How smartphone addiction is affecting our physical and mental health

How smartphone addiction is affecting our physical and mental health

An Electronic Silent Spring – January, 2017 Newsletter

An Electronic Silent Spring – January, 2017 Newsletter from Katie Singer

An Electronic Silent Spring 
January, 2017 Newsletter from Katie Singer

Humanity will be divided into two races: people who believe that what is actually evil is good…and the people who must love them.
–Rudolph Steiner, 1861-1925

Let’s make 2017 the year of What We Can Do

Ask questions that invite conversation. Then: listen.  At this time, what is a healthy person? What is a healthy environment? How do we take responsibility for ourselves and our environment?

How can we reduce our energy and electronics use and still function in society? What can we do individually, by household, by community and at the regulatory level?

What keeps our friends, neighbors, physicians, legislators (etc.) from recognizing scientific evidence of EMRadiation’s harm to living creatures?            What effectively opens discussion about technology’s energy demands, effects on humanness, effects on wildlife, lack of regulation?

Given current federal and state regulations, what are realistic goals (re reducing e-techs’ EMR emissions, energy use, use of conflict minerals and waste? What actions have been ineffective? What would be effective?

What We Can Do BEFORE February 6    

Write a Comment to the FCC

FCC seeks Comments on Streamlining Deployment of Small Cell Infrastructure By Improving Wireless Siting Policies: FCC intends to make installment of 5G antennas (on public right-of-ways like utility poles, for example) easier and faster than it already is.

For instructions about submitting a Comment:

Here are possible points to illuminate in your Comment:

* No data exists about 24/7 exposure at these frequencies and amplitudes will affect babies, pregnant women, children, the infirm, people with medical implants, the general population, insects or other wildlife.
* Given FCC and telecoms proposal to deploy 5G antennas ubiquitously, no one will be able to avoid exposure.
* The Air Force’s Radio Frequency Radiation Dosimetry Handbook, 5th Edition, Chapter 8, “Responses to RF Overexposure by Marvin C. Ziskin, MD reports that studies about millimeter wave exposures such as 94GHz primarily affect the eyes and skin. “A millimeter wave based non-lethal deterrent system in operation can be expected to raise the skin surface temperature to the point where an individual feels sufficient pain that he will remove himself from the beam. …intolerable pain would occur in just a few seconds. Away from the beam the temperature quickly returns to near normal levels.”  Given such findings by the Air Force, do we really want to experiment on the public’s health with no place to get away from millimeter waves?
* The Internet of Things makes our society more dependent on electronic technologies and services–and therefore more vulnerable to their shadows: interception/hacking, addiction, countless health problems, including cancer.
* Do we really want to develop into automatons and let go of humanness?
* The benefit here is for a few corporations’ profit.
* Just because we can make and sell products, should we?
* Let’s pause. Let’s ensure local authority over placement of telecom infrastructure.

What We Can Do

Learn what’s happening in schools, including charter schools (endorsed by Betsy DeVos, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Education): computers are replacing teachers, computerized testing has become central to class time (even as the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium labels 90% of English Language Learners as failures)…and computer hardware and software manufacturers reap taxpayers’ dollars. Read Dr. Roxana Marachi’s blogs, including her suggested questions to senators for Betsy DeVos’ Senate confirmation hearing.

Call senators on this committee to vote NO on DeVos’ confirmation.

At least twice each week (after breakfast, say), call your Congressional representative and senators’ offices. Voice your concerns:

* Students need teachers and social interaction with each other, less computers and wired Internet access. Giving children computers poses serious risks: they easily become addicted. They lose privacy. Crucial info can be hacked. The biological effects of children’s sitting near routers and wireless devices all day is untested. No child should be subject to such experiments.
* We need copper legacy landlines to maintain emergency preparedness.
* We need government agencies (like the EPA) to protect our environment and health. Our health and environment must be recognized at least as much as economic and technological pursuits. We must respect the National Toxicology Program’s $25 million study showing that 2G cell phone radiation causes brain and heart tumors and damages.
* No one wants to wake up to a cellular antenna on the public right-of-way beside their home…and learn they have no recourse. Every municipality needs local authority over antenna placement.

To learn your Congresspeoples’ phones numbers–including their private lines–call the U.S. Capital, 202.225.3121.

To email your Congresspeople: Click on your Congressperson’s name to be taken to their website and find their Contact page.

What We Can Do

Call your Congressional reps and voice opposition to the MOBILE NOW ACT introduced on the first day of the 115th Congress by Sen. John Thune (R-S.Dakota). This Act proposes reforms to boost the development of 5G wireless broadband by making 500 MHz available, speeding up 5G infrastructure, etc. Learn more at:  and

What We Can Do

Focus locally. Get elected to your school board or state or local government. Aim to:

* Keep classrooms focused on real relationships and meaningful work, not screens. Computers are aids to learning–not the main show. Keep school Internet access wired. In UK, educators have called for national guidelines about children’s screen-time use.
* Hire a lawyer or become a lawyer who knows telecom and utility law and can identify existing statutes that require professional engineers’ authorization before deploying infrastructure like “smart” meters…and local authority over antenna placement, including distributed antenna systems (DAS) and 5G antennas on public right-of-ways (PROWs).
* Get a job with an electronics manufacturer, and encourage production of WIRED appliances, phones, computers, mice, printers etc.

What We Can Do

Print fliers and postcards prepared by EH Trust, Dr. Joel Moskowitz and others that illuminate problems with wireless tech and “smart” meters…and ways to decrease EMR exposure. Pass these out while you stand in line at the grocery store, meet with your child’s teacher, hang out at the water cooler with co-workers.

What We Can Do

Using DVDs or films downloaded via a wire, host a film and discussion series with films like:

* “Blood in the Mobile.” Nokia user Frank Paulsen’s trek to learn about the conflict minerals in mobile devices.  “Blood in the Mobile” is a great companion to:
* “The True Cost” by Andrew Morgan. This film illuminates how workers, families, waterways and communities are impacted to manufacture “fast fashion”– more than 80 billion articles of clothing per year. As we step into the Internet of Things, and people, on average, owning 26 IoT things, these films can make visible the true costs of our wireless consumer culture.
* “Just Eat It” by Grant Baldwin and Jenny Rustemeyer documents our country’s extraordinary waste of food from the fields to the fridge. Our food and electronic waste have parallels.
* “Snowden,” Oliver Stone’s docu-drama about Ed Snowden, U.S. surveillance of email and ordinary lives.
* See other great films here.

What We Can Do  Host a reading group with books like:

* Dr. Nicholas Kardaras’ Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction is Hijacking Our Kids–and How to Break the Trance, St. Martin’s, 2016.
* Jerry Mander’s Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television, Quill, 1978. A former advertising executive tells why television is so dangerous–to personal health and sanity, to the environment, and to democratic processes–that the technology ought to be eliminated forever. (And, yes, he published this in 1978.)
* “Acts of Truth,” a story from India told by Michael Meade of Mosaic voices.
* Katie Singer’s An Electronic Silent Spring.

What We Can Do  Keep informed

* Your Internet-connected thermostat can take down the whole Internet. We need government regulation, including of the Internet of Things.
* Brain tumors are now the leading cancer in American adolescents, and incidence is rising in young adults, according to the largest, most comprehensive analysis of these age groups to date. Quinn T. Ostrom et al, “American Brain Tumor Association Adolescent and Young Adult Primary Brain and Central Nervous System Tumors Diagnosed in the United States in 2008-2012,” Neuro-Oncology 18, January 1, 2016.
* In releasing a study, “Brain tumors are increasing in Denmark,” Swedish Radiation Protection Foundation President Mona Nilsson says, “It is unethical to wait for even more people to be diagnosed with brain tumors before the industry, government and authorities warn mobile phone users of the serious health risks with today’s intense and prolonged use.” The paper also notes that since 2010, all studies about brain tumor risk from mobile phone use from 30-60 minutes per day over several years find increased risk for central nervous system (CNS) tumors (glioma, acoustic neuroma and meningioma). Meanwhile, currently, “75% of Swedish 16 year-old girls use their ‘smartphone’ more than three hours per day; and they have been wrongly informed that there are no health risks observed, often with reference to incorrect claims about brain tumor incidence trends.”
* From Europe: “Radiofrequency radiation injures trees around mobile phone base stations,” by Cornelia Waldmann-Selsam et al, Science of the Total Environment, 2016.
* Some toys now have internet-connected recording devices that send audio files to remote servers owned by a defense contractor without notifying parents. (This is not a conspiracy theory.)

What We Can Do  Reduce energy use by 8% today

In “Atmospheric Trust Litigation and the Constitutional Right to a Healthy Climate System,” Mary Christina Wood and Charles Woodward IV report that because humans today are both increasing carbon emissions into the atmosphere and also destroying the planet’s natural carbon sinks, the forests and oceans, the Earth’s climate system has lurched into a perilous imbalance. The dual, worsening crises of climate disruption and dying oceans cannot find relief without slashing greenhouse gas emissions around the globe. Dr. James Hansen, NASA’s chief climate scientist, prescribes that we need to reduce annual global CO2 emissions by 8%. If reduction is delayed until 2020, society would need to reduce emissions by 15% per year. At some point, the necessary cuts become too drastic for global society to accomplish.

Where could we cut 8% of our energy use?

Here’s a possibility: The Internet is the largest thing that humanity has built. It requires electricity, chemically purified water, conflict minerals like coltan and graphite. We continue to grow it exponentially.

The Internet of Things (IoT), device-to-device communication via the Internet, will expand demands on energy, water and conflict minerals more than ever before. It will generate more e-waste than ever before.

And yet, in January, 2017, the U.S. Department of Commerce Internet Policy Task Force & Digital Economy Leadership Team published “Fostering the Advancement of the Internet of Things,” which articulates unbridled support for the IoT: “From wearable devices that track infant heartbeats to supply chains that are capable of tracking an individual soda can from production to recycling, from connected vehicles to self-monitoring bridges, the Internet of Things (IoT) portends significant and in some cases, revolutionary changes.” For more on 5G and the IoT, visit

What are our truest opportunities? Encouraging our humanity? Decreasing our reliance on technology and disposable goods? As Dennis Klocek writes in Climate: Soul of the Earth, Steiner Books, 2010, “The climate crisis is a co-crisis shared by humans and the Earth as part of our mutual evolution… Not only is Earth the source of our bodies, but the Earth also depends now on our efforts to shift our consciousness toward goals higher than self-satisfaction, entertainment and consumption. Climate is the interface in which the results of our efforts to attain higher consciousness are displayed for all of the cosmos to see and evaluate.”

What You Can Do   Help keep this newsletter going.
Even $10 donations help.

Thanks to everyone who aims to use electronics as safely as possible, reduces their energy use and EMR emissions.
To healthier ecosystems and communities,
Katie Singer