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

EMF Studies

10 December 2016

French Taxpayers Face Huge Nuclear Bill As EDF Financial Crisis Deepens

EDF's Cruas nuclear complex in Rhône-Alpes, France,
where two reactors have been out of action this autumn
due to safety concerns.  
Photo:  jan buchholtz via
Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).
French taxpayers face huge nuclear bill as EDF financial crisis deepens
by Paul Brown, theecologist.org, 
8 December 2016

Nuclear giant EDF could be heading towards bankruptcy, writes Paul Brown, as it faces a perfect storm of under-estimated costs for decommissioning, waste disposal and Hinkley C. Meanwhile income from power sales is lagging behind costs, and 17 of its reactors are off-line for safety tests. Yet French and UK governments are turning a blind eye to the looming financial crisis.

The liabilities of Électricité de France (EDF) - the biggest electricity supplier in Europe, with 39 million customers - are increasing so fast that they will soon exceed its assets, according a report by an independent equity research company,

Bankruptcy for EDF seems inevitable - and if such a vast empire in any other line of business seemed to be in such serious financial trouble, there would be near-panic in the workforce and in governments at the subsequent political fall-out.

But it seems that the nuclear-dominated EDF group is considered too big to be allowed to fail. So, to keep the lights on in western Europe, the company will have to be bailed out by the taxpayers of France and the UK.

09 December 2016

Don’t Hold Your iPhone 7 To Your Head, Says Apple

Don’t Hold Your iPhone 7 To Your Head, Says Apple
techviral.com, November 26, 2016

Did you know that the smartphones have associated a level of radiation that can be harmful to health? Hence, there are some recommendations that should be taken seriously by the smartphone users. Currently, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus is the most radioactive device of today.

Don’t Hold Your iPhone 7 To Your Head, Says Apple

Smartphones have associated a level of radiation that can be harmful to health. Although not exactly be a conclusive study on the effects of smartphones radiation, there are some recommendations that should be taken seriously by the smartphone users.

The iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus is the most radioactive device of today and the tech giant Apple itself advises its all iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus users simply to keep the iPhone 7 away from the head.

Switzerland: Vaudois and Genevois Against Antenna Radiation

Robert Cramer (Green Party/GE)
"Raising the power of antennas costs
less for the operators but is more
harmful to public health."
Vaudois and Genevois against antenna radiation
by Arthur Grosjean@arthurflash, Tribune de Genève, 8 December 2016 (translated by the Editor of "Towards Better Health")

Mobile telephony:  The senators refused to increase the power of antennas, deeming that health effects are not insignificant

The telecoms operators will not be able to increase the power of mobile phone antennas.  The Council of States refused any easing [of the norms] as the motion of the Federal Council had requested.  The vote was very close, 20 against, 19 for, and 3 abstentions.  Party affiliation did not play a decisive role.

The motion had, however, received large support in the commission.  The rapporteur Hans Wiki (PLR/NW) explained at length the need to ease current norms.  "There are more than 15,000 antennas in Switzerland and 6,000 have already reached the authorized limit value.  A modest adaptation of these values would allow us to benefit from good coverage of the mobile network, indispensable for the population and the economy."  He reiterated that the transfer of data is exploding and that, in four years, 20 to 30 million objects will be connected in Switzerland in an increasingly digitized society.

08 December 2016

Switzerland: News from Parliament: Council of States Buries Motion on Easing Non-Ionizing Radiation Norms

News from the Swiss Parliament
rts.info, 8 December 2016

Mobile telephony:  No question of easing radiation norms

The Council of States has buried a motion by the National Council on limit values for non-ionizing radiation by a narrow margin (20 votes against, 19 for, and 3 abstentions).

The Upper Chamber believes there is no question of placing the demands of the operators before the health of the population because there exists too much doubt about the effects of these rays.

The development of the mobile network is being held back in Switzerland by very strict conditions regarding protection against non-ionizing radiation, pleaded Hans Wicki (PLR/NW).  Lowering norms could facilitate construction of new mobile phone antennas.

The only other option is to contruct thousands of new base stations.  Of the 15,000 existing mobile phone installations, more than 6,000 have already reached the authorized limit values.

Original article in French:

Should Children Get to Have Cellphones in Elementary School?

One Maryland school district could allow elementary
schoolchildren to take cellphones and other devices to
school if a proposed update to district regulations is
adopted.  (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
Should children get to have cellphones in elementary school?
by Donna St. George, The Washington Post, 7 December 2016

The youngest children in Montgomery County’s public schools could soon be allowed to bring cellphones and other electronic devices to campus under newly proposed rules.

Students would not be able to use the devices during the school day in elementary schools unless a teacher permits them as part of classroom instruction, but students could use phones and tablets after dismissal or on school buses if the rules pass.

“The reality is, they are in our elementaries now,” said Patricia O’Neill, a county school board member who noted that cellphones are “ubiquitous” in middle schools and high schools. She said the proposed change would largely focus on “keeping up with the times.”

Winners and Losers of 21st Century Cures Bill

(Choice of image by Editor of "Towards Better Health")
The losers?  Public health and consumer and patient safety groups.  There is no mention of prevention here.  This bill will further erode the health of Americans.

Winners and losers of 21st Century Cures bill becomes law

Sydney Lupkin and Steven Findlay | NPR, Kaiser Health News, 3  December 2016

A sprawling health bill expected to pass the Senate, gain President Obama's signature and become law before the end of the year is a grab bag for industries, academic institutions and patient groups that spent oodles of time and money lobbying to advance their interests.

Who wins and who loses?

Here's the rundown of what's at stake in the 21st Century Cures Act:


Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Companies

United States: $5 Billion 21st Century Cures Act Is a Huge Handout to the Drug and Medical Device Industries

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), left, embraces Rep. Fred Upton
(R-Mich.), the sponsor of the 21st Century Cures Act.
(Susan Walsh / Associated Press)
No provision for prevention in this bill. It cuts $3.5 billion, or about 30%, from Obamacare’s Prevention and Public Health Fund. It favors Big Pharma, the medical device industry, computer, software, and telecoms companies, among others. It is an offense to consumer and patient safety groups, reducing regulations on drug and medical devices and failing to lower the high prices of medications.

Column : The 21st Century Cures Act: A huge handout to the drug industry disguised as a pro-research bounty
by Michael HiltzikContact Reporter, latimes.com, 5 December 2016

The problem with bills in Congress that roar toward passage like juggernauts is that they’re especially worthy of close examination, and especially unlikely to get it. That’s the story with the 21st Century Cures Act, which reaches the Senate this week after achieving overwhelming bipartisan support in the House. Almost certain approval by President Obama lies on the horizon.

07 December 2016

Parents Who Want Kids to Get Off Their Phones Should Look in the Mirror First

Photographer:  SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg
Parents who want kids to get off their phones should look in the mirror first
by Hayley Tsukayama, The Washington Post, 
6 December 2016 

Want to get your kids off their phones and back into the real world? A new study suggests that before you launch into the lecture about how you only see the tops of their heads these days, you may want to take stock of what your own technology habits are telling your kids.

Parents are spending an average of 9 hours and 22 minutes with screen media per day, the study found -- and only an hour and a half of that is for work. That means parents use their devices overall as much as their teens and tween. In fact the average parent spends about a half-hour more each day in the glow of screens than the average teen, excluding school or time spent with homework.

United States: Auto Safety Regulators Seek a Driver Mode to Block Apps

Highway safety administrators are increasingly concerned
about distractions posed by smartphones and the apps
that Americans use while behind the wheel.  
Fabrizio Costantini for The New York Times
Auto Safety Regulators Seek a Driver Mode to Block Apps
by Neal E. Boudette, The New York Times, 
22 November 2016

Apple iPhones and other hand-held devices have long had an airplane mode that shuts off wireless communications to prevent interference with the vast electronics systems that control modern aircraft.

Now federal auto safety regulators want makers of these devices to add a driver mode to modify or block certain apps and features to keep a driver’s attention on the road.

The initiative comes in the form of voluntary guidelines that will be issued Wednesday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They arrive amid a spike in traffic fatalities in the last two years and increasing concerns about the distractions posed by smartphones and the many apps that Americans are using while behind the wheel.

United Kingdom: Asbestos Claims Hit £10 Million Over English Schools

2 million microscopic asbestos fibres
could fit on a pin head.  
US Geological Survey
Asbestos claims hit £10m over English schools
by David Rhodes, BBC News, 2 December 2016

Councils in England have paid out at least £10m in compensation to people who developed illnesses because of asbestos in school buildings.

Figures obtained by BBC News show that in the past decade 32 councils have settled claims from former teachers, school staff or pupils.

The National Union of Teachers says up to 300 adults die each year because of exposure to asbestos while at school.

The government says it is investing £23bn to improve school buildings.

But campaigners warn that the presence of asbestos in schools continues to put pupils lives at risk.