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|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.
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.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|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.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|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
|Click here to view the source article.|
|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.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: Community Impact Newspaper, Emily Davis, 20 Aug 2019|
|Scottish pupils kept home from school amid health fears over 5G phone mast|
|Scotland||Created: 21 Aug 2019|
Two families are keeping their nine children home from an island school amid concerns about a 5G mast on the building.
It was put up at Stronsay Junior High in Orkney as part of a BBC trial testing live radio broadcasts over 5G mobile networks.
The trial, which began earlier this year, was initially due to run for six weeks but was later extended until the end of September.
Some parents are concerned about potential health risks relating to the project.
One family withdrew their three children last term while another family did not send their children to school on Tuesday, the first day of the new term.
Their father, Duncan Bliss-Davis, whose six children are aged between five and 11, said they were concerned about potential risks.
He said: "The NHS are saying children should only use mobile phones for essential purposes and keep calls short and Public Health England say excessive use of mobile phones by children should be discouraged, yet there is a mast on the school and 20 handsets have been given out.
"One of the reasons we moved here was to get away from the explosion of mobile phone masts and mobile phones.
"People keep talking about how we've been using phones for years with no ill effects but my point is that is not for a person's lifetime."
The children are currently being home schooled but Mr Bliss-Davis said they will probably go back to the school, which has around 30 pupils, if the trial ends in September.
He added: "To us educating our kids is very important and when the trial was just going to be six weeks we thought we could take them out or leave them there and it was only for a short period of time so we left them in but then they extended it."
The 20 handsets were given to local adults as part of the trial.
In a letter to parents, the BBC said: "The equipment we're using for the 5G broadcast radio trial is based around 4G technology, which is widely used across the UK, and the radio frequencies being used are the same that are used to broadcast TV.
"The trial is fully compliant with advice from Public Health England that any exposure to radio waves must comply with guidelines set out by the ICNIRP, an independent international commission recognised by World Health Organisation.
"Those guidelines recommend that exposure to radio waves should be below a certain power level - and the power levels we measured are 1,000 times lower than that level."
Orkney Islands Council said it worked with the BBC to identify Stronsay, which has poor connectivity, as a suitable location for the trial.
A council spokesman said: "The council obtained guidance on 5G safety from Public Health England (PHE) before agreeing for the 5G equipment to be installed in Stronsay.
"PHE is the national body that takes the lead on public health matters involving radio frequency electromagnetic fields, or radio waves, used in telecommunications.
"PHE's advice is that there should be no consequences for public health."
He added: "The BBC has also said that there is no reason to believe there are safety concerns surrounding the trial as the equipment being used is based around widespread 4G technology and is operated at very low frequencies.
"The power levels the BBC has measured in and around the school are 1,000 times below the recommended levels for these frequencies."
The council has agreed the 5G antenna can remain in operation until September 30.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: The Scotsman, 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.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|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."
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: Consumer Affairs, Mark Huffman, 12 Aug 2019|
|Children are dying because parents are on their phones|
|Israel||Created: 13 Aug 2019|
Safety experts from around the globe have issued warnings time and again that drowning is most often silent.
Smartphones make connecting and communicating with other people much easier. Whether it is social media, email or gaming, more and more people are attached to their phones at all times. However, it has recently been shown that cellphone usage by parents during their children’s swim time has resulted in an alarming number of deaths by drowning.
Last year, the German Lifeguarding Association published findings that drew a direct link between children dying in the water and parents cellphone usage at the time of death. For years, lifeguards have warned parents that using a phone while children are swimming causes the parent to lose focus on the child, and in many cases of children drowning this was one of the causes.
Safety experts from around the globe have issued warnings time and again that drowning is most often silent. There are many examples of children who drowned in packed pools without anyone noticing. Sometimes, these incidents even happen at home in an inflatable pool with just a few centimeters of water, or even in a washing bucket.
Authorities around the world are now explicitly warning people against using their smartphones whenever a child is near water, whether that be the bathtub, an inflatable pool, while washing the floor, and of course, when the family is at the beach or poolside.
Israel has had its fair share of drowning incidents in which parents were using cellphones instead of watching their children. These instances and the resulting deaths were preventable and tragic. Over the past year-and-a-half, United Hatzalah volunteers have responded to 738 drowning or near-drowning incidents with almost half of these involving children.
As a first responder, I can attest that there is no worse emergency call to respond to than the preventable death of a young child. Nothing is worse than that. Those are the calls that leave even the toughest first responders with nightmares.
Once a person begins to drown, it is incredibly difficult to save them. Even if they are revived, there is often serious brain damage due to prolonged lack of oxygen. This is often more severe in children than in adults. It is incredibly difficult to turn back the clock once a child begins to drown. Therefore, as the founder and president of an emergency first response organization, I urge everyone to shut off their phones when taking children to a pool, beach, or even while playing in an inflatable pool on the balcony. The risks far outweigh the momentary indulgence of using one’s phone.
In a recent interview with the Walla news site, Prof. Yehezkel Weisman, who heads the emergency room at Schneider’s Children’s Hospital, said, “The best treatment for a drowning victim is prevention.”
Water is something that we all enjoy, especially in summertime. However, as much as we enjoy it, water brings with it a host of dangers, the worst of which occur when children who are not receiving the amount of supervision that they need drown. Small children need to be watched every moment when they are near water. In order to do that, parents must turn off their phones.
The writer is a social entrepreneur and the president and founder of United Hatzalah of Israel, an independent, non-profit, fully volunteer organization that provides fast and free emergency first response throughout Israel.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: Jerusalem Post, ELI BEER, 03 Aug 2019|
|School faces boycott over phone mast health fears|
|Scotland||Created: 10 Aug 2019|
A tiny island school faces a boycott by parents over a 5G mobile phone mast near by.
Some parents have said that their children will not return to Stronsay Junior High, on Stronsay, Orkney, until the antenna is removed because they fear that it is a health risk.
Russell and Naomi Bremner removed Dorothy, ten, Wilbur, nine, and Martha, seven, and started home-schooling them in April. They have been joined by Duncan and Anna Bliss Davis who say their six children, aged five to 11, will not go back after the summer break. The two families account for nine of the 29 children in the combined primary and secondary school.
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: The Times, John Jeffay, 09 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:
Louis Slesin, PhD
Editor, Microwave News
|Click here to view the source article.|
|Source: Microwave News, Louis Slesin, 09 Aug 2019|
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