Kasevich, founder of KAI Technologies, Inc. has 30 years of corporate research and development experience in electromagnetic science and engineering applications.
These applications cover a wide range of projects, from full-scale radiofrequency oil recovery and environmental remediation systems to medical catheter systems for microwave hyperthermia. Mr. Kasevich has 20 years of University teaching experience in Electrical Engineering. He holds more than 25 patents and has published numerous papers in professional journals. His education includes an ME degree from Yale University in 1963 with undergraduate studies in Electrical Engineering at Case Western Reserve University and the University of Hartford. He received a Ford Foundation Grant for Ph.D. studies at the University of Michigan while working part-time at the Radiation Laboratory in Ann Arbor on network synthesis problems and continued Ph.D. studies at MIT in the Department of Physics as a special graduate student.
Read this article! IEEE Spectrum Speak Out August, 2002. "
Click here to view the source article.
Source: Spectrum Online. By Raymond S. Kasevich, CS Medical Technologies LLC

NO, THEY DO NOT TARGET CHILDREN, DO THEY?
USA Created: 27 Jul 2005
Children’s Advocates Ask Congress to Investigate Marketing of Mobile Phones to Kids

WASHINGTON - July 26 - Privacy, consumer and children’s advocates sent letters today to key Members of Congress, asking them to investigate the marketing and sale of mobile phones to children, and their effects on children’s privacy, education, safety and health.

The letters were written and organized by Commercial Alert, and sent to all members of the commerce committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. The letter follows.

Dear _________:

On July 6th, the Walt Disney Internet Group and Sprint announced their intention to offer wireless telephone service to children 8-12 years of age.

This was just the latest in what is emerging as an industry trend. Earlier this year, Firefly Mobile enlisted 100,000 children for their mobile phone service. Enfora has announced plans to offer mobile phone service targeting children as young as six years of age. This fall, Wherify is planning to offer a “Wherifone” for children with built-in Global Positioning System (GPS) location tracking. In August, Mattel is expected to market Barbie-branded mobile phones. Hasbro is preparing its own mobile phone for children, too, called “Chat Now.”

The targeting of young children as the next growth market for the telecom industry is one of the worst ideas to appear in the American economy in a long time. Does anyone really believe that kids today lack sufficient distractions from their school work, that there are insufficient disruptions in the home, and that child predators and advertisers lack sufficient means of access to kids?

If the Disney Corporation and the others just wanted to give children a way to contact parents in emergencies, that would be one thing. The telecommunications companies – to parents at least –are playing up this angle. Telecommunications lobbyists in Washington will harp on it as well.

But despite the industry’s rhetoric, Disney and the telecommunications companies really want to use children as conduits to their parents’ wallets. And marketers want another way to bypass parents and speak directly to the nation’s children.

Already, marketers are leaping to send advertisements via mobile phones. For example, Advertising Age reported on July 11th that many corporations, including McDonalds, Coca-Cola and Timex, are moving “from small [mobile phone advertising] tests to all-out campaign[s].” Children already are bombarded with too much advertising. They don’t need more advertising through their mobile phones, whether it is telemarketing, text message marketing, adver-games, or any other type of commercial messages.

Before the telecommunications industry declares “open season” upon the children of this country, we urge you to investigate and make absolutely certain that the industry has answers to the following questions.

Child Predators. Will adults other than parents be able to contact children through these phones, without the permission of parents? What about sexual predators, convicted criminals, etc.?

Disclosure of Children’s Whereabouts. For mobile phones to work, telecommunications companies must know where their customers’ phones are. Will anyone other than the child’s parents, law enforcement officials and telecommunications companies be able to track the physical location of the child’s mobile phone?

Interruptions in School and Church. Will the mobile phones cause disruptions and distractions in church and school, or will they be designed not to function in such locations? The potential for disruption here affects not just the individual child, but every child in the group in question.

Runaway Billing. Will parents have absolute control over billing and charges, so that no charges can be incurred without the parents’ specific prior consent? This includes charges for regular and special services, 888 numbers, and the rest.

Children’s Health. Children are vulnerable in ways that adults are not, physically as well as emotionally. In January, the British National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) issued a report, titled “Mobile Phones and Health,” which warned about the possibility that mobile phones could cause benign tumors of the ear and brain. The NRPB recommended that parents not give mobile phones to children under eight years of age, that older children should limit their use of mobile phones, and that “the mobile phone industry should refrain from promoting the use of mobile phones by children.” Upon release of the report, NRPB Chairman Sir William Stewart said, “I don't think we can put our hands on our hearts and say mobile phones are safe.” He also said that “If there are risks, and we think there may be risks, then the people who are going to be most affected are children, and the younger the child, the greater the danger.” How has the U.S. mobile phone industry factored this warning into its service plans? Can it guarantee that children will suffer no adverse health effects from the use of mobile phones? If not, then why is it offering mobile phones to children? Is the industry willing to take full responsibility for the effects of its phones upon children’s health?

The move to put mobile phones into the hands of children as young as six years old is not a decision to take lightly. It opens up a plethora of problems, not just for the children with the phones but for schools, churches, families and classmates as well.

Now is the time to pause, investigate and consider. Once the phones are in classrooms, playrooms, and in children’s bedrooms, it will be too late. Already we read with grim regularity of children molested by predators who contacted them over the Internet. We read of children who cannot focus their own attention even for short times. We hope we will not now read about children abducted by adults who seduced them through mobile phones, and of school rooms that cannot function because of mobile phones that ring constantly, just because Congress did not stand up and act.

Sincerely,
Joan Almon, Coordinator, Alliance for Childhood
Michael Brody, MD, Chair, Television and Media Committee, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Brita Butler-Wall, PhD. Executive Director, Citizens' Campaign for Commercial-Free Schools
Angela Campbell, Professor, Georgetown University Law Center
Raffi Cavoukian, D.Mus., D.Litt., founder of Child Honoring, singer, author, ecology advocate
Nathan Dungan, author, Prodigal Sons and Material Girls: How Not to Be Your Child's ATM
Leon Eisenberg, MD, Professor of Social Medicine Emeritus, Harvard Medical School
Henry A. Giroux, PhD, Waterbury Chair Professor in Secondary Education, College of Education, Pennsylvania State University; author, Stealing Innocence: Corporate Culture's War on Children
Susan Grant, Vice President, Public Policy, National Consumers League
Nicholas Johnson, Former Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission
Carden Johnston, MD, FAAP, FRCP, Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics, University of Alabama School of Medicine
Tim Kasser, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology. Knox College; author, The High Price of Materialism
Jean Kilbourne, author, Can't Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel
Diane Levin, PhD, Professor of Education, Wheelock College; author, Remote Control Childhood?: Combating the Hazards of Media Culture
Susan Linn, EdD, Instructor in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Co-founder, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood; author, Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood
Robert W. McChesney, Research Professor, Institute of Communications Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Founder and President, Free Press; author, The Problem of the Media
Bob McCannon, Founder and Executive Director, New Mexico Media Literacy Project; Vice President & Co-founder, Action Coalition for Media Education
Ken McEldowney, Executive Director, Consumer Action
Jim Metrock, President, Obligation, Inc.
Ed Mierzwinski, Consumer Program Director, U.S. Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG)
Mark Crispin Miller, PhD, Professor of Media Ecology, New York University
Diane M. Morrison, PhD, Professor & Associate Dean for Research, University of Washington School of Social Work
Peggy O'Mara, Editor and Publisher, Mothering Magazine
Alvin F. Poussaint, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Faculty Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Harvard Medical School
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
Hugh Rank, University Professor Emeritus, Governors State University; author, Persuasion Analysis and The Pitch
Gary Ruskin, Executive Director, Commercial Alert
Phyllis Schlafly, President, Eagle Forum
Juliet Schor, PhD, Professor of Sociology, Boston College; author, Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture
Remar Sutton, Founder, The Privacy Rights Now Coalition
Victor Strasburger, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Chief, Division of Adolescent Medicine, University of New Mexico School of Medicine; co-author, Children, Adolescents, & the Media
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: JULY 26, 2005
Click here to view the source article.
Source: CONTACT: Commercial Alert: Gary Ruskin (503) 235-8012

NO, THEY DO NOT TARGET CHILDREN, DO THEY?
USA Created: 18 Jul 2005
Children’s Advocates Ask Congress to Investigate Marketing of Mobile Phones to Kids

Privacy, consumer and children’s advocates sent letters today to key Members of Congress, asking them to investigate the marketing and sale of mobile phones to children, and their effects on children’s privacy, education, safety and health.
The letters were written and organized by Commercial Alert, and sent to all members of the commerce committees of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. The letter follows:

Dear _________:
On July 6th, the Walt Disney Internet Group and Sprint announced their intention to offer wireless telephone service to children 8-12 years of age.
This was just the latest in what is emerging as an industry trend. Earlier this year, Firefly Mobile enlisted 100,000 children for their mobile phone service. Enfora has announced plans to offer mobile phone service targeting children as young as six years of age. This fall, Wherify is planning to offer a “Wherifone” for children with built-in Global Positioning System (GPS) location tracking. In August, Mattel is expected to market Barbie-branded mobile phones. Hasbro is preparing its own mobile phone for children, too, called “Chat Now.”
The targeting of young children as the next growth market for the telecom industry is one of the worst ideas to appear in the American economy in a long time. Does anyone really believe that kids today lack sufficient distractions from their school work, that there are insufficient disruptions in the home, and that child predators and advertisers lack sufficient means of access to kids?
If the Disney Corporation and the others just wanted to give children a way to contact parents in emergencies, that would be one thing. The telecommunications companies – to parents at least –are playing up this angle. Telecommunications lobbyists in Washington will harp on it as well.
But despite the industry’s rhetoric, Disney and the telecommunications companies really want to use children as conduits to their parents’ wallets. And marketers want another way to bypass parents and speak directly to the nation’s children.
Already, marketers are leaping to send advertisements via mobile phones. For example, Advertising Age reported on July 11th that many corporations, including McDonalds, Coca-Cola and Timex, are moving “from small [mobile phone advertising] tests to all-out campaign[s].” Children already are bombarded with too much advertising. They don’t need more advertising through their mobile phones, whether it is telemarketing, text message marketing, adver-games, or any other type of commercial messages.
Before the telecommunications industry declares “open season” upon the children of this country, we urge you to investigate and make absolutely certain that the industry has answers to the following questions.
Child Predators. Will adults other than parents be able to contact children through these phones, without the permission of parents? What about sexual predators, convicted criminals, etc.?
Disclosure of Children’s Whereabouts. For mobile phones to work, telecommunications companies must know where their customers’ phones are. Will anyone other than the child’s parents, law enforcement officials and telecommunications companies be able to track the physical location of the child’s mobile phone?
Interruptions in School and Church. Will the mobile phones cause disruptions and distractions in church and school, or will they be designed not to function in such locations? The potential for disruption here affects not just the individual child, but every child in the group in question.
Runaway Billing. Will parents have absolute control over billing and charges, so that no charges can be incurred without the parents’ specific prior consent? This includes charges for regular and special services, 888 numbers, and the rest.
Children’s Health. Children are vulnerable in ways that adults are not, physically as well as emotionally. In January, the British National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB) issued a report, titled “Mobile Phones and Health,” which warned about the possibility that mobile phones could cause benign tumors of the ear and brain. The NRPB recommended that parents not give mobile phones to children under eight years of age, that older children should limit their use of mobile phones, and that “the mobile phone industry should refrain from promoting the use of mobile phones by children.” Upon release of the report, NRPB Chairman Sir William Stewart said, “I don't think we can put our hands on our hearts and say mobile phones are safe.” He also said that “If there are risks, and we think there may be risks, then the people who are going to be most affected are children, and the younger the child, the greater the danger.” How has the U.S. mobile phone industry factored this warning into its service plans? Can it guarantee that children will suffer no adverse health effects from the use of mobile phones? If not, then why is it offering mobile phones to children? Is the industry willing to take full responsibility for the effects of its phones upon children’s health?
The move to put mobile phones into the hands of children as young as six years old is not a decision to take lightly. It opens up a plethora of problems, not just for the children with the phones but for schools, churches, families and classmates as well.
Now is the time to pause, investigate and consider. Once the phones are in classrooms, playrooms, and in children’s bedrooms, it will be too late. Already we read with grim regularity of children molested by predators who contacted them over the Internet. We read of children who cannot focus their own attention even for short times. We hope we will not now read about children abducted by adults who seduced them through mobile phones, and of school rooms that cannot function because of mobile phones that ring constantly, just because Congress did not stand up and act.
Sincerely,
Joan Almon, Coordinator, Alliance for Childhood
Michael Brody, MD, Chair, Television and Media Committee, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Brita Butler-Wall, PhD. Executive Director, Citizens' Campaign for Commercial-Free Schools
Angela Campbell, Professor, Georgetown University Law Center
Raffi Cavoukian, D.Mus., D.Litt., founder of Child Honoring, singer, author, ecology advocate
Nathan Dungan, author, Prodigal Sons and Material Girls: How Not to Be Your Child's ATM
Leon Eisenberg, MD, Professor of Social Medicine Emeritus, Harvard Medical School
Henry A. Giroux, PhD, Waterbury Chair Professor in Secondary Education, College of Education, Pennsylvania State University; author, Stealing Innocence: Corporate Culture's War on Children
Susan Grant, Vice President, Public Policy, National Consumers League
Nicholas Johnson, Former Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission
Carden Johnston, MD, FAAP, FRCP, Emeritus Professor of Pediatrics, University of Alabama School of Medicine
Tim Kasser, PhD, Associate Professor of Psychology. Knox College; author, The High Price of Materialism
Jean Kilbourne, author, Can't Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel
Diane Levin, PhD, Professor of Education, Wheelock College; author, Remote Control Childhood?: Combating the Hazards of Media Culture
Susan Linn, EdD, Instructor in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School; Co-founder, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood; author, Consuming Kids: The Hostile Takeover of Childhood
Robert W. McChesney, Research Professor, Institute of Communications Research, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Founder and President, Free Press; author, The Problem of the Media
Bob McCannon, Founder and Executive Director, New Mexico Media Literacy Project; Vice President & Co-founder, Action Coalition for Media Education
Ken McEldowney, Executive Director, Consumer Action
Jim Metrock, President, Obligation, Inc.
Ed Mierzwinski, Consumer Program Director, U.S. Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG)
Mark Crispin Miller, PhD, Professor of Media Ecology, New York University
Diane M. Morrison, PhD, Professor & Associate Dean for Research, University of Washington School of Social Work
Peggy O'Mara, Editor and Publisher, Mothering Magazine
Alvin F. Poussaint, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Faculty Associate Dean for Student Affairs, Harvard Medical School
Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
Hugh Rank, University Professor Emeritus, Governors State University; author, Persuasion Analysis and The Pitch
Gary Ruskin, Executive Director, Commercial Alert
Phyllis Schlafly, President, Eagle Forum
Juliet Schor, PhD, Professor of Sociology, Boston College; author, Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture
Remar Sutton, Founder, The Privacy Rights Now Coalition
Victor Strasburger, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Chief, Division of Adolescent Medicine, University of New Mexico School of Medicine; co-author, Children, Adolescents, & the Media
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
WASHINGTON - July 26 - 2005
CONTACT: Commercial Alert. Gary Ruskin (503) 235-8012
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US FAA sees hurdles to in-flight mobile phone use

WASHINGTON, July 14 (Reuters) - Substantial challenges remain to the in-flight use of mobile phones even if communications regulators ease their ban, the Federal Aviation Administration told lawmakers on Thursday.

FAA rules restricting the use of portable electronic devices on aircraft can be waived but a carrier would have to show that each model of phone posed no threat to aircraft navigation or communications systems, the agency's top air safety official said.

"The FAA is not changing its rules," FAA Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety, Nicholas Sabatini told the House aviation subcommittee.

"If an air carrier is willing to take the time and incur the expense of testing and verifying that the cell phone usage presents no in-flight interference problems, our rules allow an air carrier to permit such devices," Sabatini testified.

Our comment:
So, how come none of the telecoms or phone & base-station manufacturers have been required to "incur the expense of testing and verifying that the cell phone usage presents no in-life interference problems" ? Airplane control systems are sensitive to mobile-phone signal interference and there are stories of pilots that refuse to take off because they can observe mobile-phone interference through their instruments ...but what about us humans? What reason drives the telecom & government belief that humans are in some way immune to mobile-phone signal interference?
Reuters - Jul 14, 2005
http://today.reuters.com/news/newsArticleSearch.aspx?storyID=248074+14-Jul-2005+RTRS&srch=FAA
Click here to view the source article.
Source: CONTACT: Commercial Alert: Gary Ruskin (503) 235-8012

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