NEWSLETTER-An Electronic Silent Spring

An Electronic Silent Spring

What is EMR?

Society receives profound benefits from electronics. Unfortunately, many technologies (i.e. cell phones, cell towers, Wi-Fi and smart meters) emit electromagnetic radiation (EMR) that can harm human health and wildlife. Katie Singer’s An Electronic Silent Spring encourages recognition that EMR can harm. This site offers protective solutions for public health and our ecosystem.

About An Electronic Silent Spring by Katie Singer

An Electronic Silent Spring explores What is EMR? (Electromagnetic radiation emitted by wireless technologies like cell phones, cell towers, cordless DECT phones, Wi-Fi, smart meters.)

It answers What is EMF? (EMF stands for electromagnetic fields. All living creatures need the Earth’s EMFs in order to navigate, digest food, reproduce and more. Man-made EMFs emitted by electronic technologies can interfere with and harm living creatures’ basic functioning.

An Electronic Silent Spring focuses on how mobile phones and Wi-Fi affect children and how wireless technologies can interfere with medical implants like insulin pumps, cardiac pacemakers and deep brain stimulators.

Katie Singer’s An Electronic Silent Spring also offers an extensive solutions section for policy makers, telecom and utility companies, schools, civic groups and individuals who want emf solutions and protection for emf.

Easy EMF Solutions You Can Start Today

Follow this link to learn 8 easy things you can do to reduce your exposure to EMFs/EMR

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Katie Singer at What is EMR?

While they operate, mobile phones, mobile phone chargers, iPads, cellular antennas, Wi-Fi, compact fluorescent lights, transformers and “smart” utility meters emit electromagnetic radiation (EMR) at frequencies and amplitudes that are not found in nature. An Electronic Silent Spring describes how wildlife and peoples’ health are affected.

Power lines disrupt the magnetic alignment of cows and deer

Power lines disrupt the magnetic alignment of cows and deer

Blogging on Peer-Reviewed ResearchFarmers and herders have known for centuries that herds of cattle have an uncanny ability to all point in the same direction. Last year, a group of German and Czech scientists discovered the reason behind this alignment – unbeknownst to humans for thousands of years of domestication, these animals have a magnetic sense. The team used Google Earth satellite images to rule out alternative explanations like the wind and the sun, and show that cow and deer herds tend to point towards magnetic north like a living, hoofed compass needle.

i-8a8cfddc371b6e23e95cddc1bc643857-Cows.jpgNow, the same team have found that high-voltage power lines, which emit strong magnetic fields of their own, disrupt the orientation of cattle and deer. Near these lines, their neat alignment goes astray and they position themselves at random. This disturbance becomes less and less pronounced as the animals stray further away from the power lines. This is yet further proof that cows and deer have a magnetic sense that’s only just become apparent to us.

A wide variety of animals navigate using the Earth’s magnetic field as a guide, but until recently, bats and rodents (including hamsters, mice and mole rats) were the only mammals to demonstrate this sense. In fact, the ability may be much more widespread, for these groups are small and easily tested in the kinds of laboratory experiments that would be impossible with larger creatures. To study the senses of cows and deer, Hynek Burda from the University of Duisberg-Essen was forced to be more creative.

He used pictures of herds of animals taken by Google Earth’s satellites to show that they line up according to the North-South poles, regardless of the position of the sun and in parts of the world with very different prevailing winds. In this new study, he made use of large magnetic anomalies caused by the presence of power lines to see if the animals’ behaviour was affected.

i-1c747a69e7975277a6dac68da7159c09-Pylon.jpgElectrical pylons deflect the Earth’s magnetic field around them in a radius of up to 30 metres. The lines running between them produce what are known as “extremely low-frequency magnetic fields” (ELFMFs). These are strongest at the mid-point where the line sags closest to the ground and decrease exponentially the further you get from the line.

Burda looked at satellite images of 153 herds of European cattle grazing within 150 metres of power lines, and found that they had no preference in their directions. In contrast, images of 111 herds in open pastures showed that they were significantly aligned along the north-south axis.

The same was true for roe deer, which the team observed first-hand. They witnessed 201 herds grazing in open areas and saw that they faced along a rough north-south axis. However, 47 herds straying near power lines were randomly aligned. Neither species was lining up to the direction of the cables themselves. These observations are powerful indicators that the animals’ stances were not primarily set by the positions of the sun.

Their positions even varied at different distances from the power lines, becoming more and more natural as the intensity of the man-made magnetic fields fell. If the power lines were running in an east-west direction, individual cows directly underneath tended to face in the same east-west direction, but those standing further and further away progressively shifted to the typical north-south alignment. Likewise, animals standing under north-south power lines also tended to face in a north-south direction, although their deviation from this standard direction became less and less as they got further away.

This new study provides yet more support for the magnetic sense of cows, but why and how they do it is still a mystery. Other mammals such as mole rats and bats rely on magnetic crystals called magnetite; pigeons carry magnetite in their beaks too.

Another method – the so-called “radical-pair” hypothesis – involves a light-sensitive molecule called cryptochrome, which is used by light-detecting cells in our eyes to sense blue light. When cryptochrome is activated, it forms a pair of “free radicals” – molecules with lone, unpaired electrons. Magnetic fields can affect whether these electrons “spin” together or not, and that in turn affects how long cryptochrome stays active for. Through cryptochrome, animals may actually be able to see magnetic fields as visual patterns.

The benefits that cows and deer gain by detecting magnetic fields are just as unclear as the means through which they do it. There are many possibilities. Synchronising the direction of the herd could make it easier to graze efficiently or escape predators effectively. It could help them to navigate as they move to fresh pastures (although deer also align magnetically while they’re resting). The most intriguing reason of all, which the group put forward in their last paper, is that magnetic alignment could make some bodily processes function more effectively.

Reference: PNAS doi:10.1073/pnas.0811194106

More on magnetic senses:

Defending the Indefensible Deconstructing a “New York Times” Headline

Defending the Indefensible

Deconstructing a “New York Times” Headline

November 20, 2018

How does a New York Times reporter justify a grossly misleading headline on a story of major importance?

Usually we could only speculate, but in one recent case, thanks to a health advocate’s persistence, we have a peek at the rationalizations and distortions in play.

This is the Times headline at issue:

It sits at the top of a story by William Broad, a staff writer, reporting the release of the National Toxicology Program’s (NTPfinal report on its $30 million, ten-year animal study of the cancer risks associated with cell phone radiation.

The quotation marks are important. They indicate that “some evidence” is a term of art and they imply that the study fell short of providing definitive evidence of a cancer risk. If that had been the case, the term “clear evidence” would have applied.

But that was the finding. The NTP saw clear evidence that cell phone radiation causes cancer and said so in its press release.

Theodora Scarato, the executive director of the Environmental Health Trust (EHT), wrote a series of emails to Broad and kept writing until he replied. Among her many questions was: Why did the headline refer to “some” rather than “clear” evidence of cancer?

In his reply, Broad maintained that he saw nothing wrong with the headline. Here’s what he told her:

“The vital context for this discussion is that our article focused on brain tumors because that’s what readers worry about. Naturally, people hold cell phones to their heads, not to their hearts (unlike the rats in the study, which had no choice but to be irradiated over their entire bodies). I see nothing here to correct. We detailed the various findings of the study exactly as you report them: ‘some evidence’ of brain cancer versus ‘clear evidence’ of heart cancer. Again, we gave priority in the article to the brain-tumor issue because that has become a major topic of concern to consumers.”

Broad, a veteran science reporter, would have us believe that he tailored his write-up to tell people what they want to know. But the NTP story was not that the rats got brain cancer or even that they got malignant tumors in their hearts. The key finding was that they got cancer. A responsible headline would have read, Cell Phone Radiation Causes Cancer.

Decades of Denial

I have been following the electromagnetic radiation cancer story for 40 years, since well before cell phones were on the scene. Over that entire time the suggestion that any type of non-ionizing radiation (EMF or RF) can cause cancer has been met with something close to ridicule.

Even John Bucher, the head of the NTP cell phone project, predicted before the experiment began that it would come to nothing. He was just going through the motions because that was the right thing to do.

Broad himself has long promoted the idea that EMF/RF links to cancer is junk science. Close to 30 years ago, he branded Paul Brodeur’s bookCurrents of Death, “alarmist,” going so far as to put Brodeur’s thesis on a par with “asserting the earthly presence of space aliens.” Broad’s line of argument became more difficult a few years later when the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) judged EMFs to be a possible human carcinogen.

Broad’s assertion that he’s putting the reader first is doubly specious because the tumors in the hearts and brains of the NTP rats are in the same type of cells. They are the same cancers, just in different organs. (For more on this, see our “More Than a Coincidence.”) That crucial commonality should have been brought into the open instead of being tucked under the rug. Broad missed the opportunity —indeed neglected his duty— to inform readers of the Times of the potential risks.

Broad told Scarato that his article addressed the issue of “some evidence” of brain cancer versus “clear evidence” of heart cancer. That’s true, but only at the bottom of a 19-paragraph story, and even there only indirectly, in the context of an FDA statement that tried to disavow the entire NTP enterprise.

And finally, there’s the “at least in male rats” qualifier in the headline. It discounts the study’s relevance to human health, dismissing one of the central canons of toxicology without explanation.

Broad’s headline might well have been: “Don’t Worry, This Is Just Another Cell Phone Study.”