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Cellphone Users Sue Apple and Samsung Over Radiation Exposure
USA Created: 14 Sep 2019
San Francisco’s Andrus Anderson represents a class action of phone owners who say they would not have purchased or paid top dollar for their cells if they had known about the risks of contact with radiofrequency radiation.

Andrus Anderson in San Francisco is representing 16 plaintiffs against Apple and Samsung in a controversy some in the medical and scientific community are allegedly calling “Phone Gate.”

The complaint, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco, claims that members of the class action would not have purchased their phones had they known their Apple and Samsung devices exposed them to radiofrequency radiation exceeding the regulatory limits.

Lawyers from Fegan Scott in Chicago and Shindler, Anderson, Goplerud & Weese in West Des Moines, Iowa, join Andrus in alleging that Apple and Samsung put their clients’ health at risk by designing products that emit heightened levels of RF radiation. Too much of the radiation, created by the transfer of energy waves, can increase cancer risks, cause cellular stress and jeopardize reproductive health, according to the complaint.

The Apple and Samsung products that the phone owners say they keep close to their body could exceed exposure limits in some instances by 500%, according to recent studies cited in the lawsuit.

In 1996, the Federal Communications Commission set the limit for RF radiation absorption to 1.6 watts per kilogram averaged over one gram of tissue. However, the complaint cites a test conducted by the Chicago Tribune and the RF Exposure Lab in San Marcos, California, which found exposure rates up to four times the legal guidelines in some phones. With the iPhone 7, the study found radiation exposure increased significantly the closer it was to a person, such as in their pocket or touching their skin, according to the complaint.

“We intend to show that Apple and Samsung were fully aware that they marketed their phones to be used in ways in which testing showed users would be exposed to dangerous levels of RF radiation—without warning consumers,” said Elizabeth Fegan of Fegan Scott in an email.

Some of these campaigns include Apple describing its phones as “the internet in your pocket,” or “your life in your pocket,” disregarding the increased RF radiation risks when the phones are carried in pockets or against skin, according to the complaint.

“Similarly, Samsung markets its smartphones to be used in a variety of contexts, including in bed and against the skin for sonograms,” the attorneys write. “Defendants cannot hide behind regulatory compliance on testing to protect its marketing and advertising which knowingly misrepresents the true risks of RF radiation exposure when smartphones are used while touching or in close proximity to the human body.”

When asked about the attorneys’ plans to demonstrate concrete harm from the alleged exposure, Fegan said that consumers would not have paid up to $1,000 dollars for Apple and Samsung phones had they known the risks. “These damages are recoverable as out-of-pocket losses and/or as the failure to receive the benefit of the bargain under consumer protection laws,” she said.

The plaintiffs attorneys filed a similar class action complaint in August in the San Jose division of U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The district is no stranger to litigation over potential cellphones’ RF radiation emissions. The city of Berkeley and the telecommunications industry has been litigating the enforcement of an ordinance requiring mobile device retailers to warn consumers of potential RF radiation exposure since 2015. Most recently, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed the Northern District of California’s denial of a preliminary injunction of the law brought by telecommunications industry group CTIA—The Wireless Association.

Neither Apple or Samsung responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.
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Source: Law.com, Alaina Lancaster, 11 Sep 2019

Apple, Samsung slapped with class action over handset RF emissions
USA Created: 27 Aug 2019
That was fast - Two days after a Chicago Tribune investigation found many contemporary mobile phones, including late-model iPhones, do not comply with radio frequency emissions standards, Apple and Samsung are being sued over alleged damages and problems related to RF exposure.

Related news:
Aug 2019, USA: We tested popular cellphones for radiofrequency radiation. Now the FCC is investigating.

The class action suit, filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on Friday, claims RF radiation emitted from smartphone devices designed and manufactured by Apple and Samsung exceed legal limits set forth by the Federal Communications Commission. Further, the case takes issue with marketing materials that claim the products operate within regulated guidelines, with neither company issuing warnings about potential negative health effects related to the allegedly high RF emissions.

"Numerous recent scientific publications, supported by hundreds of scientists worldwide, have shown that RF radiation exposure affects living organisms at levels well below most international and national guidelines," the filing reads. "Effects include increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damages, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders, and negative impacts on general well-being in humans."

The suit relies almost exclusively on results from an independent study performed by RF Exposure Lab on behalf of the Chicago Tribune. A report published on Wednesday notes exposure from devices including iPhone 7, iPhone 8, iPhone X and recent Galaxy smartphone models exceeded federally mandated limits in a number of tests.

Plaintiffs argue Apple "covered up any risks by misrepresenting the safety of the smartphones" and misled customers by not informing them of potential ill effects from iPhone's RF exposure.

The complaint notes Apple has in past declared RF exposure information, including Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), for public viewing and provided recommendations defining the closest distance at which a user should carry the device. According to the filing, the company stopped furnishing such information with the release of the iPhone 7.

For its part, Apple in a statement to The Tribune disputed the paper's findings, saying they "were inaccurate due to the test setup not being in accordance with procedures necessary to properly assess the iPhone models."

"All iPhone models, including iPhone 7, are fully certified by the FCC and in every other country where iPhone is sold," the company added. "After careful review and subsequent validation of all iPhone models tested in the (Tribune) report, we confirmed we are in compliance and meet all applicable exposure guidelines and limits."

Named class plaintiffs include owners of Apple's iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 8 and iPhone X, and Samsung's Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8. Attached to the suit are Chicago-based lawyers Beth Fegan and Timothy A. Scott, partners at law firm Fegan Scott which on Thursday put a call out to potential class candidates.

"The fact that the Chicago Tribune can convene a group of experts and develop such convincing findings shows that the phone manufacturers may be intentionally hiding what they know about radiation output," Fegan said in a statement Thursday. "This could be the Chernobyl of the cell phone industry, cover-up and all."

Along with the suit, The Tribune's findings prompted the FCC to conduct its own testing of the reportedly non-compliant devices.

Plaintiffs seek class status, injunctive relief and damages including costs of medical monitoring, restitutions and wrongfully obtained revenue.
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Source: Apple Insider, Mikey Campbell, 23 Aug 2019

We tested popular cellphones for radiofrequency radiation. Now the FCC is investigating.
USA Created: 27 Aug 2019
The Apple iPhone 7 was set to operate at full power and secured below a tub of clear liquid, specially formulated to simulate human tissue.

With the push of a button, a robotic arm swung into action, sending a pencil-thin probe dipping into the tub. For 18 minutes, it repeatedly measured the amount of radiofrequency radiation the liquid was absorbing from the cellphone.

This test, which was paid for by the Tribune and conducted according to federal guidelines at an accredited lab, produced a surprising result: Radiofrequency radiation exposure from the iPhone 7 — one of the most popular smartphones ever sold — measured over the legal safety limit and more than double what Apple reported to federal regulators from its own testing.

The Federal Communications Commission, which is responsible for regulating phones, states on its website that if a cellphone has been approved for sale, the device “will never exceed” the maximum allowable exposure limit. But this phone, in an independent lab inspection, had done exactly that.

The Tribune tested three more brand-new iPhone 7s at full power, and these phones also measured over the exposure limit. In all, 11 models from four companies were tested, with varying results.

The Tribune’s testing, though limited, represents one of the most comprehensive independent investigations of its kind, and the results raise questions about whether cellphones always meet safety standards set up to protect the public.

After reviewing the lab reports from the Tribune’s tests, the FCC said it would take the rare step of conducting its own testing over the next couple of months.

“We take seriously any claims on non-compliance with the RF (radiofrequency) exposure standards and will be obtaining and testing the subject phones for compliance with FCC rules,” agency spokesman Neil Grace said.

The Tribune set out a year ago to explore an important question: Are cellphones as safe as manufacturers and government regulators say?

Though it’s unclear whether radiofrequency radiation from cellphones can increase cancer risk or lead to other harm, that question is increasingly pressing given the widespread use of cellphones today. Many children and teenagers may face years of exposure.

The newspaper’s testing was not meant to rank phone models for safety – only 11 models were examined, and in most cases just one device was tested. Nor is it possible to know whether any of the cellphones that tested above limits could cause harm. Two of the phone manufacturers, including Apple, disputed the Tribune’s results, saying the lab used by the newspaper had not tested the phones the same way they do.

But the results of the Tribune’s investigation contribute to an ongoing debate about the possible risks posed by radiofrequency radiation from cellphones, and they offer evidence that existing federal standards may not be adequate to protect the public.

Industry officials and manufacturers emphasize that before a new model can be brought to market, a sample phone must be tested and comply with an exposure standard for radiofrequency radiation. But manufacturers are allowed to select the testing lab — and only a single phone needs to pass in order for millions of others to be sold.

Companies testing a new phone for compliance with the safety limit also are permitted to position the phone up to 25 millimeters away from the body — nearly an inch — depending on how the device is used. That’s because the testing standards were adopted in the 1990s, when people frequently carried cellphones on belt clips.

In one phase of the Tribune testing, all phones were positioned at the same distance from the simulated body tissue that the manufacturers chose for their own tests — from 5 to 15 millimeters, depending on the model. Apple, for instance, tests at 5 millimeters.

But people now often carry phones closer to the body, in their pockets, which increases their potential exposure to radiofrequency radiation.

To assess this kind of exposure, the Tribune asked its lab to conduct a second phase of testing, placing the phones 2 millimeters away from the simulated body — closer than any of the manufacturers’ own tests and far less than the maximum distance allowed by the FCC.

The 2-millimeter distance was chosen to estimate the potential exposure for an owner carrying the phone in a pants or shirt pocket. Under those conditions, most of the models tested yielded results that were over the exposure limit, sometimes far exceeding it.

At 2 millimeters, the results from a Samsung Galaxy S8 were more than five times the standard.

The Government Accountability Office, Congress’ research arm, recommended in 2012 that the FCC reassess the exposure limit and its testing requirements, saying that because phones weren’t measured while against the body, authorities could not ensure exposures were under the standard.

Seven years later — after a lengthy period of public comment — the FCC came to its conclusion. The agency announced this month that the existing standard sufficiently protects the public and should remain in place.

Few other government officials have acted in recent years to address the possible risks of radiofrequency radiation from cellphones. But in California, the state Public Health Department in 2017 issued rare guidance on how concerned consumers could reduce exposure.

Among the advice: Don’t carry cellphones in pockets.

Apple, Samsung respond
When informed of the Tribune’s test results and provided with the laboratory’s 100-page lab report, Apple disputed the findings, saying they were not performed in a way that properly assesses iPhones.

The Tribune’s tests were conducted by RF Exposure Lab, a facility in San Marcos, Calif., that is recognized by the FCC as accredited to test for radiofrequency radiation from electronic devices. For 15 years, the lab has done radiation testing for wireless companies seeking government approval for new products.

Lab owner Jay Moulton said all the Tribune’s tests were done in accordance with detailed FCC rules and guidelines.

“We’re not doing anything extraordinary or different here,” Moulton said. Any qualified lab "should be able to grab a phone off the shelf and test it to see if it meets requirements.”

Apple, one of the world’s most iconic brands, would not say specifically what it thought was wrong with the Tribune’s tests or reveal how the company measures its phones for potential radiofrequency radiation exposure.

Still, based on Apple’s feedback, the Tribune retested the iPhones in the investigation as well as an additional iPhone 7, making a change aimed at activating sensors that would reduce power.

Once again, the iPhone 7s produced results over the safety limit, while an iPhone 8 that previously measured over the standard came in under.

When informed of the new results, Apple officials declined to be interviewed and requested the Tribune put its questions in writing. The newspaper did, submitting three dozen, but Apple did not answer any of them.

Apple then issued a statement, repeating that the Tribune test results for the iPhone 7s “were inaccurate due to the test setup not being in accordance with procedures necessary to properly assess the iPhone models.”

“All iPhone models, including iPhone 7, are fully certified by the FCC and in every other country where iPhone is sold,” the statement said. “After careful review and subsequent validation of all iPhone models tested in the (Tribune) report, we confirmed we are in compliance and meet all applicable … exposure guidelines and limits.”

Apple did not explain what it meant by “careful review and subsequent validation.”

The three Samsung phones tested by the Tribune — the Galaxy S8, Galaxy S9 and Galaxy J3 — were positioned at 10 or 15 millimeters from the body, the distances chosen by the company in accordance with FCC guidelines. In these tests, the devices measured under the safety limit.

But when the phones were tested at 2 millimeters from the simulated body — to represent a device being used while in a pocket — the exposures measured well over the standard.

Samsung, based in South Korea and one of the world’s top smartphone makers, said in a statement: “Samsung devices sold in the United States comply with FCC regulations. Our devices are tested according to the same test protocols that are used across the industry.”

FCC officials would not comment on individual results from phones tested by the Tribune. They said that although the Tribune testing was not as comprehensive as what would be required for an official compliance report, they would examine some of the phone models in the newspaper’s investigation.

Assessing the risk
Around-the-clock cellphone use represents one of the most dramatic cultural shifts in decades. In 2009, an estimated 50 million smartphones were in active use in America, according to the wireless industry association CTIA. Today, there are 285 million. Twenty-nine percent of U.S. teens sleep with their cellphones in bed with them, according to a 2019 report by the nonprofit organization Common Sense Media.

Some researchers say safety efforts have not kept pace. “These days,” said Om Gandhi, an early researcher of cellphone radiation at the University of Utah, “exposure is from cradle to grave.”

Cellphones use radio waves to communicate with a vast network of fixed installations called base stations or cell towers. These radio waves are a form of electromagnetic radiation, in the same frequency range used by TVs and microwave ovens.

This kind of radiation, also known as radiofrequency energy, shouldn’t be confused with ionizing radiation, such as gamma rays and X-rays, which can strip electrons from atoms and cause serious biological harm, including cancer.

Radiofrequency energy from cellphones isn’t powerful enough to cause ionization, but at high levels it can heat biological tissue and cause harm. Eyes and testes are especially vulnerable because they do not dispel heat rapidly.

Less understood is whether people, especially children, are at risk for other health effects, including cancer, from exposure to low-level cellphone radiation over many years — potentially decades.

When cellphones hit the market in the 1980s, authorities focused on setting an exposure limit to address only the heating risks of cellphones. Scientists found that animals showed adverse effects when exposed to enough radiofrequency radiation to raise their body temperature by 1 degree Celsius. Authorities used this finding to help calculate a safety limit for humans, building in a 50-fold safety factor.

The final rule, adopted by the FCC in 1996, stated that cellphone users cannot potentially absorb more than 1.6 watts per kilogram averaged over one gram of tissue. To demonstrate compliance, phone makers were told to conduct two tests: when the devices were held against the head and when held up to an inch from the body.

These testing methods didn’t address the anatomy of children and that of other vulnerable populations, such as pregnant women, said Joel Moskowitz, a cellphone expert at the University of California at Berkeley.

“It was like one-size-fits-all.” Plus, he said, “I don’t think anyone anticipated the smartphone and how it would become so integral to our lives.”

The devices became ubiquitous and were increasingly slipped into pockets rather than carried on belt clips. The number of scientific studies related to cellphone radiofrequency radiation soared.

Last fall, in one of the largest studies to date, the National Toxicology Program, a research group within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, found that high exposure to the kind of radiofrequency radiation used by cellphones was associated with “clear evidence” of cancerous heart tumors in male rats.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which shares regulatory responsibilities for cellphones with the FCC, responded to the study by assuring the public there was no danger to humans at “exposures at or under” safety limits. But the Tribune’s testing, disputed by manufacturers, found results from some cellphones over the exposure standard, particularly when tested close to the body.

Despite the changing ways people use phones, both the FCC and FDA said the current exposure limit protects the public. The agencies cite the 50-fold safety margin incorporated into the standard, as does CTIA, the industry association.

Over the limit
A half-hour drive north of San Diego, in the city of San Marcos, is RF Exposure Lab, a low-slung beige and white building that has the look and layout of a dentist’s office. Down the main hallway, past several doors, is a room with dozens of large containers labeled “Head Tissue” and “Body Tissue.”

Moulton, the lab owner, recalled how an intern once spilled some “body tissue” on himself and “freaked out because he thought it was real human tissue.” But it was just a mixture of mostly water, sugar and salt that simulates the electrical properties of the body. The liquid is used frequently at the lab, one of the few facilities in the U.S. that is accredited to test phones and other devices for radiofrequency radiation.

Moulton founded the lab in 2004 after serving as engineering director for chip-making giant Qualcomm. There, he said, he often wrestled with the radiation issue while helping design phones for Verizon.

The Tribune hired Moulton to conduct tests on 11 different models of cellphones, all purchased new by the newspaper. The tests took place in a 10-foot-by-10-foot room outfitted with copper screen windows to reduce electrical interference. In the middle of the room was a “phantom body,” an oval-shaped tub the size of a kitchen sink. Inside the tub was a body tissue mixture.

Moulton carefully positioned the first phone to be tested — an Apple iPhone 8 — under the phantom body so that it was 5 millimeters from the outside of the tub. This separation distance was the same gap selected by Apple in its tests and was in accordance with federal guidelines.

Using a base station simulator outside the room, Moulton placed a call to the iPhone 8 and adjusted the settings so the device was operating in the same band, frequency and channel that yielded the highest radiofrequency radiation reading reported by Apple to the FCC during the regulatory approval process — data that is available on the agency website.

The phone was now operating at full power, creating what was essentially a worst-case scenario in terms of radiofrequency radiation exposure. Typically, Moulton said, consumers do not experience exposure like this. But it could happen, he said, in limited situations, such as someone talking continuously in an area with a weak connection.

A probe attached to a robotic arm moved up and down, and back and forth, in the fluid, taking 276 measurements of the radiation absorbed. After a few minutes, the probe stopped, and the results appeared on a nearby computer screen: The radiofrequency radiation level for the iPhone 8 measured 2.64 W/kg — more than double the highest value Apple reported to the FCC and well over the 1.6 safety limit.

Moulton said he was surprised. “Maybe the phone’s power sensor isn’t working,” he said. “It’s supposed to be on."

Almost all smartphones, he said, have power sensors — also known as proximity sensors — designed to detect when the device is touching or extremely close to a person. When that occurs, the phone is supposed to reduce power, decreasing radiofrequency radiation.

“Let’s see how this iPhone 7 does,” he said, picking up the next phone to be tested. He secured it 5 millimeters under the phantom body, placed a call to the phone and activated the probe.

Minutes later, the results were in: 2.81 W/kg, again over the limit. He tested another iPhone 7, getting a similar result: 2.50 W/kg.

“Still high,” Moulton said.

As more phones were tested, some results came in low. For instance, Samsung’s Galaxy S9, S8 and J3 phones measured under the standard.

But the lab had tested the Samsung phones relatively far away from the simulated body, because that’s how the manufacturer had tested the devices when seeking FCC approval.

Two Samsung phones were tested at 10 millimeters away and one at 15 millimeters — still within federal guidelines but much greater than the 5-millimeter gap chosen by Apple for its tests.

So how would the Samsung devices and other models fare when tested at a consistent distance, one even closer to the body?

The ‘pocket test'
To help answer this question, the Tribune cut out pieces of dress shirts, T-shirts, jeans, track pants and underwear and sent them to Moulton. His measurements indicated that phones carried in pants or shirt pockets typically would be no more than 2 millimeters from the body.

Moulton then conducted the same radiation tests, using the same methods and equipment. The only difference was that the phones were placed 2 millimeters from the phantom body — closer than any of the manufacturers’ own tests and much closer than the maximum distance allowed by the FCC.

Maybe, he said, the phones’ proximity sensors would kick in at this closer distance, and the radiofrequency radiation levels would drop accordingly.

But most phones still showed high levels. The four iPhone 7s tested at 2 millimeters produced results twice the safety standard. The iPhone 8 measured three times over; the Moto e5 Play from Motorola measured quadruple the standard.

And the Samsung Galaxy phones?

All three measured at more than twice the standard, with the Galaxy S8 registering 8.22 W/kg — five times the standard and the highest exposure level seen in any of the Tribune tests.

Only two phones came in under the standard in the 2-millimeter “pocket test": an iPhone 8 Plus and a BLU Vivo 5 Mini.

Moulton said he couldn’t be certain why any of the phones in the Tribune tests scored as they did.

Only the manufacturers, he said, could say for sure.

Seeking an explanation
Apple and Motorola disputed the Tribune’s testing protocol but declined to answer written questions.

Motorola officials did say one thing about the high exposure measurement for their Moto e5 Play, which came in nearly three times the safety limit in a 5-millimeter test at the Tribune lab: They speculated the test did not trigger the proximity sensors in that phone.

Though the Tribune’s lab had followed all FCC testing methods, the newspaper subsequently retested the Moto e5 Play, slightly altering the previous testing method to reflect Motorola’s input. The Tribune also retested a Moto g6 Play, which had scored right at the safety limit in the first test, as well as an additional model, a Moto e5.

When tested with these modified methods, the exposure results for all three phones were under the limit at the 5-millimeter distance.

Moulton said the two test results for the e5 Play indicate that its sensors may not work under certain conditions.

Motorola, which is based in Chicago, said in a statement that “all Motorola devices meet or exceed FCC requirements" but would not answer questions about its power sensors.

“Our power management techniques and expertise provide Motorola with a significant competitive advantage in the marketplace, and are therefore highly confidential,” the company’s statement said. “The Chicago Tribune’s third-party lab was not privy to the proprietary techniques from Motorola necessary to elicit accurate results.”

Rules set by the FCC require that radiofrequency radiation testing be done “in a manner that permits independent assessment.”

Motorola said that after receiving the Tribune’s test results, it had the models in question tested at its outside lab, which “found results were within the appropriate limits.” When the Tribune asked Motorola to explain how it tests its phones, the company declined. It also would not share its lab reports.

The Tribune also retested several iPhones based on Apple’s feedback. A reporter touched or grasped the phones for the duration of the tests, actions intended to activate sensors that are designed to reduce the devices’ power.

In these tests, the iPhone 8 measured under the limit at 5 millimeters, but all four iPhone 7s did not.

In response to these results, Apple issued a statement saying the lab procedures in the Tribune testing still were improper. The company, based in Cupertino, Calif., wouldn’t say what methods were necessary.

FCC documents show that when Apple sought agency approval in 2016 to market the iPhone 7, the company promised to “take appropriate action” on any complaint “relating to the product’s compliance with requirements of the relevant standard.”

Apple, which said it validated the safety of its phones in response to the Tribune testing, would not provide any additional detail about the actions it took to evaluate the phones.

The company also wouldn’t comment on the information it provides the public on radiofrequency radiation. Consumers can find such information on their iPhones, but it’s difficult.

On the iPhone 7, for instance, a user would go to Settings > General > About > Legal > RF Exposure. There, the term “radiofrequency radiation” is not used but rather “RF energy,” a reference to radiofrequency exposure.

To reduce exposure, Apple suggests using “a hands-free option, such as the built-in speakerphone, the supplied headphones, or other similar accessories.”

For some past models, Apple gives additional advice. Apple’s website tells users of the iPhone 4 and 4s: “Carry iPhone at least 10mm away from your body to ensure exposure levels remain at or below the as-tested levels.” The site says those phones were tested at a distance of 10 millimeters.

When Apple submitted its application to the FCC to market the iPhone 7, the company included a similarly worded radiation statement, suggesting users carry the device at least 5 millimeters from the body, records show.

But iPhone 7s eventually sold to the public did not include that advice.

When the Tribune asked Apple in its written questions why that suggestion was not included, the company did not respond.
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Source: Chicago Tribune, Sam Roe, 21 Aug 2019

Phones banned: California public school becomes largest in country to go phone-free
USA Created: 22 Aug 2019
When students got their textbooks at the beginning of the year at San Mateo High School, they also received the Yondr pouch, a locking device for their phones.

The phone slides into it and gets locked through a magnetic device. It's not unlocked again until the final bell rings. The procedure will repeat every day for the rest of the school year.

Adam Gelb, the assistant principal ran a pilot project last year with 20 students and decided to do a school-wide, bell to bell program for this school year.
The Yondr pouch is a start-up in San Francisco with a mission to create phone-free spaces, something that resonated with Gelb.

"I really think it's about being present and engaging in the adult that's trying to teach you, your peers that might be in your small group. That's part of the main philosophy that we're trying to preach," he said.

Brad Friedman, another teacher at the school, said he was becoming concerned with excessive use of phones at school. He said he often saw students completely lost on their phones, some not socializing at all with other students.

This week, he's already seeing the difference.

"Everyone else was socializing and eating lunch together, that's what I wasn't seeing enough of when phone usage is at its worst," he said.
A senior at San Mateo High School Djelani Phillips-Diop said he definitely panicked at first when he heard he had to lock his phone.

"I panicked I guess last year when we had phones, I was using it every day," he said.

In case of emergency, every classroom has the unlocking device. Teachers still have access to their own cellphones and landlines.

"We've gotten all 1,700 students unlocked with a matter of minutes," said Gelb.

We spoke to four students who, despite their initial panic, agreed that a phone-free school experience has its benefits.
"I remember sophomore year, I tried to get my followers, checked my followers constantly," said Joshua Cervantes-Solorio, a senior student at San Mateo HS.

"You're constantly comparing yourself to other women on your feed and it definitely takes a toll on your self-image," said Lea Wadhams another senior at SMHS
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Source: ABC 11 News, Kris Reyes, 20 Aug 2019

City of McKinney looks into 5G’s effects on public health following safety concerns from residents
USA Created: 22 Aug 2019
The topic of incorporating new smart technology in McKinney has surfaced over the last few months, and residents have mixed emotions.

McKinney City Council began discussions on implementing fifth-generation wireless technology during a work session April 22.

This technology, called 5G, is one of the fastest wireless communication systems available, according to a presentation given during the April work session. It would allow for the adoption of new industries, including autonomous vehicles, smart communities, higher data transfer rates and new industrial advancement.

Better wireless technology would help the city attract future developments to the area, Gary Graham, director of engineering for the city of McKinney, said at the work session.

Several residents have come forward at various City Council meetings since April to express concerns about 5G and its potentially harmful side effects.

In an effort to further discussions on 5G implementation, the McKinney Economic Development Corp. hired Technology & Infrastructure Specialist Mike DePaola last month.

DePaola said he plans to conduct “unbiased research” regarding 5G implementation and its effects on residents’ health, during an Aug. 20 MEDC meeting.

In order to be transparent with residents, DePaola said he will make his findings, no matter the results, accessible to the community.

“We don’t want to hone in on specific studies that say, ‘5G is great, smart cities are great’ … We want to present the whole range of topics, and we want to allow citizens and business owners to have access to what we are making decisions off of,” DePaola said.

Guiding principles for 5G implementation were adopted by the city during a May 21 City Council meeting.

“The two [principles]we are going to focus on in this plan are going to be enhancing the city’s economic development programs and … to ensure the health and safety of residents, guests and visitors in the city of McKinney,” DePaola said.

City staff is specifically looking to implement 5G technology along the SH 121 corridor, according to previous discussions.

This 5G technology, if approved, would be built onto a network of small cell poles, according to a presentation at the April meeting. Cellular providers are anticipated to have their own 5G networks, but they will need to partner with the city to install necessary equipment in high-demand areas.

Nothing has been built in McKinney yet in regard to 5G, DePaola said, but the city’s next steps include hiring a wireless implementation consultant followed by a public forum to engage with residents and business owners.

Dates have not been set at this time but are expected to be available in the next few months.
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Source: Community Impact Newspaper, Emily Davis, 20 Aug 2019

Opinion: Radiating Caution on the 5G Rollout
USA Created: 15 Aug 2019
The much-hyped rollout of 5G continues, but many scientists would prefer 5G be put on hold—at least until much more testing has been done. To scientists who have been sounding the alarm over the rollout, the spectre of 5G means more than fifth-generation wireless technology. It also means five times greater health risks—if not five thousand.

In 2015, 220 scientists from 40 nations (including nine from Canada), presented The International EMF Scientist Appeal to the United Nations. It warns that “numerous recent scientific publications have shown that EMF [electromagnetic frequency] affects living organisms at levels well below most international and national guidelines” and causes genetic damage to people, plants, and animals.

Wireless radiation undermines the health of living things in numerous ways including oxidative stress, damage to cell membranes, and damage to mitochondria (the energy-producing parts of cells). In people, this contributes to an impaired blood-brain barrier, which keeps toxins out of the brain. It also constricts blood vessels and blood flow to the brain and triggers autoimmune reactions.

This radiation also has toxic effects in pregnancy and has been tied to developmental problems for the fetus after it is born, including attention deficit and hyperactivity. Such radiation has been known to decrease sperm count and function. Even worse, all the sperm and eggs a human will ever have are produced in the fetal stage. Current exposure affects not just the generation yet to be born, but also grandchildren.

Dr. Beatrice Golomb, a professor at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, has given special attention to the issue. She surveyed those whose health suffered by living close to cellphone towers. Minor symptoms include ringing ears, headaches, chest pain, heart arrhythmia, and insomnia. Worse symptoms include seizures, heart failure, hearing loss, and severe cognitive impairment. And these mechanisms also contribute to neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.

As Golumb explains, “These mechanisms have known involvement in induction of brain cancer, metabolic diseases like obesity and diabetes, autism, autoimmune disease, and neurodegenerative conditions, conditions that have exploded. In each case these have been linked, or presumptively linked, in some studies to electromagnetic radiation.”

Half of the EMF victims Golomb surveyed lost their jobs as a result of the negative health effects. Such people now have electrohypersensitivity and must take special care to avoid airport scanners and many other places that others can pass through with little harm. Those with the condition include Gro Harlem Brundtland, once the Prime Minister of Norway and head of the World Health Organization; Matti Niemela, former Nokia technology chief; and the wife of Frank Clegg, former head of Microsoft Canada and current head of Canadians for Safe Technology.

Why 5G has so many alarmed is this: the frequency it will operate on functions at a shorter range. This will require many more towers operating at increased power just to function correctly. Expect antennas the size of a pizza box every 250 feet or less to ensure connectivity. “Industry is going to need hundreds of thousands, maybe millions, of new antenna sites in the United States alone. So people will be bathed in a smog of radiation 24/7,” said Dr. Joel Moskowitz, of the University of California, Berkeley.

A Forbes article suggested that the internet of things will mean 10 to 20 billion connections that include “smart” refrigerators, washing machines, surveillance cameras, and self-driving vehicles.

For policy makers, the answer may lie in a petition given to the European Union on September 11, 2017. Frank Clegg was one of five Canadians among the 170 signatories from 37 countries. The petition’s recommendations are useful for every jurisdiction. An abridged and slightly paraphrased version follows.

Halt 5G expansion until independent scientists can ensure total radiation levels by RF-EMF won’t be harmful.
Inform citizens about health risks from radio frequency (RF) and EMF radiation, and how and why to avoid wireless communication, especially near schools, homes, workplaces, hospitals, and elder care.
Appoint a task force of truly impartial scientists to determine new standards of maximum total exposure standards, study cumulative exposure, and create rules to be enforced to keep people from exceeding such exposure.
Prevent the wireless/telecom industry from lobbying officials regarding RF-EMF radiation safety.
Favour and implement wired digital telecommunication instead of wireless.

In 2017, Golomb railed against SB 649, legislation that would have given mobile companies wide latitude to roll out 5G in California.

“If this bill passes, many people will suffer greatly and needlessly as a direct result,” she wrote. “This sounds like hyperbole. It is not.”

The legislation would have passed regardless, except that it was vetoed by California Governor Jerry Brown in October of 2017. Even so, any reprieve from 5G seems only temporary. For better or worse, 5G proponents are bent on its implementation, health be damned.

Lee Harding is a former political staffer, taxpayer advocate, and think tank researcher. He is now a columnist based in Saskatchewan.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.
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Source: The Epoch Times, Lee Harding, 04 Aug 2019

Appeals court rules 5G cell sites can’t skip environmental and historical review
USA Created: 13 Aug 2019
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has encountered another roadblock in its effort to speed the rollout of 5G wireless service.

A federal court has ruled that the agency overstepped its bounds when it tried to exempt 5G cell sites from environmental impact and historic preservation reviews.

The FCC is concerned that the U.S. could fall behind in the deployment of the latest generation of wireless service and has been trying to aid providers in dealing with regulatory hurdles. But a U.S. appeals court ruled that cell sites using the new technology still must comply with existing regulations.

“We grant in part the petitions for review because the Order does not justify the Commission’s determination that it was not in the public interest to require review of small cell deployments,” the court ruled. “In particular, the Commission failed to justify its confidence that small cell deployments pose little to no cognizable religious, cultural, or environmental risk, particularly given the vast number of proposed deployments and the reality that the Order will principally affect small cells that require new construction.”
Exemption from review

In 2018, the FCC adopted an order that exempted most small cell construction from required reviews. The reviews had to do with historic preservation -- making sure the cell deployments didn’t encroach on or diminish historically or culturally important sites.

The agency justified its action claiming it was necessary to speed up the deployment of 5G networks, which are significantly faster than current 4G LTE networks. The United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma, the Blackfeet Tribe, and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) sued, seeking to block the action.

In the end, the judges ruled that the FCC’s action "does not justify the Commission's determination that it was not in the public interest to require review of small cell deployments.”

The court said the FCC did not justify its contention that small cell 5G deployments pose little to no cognizable religious, cultural, or environmental risk.

The justices also said the agency did not "adequately address possible harms of deregulation and benefits of environmental and historic-preservation review."

The court concluded that the FCC’s deregulation of small cell deployments was “arbitrary and capricious."

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Source: Consumer Affairs, Mark Huffman, 12 Aug 2019

FCC Proposes No Change of Its RF Standards
USA Created: 9 Aug 2019
After six years of study, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has decided not to revise its current safety limits for RF radiation. The rules, which were first adopted in 1996 and are the only ones governing cell phone exposures in the U.S., will continue to be based only on thermal effects.

For more, please check out our latest update with links for additional details:

https://microwavenews.com/short-takes-archive/fcc-rf-limits

Louis Slesin, PhD
Editor, Microwave News
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Source: Microwave News, Louis Slesin, 09 Aug 2019

5g's Waveform Is a Battery Vampire & 5G basestations use 3 x the power of 4G
USA Created: 7 Aug 2019
As carriers roll out 5G, industry group 3GPP is considering other ways to modulate radio signals.

In 2017, members of the mobile telephony industry group 3GPP were bickering over whether to speed the development of 5G standards. One proposal, originally put forward by Vodafone and ultimately agreed to by the rest of the group, promised to deliver 5G networks sooner by developing more aspects of 5G technology simultaneously.

Related news:
Jul 2019, Australia: MORE THAN 90% OF OPERATORS FEAR RISING ENERGY COSTS FOR 5G, EDGE

Adopting that proposal may have also meant pushing some decisions down the road. One such decision concerned how 5G networks should encode wireless signals. 3GPP’s Release 15, which laid the foundation for 5G, ultimately selected orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM), a holdover from 4G, as the encoding option.

But Release 16, expected by year’s end, will include the findings of a study group assigned to explore alternatives. Wireless standards are frequently updated, and in the next 5G release, the industry could address concerns that OFDM may draw too much power in 5G devices and base stations. That’s a problem, because 5G is expected to require far more base stations to deliver service and connect billions of mobile and IoT devices.

“I don’t think the carriers really understood the impact on the mobile phone, and what it’s going to do to battery life,” says James Kimery, the director of marketing for RF and software-defined radio research at National Instruments Corp. “5G is going to come with a price, and that price is battery consumption.”

And Kimery notes that these concerns apply beyond 5G handsets. China Mobile has “been vocal about the power consumption of their base stations,” he says. A 5G base station is generally expected to consume roughly three times as much power as a 4G base station. And more 5G base stations are needed to cover the same area.

So how did 5G get into a potentially power-guzzling mess? OFDM plays a large part. Data is transmitted using OFDM by chopping the data into portions and sending the portions simultaneously and at different frequencies so that the portions are “orthogonal” (meaning they do not interfere with each other).

The trade-off is that OFDM has a high peak-to-average power ratio (PAPR). Generally speaking, the orthogonal portions of an OFDM signal deliver energy constructively—that is, the very quality that prevents the signals from canceling each other out also prevents each portion’s energy from canceling out the energy of other portions. That means any receiver needs to be able to take in a lot of energy at once, and any transmitter needs to be able to put out a lot of energy at once. Those high-energy instances cause OFDM’s high PAPR and make the method less energy efficient than other encoding schemes.

Yifei Yuan, ZTE Corp.’s chief engineer of wireless standards, says there are a few emerging applications for 5G that make a high PAPR undesirable. In particular, Yuan, who is also the rapporteur for 3GPP’s study group on nonorthogonal multiple-access possibilities for 5G, points to massive machine-type communications, such as large-scale IoT deployments.

Typically, when multiple users, such as a cluster of IoT devices would communicate using OFDM, their communications would be organized using orthogonal frequency-division multiple access (OFDMA), which allocates a chunk of spectrum to each user. (To avoid confusion, remember that OFDM is how each device’s signals are encoded, and OFDMA is the method to make sure that overall, one device’s signals don’t interfere with any others.) The logistics of using distinct spectrum for each device could quickly spiral out of control for large IoT networks, but Release 15 established OFDMA for 5G-connected machines, largely because it’s what was used on 4G.

One promising alternative that Yuan’s group is considering, non-orthogonal multiple access (NOMA), could deliver the advantages of OFDM while also overlapping users on the same spectrum.

For now, Yuan believes OFDM and OFDMA will suit 5G’s early needs. He sees 5G first being used by smartphones, with applications like massive machine-type communications not arriving for at least another year or two, after the completion of Release 16, currently scheduled for December 2019.

But if network providers want to update their equipment to provide NOMA down the line, there could very well be a cost. “This would not come for free,” says Yuan. “Especially for the base station sites.” At the very least, base stations would need software updates to handle NOMA, but they might also require more advanced receivers, more processing power, or other hardware upgrades.

Kimery, for one, isn’t optimistic that the industry will adopt any non-OFDMA options. “It is possible there will be an alternative,” he says. “The probability isn’t great. Once something gets implemented, it’s hard to shift.”
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Source: IEEE Spectrum, Michael Koziol, 24 Ju 2019

Earth Matters: The Times got it wrong on 5G
USA Created: 6 Aug 2019
The race to deploy 5G is on…but not so fast!.

There are two conversations going on regarding the rollout of 5G. The first, amplified
by telecom companies, their investors and the media, promises a fantastic new future with breakthroughs in communications, medicine, education, transportation and entertainment…all delivered instantly by a seamless, wireless infrastructure surrounding us everywhere we go. The second, engaging medical professionals, public health experts and scientific researchers, concerns a looming public health crisis based on the known biological risks from both short and long-term exposure to radiofrequency (RF) microwave radiation, the foundation of that wireless infrastructure.

The New York Times has chosen to align themselves with the industry group.
Over the past few months, they have strategically placed two articles in their paper, the first one claimed that the concern over the safety of 5G can be attributed to a Russian conspiracy and the second, to the work of a single researcher who “got it wrong.” The second article, “Don’t Fear the Frequency,” was published as the lead story in the Science Section on July 16, and placed the blame on the research of an esteemed, but low-profile physicist Dr. Bill Curry, and the graph he created depicting absorption of microwaves by the brain. The author of the article, William J. Broad, discredited the scientist and claimed the graph was not accurate because the higher frequencies, like 5G, are mostly absorbed by the skin. In his article, he frequently referred to “mainstream scientists” or the “science establishment” which disputed the validity of Curry’s work.

In fact, Bill Curry’s research was meticulous and his graph was exactly right. It was actually Broad who got it wrong. He was mixing up the impact of different frequencies. Curry mapped out the graph back in 2000, when 2G was the standard and 3G had only just been introduced. In this part of the spectrum, the radiation does indeed penetrate well into the brain.

There are hundreds of scientists and medical experts who strongly disagree with the experts mentioned in Broad’s article who said that radio waves become safer at higher frequencies. Broad also conveniently avoids revealing that 5G will be adding yet another layer on top of existing forms (3G, 4G) of RF microwave radiation. Ongoing and past research in this field focuses on a wide range of radio wave frequencies and biological impacts are found at virtually every frequency measured. 5G, which employs a new millimeter band frequency, also utilizes decimeter and centimeter microwave lengths, and has been identified in numerous studies as presenting a direct threat to human health, as well as to animal, insect and plant life. There has been no independent testing to support any claims of safety of 5G.

People, including me, read The New York Times expecting to get the facts, and the consequences of misleading readers on a subject of this importance are monumental. However, the conflict of interest here is pretty clear. The Times and Verizon have entered into a business partnership utilizing 5G technology and, of course, the telecoms hold a special place as powerful advertisers at The Times.

Who on the Times science desk fact-checked Broad’s story? Who brought the obscure Curry graph to Broad’s attention? The day after publication, the telecom industry posted a celebratory article in Wireless SmartBrief entitled “Experts: 5G Health Scare Based on Bad Science.”

The race between science and commerce is on, with extremely high stakes for everyone on the planet. Will the telecoms succeed in achieving sufficient market penetration, integrating their networks and devices inexorably into the everyday lives of consumers before scientists and public health officials are able to make their voices heard?
Will there be enough time to alert the public to the undeniable risk, and force government to take steps to protect public health?

We’ve been here before, of course. At one point in time, DDT, asbestos and tobacco were all considered beneficial. Only later, as the research accumulated and the human suffering became obvious, did we understand the danger of ignoring emerging science and early signs of trouble. Will we make the same mistake again with wireless radiation?

Dr. Robert O. Becker, surgeon and researcher who was twice nominated for the Nobel Prize, observed, “I have no doubt in my mind that, at the present time, the greatest polluting element in the earth’s environment is the proliferation of electromagnetic fields.”
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Source: The Island Now, PATTI WOOD, 05 Aug 2019

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