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

31 October 2012

Do Cell Phones and Tablets Affect Communication and Concentration in Hospitals and Doctors' Offices?

Courtesy of Thinkstock
“A resident observing the surgery takes a call on his cell phone. The scrub nurse flips through images of wedding dresses on her smartphone. The operating surgeon’s assistant steps in to ask a question about another patient. The anesthesiologist taps his foot in time to the beat of the music in his earbud. It’s just another day in the OR (operating room).” (From a doctors’ discussion on how distractions in the operating room threaten patient safety, article appearing in the journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.) 

A commentary by Peter J. Papadakos, MD, anesthesiologist and director of critical care at the University of Rochester Medical Center in upstate New York, first published in Anesthesiology News, focused on his concerns that the non-medical use of wireless devices, such as smartphones and tablet computers, would be distracting. He also related his anecdotal experience of seeing OR staff surfing the Internet during a surgery. The New York Times later picked up and expanded upon this issue. 

Hospitals and doctors’ offices, hoping to curb medical error, have invested heavily to put computers, smartphones and other devices into the hands of medical staff for instant access to patient data, drug information... , however the wealth of data on the screen — the “iPatient” — sometimes gets all the attention.

“You walk around the hospital, and what you see is not funny,” said Dr. Peter J. Papadakos, who added that he had seen nurses, doctors and other staff members glued to their phones, computers and iPads.   “You justify carrying devices around the hospital to do medical records,” he said. “But you can surf the Internet or do Facebook, and sometimes, for whatever reason, Facebook is more tempting...

“My gut feeling is lives are in danger.”

30 October 2012

Electrosmog and Colony Collapse Disorder


Governments and the scientific community are “too quick to dismiss a link between colony collapse disorder (CCD) and electromagnetic radiation (EMR) from mobile phones and other sources.” The following article from the Alliance for Natural Health calls for readers to write to their MEPs (Members of the European Parliament), urging them to table questions in the European Parliament, asking why no research is being funded into links between EMRs and CCD. 


Electrosmog and Colony Collapse Disorder
by Adam Smith, Science and Communications Officer, Alliance for Natural Health, 24 October 2012
(Thank you to In These New Times for posting this article.)
Pesticides are a major contributor to bee colony collapse disorder (CCD), according to governments and the scientific community. But are they too quick to dismiss a link between CCD and electromagnetic radiation (EMR) from mobile phones and other sources?

CCD and the threat to our food supply

Bee populations worldwide face an ongoing threat from CCD. Because human agriculture relies so heavily on bees for pollination, the world’s food supply looks increasingly insecure. Finding the cause and remedy for CCD is, therefore, an urgent priority.

29 October 2012

Le Landeron, Switzerland, Regulates Installation of Mobile Phone Antennas

Here is a very good example of the recommendation of the Canadian Member of Parliament, Terence Young, regarding local regulation of mobile phone tower installations – from Switzerland. All parties of the Conseil général of the town of Le Landeron (canton Neuchâtel) have unanimously supported a motion to halt uncontrolled installation of mobile phone antennas everywhere on the territory of the commune.  Other communes are also in the process of establishing similar regulation on their territories. 

ARA (Association romande alerte aux ondes électromagnétiques – www.alerte.ch) sent this good news.

Le Landeron regulates its antennas

Thursday, 25 October 2012, the « Conseil général » of Le Landeron voted in favor of a motion aimed at better planning of the installation of mobile phone antennas on its territory.

The good news comes from our colleagues at « Association Stop Antennes » (ASA). This association already made the news with its opposition to an Sunrise antenna near homes. 

27 October 2012

National Awareness Campaign Launched in Switzerland Against Cyber-Bullying

A nationwide “Stop Cyber-Mobbing” campaign will be conducted  in all Swiss schools via billboards, television adverts, a Facebook page and information sessions. The next school campaign should be one on the health risks of cell phones and precautionary measures to take when using them. More Swiss probably remain ignorant of cell phone dangers for children than of cyber-bullying (half the population does not know what cyber-bullying is ). 

Cyber-bullying pulled out of the shadows
swissinfo.ch and agencies, 22 October 2012

The [Swiss] youth organisation Pro Juventute has found that that one in five teens has been bullied online and most don’t know where to turn to for help. Bullying-related calls to its hotline have also jumped, prompting a national awareness campaign.

Pro Juventute’s emergency “147” telephone hotline, designed to serve young people in need, has reported a significant increase in calls from troubled teens who have become the targets of name-calling, teasing and verbal abuse via the internet.

Cyber-bullying is particularly threatening to teens because it continues away from school, is not monitored by adults and can often be conducted anonymously.

26 October 2012

Food Makers Hook Kids on Mobile Games

Mobile apps are a new, popular and unregulated way to market candy and soft drinks to children. U.S. food companies are reaching children by embedding their products in simple and enticing games for touch-screen phones and tablets. A recent survey by research firm NPD Group found that 37% of 4- and 5-year-old Americans were using such mobile devices. Jennifer Harris, who directs research of marketing practices at the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, says "If children have their phone with them, they can be playing these games that are basically advertisements in school and basically 24/7." 

One of the first food-branded mobile games sprang out of a 2009 brainstorming session at a small design firm in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Teresa Kiplinger, a partner at the firm, impulsively licked her iPhone. The screen responded. Within weeks, Ms. Kiplinger and her partner had a pitch for a longtime client, Dum Dum Pops maker Spangler Candy Co. of Bryan, Ohio. The app, "Dum Dums Lick-A-Pop," would let players ingest a virtual Dum Dum lollipop by licking their smartphone before a clock ran out. Spangler signed off, but Apple rejected the app, saying licking could damage the devices. Developers replaced licking with a vertical finger swipe and the result was "Dum Dums Flick-A-Pop." 

(My thanks to Public Citizen for the recent articles posted here.  Consumer advocate, Ralph Nader has written, "Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism" which points the way to many such excellent consumer and activist sites.)

Food Makers Hook Kids on Mobile Games
by ANTON TROIANOVSKI, Wall Street Journal, 17 September 2012

'Addictive' Cigarette Smoking Games on Smartphones Target Children

iPhone application "Puff Puff Pass" - Players pretend to smoke a
cigarette and then pass it to their friends.
Public health researchers at the University of Sydney found 107 applications on iPhones and Androids with pro-smoking messages, including 36 so-called smoking simulators. Many of the applications may be downloaded for free and target children. At least 6 million users downloaded the 10 Android simulators by February 2012.  At the same time, the University of Geneva has developed a smartphone application (“Stop-tabac”) to help persons stop smoking. 

Addictive’ Cigarette Smoking Games on Smartphones Target Kids.
by Michaeleen Doucleff, NPR, 23 October 2012 

You can do just about anything with your phone these days. Take an electrocardiogram. Confess your sins. Even smoke a cigarette

Yup, you read that correctly. Android and Apple offer apps that let you light and smoke a virtual cigarette. You simply blow into the microphone, or onto the screen, and an image of a cigarette glows red and "burns."

Some apps time how long it takes to puff the whole fag, while others have a virtual ashtray that pops up messages like, "Would be even better with a beer in your hand!" 

21 October 2012

Canadian Member of Parliament Suggests New Cell Phone Tower Regulations

These practices should be regulated!  Cell phone tower
disguised as a flag pole, located directly in front of
a home for seniors, Oakville, Ontario.
Here is an example that cities and towns might wish to consider regarding placement of cell phone towers, as suggested in a letter to constituents, written by Canadian Member of Parliament for Oakville, Ontario, Terence Young. (See here for full text of the 14 May letter.) 

Six cellular suppliers want to establish a high grade of service in the GTA which will require many more cellular towers. The suppliers claim they wish to provide cell phone service in Oakville. “It is really about building a much more comprehensive network so that consumers can watch TV shows on hand held devices, which will require broadcasting stronger radio frequency everywhere, reaching even the basements of our homes…”

Canadian Member of Parliament, Terence Young, goes on to say that although there is “no broadly based consensus regarding proof that electro-magnetic radiation (EMR) from cellular antennae on towers is a serious health risk,” the precautionary principle should be applied when it comes to health.

“The current safety standard, the model Industry Canada uses to identify health concerns from cellular towers, is in my view both inadequate and outdated. It measures only how much radio frequency (EMR) heats up body tissue over six minutes. It does not properly address recent concerns over the risk of cancer and EMR, or those persons who have sensitivity to EMR.

15 October 2012

Former Microsoft President, Canada, Says the Federal Government Has a Duty to Inform Canadians About Safety Concerns Related to Wireless Technology


Clegg is supporting Wendy Hoy's  walk to Ottawa, the
 purpose of which is to bring attention to people who
suffer from electro-hypersensitivity linked to
cellphone tower signals.
"There is and will always be a use for technology in our lives, period. At the same time, I think we are learning more and more and more that you have to be careful...you have to use it safely," the former President of Microsoft Canada Frank Clegg says.   Cellphone manufacturers BlackBerry and Apple both feature fine print warnings in user manuals that advise users to keep all devices at least 15 mm away from the body during use. But Clegg says the Canadian Government should put obvious warning labels on wireless devices because most people don't read the fine print.  Clegg has established an organization (http://www.c4st.org/)  which provides consumer safety tips and scientific information about technology including cell towers, cellular phones and wireless Internet.

Government should tell Canadians about wireless safety: former Microsoft Canada president
by Kristy Kirkup, Sun News, 11 October 2012

OTTAWA — The former president of Microsoft Canada says the federal government has a duty to inform Canadians about safety concerns related to wireless technology.

"We have a responsibility as adults, as parents, as legislators to inform people so they can make intelligent decisions," Frank Clegg said in an interview with QMI Agency.

11 October 2012

Pharmaceutical Companies Continue Drug Experiments in Third World Countries for Profit

A 1996 Pfizer drug trial in Nigeria
 was blamed for the deaths of 11 children

Another dark side to pharmaceutical companies: using third world people as guinea pigs for experimental drugs without regard for their health or even their very lives. It is not only underdeveloped countries that are being used as testing grounds for experimental drug and vaccine trials (see "Babies Under the Age of One Recruited for Vaccine Trials", where vaccines were tested on babies in Argentina). 




Pharmaceutical Companies Continue Drug Experiments in Underdeveloped Nations for Profit 
by Susanne Posel, 23 June 2012, Occupy Corporatism

Pharmaceutical corporations, like Novo Nordisk, have been using underdeveloped countries as testing grounds for experimental drug trials. Doctors are beginning to speak out against this practice, citing that it has more to do with increasing profits and less to do with scientific research.

02 October 2012

Adverse Effects of Breast Cancer Treatment


This is being re-posted as October is breast cancer awareness month.  It is a summary of the event held at Geneva's University Hospital (HUG) on the adverse effects of breast cancer treatment, a subject that is sometimes not openly discussed in a forum of caregivers, patients and members of advocacy and support groups.  The event was the first of its kind held in Geneva.

On 10 October 2011, an entire day devoted to the adverse effects of breast cancer treatment in the French-speaking part of Switzerland was organized at the University Hospital of Geneva (HUG) by the Breast Cancer Network:  “Survive and Live”.  It is the first time that such an event, focusing on the adverse effects of breast cancer treatment, was held in Geneva.  More such events should be organized, also for other cancers and diseases, because an open discussion which includes care-givers, patients and members of support groups can add to the understanding and compassion of all parties concerned.



The day was organized around themes concerning adverse effects, with moving testimonies of persons who have suffered these effects, presentations by experts, a discussion panel comprised of doctors, care-givers and members of support groups, and interaction with the public.  Mrs. Isabelle Moncada, journalist and producer of the Suisse Romande Television health program,“36.9”, led the discussions.  Themes included:  physical integrity and identity, functional capacity, dental and oral side effects, sexuality and fertility, depression, fatigue, vitality, and problems of memory and concentration.  There were also presentations on treatment possibilities with complementary medicine, projects for readapting cancer treatment to address side effects, the « Wilsdorf Logbook” (Carnet de Bord), source of the statistics cited in the presentations.  A public lecture was held in the evening:  “An oncology for maintaining quality of life ».