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

EMF Studies

29 December 2011

World's Six Biggest Agrochemical Companies Found Guilty of Human Rights Violations

Following is a résumé of various articles on the Permanent People’s Tribunal which recently condemned the world’s six biggest agrochemical industries for human rights violations.  One of the articles came from “SOS pour un monde meilleur” by way of the International Society of Doctors for the Environment, Italy.

After three days of deliberations in Bangalore, India  (3-6 December 2011), the Permanent People’s Tribunal (PPT) cited human rights violations of the world’s six largest agrochemical industries:  Monsanto, Syngenta, Bayer, Dow Chemical, DuPont and BASF.

Over 355,000 persons die each year from pesticide poisoning and hundreds of thousands more are made ill. Testimonies of persons who had been harmed by pesticides and biotechnology were presented. The practices of the agrichemical industry, which is valued at $42 billion, affect the environment, food, health, children and future generations.

Birth Defects and Pesticides: the Tomato Fields of Florida

The basis of this article, which is the chapter “Chemical Warfare” from the book, “Tomatoland” by Barry Estabrook, was sent to me by the association, “SOS pour un monde meilleur” which, among other sources, receives information on environmental health from Dr. Ernesto Burgio, International Society of Doctors for the Environment (ISDE), Italy.  The group, “SOS pour un monde meilleur”, located in Geneva, Switzerland, is a school offering accredited courses in natural health therapies and a non-profit association whose purpose is to contribute to a better world for children and future generations through sensitization, information, education, representation, and production. 

Migrants working in the tomato fields of Ag-mart in Immokalee, Florida, are exposed to very toxic pesticides.  Ag-mart is a tomato harvesting company that grows tomatoes in three states.  It employs about 500 migrant workers to stake, plant and pick tomatoes.  Most of the workers are from Mexico and Guatemala and are employed under deplorable conditions (see my article, "Cultivation of Tomatoes").

Among the workers were three women who gave birth in 2004 to babies with very serious birth defects. The first baby, Carlitos, was born with spinal and lung deformities and without arms and legs. Jesus was born six weeks later with a deformation of the jaw which placed him at risk of being unable to breathe. The third baby, Violeta, survived only 3 days. She was born with only one ear and one kidney, without a nose and anus, and with a cleft palate.

All three mothers had been exposed to pesticides while working in the tomato fields during days 14 to 59 of their pregnancies, the period when birth defects are most likely to occur. The tomato fields were treated with 31 chemical substances during the growing season. At least three of these pesticides, mancozeb, metribuzin, and avermectin were known as toxins which could cause birth defects according to the Pesticide Action Network. Ag-mart did not adequately train its workers in the use of toxic pesticides. The women were not provided with protective gear except for scarves to cover their mouths. Exposure of these women so soon after spraying the fields was in fact a violation of the regulations of the Environmental Protection Agency.

One of the women described her suffering during working in the fields:  dizziness, nausea, vomiting, burning of the eyes and nose, skin rashes and open sores.  She worked in the fields from preconception through the seventh month of pregnancy.  She would have lost the housing provided by her employer had she ceased working.

The jaw malformation of Jesus was not as serious as feared.  Carlitos developed respiratory problems and had to be transported by plane to a hospital in Miami.  Unable to afford medical costs, at the suggestion of social workers, his parents sought legal aid.  Andrew Yaffa accepted to defend them without charge.  He would receive a percentage of the sum granted if he won the case.  A partner in the law firm, Grossman Roth, he had a reputation in Florida of winning legal settlements granting millions of dollars to victims.

Carlitos as a baby
Legal cases implicating the agricultural industry are very difficult to win.  Proving a link between exposure to pesticides and birth defects is nearly impossible due to factors such as heredity, exposure at other workplaces, smoking, and drug abuse.  Instead of trying to determine which chemical substance caused the birth defects and thus bring suit against its manufacturer, Yaffa decided to build a case against the agricultural company, Ag-mart, where the mother of Carlitos worked.  In fact, the entire modern agricultural industry and its use of pesticides were put on trial.

In 2008, Ag-mart accepted to compensate the parents of Carlitos, by covering the child’s medical expenses for the rest of his life. Ag-mart had to pay millions of dollars in fines for violation of regulations including inadequate training of their employees on pesticide use and causing Carlitos’ birth defects.  There are now more on-site inspections of the use of pesticides and exposure.  Education of workers regarding spraying and working around pesticides is now mandatory, and they must be supplied with protective gear.  Above all, Ag-mart has stopped using five of the six pesticides known to cause birth defects. 

by Meris Michaels

(Ref :  Article published in Wiki– Environmental Health – Case 7 :  "Ag-mart Pesticide Poisoning " ; excerpt from, “Tomatoland : How Modern Industrial Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit” by Barry Estabrook, 2011, chapter, « Chemical Warfare ».)

28 December 2011

Cultivation of Tomatoes

The industrial cultivation of tomatoes has as devastating an environmental and sociological impact as the cultivation of strawberries.

Barry Estabrook has written about industrial tomato production in Florida in his 2011 book, “Tomatoland”.

One billion pounds of tomatoes are shipped annually from Florida to other states.  Cultivation of tomatoes in Florida is a $500 million per year business.

Most Florida tomatoes are industrially cultivated in fields.  Since the plants are grown in nutrient-deprived sandy soil, artificial petroleum-based fertilizers are used to keep them alive.  The constantly humid air, which breeds 27 insect species and 29 diseases preying on plants, requires spraying with tons of expensive and toxic herbicides and pesticides.  These substances reduce the amounts of calcium, vitamins A and C and add up to 14 more times sodium in tomatoes than the ones our parents consumed.  Tomatoes  are picked by hand while still green and then gassed with ethylene, which is apparently safe, to turn them prematurely red, removing their taste and giving them a mealy texture.

Global Domination: "Thrive": Film Review

The film « Thrive » (2011, 132 mn. - available here for free), produced by Foster Gamble, is a convincing exposé of the plan for global domination by an elite.  It should be viewed from beginning to end.  After watching it, all seems to have fallen into place:  the degradation of our health and of the environment that I write about here could be seen as the expression of a plan of the elite to gain control over the world’s population:  vaccination, medicines, debt, non-renewable energy, genetically-modified food.
The title of the film is optimistic.  Life on this earth should be thriving, but the majority of us and even animals are struggling to survive. 


Gamble takes us on a journey from exploring the concept of the “Torus” to how the world is being dominated by an elite group.  He begins by talking about the inventors of devices generating free energy who were consistently and brutally suppressed by those profiting from existing forms of energy.  The reason is that these people threatened the enormous wealth to be gained from our energy reserves which are worth $200 trillion.  He mentions crop circles and UFO's, but has his feet firmly planted on the ground when he talks about money.

Gamble explores how an elite group has gained control over every aspect of our lives:  money, health, education, energy, food.  He ends on a note of optimism, talking about ways in which we can create solutions.  We must wake up and take action.  What can we as individuals do?  We can become informed, speak up, connect with others for there is force in unity.  We can buy and invest responsibly.  We can advocate for a fair and open Internet.  We can support independent media and organic, non-GMO food production, advocate for renewable energy, and take part in critical mass actions.

Gamble believes in the power of the people, that we are on the threshold of mass awakening.
If this is so, there is hope for the world to thrive.

View the movie's excellent Website:  www.thrivemovement.com.

by Meris Michaels

E-Reader Safety Tips

My thanks to the Center for Safer Wireless in Washington DC for the following safety tip regarding E-Readers:

"Wired devices are the safest way to go. For those who gave or received e-readers as Christmas gifts (Nook, Kindle, tablets, iPads, Kobo) you can reduce your exposure to pulsed radiofrequency radiation by simply turning off the wireless signal on these devices. When you are reading an e-book, newspaper, or magazine, you don't need a wireless connection with the e-reader. To disable the wireless signal, each device is different. Search for phrases such as "turn off wireless signal" or "disable wireless network connection".  Use the wireless connection only when accessing the Internet (such as when downloading a book or an application) and turn off the wireless signal when you are finished with the activity. Also, with the wireless disabled, you won't have to re-charge your e-reader as often.

13 December 2011



 I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

Photo by Mark S. Carlson
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

-        Joyce Kilmer

As we come to the end of another year, tribute is paid to those who have made the world a better place.  Whether they are poets, environmentalists, health-givers, all these persons have healed the world in some way.

09 December 2011

Effects on Hormone Profiles of Long-Term Exposure to Mobile Phones and Base Stations

Researchers at the National Research Centre in Cairo, Egypt, recently published the results of a study on the effects on hormone profiles of long-term exposure to base stations and mobile phones.  The study showed significant decrease in volunteers’ ACTH, cortisol, thyroid hormones, prolactin for young females and testosterone levels.  The study concluded that "greater commitment from policy makers, health care officials and providers is needed to raise public awareness about the hazardous outcomes of long term exposure to RFR (radiofrequency radiation)."

This important study, which became available online on 26 November 2011 may be viewed in its entirety here. (Eskander EF, et al, How does long term exposure to base stations and mobile phones affect human hormone profiles?, Clin Biochem (2011), doi:10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2011.11.006)
Thank you to the Citizens for Safer Technology Organization for the following summary:

Article in Press from Clinical Biochemistry Journal Introdction:

"Because of the increase in the usage of wireless communication devices of mobile phones in recent years, there is an anxious concern on the possible hazardous effects of prolonged exposure to radiofrequency radiation (RFR). In considering the biological effects of RFR, the intensity and frequency of the radiation and exposure duration are important determinants of the responses. 

02 December 2011

Testimony: Mobile Phone Antennas - Geneva

This disturbing testimony comes from Jean-Luc, who suffered numerous health problems after installation of a mobile phone antenna on the rooftop of his apartment building in Geneva. 
(translation from French)

"My name is Jean Luc and I was born in 1968.  I have been living in an apartment building since 1998, with antennas installed in 1999.

My recollection of events:
Following a motorcycle accident in 1999, the scaphoid bone of my right wrist was injured.  Two operations, marrow graft and a screw, plaster.   Recovery in general lasts 6 months.  In my case, I was on invalidity from 1999 to 2004 following a necrosis of the bone, the reason for which the doctors could not understand.

In 2000, I suffered more and more from insomnia, became nervous and anxious.  Headaches started to develop when I spent entire days at home.

From 2002-2003, I started to experience falls in blood pressure, dizziness and depression.  In 2003, my 3-year-old dog suffered an attack.  Following this, I took a second dog which died at age 3.  It was a pedigreed dog, without health problems.

28 November 2011

Bees Perturbed by Cell Phones

A biologist and beekeeper from canton Vaud in Switzerland, Dr. Daniel Favre, is about to show that the many telephone exchanges at the end of the year perturb bees in their hives.  This article, "Bees Detest the New Year"  by Michel Perret appeared in the Swiss newspaper Le Matin on 14 November 2011.

Bees detest the New Year!  Biologist and beekeeper Daniel Favre has proven this.  Exchanges of New Year's wishes, an electromagnetic tempest of 130 million SMS's and innumerable phone calls batter the beehives during the passage to the New Year.

"The result?  The bees are all perturbed and produce at this period an abnormally loud sound, whereas before and after the New Year, they are calm.  My experiments thus support the hypothesis that the waves from mobile phone technology do not allow them to prosper.”

22 November 2011

A Message to Parents: Do not Buy Cell Phones for Your Small Children!

As we approach the biggest shopping day of the year in the United States (25 November, the day after Thanksgiving), parents, please take note of this.  Mobile devices are a dangerous technology.  Parents should not buy these items for their small children. 

See this excellent article from MobileWise, UK,  "Is the Phone Industry Spinning While Rome Burns?" which is a plea for precautionary measures to be applied to children's use of cell phones.

Toys “R” Us stores, one of biggest toy stores in the United States, are encouraging kids to try cellphones and tablet computers. 

World-side mobile sales rose 16.5% in the first part of 2011 with 1.5 billion cell phones expected to be sold this year. 

Young children, 8 and 9-year-olds crave these new “toys”, especially an iPod or cell phone.  An estimated 52% of children in the United States under age 8 have access to mobile devices.  10%  under age one have already used a smart phone, iPod or iPad or other tablet to play games, watch videos or use a mobile application.  According to one research group, kids ages 2 to 5 are the fastest-growing category of video game players, which are being played more and more on mobile devices or computers, many of which contain wireless components.

21 November 2011

New Mobile Phone Radiation Guidelines for India

The Government of India is issuing new radiation guidelines for mobile phones and antennas (see article in the Economic Times of India published on 19 November 2011).  It will be mandatory for mobile phone emission levels to be displayed at retail outlets and on phones sold in India.  Hands-free devices must also be sold with each mobile phone, along with a booklet mentioning safety precautions, as the government believes the use of these devices will significantly reduce the risk of exposure from electromagnetic fields. 

In a country where it is estimated that there will be 1.159 billion cell phones by the year 2013, this could be the only solution to reduce the health risks of this technology.

Here is a recent news report on the subject, including about cell phone antennas, from India, that was posted 15 January 2012 on "In These New Times".

15 November 2011

Tech Industry Insiders Warn of Wireless Health Risks - by Joshua Hart

The following excellent article is about an employee of a well-known Silicon Valley corporation who is sensitive to wireless transmissions.  He is unable to discuss this with his co-workers because his career could be damaged by talking about ‘the conspiracy of silence’ around the unacknowledged harm of wireless technologies.  The article, appearing in the Santa Cruz Indymedia IMC (Independent Media Center) publication on 9 November 2011, was written by Joshua Hart, Director of Stop Smart Meters (www.stopsmartmeters.org). 

The article raises a number of issues: radiofrequency engineers already voicing their concerns some 15 years ago about the power of transmissions of certain technologies;  the disregard for health concerns of this technology;  the mandatory placing of smart meters on homes without people being aware of its serious consequences to health and privacy;  the lack of investigative reporting on the subject;  people’s apathy regarding the harmful effects of this technology; the addiction to wireless gadgets which renders life less meaningful.

Following is the article in its near-entirety. 

640 wireless office cubes
“‘William Boyd’ has worked in tech media for twenty years, even stretching back to the very beginnings of the current wireless age. He’s a few years shy of the usual retirement age, employed at a well-known Silicon Valley corporation, and very clear that he cannot be known to support Stop Smart Meters!—or anyone else questioning the health and safety of the wireless hegemony.

Bipolar Disorder without Medication - 3

A Long Road to Success

It was a long road to success after my decision to come off of the medication. I first tried to do so in August of 2001, two and a half years after I had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and prescribed Lithium Carbonate. While I was successful for some time in staying off of the medication, I was somewhat depressed during most of the first ten months, and I began to have psychotic symptoms at the end of the ten months. The psychotic symptoms were so scary, that for the following three and a half years, I was convinced that I needed to stay on the medication for fear that I would return to the scary place that my mind had taken me at that time.

14 November 2011

Bipolar Disorder without Medication - 2

The Decision to Come Off of Medication and the Benefits it has Reaped

I decided to come off of the medication for a number of reasons. Mostly, I intuitively believed that taking medication was the wrong path. My intuition was connected with how I perceived my surroundings on and off of the drugs. On the medication, things appeared very one-dimensional, seeming only to possess a physical dimension. Off of the medication, things more often took on a spiritual dimension in addition to the physical. For example, when I read spiritual literature such as the Bible while on the medication, it did not speak to me in the same profound way it did while I was off of the medication.

13 November 2011

Bipolar Disorder without Medication

My nephew, David, has written this testimony, in several parts, of living with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and coming off the medication to treat it.  He is sharing this testimony with a sincere desire to "help others learn how to tap into who they truly are without having to suppress their true selves with medication." David and his wife, Jade, would appreciate hearing from you.  They may be contacted through me by posting comments at the end of the articles. 

Bipolar Disorder without Medication

My name is David. I am 34 years old, living with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder.  For many years, I was prescribed Lithium Carbonate, as well as other psychotropic medications, and was told by my doctors that I must take some sort of medication for the rest of my life. However, I have not taken any medication for bipolar disorder for over two and a half years, since April 13 of 2009. I am writing in the hope of reaching those who suffer with mental illness or diagnoses of mental illness and are trying to get off of medication and also those who are supporting someone trying to live with mental illness without medication.

12 November 2011

News from Geneva: Massive lay-offs

Recently, several companies in canton Vaud and factories in Geneva, as well as the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the reduction or elimination of numerous posts.  These measures of austerity are tied to the actual state of the world economy:  collapse of the euro and dollar, together with the overvaluation of the Swiss franc.

According to the 7 November 2011 edition of the newspaper, 20 Minutes, 14,642 jobs in Swiss companies were eliminated over the last 100 days, including 5,047 located in Switzerland.

Novartis, the Swiss pharmaceutical giant, announced the massive elimination of 2,000 posts at the end of October, including 1,100 posts in Switzerland, of which 320 are in the Geneva region (Nyon-Prangins).  300 other posts at this production site will be relocated.  Novartis will close the site and create 700 new posts in “low-cost” countries.  The elimination of the 320 posts in Nyon will save the company 20 million Swiss francs (24 million dollars), which was the salary of its ex-CEO Daniel Vasella in 2010.  Novartis announced a profit of 2.2 billion francs (2.49 billion dollars) in the third quarter of 2011.
A Geneva physician, Dr. Bertrand Buchs, has called for a boycott of Novartis.  He is no longer prescribing medicines with the Novartis Sandoz brand to his patients.  74 other Geneva doctors say they will support his action.

UPDATE on Novartis (17 December 2011):  Employee representatives presented suggestions to the company directors for making the plant viable.  These include:  selling land adjacent to the factory and using the money from the sale to remodel the factory to include other production stages;  "repatriating" the production of certain medicines from other parts of Europe and increasing output.  Management will take a decision regarding these and other proposals in mid-January.

04 November 2011

12-Year-Old Severn Suzuki Asks the United Nations to Save the World at the 1992 Earth Summit

On 31 October 2011, Care2 posted the video presentation of Severn Suzuki, who at age 12 delivered a speech before the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.  She talks about environmental degradation, war, greed, poverty, vanishing species.  Her words are even more relevant today. It is cause for reflection:  has the world changed for the better since then?  View the video presentation here.

Transcript of Severn Suzuki’s speech:

“Hello, I’m Severn Suzuki speaking for E.C.O. – The Environmental Children’s Organisation.

We are a group of twelve and thirteen-year-olds from Canada trying to make a difference:
Vanessa Suttie, Morgan Geisler, Michelle Quigg and me. We raised all the money ourselves to come six thousand miles to tell you adults you must change your ways. Coming here today, I have no hidden agenda. I am fighting for my future.

Losing my future is not like losing an election or a few points on the stock market. I am here to speak for all generations to come.

I am here to speak on behalf of the starving children around the world whose cries go unheard.

I am here to speak for the countless animals dying across this planet because they have nowhere left to go. We cannot afford to be not heard.

I am afraid to go out in the sun now because of the holes in the ozone. I am afraid to breathe the air because I don’t know what chemicals are in it.

I used to go fishing in Vancouver with my dad until just a few years ago we found the fish full of cancers. And now we hear about animals and plants going exinct every day — vanishing forever.

In my life, I have dreamt of seeing the great herds of wild animals, jungles and rainforests full of birds and butterflies, but now I wonder if they will even exist for my children to see.

25 October 2011

Film Review: "FLOW (For Love of Water)"

"FLOW (For Love of Water)" (Irina Salena, 2008, 83 mn.  (See film here.) 

This documentary explores water issues in the United States, India, South Africa, Lesotho and Bolivia. The privatization of water by three European companies has resulted in charging people for the cost of this vital resource. Since poor people cannot afford to pay for clean water, they drink and use dirty water. Every day, 30,000 persons die from water-borne diseases while companies such as these earn profits for their investors.

Film Review: "Homo Toxicus"

We are swimming in a sea of toxic substances

"HOMO TOXICUS" (Carole Poliquin and Isaac Isitan, 2008, Canada, 87 mn) : This excellent documentary on the health effects of environmental pollution takes us from school children in Montreal to the Inuit populations of northern Canada to Native Americans living near an industrial complex in Ontario. The film begins with the blood analysis of the producer, which reveals the presence of 110 toxic substances. To learn how these substances are affecting our health, she travels first to northern Canada.

12 October 2011

"Wi-Fi Refugees" Moving to Green Bank, West Virginia to Escape Electromagnetic Radiation

"While not a formal diagnosis in America, electromagnetic sensitivity is recognized in several European countries.  Last May, the World Health Organization classified the electromagnetic radiation emitted by cell phones it as a possible carcinogen."  More and more persons are becoming sensitive to wireless technology.  Some have become so ill that they must live in "white zones", areas free of this type of non-ionizing radiation.  Here is an excellent short news story on this fairly new and troubling phenomenon.  (Click here for the video.)  See also this short videoclip about the National Radio Quiet Zone produced by Al-Jazeera reporter John Terrett.

"A massive radiotelescope prohibits any mainstream electronics from being used nearby

(Green Bank, West Virginia, 22 September 2011, Chris Hurst, Anchor/Reporter)

Tranquil Pocahontas County is not where Diane Schou planned to end up.

“It’s difficult for me to know that it’s an affliction that anybody can share with anyone,” she says. “Anyone can get this.”
Schou and her husband were farmers in Iowa. When a cell phone tower was built near their home she says her problems started.  "I had hair loss. I thought it was old age," she recalls.  "I had a rash, I thought it was something I had eaten.  I was extremely tired."

Eventually she connected the dots. She says the electromagnetic radiation from the tower made her sick. Her doctor agreed, saying her symptoms were caused by electromagnetic sensitivity.

“We told him about the cell tower and his reaction was, ‘Move.’”

04 September 2011

Vulnerability of United States Nuclear Reactors to Major Natural Disasters

Is Nature sending us a message?  Can we really continue to say that in the United States there will never be a nuclear disaster such as the one occurring in Fukushima?  Nature may be sending a message regarding the vulnerability of nuclear reactors to major natural disasters, through the recent earthquake and hurricane which struck the East Coast of the United States.  Many of us have seen the photos of the Ft. Calhoun nuclear plant in Nebraska surrounded by the sea of water of the flooded Missouri River.  Due to global warming, disasters such as hurricanes and flooding could increase both in frequency and intensity.  The pro-nuclear government in the United States refuses to learn the lessons of Fukushima.  It reassures us concerning the safety measures in place or being reinforced for nuclear power plants, while it continues with its plans to build more nuclear reactors.  The U.S. Government quasi-denies the existence of global warming. 

What are we to do?  We should become better informed about the issues related to nuclear power, reduce our energy needs, and work towards developing more sustainable sources of energy.

Here is one thing we can do:  If you are a resident of the United States, sign the petition launched by Greenpeace USA to  phase out nuclear power and invest in safe, clean, renewable energy.  "One in three Americans live within 50 miles of a nuclear plant and is threatened by a nuclear disaster. These dangerous old nuclear plants are vulnerable to natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes, as well as deliberate attack. Fukushima showed how catastrophic a nuclear meltdown can be for people living nearby when a disaster knocks out power to a nuclear plant ... "

Three Mile Island Nuclear Power station, Pennsylvania, USA

First unit built in 1974.  Licensed to operate until 2014.  In 2009, license was extended to 2034. 
Population living within 50 miles of nuclear plant in 2010 was 2.8 million.  Seismic risk
estimated at 1 in 25,000.

20 August 2011

"Fukushima Radiation Alarms Doctors - Japanese Doctors Warn of Public Health Problems Caused by Fukushima Radiation"

Al-Jazeera  has an excellent news service in English.  Common Dreams sometimes publishes their articles on health and the environment.  This one, written by  Dahr Jamail, was posted on Common Dreams on 18 August 2011.  A reporter from Al-Jazeera went to Japan to interview doctors there about the current situation regarding radiation from Fukushima.   Below is a near-verbatim, shortened summary of the article.  See the full article here. 

And please sign the petition by Green Action Japan for the children of Fukushima.

“Scientists and doctors are calling for a new national policy in Japan that mandates the testing of food, soil, water, and the air for radioactivity still being emitted from Fukushima's heavily damaged Daiichi nuclear power plant.”

UPDATE (12 November 2011): In early October 2011, Japanese doctors began examining 360,000 children in the Fukushima Prefecture for risk of thyroid cancer. These tests will be done every two years until the children reach the age of 20, after which tests will be done every 5 years. The testing was to have started in 2014, however, it has started earlier at the request of concerned parents.

Article by Al-Jazira:
"Independent monitoring of radiation levels is being conducted following concern about the lack of Japanese government monitoring.  The findings are alarming.  According to one physician, Dr Kodama, the total amount of radiation released over the period of five months from the start of the Fukushima nuclear disaster is equivalent to more than 29 "Hiroshima-type atomic bombs" and the amount of uranium released "is equivalent to 20" Hiroshima bombs.

Doctors measuring radiation levels in children

In late June, dosimeters were given to some 34,000 children aged between 4 and 15, living in Fukushima 45 miles from the plant, after abnormally high radiation levels were recorded in the area.

Dangers to Pregnant Women of Wireless Technologies

The other day I saw a woman in the supermarket who had given her cell phone to her baby who was around one year old, to play with while she shopped.  The baby was holding the phone and placing it in his mouth!  When I looked closer at the woman, I saw that she was pregnant.

The best advice for pregnant women to limit exposure to electromagnetic fields:  carry the cell phone away from the body and use it only in emergencies with a speaker.  Only use a computer with a flat screen and without Wi-Fi.

More and more scientific studies are showing that the radiation emitted by cell phones poses a risk to pregnant women and the developing foetus. 

The results of a recent study involving 28,000 7-year-old children indicated that in utero and post-natal exposure of children to cell phones increases the risk of a child developing behavioral problems by 50 per cent at the age of 7.

27 July 2011

The European Cancer and Environment Research Institute (ECERI) has been Created

( by Alain Geerts July 27, 2011. This article appeared on the site "Health and Environment" - Belgium.)

The European Cancer and Environment Research Institute has been created. ECERI - that's its name - has its headquarters in Brussels. This independent scientific organization was founded by the former French Minister of the Environment, Corinne Lepage, former Ecolo MEP Paul Lannoye, and Professor Dominique Belpomme, President of the Association for Research and Treatments against Cancer ( ARTAC ) . The Brussels initiative follows on the Paris Appeal proclaimed in 2004  which concluded that there is "a disturbing upward trend of cancers caused by environmental pollutants." The implementation of this statement about the dangers of chemical pollution has resulted in the creation of a totally independent research institute for the study of environmentally-related cancers, treatment and prevention.

The initiator of the Paris Appeal, Dominique Belpomme, oncologist and professor at Paris V, argues that "a large number of cancers are caused by the physical, chemical and biological degradation of the environment." He does not hesitate to assert along with the Director of ECERI, biochemist Philippe Irigaray, who is known to have established links between pollution and obesity, that two-thirds to three- quarters of cancers are due to the environment.

17 July 2011

Life in Geneva

The quality of life where one resides impacts on one’s health.

For the past several years, the quality of life in Geneva has been steadily deteriorating.  There is no longer respect for persons or property.  Geneva has an extremely high rate of crime, many environmental concerns, and one of the highest breast cancer rates in Europe.

06 July 2011

"Fallout" - Ionizing Radiation

We are experiencing "fallout" from the nuclear disaster in Japan – continued radiation, nuclear "alerts", a rise in anti-nuclear protests, government decisions to ban nuclear power and weakening of safety regulations for nuclear reactors.

Fukushima explosion

In the media in the United States, there has been little coverage of the human health risks of radiation escaping from Fukushima. To give one example of statements from US health authorities, on 19 March, a spokesperson from the California Department of Public health said at worst, radiation from Fukushima would have extremely minor health consequences in the US. This is akin to France having said in 1986 that the radiation from Chernobyl stopped at its borders, while its neighbor, Switzerland, was warning children and pregnant women not to consume milk, meat, and fresh vegetables in certain areas of the country.

The Department of Nuclear Engineering at the University of Berkeley continues to test soil, water and air as well as produce in California in order to ascertain the levels of radionuclides coming from the nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima. Elevated levels of radionuclides have been found in spinach and strawberries. This is very worrying because California provides 80% of fresh produce to the rest of the United States.

In countries like the United States and France which have the most nuclear reactors, it is suspected that the truth about Fukushima and even about the reactors in these other countries, is being covered up. Cancer cases may rise in future, as they did after the Chernobyl accident.

Many countries which have nuclear reactors are discussing the issues of nuclear safety and the necessity for “further research”. Certain nations have gone farther and have fixed a date for abandoning nuclear energy: for example, Germany, in 2022. Switzerland, which just voted to ban construction of new reactors, has chosen to write into law the maintenance of nuclear technologies and research. Its five reactors will be shut down when they no longer meet safety standards. This means that a date to abandon nuclear energy has not been set. The people in Italy decided not to put back into service its nuclear reactors. In Europe, as of 1 January 2011, there were 195 nuclear power plants in operation in 17 countries.

France has 58 nuclear reactors which generate 74% of its electricity. Years ago, on visits to Les Saintes-Maries-de la-Mer, near the Rhône Delta, signs on the Mediterranean beach warned about the presence of radioactive elements. These most likely come from the 20 nuclear power plants in the Rhône Valley, the most important concentration of nuclear stations in Europe.

Recently, there was a fire at the Tricastin nuclear plant in the Rhône Valley, just days after 32 safety concerns were identified at the plant. Although its owner, EDF (Electricité de France) said there was no radiation leak or other contamination from the incident, this plant is one of the oldest operating reactors in France. It was built in 1974 and went into operation in 1980. In 2007, a uranium leak was reported, contaminating nearby rivers. The plant is expected to be in operation another 10 years. Of France’s 58 reactors, 34% are of this type. Recently French President Nicholas Sarkozy pledged to invest one billion euros in nuclear power as well as “substantial resources” for research into nuclear safety.

In the United States, which has 104 nuclear reactors, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided from early May to monitor radiation levels only every 3 months. The US has also ceased to monitor levels in seafood from the Pacific Ocean. One reason may be that most of the other 49 reactors in Japan (which doesn’t include the 6 at Fukushima), were designed by American companies. Another is that the United States nuclear industry is requesting $36 billion in loan guarantees for new reactors. The EPA is reviewing a plan to dramatically increase acceptable levels of radioactivity in drinking water and soil following “radiological incidents”. In the ten weeks following the Fukushima disaster, cities in the northwestern part of the United States experienced a 35% increase in infant mortality which may be the result of the fallout from Japan.

Safety standards for aging reactors in the United States are being weakened or simply not enforced.  Of its 104 reactors , 82 are more than 25 years old.  One of the dangers is leaky pipes and vessels prone to cracking which could release radioactive elements into the environment.  The Union of Concerned Scientists reported more than 400 accidental radioactive leaks at nuclear sites since these reactors were built.  The United States Institute for Policy Studies reports that “more than 30 million highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel rods are submerged in vulnerable storage pools”.
Ft. Calhoun nuclear plant and flooded Missouri River

The flooding Missouri River is threatening two nuclear reactors in Nebraska (Ft. Calhoun). The situation has gone to alert no. 1 on the scale of nuclear incidents, “notification of unusual event”, which means events are in process or have occurred which indicate potential degradation of the safety level of the plant, but no release of radioactive material. The flood waters are predicted to continue to rise.

Regarding Fukushima, Japan placed the Fukushima nuclear disaster at level 7, maximum on the international scale of atomic crises, the same level as Chernobyl. Reactors 1, 2 and 3 experienced full meltdowns shortly after the earthquake and tsunami of 11 March, but Japan only admitted this one month later. TEPCO, the power plant’s owner, announced that the accident probably released more radioactive material into the environment than Chernobyl.

The exposed reactors are continuing to release particles. Japanese children are now wearing radiation monitors. Internal radioactive pollution is one of the very serious consequences of Chernobyl that the World Health Organization (WHO) continues to deny. Inhaled or ingested radioactive particles continue to irradiate the body and may lodge in the lungs and digestive tract, eventually causing cancer. The Japanese Government has weakened the limits of allowable radiation exposures for children, which means they are calling higher levels of radiation “safe” when there is no safe level of radiation for human consumption. Widespread internal radioactive contamination among Japanese in the Fukushima area has now been confirmed. Radioactive elements continue to be evacuated into the Pacific Ocean from the reactors, which may have dire consequences for marine life.

This is a very dangerous technology but not everyone, especially those in authority in pro-nuclear countries, is waking up to this fact. How many more disasters like Chernobyl or Fukushima will it take to realize this and choose to abandon nuclear power in favor of renewable energy sources?

by Meris Michaels

(Ref. Various news sources: Common Dreams, Associated Press enquiry into US nuclear safety .)

02 July 2011

"Fallout" - Non-Ionizing Radiation

We are experiencing "fallout" from the non-ionizing radiation emitted by wireless devices and the recent IARC/WHO declaration that cell phones are "possibly caricinogenic".

Recently, I wrote to the two senators from New York State, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, requesting them to consider more protective measures for children concerning radiation emitted by cell phones and other wireless devices.  Senator Gillibrand is a mother with two young children, one of whom suffers from asthma.  It seems that one of the only reactions from the US Congress to the WHO declaration that cell phones are “possibly carcinogenic” was to request the Government Accountability Office to investigate what research is needed concerning cell phone safety.  For a state which is requesting lifting of the moratorium on “fracking” (extraction of natural gas from shale by a highly polluting operation), my letter will most likely fall on deaf ears.

16 June 2011

"There is a proven link between electromagnetic fields, cancers and leukemia" - Interview with Professor Dominique Belpomme - Metro France - 10 September 2010

Prof. Dominique Belpomme is President of ARTAC (Association for Research and Treatments against Cancer - http://www.artac.info/ ) and Chairman, ISDE France (International Society of Doctors for the Environment - http://www.isde.fr/ ) - translated from French by Meris Michaels

“There is a proven link between electromagnetic fields, cancers and leukemia”

Why is a cancer specialist interested in the problems of electro-sensitivity and electromagnetic fields?

Because there is a proven link between electromagnetic fields, cancer and leukemia. It is following our pioneering work undertaken with our Swedish colleagues that we perceived an important link to neuro-degenerative diseases, notably Alzheimer’s. The risk of Alzheimer’s, which can appear in young persons from age 45, is, moreover, much greater than the risk of cancer.

15 May 2011

Protection against Electromagnetic Radiation Emitted by Cell Phones

The following two articles offer solutions to protect oneself against rays emitted by cell phones.  One is an anti-radiation device for cell phones, developed by a Swiss scientist, Jacques Surbeck.  The device was awarded a gold medal by the 85-member jury at the International Inventions Fair in Geneva in April 2011.   The other "protective solution" is a set of  ten rules for cell phone use published by the Vienna Medical Association. 

Jacques Surbeck (2nd from left) at the International Inventions Fair, Geneva

02 May 2011

8th National Congress on Electrosmog, Berne, Switzerland, 30 April 2011 - Summaries of Presentations

The 8th National Congress on Electrosmog, organized by the Swiss advocacy association Gigaherz, took place in Berne, the capital of Switzerland, on 30 April 2011. In attendance were 175 persons from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, and Switzerland. Participants comprised members of advocacy associations, health professionals and advocates, and persons who were suffering from various discomforts, they thought due to the proximity of antennas or devices emitting electromagnetic radiation. One such person was a school teacher who said she and some of her students were experiencing discomfort which they believed might be from electromagnetic radiation. A representative of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment attended, however there was no one from the Swiss Federal Office for Public Health. One outcome of the congress was the decision to unite the various Swiss advocacy groups under one umbrella association, the Electromagnetic Federation of Switzerland and Liechtenstein (http://www.funkstrahlung.ch/).  

Black Castle, where there were once huge shortwave antennas and where the European resistance against electromagnetic pollution began 24 years ago. 
Right, Magda Havas with Bob Connolly, left, Hans-U. Jacob, founder of Gigaherz.ch.

26 April 2011

The True Consequences of Chernobyl (Guest Article by Alison Katz)

This guest post is in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl catastrophe.

Alison Katz is a member of Independent WHO: The organization was created to demand a revision of the “WHA 12-40” agreement signed between WHO and the IAEA. Every working day since 26 April 2007, this organization has maintained a vigil across from WHO Headquarters in Geneva to demand the independence of WHO and expose the truth about the effects of radioactive contamination caused by the activities of the civil and military nuclear industry.

Here is her article:

14 April 2011

Third Paris Appeal International Congress: "Women and Children First"

This article was written by the NGO, Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF), April 14, 2011. 

It is with the phrase, "women and children first", that Professor Dominique Belpomme, initiator of the first Paris Appeal Congress on the theme of children and the environment, concluded the two-day conference which brought together scientists, physicians, representatives of civil society, and politicians from 12-13 April 2011, as a prelude to a three-day intensive course in environmental medicine for health professionals.

This is confirmation of the need for a new approach to environmental health. The Third Paris Appeal International Congress on Children's Health and the Environment confirmed the extent of changes necessary to deal with the new health risks associated with environmental exposures, bringing together leading experts known for their in-depth analysis of the problematic subject of health-environment.

12 April 2011

Third Paris Appeal International Congress on Children's Health and the Environment: The Foetus, First Victim of Pollution

This article was published by Metro France, April 12, 2011 and is translated from French.

Diseases related to the environment originate from pregnancy. Explanations and prevention tips:

Cancer, reduced fertility, diabetes, asthma ... most of the diseases that affect adults originate at the fetal stage, and are linked to environmental pollution, according to studies presented at the third congress of the Paris Appeal on children's health at UNESCO (12-13 April 2011).

The Paris Appeal, signed by thousands of scientists and citizens in 2004, establishes the link between development of cancer and environmental degradation.  Although the conference targeted chemical pollution (pesticides, phthalates, bisphenol, etc.), it was also interested in electromagnetic waves and radioactivity.

16 March 2011


Are there more devastating natural disasters occuring closer together or is it the omnipresence of the media, the earth's huge population, disasters happening in densely populated areas, which makes the recent Japanese earthquake and tsunami - and any disaster of this magitude - so frightening? Now Japan is confronted with a major nuclear catastrophe.

Tsunami Japan 11 March 2011

Our thoughts are with everyone in Japan who have suffered this terrible earthquake and tsunami and are now confronted with a major nuclear catastrophe which threatens to contaminate Tokyo, a megapolis of 35 million persons.

It is very troubling that it has taken a disaster of this magnitude to reconsider the safety of nuclear installations. The lesson it teaches us, as Pierre Ruetschi, chief editor of the Tribune de Genève writes, is the impossibility of foreseeing a major nuclear accident. The Japanese had foreseen earthquake, but not combined with a devastating tsunami. Being unable to foresee such an occurrence is a certainty. The other certainty is the “formidable devastating potential of the atom”. 

On 14 March 2011, Switzerland declared a moratorium on the reconstruction of three of its five nuclear installations. These installations were built to resist an earthquake of the magnitude of 7.0 on the Richter scale. The last earthquake of this magnitude occurred in Basle in 1356. The Swiss were to vote on this issue in 2013 and in fact, the canton of Berne had voted only last month by a majority of 51% to 49% to go forward with replacing the reactor which is 40 years old and similar to that of Fukushima. Angela Merkel has announced the immediate shutdown of seven of Germany’s oldest nuclear installations for the next three months.

Not only is there the issue of the risk of accident which has the potential to affect very large populations over a vast area but also the ones of uranium mining which contaminates the environment and toxic nuclear waste. We must act now to pressure our governments into considering the phasing out of nuclear energy.

Are there more devastating natural disasters occurring closer together or is it the omnipresence of the media, the earth’s huge population, disasters happening in densely populated areas which makes the recent Japanese earthquake – and any disaster of this magnitude - so frightening?

While the main focus of this blog is the impact of the environment on health, we cannot neglect reflecting on recent events: the upheaval in North Africa and parts of the Middle East where people are sacrificing their lives to win freedom from their oppressors and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
After the 1923 earthquake Japan
For our family personally, the recent massive disaster in Japan has rekindled memories of the Great Kanto earthquake which occurred in Tokyo and Yokohama in 1923, Japan’s last great earthquake (8.3). My mother, who is 96 years old, is a survivor of that disaster which killed over 140,000 persons and destroyed some 600,000 buildings. She and her brother were saved by their servant. When the tremors began, she shouted to the children that "this is a big one" and to come down from upstairs where they were playing. They ran out of the house just in time before the tiled roof collapsed. Their father was working in the city at the time. It took him 3 days to find his way home. Along the way, he helped to pull people from the rubble. Most of the casualties were victims of the fires which were set off by overturned hibachis (the quake occurred at noon when persons were cooking lunch). People had to move inland to escape the tsunami which followed. My mother's family lost all their possessions in the quake and had to be evacuated back to the United States by the Red Cross. (As a side note, the father of Andy Rooney – of “60 Minutes” – was in Tokyo at the time of the earthquake, staying at the Imperial Hotel, which resisted the quake. The hotel had been constructed by the American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, who built it to resist earthquake.)

The 11 March earthquake occurred in Sendai, an agricultural and fishing community of about one million persons. The impact of this disaster on the lives and environment of this population, comprising many older persons, will be devastating. It reminds us of our fragility in the face of the terrifyingly powerful forces of nature. It also reminds us that our society is set up in such a way that it could magnify the devastation of such disasters. There are several nuclear reactors in the affected area which have had to be shut down. The potential for a further disaster exists. If the reactors cannot be cooled, the core will be exposed, temperatures will rise to as high as 5,000 degrees F. The reactors could experience a meltdown. Unlike Chernobyl, Japan and the United States have safety systems which make it difficult for radioactivity to escape (information source: CNN International).

This invites reflection on the potential dangers of nuclear power and its impact on the environment and health: radioactive leaks, nuclear waste, uranium mines. Twenty per cent of the world's 432 nuclear reactors have been constructed in zones of seismic activity. We must continue to advocate for the phasing out of nuclear power as a source of energy.

by Meris Michaels

(Refer to the advocacy organization “Nuclear Information and Resource Service” www.nirs.org for updates on the situation of the Japanese reactors and information on what one can do to halt the construction of reactors and other nuclear issues concerning the United States.)