EMR AUSTRALIA: Mobile phones and Immunity

 Mobile phones and Immunity

At this time, when most of us are aware of the importance of a strong immune system, research is showing that mobile phone radiation can damage cells that play a vital role in immune defense – our lymphocytes.
Here’s what recent studies have found.

The Greek study
Dr Dimitris Panagopoulos, a biophysicist from Athens University, compared the effects of mobile phone radiation to the effects of drinking too much coffee. 1
In a study published late last year, he tested human two groups of peripheral blood lymphocytes, white blood cells important for immunity, from six healthy volunteers. The first group of cells, he exposed to radiation from a 3G mobile phone in talk mode. The next group, he exposed to a dose of caffeine that was 290 times above the recommended limit.
Both exposures caused chromosome damage to the cells.
Next, he exposed cells to both the mobile phone radiation and high dose of caffeine. These cells showed a ‘dramatic’ increase in chromosome damage.
He concluded that exposure to levels of mobile phone radiation that were 136 times lower than international standards (ICNIRP Guidelines) caused even more damage than excessive levels of caffeine.
Based on his observations, he recommended that standards for mobile phone radiation be lowered.

The Slovak study
Another study on human lymphocyte cells, this time from the Slovak Republic, also showed damaging effects from exposure to mobile phone radiation. 2
Sachin Gulati and team exposed human lymphocytes cells to radiation at 1923, 1947.47 and 1977 MHz, the frequency channels used by 3G mobile phones. Exposures lasted for 1 or 3 hours.
The researchers found that frequency affected the way the lymphocytes responded, suggesting that future research should test each frequency used by a technology.
They also found a ‘small but statistically significant’ increase in DNA damage, with greatest effects at the 1977 MHz carrier frequency.
Panagopoulos, DJ, ‘Comparing chromosome damage induced by mobile telephony radiation and a high caffeine dose: Effect of combination and exposure duration’, Gen Physiol Biophys 39(6):531-544, Nov 2020, doi: 10.4149/gpb_2020036.

Sachin Gulati, S et al, ’Effects of different mobile phone UMTS signals on DNA, apoptosis and oxidative stress in human lymphocytes’, Environ Pollut 267, 115632, Dec 2020, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2020.115632

What can you do?
Limit your exposure to mobile phone radiation by using:
our airtube headsets https://emraustralia.com.au/co…
our Wavewall shielded mobile phone cases https://emraustralia.com.au/co…
You can find more news in the latest, free issue of EMR and Health available here

Warm regards

Lyn McLean
EMR Australia PL
02 9576 1772

SCHOOLS: EHS: California Appellate Court holds that Wi-Fi sickness is a disability

LAURIE BROWN, Plaintiff and Appellant,

No. B294240.

Court of Appeals of California, Second District, Division Eight.Filed February 18, 2021.

APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, Super. Ct. No. BC697060, Richard E. Rico, Judge. Reversed in part and affirmed in part.

JML Law, Joseph M. Lovretovich and Jennifer A. Lipski for Plaintiff and Appellant.

Anthony J. Bejarano and David V. Greco for Defendant and Respondent.




Appellant Laurie Brown (Brown) has been a teacher employed by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) since 1989. In 2015, LAUSD installed an updated Wi-Fi system at the school where Brown taught. She soon began to experience headaches and nausea, and believed the electromagnetic frequency of the new wireless system was the cause. She requested various accommodations from LAUSD, but ultimately sued, alleging LAUSD discriminated against her based on her “electromagnetic hypersensitivity,” failed to accommodate her condition, and retaliated against her—in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) (Gov. Code,[1] § 12900 et seq.).

Brown appeals from a judgment of dismissal entered after the trial court sustained LAUSD’s demurrer to her first amended complaint (FAC) without leave to amend. She contends the trial court erred in sustaining the demurrer because she pled sufficient facts in support of each of her claims. She further contends the trial court abused its discretion by not granting her leave to amend the FAC.

We conclude Brown adequately pled her cause of action for failure to provide reasonable accommodation for her disability. We reverse on this cause of action only. Otherwise, the judgment is affirmed.


A. Relevant Factual Background

In 2012, LAUSD commissioned URS Corporation (URS) to consult with LAUSD about replacing the existing Wi-Fi system at Millikan Middle School (Millikan) with one that would accommodate iPads, Chromebooks, and tablets LAUSD intended to provide its students.

LAUSD requested public comment on the proposed new Wi-Fi system. Cindy Sage, an environmental scientist and expert on electromagnetic frequency (EMF), stated she could not support URS’s conclusions about the safety of the new Wi-Fi system.

During a May 28, 2014, school board hearing, LAUSD’s “medical personnel” presented a power point presentation indicating they were uncertain about any long-term effects the Wi-Fi system may have on students and staff. LAUSD promised to continue actively monitoring any developments.

In 2015, Brown began teaching at Millikan. Later that year, in April 2015, LAUSD installed and began operating the upgraded Wi-Fi system at Millikan. Brown thereafter experienced chronic pain, which she alleged was caused by the new Wi-Fi.

B. Brown’s First Amended Complaint

On March 7, 2018, Brown filed a civil complaint against LAUSD. On June 6, 2018, the trial court sustained a demurrer to the complaint with leave to amend.

On June 26, 2018, Brown filed the FAC which alleged five causes of action pursuant to FEHA:

1) Discrimination based on physical disability;

2) Failure to accommodate;

3) Failure to engage in the interactive process;

4) Retaliation; and

5) Failure to prevent discrimination and retaliation.

The FAC alleged:

Following activation of the new Wi-Fi system on April 23, 2015, Brown began to experience chronic pain, headaches, nausea, itching, burning sensations on her skin, ear issues, shortness of breath, inflammation, heart palpitations, respiratory complications, foggy headedness, and fatigue. She reported the symptoms to her superiors at Millikan and was granted leave from work “due to these symptoms, on an intermittent basis, for several days thereafter.”

She returned to campus the following week and fell ill again “[w]ithin 2 to 3 hours.” Her “medical provider subsequently diagnosed her” with electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), also referred to as “microwave sickness.”

On May 22, 2015, Brown filed her first formal request for accommodation with LAUSD.

On July 15, 2015, LAUSD held its first interactive process meeting with Brown. Following the meeting, LAUSD agreed to disconnect the Wi-Fi access points in Brown’s assigned classroom and in an adjacent classroom. LAUSD also agreed to use “a hardwired computer lab with Wi-Fi turned off while testing for Common Core.”

On August 4, 2015, “Dr. Huy Hoang, internist, wrote that emerging EMF sensitivity was disabling” Brown.

Brown returned to work in August 2015. She was assigned to Room 22 at the Millikan campus. Brown alleged LAUSD’s accommodations were “not reasonable” and “did not work.” While LAUSD disconnected the routers in Brown’s classroom and one adjoining classroom, “multiple other classrooms in front and to the side of [Brown]’s classroom continued to have their routers active.”

On September 3, 2015, Brown’s physician, Dr. Jody Levy, placed her on a medical leave of absence through November 16, 2015, due to her “migraines, headaches, and nausea. Restrictions upon returning to work were for [Brown] to work with minimal Wi-Fi exposure.”

On September 8, 2015, Brown filed a second request for accommodation “on the grounds her symptoms persisted due to Wi-Fi and radio frequencies to which she was continuously exposed.” She requested LAUSD reduce her exposure and consider “using paints and other forms of shielding materials to block Wi-Fi and radio frequencies in her classroom.”

On October 22, 2015, LAUSD held its second interactive process meeting with Brown. Brown requested LAUSD authorize “further studies to evaluate and determine the best location on the Millikan campus where [Brown] would encounter minimal exposure to Wi-Fi and radio frequencies, along with consideration of using paints and other shielding materials.”

On November 13, 2015, LAUSD denied Brown’s second request for accommodation, relying on testing performed by URS that indicated the Wi-Fi system was “safe.” Brown appealed LAUSD’s denial.

Meanwhile, Brown’s medical leave was extended from November 2015 through June 14, 2016 by Dr. Michael Hirt, “citing migraines and nausea. Restrictions include minimal EMF exposure and writes patient could return to work if EMF exposure [or] measurement were reduced.”

The appeal hearing took place in February 2016. LAUSD “reversed course” and agreed to provide a “neutral expert EMF inspection for further microwave measurements.” Brown was notified that LAUSD will provide Brown “with the test results, but is not required to provide [her] advance information regarding the logistics of the testing.”

On April 18, 2016, LAUSD provided Brown with three options for neutral EMF testing: 1) allow LAUSD’s retained consultant URS to conduct the requested testing; 2) choose another consultant “which might delay the process”; or 3) advise LAUSD she no longer desired additional EMF testing.

On April 26, 2016, Brown indicated she wanted a different consultant—not URS—to conduct the additional EMF testing/inspection. She alleged “a new analysis by URS, LAUSD’s own consultant, would be inherently biased due to URS’ relationship with LAUSD.” Brown alleged, however, that LAUSD failed to inform her that “selecting another consultant would require the consultant to submit to LAUSD’s bidding process for a contract to do the inspection.”[2]

On June 19, 2016, LAUSD notified Brown it did not agree with her selected consultant and that URS’s “prior evaluation of Wi-Fi and radio frequencies at Millikan evidenced a safe and non-hazardous working environment.”

In November 2016, Brown followed up with LAUSD about what “reasonable accommodation” LAUSD would provide. In January 2017, Brown sent LAUSD another follow-up email and expressed “frustration and concerns about LAUSD appearing to retract the accommodation it had promised . . . a year earlier.”

Brown alleged she could not return to work “without being overcome with crippling pain.” She was “forced to go out on a disability leave from her job, which exhausted her approximately 800 hours of accrued paid time off and sick leave.” As a result, she experienced “an economic loss of earnings due to not receiving her full income.”

Based on the foregoing, Brown argued LAUSD “engaged in a course or pattern of conduct that, taken as a whole, materially and adversely affected the terms, conditions, or privileges” of Brown’s employment. She believed she “could have continued performing all essential duties and functions of her job” had she been provided reasonable accommodations from LAUSD. She argued LAUSD failed to “engage in an interactive process” with Brown and “explore all reasonable accommodation for her physical disability.” Brown also characterized the foregoing as “adverse employment action” and “discriminatory and retaliatory conduct.”

She requested general damages, special damages, loss of earnings and benefits, attorney fees and costs, injunctive relief, equitable relief, and any other relief the trial court deemed just and proper.

C. LAUSD’s Demurrer and Brown’s Opposition

On July 31, 2018, LAUSD filed a demurrer to the FAC pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure section 430.10, subdivision (e). LAUSD argued Brown failed to allege with particularity sufficient facts in support of her causes of action. Brown’s FAC did not include any facts that demonstrated LAUSD’s decision not to provide additional testing created adverse work conditions such that a reasonable person would have felt compelled to resign. LAUSD next pointed out that Brown had not pled facts that would establish the original testing by URS was “unreliable or faulty” and instead merely concluded “URS is biased.”

LAUSD argued Brown did not suffer any adverse employment action, “much less an adverse action because of her alleged medical condition.” Per LAUSD, Brown “voluntarily chose” to go on leave; she was never dismissed. LAUSD argued it “went above and beyond to accommodate” Brown’s alleged disability and provided examples of accommodations it had granted. LAUSD noted Brown’s symptoms mysteriously persisted “despite being away from Millikan’s campus and being on a lengthy approved leave of absence.”

LAUSD requested the court sustain the demurrer without leave to amend, as Brown could not identify any adverse employment action taken by LAUSD because of her disability.

On August 14, 2018, Brown filed her opposition to LAUSD’s demurrer. She argued the FAC alleged sufficient facts to establish all five causes of action. She further argued that while LAUSD “proposed multiple efforts, [it] never implemented any of them fully.” (Boldface omitted.)

D. Hearing and Ruling

On August 27, 2018, the trial court entertained brief oral argument and took the matter under submission.

The next day, on August 28, 2018, the court sustained the demurrer without leave to amend as to all five causes of action.

On September 20, 2018, the court signed the judgment of dismissal.

Brown timely appealed from the judgment.


As a preliminary matter, we disagree with LAUSD that Brown failed to include a complete record. The record does not include a copy of the original complaint, first demurrer, and the court’s June 6, 2018 ruling. However, the absence of these pleadings does not foreclose our review of Brown’s contentions on appeal. Where, as here, Brown amended the original complaint, the FAC supersedes the original complaint. (See Alfaro v. Community Housing Improvement System & Planning Assn., Inc. (2009) 171 Cal.App.4th 1356, 1372.) The record on appeal contains the operative FAC and LAUSD’s demurrer; these are the pleadings necessary for our review.

A. Standard of Review

A demurrer tests the legal sufficiency of the challenged pleading. (Milligan v. Golden Gate Bridge Highway & Transportation Dist. (2004) 120 Cal.App.4th 1, 5.) We review de novo a trial court’s ruling on a demurrer. (Dudek v. Dudek (2019) 34 Cal.App.5th 154, 163 (Dudek).) We accept as true all material facts properly pleaded in the complaint, but do not assume the truth of contentions, deductions, or conclusions of fact and law. (Ibid.Estate of Holdaway (2019) 40 Cal.App.5th 1049, 1052.) The question of a plaintiff’s ability to prove the allegations, or the possible difficulty in making such proof, does not concern the reviewing court and plaintiffs need only plead facts showing that they may be entitled to some relief. (Alcorn v. Anbro Engineering, Inc. (1970) 2 Cal.3d 493, 496.)

In addition, “`[w]hen a demurrer is sustained without leave to amend, “we decide whether there is a reasonable possibility that the defect can be cured by amendment: if it can be, the trial court has abused its discretion and we reverse; if not, there has been no abuse of discretion and we affirm.”‘” (Dudek, supra, 34 Cal.App.5th at p. 163.) Brown shoulders the burden to show a reasonable possibility the FAC can be amended to state a cause of action. (Id. at pp. 163-164.)

B. Brown Adequately Pled a Physical Disability.

In an argument it makes as to all five causes of action, LAUSD contends Brown’s alleged disability, electromagnetic sensitivity, is not a “recognized” disability. In support of this contention, LAUSD relies on a federal case from the Seventh Circuit and a federal district court case from the District of Massachusetts, both interpreting the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA): Hirmiz v. New Harrison Hotel Corp. (7th Cir. 2017) 865 F.3d 475 and G v. Fay Sch., Inc. (D. Mass. 2017) 282 F.Supp.3d 381.

LAUSD’s reliance on ADA cases is misplaced. The FEHA protections against torts based on disability are independent of those under the ADA. “The law of this state in the area of disabilities provides protections independent from those in the federal Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 . . . . Although the federal act provides a floor of protection, this state’s law has always, even prior to passage of the federal act, afforded additional protections.” (§ 12926.1, subd. (a); Cal. Code Regs., tit. 2, § 11065, subd. (d)(8).) The Legislature has stated its intent that “physical disability” be construed so that employees are protected from discrimination due to actual or perceived physical impairment that is disabling, potentially disabling, or perceived as disabling or potentially disabling. (§ 12926.1, subd. (b); Cal. Code Regs., tit. 2, § 11065, subds. (d)(4)-(6).) And the Legislature has specifically stated its intent that the FEHA provide broader protection than under the ADA. (§ 12926.1, subd. (c); Cal. Code Regs., tit. 2, § 11065, subd. (d)(8).)

FEHA states a “physical disability” includes, but is not limited to, “any physiological disease, disorder, condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss that does both of the following: [¶] (A) Affects one or more of the following body systems: neurological, immunological, musculoskeletal, special sense organs, respiratory, including speech organs, cardiovascular, reproductive, digestive, genitourinary, hemic and lymphatic, skin and endocrine. [¶] (B) Limits a major life activity. For purposes of this action: [¶] . . . [¶] (ii) A . . . condition . . . limits a major life activity if it makes the achievement of the major life activity difficult. [¶] (iii) `Major life activities’ shall be broadly construed and includes physical, mental, and social activities and working.” (§ 12926, subd. (m)(1); see also Cal. Code Regs., tit. 2, § 11065, subd. (d)(2)(A), (B).)

The FAC alleges that Brown could not work because she experienced “the various symptoms of which LAUSD had been warned could occur, namely, chronic pain, headaches, nausea, itching, burning sensations on her skin, ear issues, shortness of breath, inflammation, heart palpitations, respiratory complications, foggy headedness, and fatigue, all symptoms of Microwave Sickness or EHS.” These described symptoms affect one or more of the body systems listed in the statute and limited Brown’s major life activity of working as a teacher at Millikan. That the ADA may not “recognize” EHS is immaterial to our interpretation of FEHA. Brown adequately pled physical disability within the four corners of the statute.

C. Brown Failed to Allege Adverse Employment Action Taken Against Her with Discriminatory or Retaliatory Motive

LAUSD next argues that the first cause of action for discrimination based on physical disability and the fourth cause of action for retaliation fail for lack of specificity and are insufficient to withstand the demurrer. We agree.

1. Retaliation

The elements of a cause of action for retaliation in violation of section 12940, subdivision (h) are: “1) the employee’s engagement in a protected activity . . .; (2) retaliatory animus on the part of the employer; (3) an adverse action by the employer; (4) a causal link between the retaliatory animus and the adverse action; (5) damages; and (6) causation.” (Mamou v. Trendwest Resorts, Inc. (2008) 165 Cal.App.4th 686, 713Le Mere v. Los Angeles Unified School Dist. (2019) 35 Cal.App.5th 237, 243.)

Here, the FAC alleges no facts coming close to retaliatory actions or motive. According to the FAC, Brown made her complaints that the Wi-Fi system was adversely affecting her health; the parties engaged in the interactive process to arrive at a reasonable accommodation; LAUSD made promises to take certain actions to reasonably accommodate her complaints; LAUSD later reneged on its promises because it decided to rely on the findings of its consultant URS that the campus was “safe.” She alleges no retaliatory actions taken against her precisely because she engaged in protected activity, that is, because she made her initial complaint. Brown conflates actions taken by LAUSD in response to the complaint with actions taken by LAUSD to harm her because of her complaint. None of the alleged facts implicate retaliation.

2. Discrimination

Under section 12940, it is unlawful for an employer, because of physical disability, to “refuse to hire or employ the person or to refuse to select the person for a training program leading to employment, or to bar or to discharge the person from employment or from a training program leading to employment, or to discriminate against the person in compensation or in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment.” (§ 12940, subd. (a).) The elements of a prima facie case of discrimination vary depending on the particular facts. Generally, the plaintiff must provide evidence that he or she (1) was a member of a protected class; (2) was qualified for the position sought or was performing competently in the position already held; (3) suffered an adverse employment action, such as termination, demotion, or denial of an available job; and (4) some other circumstance suggests discriminatory motive. (Guz v. Bechtel National, Inc. (2000) 24 Cal.4th 317, 355.) Evidence of discriminatory motive must be examined carefully in disability discrimination cases to determine “whether there is direct evidence that the motive for the employer’s conduct was related to the employee’s physical or mental condition.” (Wallace v. County of Stanislaus (2016) 245 Cal.App.4th 109, 123.)

FEHA proscribes two types of disability discrimination: (1) discrimination arising from an employer’s intentionally discriminatory act against an employee because of his or her disability (referred to as disparate treatment discrimination) and discrimination resulting from an employer’s facially neutral practice or policy that has a disproportionate effect on employees suffering from a disability (referred to as disparate impact discrimination). (Knight v. Hayward Unified School Dist. (2005) 132 Cal.App.4th 121, 128-129, disapproved on other grounds in Williams v. Chino Valley Independent Fire Dist. (2015) 61 Cal.4th 97, 115.)

Here, just as with the retaliation cause of action, there are two issues as to the discrimination cause of action: whether Brown sufficiently alleged that LAUSD took any adverse employment actions and whether Brown sufficiently alleged facts to support the allegation of discriminatory motive. Brown contends LAUSD refused to participate in the interactive process in good faith and refused to put in place reasonable accommodations to which it has previously agreed. While these allegations against LAUSD support other causes of action as discussed below, we conclude they do not constitute “adverse employment actions” in the context of a claim of discrimination.

Our Supreme Court has recognized that what constitutes an adverse employment action “is not, by its nature, susceptible to a mathematically precise test,” and, as a result, “the significance of particular types of adverse actions must be evaluated by taking into account the legitimate interests of both the employer and the employee.” (Yanowitz v. L’Oreal USA, Inc. (2005) 36 Cal.4th 1028, 1054.) Yanowitz defined an adverse employment action generally as one that materially affects the terms and conditions of employment. (Id. at p. 1051, fn. 10.) The phrase “terms, conditions or privileges” of employment must be interpreted liberally and with a reasonable appreciation of the realities of the workplace in order to afford employees the appropriate and generous protection against employment discrimination that the FEHA was intended to provide.” (Id. at p. 1054.) It is appropriate to consider plaintiff’s allegations collectively under a totality-of-the-circumstances approach. (Id. at p. 1052, fn. 11 & pp. 1055-1058.)

However, we note the FEHA scheme prohibits specific unlawful employment practices by covered employers, e.g., discrimination, retaliation, failure to make reasonable accommodation, failure to engage in the interactive process with the employee. We conclude that the commission of one specific prohibited employment practice does not, in and of itself, constitute commission of all other prohibited employment practices under the broad rubric of policies or practices affecting the “terms, conditions or privileges of employment.” Such an interpretation would be contrary to the whole point of specifically separating conduct into individual unlawful employment practices. Brown has not alleged she was the target of disparate treatment. Nor has she alleged a policy or practice that had a disproportionate effect on employees suffering from a disability. She simply alleged that LAUSD failed to engage meaningfully with her in the interactive process and would not reasonably accommodate her disability. Those allegations pertain to her remaining causes of action, but we decline to construe them, without more, as adverse employment actions sufficient to support a claim of discrimination in the terms and conditions of employment. We agree with the trial court that Brown has conflated “`adverse employment action’ with the failure to accommodate and failure to engage claims.”

Moreover, even if the allegations are deemed sufficient to constitute adverse employment actions, Brown has alleged no facts from which discriminatory intent be inferred. In other words, she has alleged no facts from which we can infer LAUSD clung to its belief that the campus was safe and refused to accommodate her because it was biased against her as a person with a disability. At most, the FAC alleged facts showing a disagreement between the parties as to whether the Wi-Fi was causing her disability. We conclude she has failed to allege discrimination in employment.

Because we find Brown has failed to allege discrimination or retaliation in employment, we also conclude she has failed to sufficiently allege, in her fifth cause of action, failure to prevent discrimination and retaliation in employment, in violation of section 12940, subdivision (k).

D. Brown Adequately Pled a Cause of Action for Failure to Provide Reasonable Accommodation for a Physical Disability

An employer must provide a reasonable accommodation for an applicant or employee with a known mental or physical disability unless the accommodation would cause undue hardship. Failure to do so is an unlawful employment practice. (§ 12940, subd. (m)(1); Cal. Code Regs., tit. 2, § 11068 subd. (a).) Failure to do so is an unlawful employment practice.

To establish a failure to accommodate claim, Brown must show (1) she has a disability covered by FEHA; 2) she can perform the essential functions of the position; and 3) LAUSD failed reasonably to accommodate her disability. (Jensen v. Wells Fargo Bank (2000) 85 Cal.App.4th 245, 256-257.) A “reasonable accommodation” means a modification or adjustment to the workplace that enables the employee to perform the essential functions of the job held or desired. (Scotch v. Art Institute of California (2009) 173 Cal.App.4th 986, 1010.) Although an accommodation is not reasonable if it produces an undue hardship to the employer, a plaintiff need not initially plead or produce evidence showing that the accommodation would not impose such an undue hardship. (Bagatti v. Department of Rehabilitation (2002) 97 Cal.App.4th 344, 356.) Importantly, whether plaintiff’s requested accommodation is reasonable cannot be determined on demurrer. (Id. at p. 368-369.)

Once notified of a disability, the employer’s burden is to take positive steps to accommodate the employee’s limitations. The employee also retains a duty to cooperate with the employer’s effort by explaining his or her disability and qualifications. Reasonable accommodation thus envisions an exchange between employer and employee where each seeks and shares information to achieve the best match between the employee’s capabilities and available positions. (Spitzer v. Good Guys, Inc. (2000) 80 Cal.App.4th 1376, 1385 (Spitzer).) If a reasonable accommodation does not work, the employee must notify the employer, who has a duty to provide further accommodation. (See id. at p. 1384 [if employer did not know a reasonable accommodation was not working, a duty to provide further accommodation never arose].)

Brown has adequately pled failure to accommodate. The FAC alleges that she suffers from a physical disability, but can perform the essential functions of the position with the accommodation “to which LAUSD initially agreed to but subsequently refused to honor and/or other reasonable accommodations, such as use of paints, fabrics and/or other shielding materials to block or minimize exposure to electromagnetic frequencies.” Further, although LAUSD provided Brown with three options to choose from for neutral EMF testing, including the option to choose a consultant other than URS to conduct the testing (which Brown opted for), LAUSD reneged on its agreement, concluded that URS’s prior evaluation evidenced a safe, non-hazardous working environment, and took no further action. As mentioned above, “reasonable accommodation” envisions an exchange between employer and employee in good faith; based on our reading of Brown’s FAC, LAUSD’s actions here do not align with those of an employer taking positive steps to accommodate the employee’s limitations (Spitzer, supra, 80 Cal.App.4th at p. 1385).

On appeal LAUSD argues that it attempted to accommodate her multiple times to no avail. It also argues that because Brown alleged that she suffered symptoms at her home, there was nothing LAUSD could do to ameliorate her disability. These are questions for the ultimate finder of fact and not questions properly resolved by demurrer. Brown’s allegations were sufficient.

E. Brown Failed to Allege Failure to Engage in the Interactive Process.

Under FEHA, it is an unlawful practice for an employer to fail to engage in a good faith interactive process with the employee to determine an effective reasonable accommodation if an employee with a known physical disability requests one. (§ 12940, subd. (n); see § 12926.1, subd. (e); A.M. v. Albertsons, LLC (2009) 178 Cal.App.4th 455, 463 (Albertsons).) Failure to accommodate and failure to engage in the interactive process are separate, independent claims involving different proof of facts. The purpose of the interactive process is to determine what accommodations is required. Once a reasonable accommodation has been granted, then the employer has a duty to provide that reasonable accommodation. (Albertsons, at pp. 463-464.)

Here, Brown’s FAC alleges LAUSD did agree on a reasonable accommodation (to hire an independent consultant to determine where on campus exposure to the electromagnetic frequencies was most minimal) and then changed its mind, deciding that the campus was “safe.” This is not a failure to engage in the interactive process; it is a failure to follow up with an accommodation to which it had agreed. (Albertsons, supra, 178 Cal.App.4th at pp. 463-464.)

Albertsons is instructive in this regard. In that case, employer Albertsons agreed to reasonable accommodations and then failed to advise plaintiff’s supervisors about the agreement. As a result, when plaintiff sought to take advantage of the accommodations, her supervisors did not allow her to do so. Plaintiff employee sued for failure to accommodate. Albertsons argued the plaintiff employee had a personal responsibility to advise her supervisors of her disability and of the agreed-upon accommodations. Albertsons argued plaintiff’s failure to so advise her supervisors constituted a failure by the employee to continue the interactive process and vitiated her cause of action for failure to accommodate. (Albertsons, supra, 178 Cal.App.4th at p. 464.)

The Court of Appeal disagreed. It held that the Legislature did not intend that “after a reasonable accommodation is granted, the interactive process continues to apply in a failure to accommodate context.” (Albertsons, supra, 178 Cal.App.4th at p. 464.) The court held that to “graft an interactive process intended to apply to the determination of a reasonable accommodation onto a situation in which an employer failed to provide a reasonable, agreed-upon accommodation is contrary to the apparent intent of the FEHA and would not support the public policies behind that provision.” (Ibid.) Thus, a failure to engage in the interactive process cannot be used to support a failure to accommodate cause of action.

Here we have the inverse of Albertsons: the employee using a failure to accommodate in support of a claim of failure to engage in the interactive process. Brown alleged LAUSD agreed upon a reasonable accommodation (to hire a neutral expert to determine locations of minimal exposure) and then failed to follow through. We conclude Brown’s allegations fit the logic of Albertsons holding. Without more, the allegations are insufficient under Albertsons to constitute a failure to engage in the interactive process.

F. The Trial Court Did Not Err in Sustaining the Demurrer Without Leave to Amend

The trial court sustained the demurrer without granting Brown leave to amend the FAC. Generally, leave to amend is warranted when the complaint is in some way defective, but plaintiff has shown in what manner the complaint can be amended and “`how that amendment will change the legal effect of [the] pleading.'” (Goodman v. Kennedy (1976) 18 Cal.3d 335, 349.) In her reply brief, Brown announced that she “need not specify additional details for an amended complaint because she already alleged more than sufficient ultimate facts to support her claims and any additional allegations would be superfluous evidentiary facts.” In the absence of proposed new facts, we find no error in the trial court’s decision not to grant leave to amend.


We reverse as to the cause of action for failure to accommodate. The judgment is affirmed in all other respects. Parties are to bear their own costs on appeal.

GRIMES, Acting P. J., concurs.

WILEY, J., Concurring.

I join the court’s decision, which rejects a pleading challenge. For good reason, California state civil procedure makes complaints easy to write and hard to attack: experience shows litigation effort devoted solely to attacking pleadings is costly and time consuming and rarely yields much helpful information for litigants about the true value of their case. (Cf. Clermont & Yeazell, Inventing Tests, Destabilizing Systems (2010) 95 Iowa L.Rev. 821, 829-859 [critique of contrary federal practice that devotes much effort to testing litigation at the complaint stage].)

The consequence of this relatively lax state attitude is relatively easier access to discovery. But California trial judges have the tools and training to curb weaponized discovery.

Instead of encouraging attacks at the pleading stage, ordinarily it is wiser for a procedural system to save the big litigation investments for stages where judicial rulings can provide the parties with information that helps them agree on the case’s settlement value.

Yet even with our state’s healthy attitudes about easy pleading, I worry about giving any sort of green light to this unprecedented and unorthodox disability claim. Plaintiff’s counsel was most reluctant at oral argument to admit it, but it seems clear we are the first court in the United States of America—a nation of over 300 million people—to allow a claim that “Wi-Fi can make you sick.” Up till now, the main published appellate opinion seems to have been the one where Judge Posner wrote that a “great deal of psychological distress is trivial—fear of black cats, for example.” (Hirmiz v. New Harrison Hotel Corp. (7th Cir. 2017) 865 F.3d 475, 476.)

Millions use Wi-Fi. Merchants, employers, cafes, hotels—indeed, commercial concerns of every kind throughout the land have been installing Wi-Fi at an impressive pace. Nearly everyone wants the phenomenal convenience of the virtual world in your hand, everywhere you go, and the faster the better. All the potential defendants responding to this popular demand may take solemn note of news that, as of today, their Wi-Fi systems now may possibly invite costly litigation from members of the public who say that Wi-Fi made them sick. And potential plaintiffs and their counsel will have an interest too.

The law worries about junk science in the courtroom. One concern is that a partisan expert witness can bamboozle a jury with a commanding bearing, an engaging manner, and a theory that lacks respectable scientific support. (E.g., Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (1993) 509 U.S. 579, 595 (Daubert) [“`Expert evidence can be both powerful and quite misleading because of the difficulty in evaluating it.'”].)

This concern is nothing new. The old fear is that “[e]xperience has shown that opposite opinions of persons professing to be experts may be obtained to any amount . . . .” (Winans v. New York & Erie Railroad Co. (1859) 62 U.S. (21 How.) 88, 101.)” `It is often surprising to see with what facility and to what an extent [experts’] views can be made to correspond with the wishes or interests of the parties who call them . . . . [T]heir judgment becomes so warped by regarding the subject in one point of view that even when conscientiously disposed, they are incapable of expressing a candid opinion. . . . They are selected on account of their ability to express a favorable opinion, which, there is great reason to believe, is in many instances the result alone of employment and the bias growing out of it.'” (Foster, Expert Testimony,—Prevalent Complaints and Proposed Remedies (1897) 11 Harv. L.Rev. 169, 170-171; see Learned Hand, Historical and Practical Considerations Regarding Expert Testimony (1901) 15 Harv. L.Rev. 40, 53 (Learned Hand) [“the expert becomes a hired champion of one side”]; id. at pp. 54-55 [describing the “absurdity” and “evil” of the “present system”]; id. at p. 46 [recounting 1665 case where “Dr. Brown, of Norwich, was desired to state his opinion of the accused persons, and he was clearly of opinion that they were witches”].)

It does not take much experience as a trial judge in Los Angeles to realize the use of expert witnesses has run riot. To get a feel for the situation, try an internet search on “expert witness los angeles.” If your client has the budget, the available inventory is remarkable. Surprising numbers of these experts also happen to be lawyers—or perhaps, after reflection, this is not so surprising.

The partisan expert witness has enormous potential as a weapon of pure advocacy. Excellent trial lawyers know this potential. They risk disadvantage and even defeat if they do not wring every drop of advocacy power from their retained experts. In this process, the search for truth can suffer. (E.g., Rubinfeld & Cecil, Scientists as Experts Serving the Court (Fall 2018) 147 Daedalus 152, 153 (Rubinfeld & Cecil).)

An expert witness can be the advocate’s strongest ally. Mid-trial, after the opening statement and before the closing argument, the expert can argue the client’s position in the most forceful terms, speaking directly to the judge and jury with a demeanor chosen for its fluent and compelling sincerity.

The expert’s motivation can be prompted by ample compensation and guaranteed through careful selection. For the advocate, finding and selecting experts can be a momentous event in the litigation process. Resume horsepower is useful, but better yet is a captivating communication style married to the proper attitude.

What is the proper attitude? It can be a subtle thing, perhaps detected through give-and-take on casual and seemingly irrelevant issues during a private telephone call or a relaxed interview in a comfortable office. For the trial lawyer puzzling over whether to retain this expert, a core question is whether the expert will become a team player. At some deep level, will the expert come to embrace the cause of the client?

Experts with the proper attitude willingly deploy their potentially awesome experience and intelligence in the advocate’s service. The result is unlikely to involve lying or deception, if for no other reason than such conduct rarely survives cross-examination. The result is, however, likely to be highly partisan. And the highly partisan character of expert testimony can imperil the search for truth.

When one trial lawyer tells a colleague in an unguarded moment that the lawyer is “shopping for an expert,” we should reflect on how accurate this phrase truly is.

Our highest courts responded to these concerns by empowering trial judges to be gatekeepers and to sort the reliable from the speculative. (Daubert, supra, 509 U.S. at pp. 589-597Sargon Enterprises, Inc. v. University of Southern California (2012) 55 Cal.4th 747, 753.) Gatekeeping may be vital to the integrity of this particular case. And rulings on Sargon motions can give the parties information that is highly pertinent to the settlement value of a case.

Trial judges also have another tool in their kit: court-appointed experts. (See Evid. Code, §§ 730-732.) Preferably in consultation with counsel and avoiding ex parte contacts, the trial court can select and appoint an independent expert of unquestioned stature. The parties foot the bill. The expert can write a report, be deposed, testify, and be cross-examined, like any other expert. Crucially, the jury can learn this expert has been appointed by the court rather than hired by the parties.

The option of a court-appointed expert has been available in California for generations. Few judges have tried this option, though, because the parties never suggest it. The last thing trial lawyers want is another source of uncertainty in the case: something powerful and beyond their control. But the hard-working judges with experience “reported a high degree of satisfaction with the services provided by the expert . . . .” (Cecil & Willging, The Use of Court-Appointed Experts in Federal Court (1994) 78 Judicature 41, 42; cf. Learned Hand, supra, 15 Harv. L.Rev. at p. 56 [advocating “a board of experts or a single expert, not called by either side, who shall advise the jury of the general propositions applicable to the case . . . .”].)

The trial court may want to consider this option in this case. It is more effort to go off the beaten path, but scholarly literature can help by surveying some practical aspects. (See generally, Rubinfeld & Cecil, supra [citing and discussing sources].)

This nation has a vast wealth of genuine scientific expertise, and the pandemic has been forcing our scientists to become familiar with video communication. The internet has reduced the significance of geographic distance.

You don’t need a Nobel prize winner: excellent junior faculty and even graduate students can be vastly knowledgeable, motivated, and hungry to boot. After all, few scholars are accustomed to the rates at which California lawyers bill. Authentic and objective experts thus may be surprisingly affordable, given the scholarly world’s commitment to public service and the prestige and satisfaction that can flow from a judicial appointment like this. And once you appoint that expert, it can be startling how fast the case settles.

With concern and hope, I join the majority opinion.

[1] All further statutory references are to the Government Code unless otherwise designated.

[2] We gather from LAUSD’s demurrer that Brown was unaware of LAUSD’s “statutory obligation to undergo competitive bidding for any contracts until January 2017.”

“Why I’m challenging theFCC about antiquated safety standards for wireless devices”

Read My New Op-ed in The Washington Times

I wanted to be sure you saw this important new op-ed published in The Washington Times entitled “Why I’m challenging the FCC about antiquated safety standards for wireless devices”.


“Would you let your family fly in a plane or ride in a bus that meets 25-year-old safety standards? Yet, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) assures us that wireless devices that meet last-century standards can safely be used by infants, toddlers and the rest of us.

During a fascinating hearing before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Jan. 25, the FCC maintained that 1996 standards can safely apply to testing devices many of which did not exist when those standards were first established.   

The FCC readily concedes it is not a health agency. For health advice, it relies on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In 1999, the FDA asked the National Toxicology Program (NTP), the government’s flagship testing program, to use standard animal testing protocols routinely used for extrapolation to humans and evaluate the impacts of non-thermal lifetime exposures to cellphone radiation. In 2018, the NTP issued the results of that $30 million state-of-the-art study, finding clear evidence of cancer and DNA damage.” 

The use of cell phone and wireless devices has changed in scope and intensity over the past 25 years and the research clearly indicates that people are being harmed today by unfettered wireless deployment. Yet the FCC refuses to revise its wireless radiation safety standards, saying that regulations from 1996 — when we were still in 1G and 2G and barely anyone had a cell phone — are adequate to protect people and the environment. FCC limits are not protective.

I urge you to read more about the case in my latest op-ed for the Times. We are raising awareness nationwide and worldwide and empowering communities with science based resources on 5G, cell phones and Wi-Fi.

Your support is greatly appreciated and helped EHT get to this point in this historic case. Stay tuned for what comes next and thanks so much for helping us reach this pivotal moment.
Donate to Support the FCC Lawsuit

Download our PDF Pack of Worldwide Action on 5G in color and black and white for easy printing. This shareable document outlines local actions in the United States by communities to retain local authority regarding 5G small cells.

Download EHT’s Black and White Checklist for Reducing EMFs at Home

Download EHT’s Two-Page PDF on How to Use Safer Technology.

Donate to Support the FCC Lawsuit

Download our PDF Pack of Worldwide Action on 5G in color and black and white for easy printing. This shareable document outlines local actions in the United States by communities to retain local authority regarding 5G small cells.

Download EHT’s Black and White Checklist for Reducing EMFs at Home

Download EHT’s Two-Page PDF on How to Use Safer Technology.


Greek City Blocks 5G Pilot Program Due To Risk Of Infertility


Greek City Blocks 5G Pilot Program Due To Risk Of Infertility

February 13, 2021

The Kalamata City Council in Greece has decided to block further development and operation of the 5G network program due to concerns that it may cause infertility in the local population.

The council held a meeting and considered the radiation of the mobile network upgrade to be dangerous and most councilors voted in favor of halting testing, adding that the network should only operate in Kalamata when corresponding networks were in place in the rest of Greece.

Greek City Blocks 5g Pilot Program Due To Risk Of Infertility Kalamata

The proposal to terminate the contract by the end of the year was voted in by 16 members, reported the Greek City Times.

The decision calls for the termination of cooperation with Wind network “until such technology passes from the experimental stage to the full implementation stage,” announced the Council.https://lockerdome.com/lad/12499747642786918?pubid=ld-12499747642786918-270&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fhumansarefree.com&rid=&width=760

In the text read by representatives of the city council, the radiation of 5G from the 2G, 3G and 4G networks were referred to as “dangerous”.

According to reports, an official from the municipality of Kalamata provided data of the scientific measurements, claiming the radiation from the antennas is much lower than the safety limits, but consultants didn’t take this data into consideration.

Kalamata Blocks 5g Pilot Program risk of infertility

At the meeting, it was argued, among other things, that applying high levels of radiation would be detrimental to the health of locals and could also “cause infertility,” with reports claiming many locals considered they were being used as “guinea pigs” and it could have a very negative effect in the future with locals becoming “sterile”.

Kalamata Mayor Thanasis Vassilopoulos suggested that the contract with the mobile carrier should not be renewed before new measurements were taken and he suggested an open discussion should take place in January and if there was no scientific evidence to back the claim, the pilot program should resume.

Kalamata, together with Trikala and the municipality of Zografou, were the three municipalities where 5G technology was to be piloted.

Greek City Blocks 5G Pilot Program Due to Risk of Infertility

Reference: GreatGameIndia.com


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 ON FEBRUARY 10, 2021, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in San Francisco, refused to reconsider its decision in Juliana v. United States. The child plaintiffs in that case are demanding that the United States stop permitting, authorizing and subsidizing the burning of fossil fuels. The children are demanding that the United States give them back their future. Having lost in the Ninth Circuit, they are preparing to appeal their case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

A FEW WEEKS AGO, another, equally important case was argued before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in Denver. In that case, Santa Fe Alliance v. City of Santa Fe, we are demanding that a federal law that prohibits the City from protecting its residents from cell tower radiation be struck down as unconstitutional. We, too, are demanding to be given back our future. Win or lose, our case too will likely end up before the Supreme Court.

The Earth is going down rapidly, and on some level everyone knows it. But in the last 50 years, the environmental movement has become fragmented, and must be woven back together if we are to have any chance of survival. We must advocate not just for birds, and amphibians, and whales, and elephants, and bats, and bees, and trees, and human health, each separately, as the world is doing today, but for all of them together, because they are all one. We must work not just against climate change, and radiation, and pesticides, and habitat destruction, and plastics, and air pollution, and groundwater pollution, and deforestation, each separately, as the world is doing today, but against all of them together, because the root cause is the same.

The workers, millions of them, all over the planet, are attempting frantically to plug thousands of holes in the dam in a futile attempt to prevent it from bursting, instead of recognizing that it is the dam itself that is destroying us, and that it must be dismantled in order that the river once more run free. The river is life, with its blessings and dangers. The dam, growing taller by the minute, is our efforts to multiply the blessings and eliminate all the dangers. The holes are from the pressure by the river to break free. Do we have the wisdom to stop, to begin removing the dam, little by little, to let the water of life flow over the top again, before the dam we are working so hard to maintain is destroyed in a flood that will surely kill us all?

I have spent the last couple of months compiling lists of email addresses for staff, officers, scientists and board members of all of the major environmental organizations in the world, and I am now ready to assemble a team to write letters to them all. To urge them to all start working together again. And to begin a discussion that will result in the creation of Radiation Programs within each of their organizations — programs to stop the radiation that comes from cell phones, cell towers, and satellites; radiation that until now the world has pretended is not there. Please Sign Letter to Elon Musk and SpaceX Stop 5G International is collecting signatures from individuals and organizations on an Open Letter to Elon Musk and SpaceX asking for a halt to the satellite program. “We write to you today,” says the letter, “to ask you to halt the Starlink project because it is so destructive.” The letter lists some of the consequences of filling the sky with tens of thousands of disposable satellites: radiationvisible pollution of the night skyinterference with astronomy & meteorologyrocket exhaust, contributing to ozone depletion and climate changeground and water pollution from intensive use of increasingly many spaceportsaccumulating space debriscontinual deorbiting and burning up of aging satellites, polluting the atmosphere with toxic dust and smokeever-increasing likelihood of collisionsincreasing risk of the Kessler syndrome
The letter and signature form are posted on Stop 5G International’s website: https://www.stop5ginternational.org/open-letter-to-elon-musk-spacex
Protest Planned on March 19 at SpaceX Headquarters
 On Friday, March 19, 2021, from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM, there will be a protest rally against the satellite program in front of SpaceX Headquarters at 1 Rocket Road in Hawthorne, California. This event will kick off and be the centerpiece of the 5G Global Protest Day which is being planned for the next day, March 20, 2021, in countries throughout the world.

The rally will protest the SpaceX satellites, which are intended to provide wireless internet to every corner of the globe, including Antarctica, the oceans, and the Amazon rainforest, using 5G technology. To date, SpaceX has submitted applications to the Federal Communications Commission for 42,000 satellites, and has already launched more than 1,000 of them.

For information about attending the protest, please go to  https://stop5ginternational.org/5g-spacex-satellite-protest-march-19-2021 or email dgoldberg36@gmail.com.  “5G and Our Health” Conference, September 10-12, 2021 On January 23-24, 2021, I was invited to be one of the presenters at the annual Take Back Your Health (TBYH) Conference, which took place online this year and had 2,500 attendees from throughout the world. Because of the interest my presentation generated about the effects of wireless technology on health and environment, a TBYH conference focusing just on this issue — 5G, WiFi, and wireless radiation — has been scheduled for September 10-12, 2021. This will also be a virtual conference. Titled “5G and Our Health,” the announcement for the conference begins:

“We are more connected, yet more unhealthy and unhappy than ever. Environmental scientists and doctors are making connections between wireless radiation, chronic illness, and our environmental crises. We want to answer the urgent questions, ‘Have we taken Wi-Fi radiation technology too far?’ and ‘Can we find a safer way to use the internet to connect?'”

Details and registration information are here:https://5g.takebackyourhealthconference.com/ Correction In my last newsletter, “The Wrong Pandemic,” I reported that after a few minks tested positive for COVID-19, Denmark decided to destroy all 17 million minks on all of the mink farms in that country. I also reported that “sanity broke out” and that the eradication campaign was halted after only 2.5 million minks were destroyed. A subscriber in Denmark has written to me with the news that the reprieve was only temporary, and that almost all of the 17 million minks were slaughtered. She sent me an article dated November 24, 2020, with the headline, “Mellem 100.000 og 300.000 danske mink er stadig i live” (“Between 100,000 and 300,000 Danish minks are still alive”).

“The Wrong Pandemic” generated intense feelings among subscribers. The majority expressed their heartfelt thanks: “Bless you for trying to make the world a better place.” “I love it when someone writes sanity the way you do!” “How refreshing to read some sanity and reality for once.” “You have nailed it absolutely perfectly.” “Thank you for the truth!” “Finally a message that doesn’t avoid the truth.” A small minority felt just as strongly the other way, e.g., “You are an insane psychopath.” A few were so offended by what I wrote about masks and COVID-19 that they unsubscribed, and one member of our board of directors even resigned.

I will continue to report the truth as I find it, as a scientist and as a human being working on behalf of all life on Earth. 
  Arthur FirstenbergP.O. Box 6216Santa Fe, NM 87502
phone: +1 505-471-0129info@cellphonetaskforce.org
February 23, 2021
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Noise? What Noise? Tests Designed to Miss the Mark

Noise? What Noise? Tests Designed to Miss the Mark

FEBRUARY 18, 2021tags: noise testing

From University of Twente, Netherlands, PhD research by Stefan Oerlemans (2009): A wind turbine showing the noise sources. The red area has the loudest sound.

The state constitution says noise is air pollution. The Mass. DEP’s job is to regulate air pollution. Residents who live near wind turbines say they can’t sleep, can’t think, can’t live a normal life because of wind turbine noise. But somehow the tests the DEP allows consultants to use never show excessive noise.

This failure of testing relies on 2 factors, according to Chris Kapsambelis:

  • They don’t compare the turbines’ noise levels with pre-construction minimums.
  • They don’t combine noise from all sources as the regulation states.

Once the turbines are standing, the L90 or minimum noise level, has already changed. Any readings, even quiet night time levels, are already skewed by the sound wind makes against the mast or at the blade tips–whether or not they are rotating.

Add to this baseline error the DEP’s willingness to allow wind turbine noise to be subtracted from other sources (air and ground traffic, machinery) and the turbines never fail the test.

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Hoosac Wind Fails Noise TestIn “developers”

Towns Move to Prevent Noise Problems with Wind TurbinesIn “industrial wind”

Will Serrated Edges Slice Turbine Noise at the Hoosac?In “developers”from → industrial windnoise and infrasound low frequency noise← No Dice: storage can’t solve wind energy gamble

A Microwave News investigation: Portrait of a Conspiracy


A Microwave News investigation: Portrait of a Conspiracy

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  • A Microwave News investigation: Portrait of a Conspiracy

Underwater Noise Pollution Is Disrupting Ocean Life—But We Can Fix It

This is happening in our environment on land and at sea. Humans, man made noise pollution is killing our wildlife and harming humans 24/7. If we have learned anything with the Trump reign of terror is, the Government agencies can easily be politicalized and influenced into compromising the facts and truth. We can, only depend on ourselves to fight for the health and well being of our planet and ourselves. Smart meters and technology used to support this pollution has to be mitigated or we will continue to marginalize our health and ability to use sound judgment in what we need in having a stable society……Sandaura

In this underwater photo taken October 23, 2020 a school of fish swim over corals in Alhambra Rock, a popular diving area in the Gulf of Thailand, off Rayong province.In this underwater photo taken October 23, 2020 a school of fish swim over corals in Alhambra Rock, a popular diving area in the Gulf of Thailand, off Rayong province. Romeo Gacad—AFP via Getty ImagesBY ARYN BAKER  

FEBRUARY 5, 2021 3:06 PM EST

The ocean soundtrack of the popular imagination is a largely silent one, interrupted only by the mournful aria of migrating whales or the acapella vocalizations of dolphin pods.

In fact, the underwater realm sounds more like an orchestra warming up, the cetaceans hitting their high notes while other marine mammals clear their throats against a background of breaking waves. A distant downpour sends out a staccato riff that can be heard for miles, even as fish and marine invertebrates snap out a syncopated rhythm designed to scare off predators or attract mates. It is a cacophonous soundscape that had changed little in tens of thousands of years. Until, that is, modern humans brought their leaf blowers to the concert hall.

Over the past couple of hundred years, humans have progressively altered the ocean soundtrack with the introduction of shipping, industrial fishing, coastal construction, oil drilling, seismic surveys, warfare, sea-bed mining and sonar-based navigation. Until recently, underwater sound pollution had not attracted the same attention as its terrestrial equivalent. Now, a new paper published in the journal Science titled “Soundscape of the Anthropocene Ocean” lays out the repercussions, demonstrating that noise pollution can be just as harmful to the ocean environment as other kinds of pollution.

But unlike plastic pollution or fertilizer runoff, remedies are easy to find and the damage can be reversed. “We are hoping that this report will not only reveal elements of how humans impact the ocean through sound pollution, but that it will also bring the topic to the attention of policymakers who will be able to act based upon the very real solutions that we have at our disposal,” says lead author Carlos M. Duarte, distinguished professor at Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

Marine ecologist Kirsten Thompson of the United Kingdom’s University of Exeter, who was not involved in the study, said the report could not have come at a better time. “It succinctly summarizes the fact that we are in this new phase of anthropogenic noise in our oceans that is having a dramatic impact on different species.” Most significant, she notes, is the fact that the paper “doesn’t just point at the problem, it shows how to solve it.”

Read More: Why This Year Is Our Last, Best Chance for Saving the Oceans

Duarte’s team of global researchers combed through more than 10,000 scientific papers on the subject of marine sound and its impact on wildlife and found overwhelming evidence that anthropogenic, or human-caused, noise negatively impacted marine fauna and their ecosystems, disrupting their behavior, physiology, reproduction and, in extreme cases, causing mortality. Sound, the authors noted, is the sensory cue that travels farthest through the ocean and is used by marine animals, from invertebrates to great whales, to interpret and explore the marine environment around them. “This makes the ocean soundscape one of the most important, and perhaps under-appreciated, aspects of the marine environment,” the report notes.

When talking about soundscapes, print articles can only do so much to illustrate the issue. One of the paper’s co-authors, multimedia artist Jana Winderen, contributed an audio track of the ocean soundscape, shifting from the sounds of a healthy ocean to the human-caused cacophony that defines much of the marine soundscape today.Composition for the Ocean Soundscape of the AnthropoceneSharehttps://imasdk.googleapis.com/js/core/bridge3.439.0_en.html#goog_1624097637PlayMuteCurrent Time 3:41/Duration 6:31Loaded: 73.43% Fullscreen

According to the article, which was published on Feb. 4, shipping alone has contributed an estimated 32-fold increase of low-frequency noise along major shipping routes in the past 50 years, driving marine animals away from vital breeding and feeding grounds. But even terrestrial traffic, on structures like bridges or at coastal airports, can produce low-level, continuous noise that can penetrate underwater. Dredging technology that is used to deepen ports and harvest minerals from the seafloor also generates low-frequency noise that travels far distances.

Dynamite fishing, designed to stun or kill reef fish for easy collection, remains a major source of blasting noise in Southeast Asia and coastal Africa, the report notes, while in the North Sea, “the controlled detonation of bombs dropped on the seafloor during World War II continues, more than 70 years later, to be a major source of disruptive and destructive sound.” Underwater oil and gas drilling is an obvious source of noise, but so too are the seismic surveys used to locate new fields, which utilize a kind of sonic cannon to pound the sea floor with enough force to vibrate three miles deep. The sources of human-produced noise are endless, says Duarte.

Even ostensibly climate-friendly activities, such as constructing offshore wind farms, can substantially increase local sound levels (though the sound of the turbines themselves tends to attenuate within a few hundred meters). Cumulatively, the report notes, human-produced noise can mask “environmental cues indicating the presence of prey and predators, resulting in loss of social cohesion, missed opportunities for feeding, or failure to avoid a predator.” In other words, it’s so loud down there that fish can’t even hear themselves think, let alone get a meal, find a date, or dodge the dinner plate.

Read moreInside a Michelin-Starred Chef’s Revolutionary Quest to Harvest Rice From the Sea


New Hampshire Report on Wireless radiation and Safety

New Hampshire Report on Wireless radiation and Safety

The US state of New Hampshire has published a report recommending precautions to protect people and the environment from wireless radiation.The ‘Final Report of the Commission to Study The Environmental and Health Effects of Evolving 5G Technology’ was prepared by a Commission of experts in physics, toxicology, epidemiology, public policy and members of the telecommunications and business industries.‘All but the presenter representing the Telecommunications Industry … acknowledged the large body of peer-reviewed research that shows that the type of RF-radiation generated by wireless devices can have a deleterious effect on humans, especially children, as well as animals, insects, and vegetation,’ the report said.The report addressed the question of why US regulators maintain mobile phone radiation is safe when a large body of research suggests that it is not. ‘This report documents how the leadership roles in some agencies (the FCC in particular) are filled by individuals with strong industry ties and hence are more focused on industry interests than the health of citizens.’The report also referred to the fact that federal legislation does not give US communities, cities or states power to make decisions about infrastructure in their domain and suggests this will be an important issue when approximately 800,000 new antennas are constructed for 5G.The Commission expressed concern about the fact that today’s citizens are living in a ‘soup’ of different frequencies and exposure will increase with time. It also acknowledged that the World Health Organisation and insurers are ‘hedging their bets’ about the safety of this radiation.The Commission published the following recommendations.Recommendations1.  …require the Federal Communication 1. Commission (FCC) to commission an independent review of the current radiofrequency (RF) standards of the electromagnetic radiation in the 300MHz to 300GHz microwave spectrum as well as a health study to assess and recommend mitigation for the health risks associated with the use of cellular communications and data transmittal…’
2.    Require that the most appropriate agency (agencies) of the State of New Hampshire include links on its (their) website(s) that contain information and warnings about RF-radiation from all sources, but specifically from 5G small cells deployed on public rights-of-way as well as showing the proper use of cell phones to minimize exposure to RF-radiation, with adequate funding granted by the Legislature. In addition, public service announcements on radio, television, print media, and internet should periodically appear, warning of the health risks associated with radiation exposure. Of significant importance are warnings concerning the newborn and young as well as pregnant women…’
3.   ‘Require every pole or other structure in the public rights of-way that holds a 5G antenna be labeled indicating RF-radiation being emitted above. This label should be at eye level and legible from nine feet away…’
4.   ‘Schools and public libraries should migrate from RF wireless connections for computers, laptops, pads, and other devices, to hardwired or optical connections within a five-year period starting when funding becomes available.
5.   ‘Signal strength measurements must be collected at all wireless facilities as part of the commissioning process and as mandated by state or municipal ordinances…’
6.   ‘Establish new protocols for performing signal strength measurements in areas around wireless facilities to better evaluate signal characteristics known to be deleterious to human health as has been documented through peer-reviewed research efforts…’
7.   ‘Require that any new wireless antennae located on a state or municipal right-of-way or on private property be set back from residences, businesses, and schools…’
8.   ‘Upgrade the educational offerings by the NH Office of Professional Licensure and Certification (OPLC) for home inspectors to include RF intensity measurements…’
9.   ‘…measure RF intensities within frequency ranges throughout the state, with the aim of developing and refining a continually updated map of RF exposure levels across the state using data submitted by state-trained home inspectors…’
10.   ‘Strongly recommend all new cell phones and all other wireless devices sold come equipped with updated software that can stop the phone from radiating when positioned against the body…’
11.   ‘Promote and adopt a statewide position that would strongly encourage moving forward with the deployment of fiber optic cable connectivity, internal wired connections, and optical wireless to serve all commercial and public properties statewide…’
12.   ‘Further basic science studies are needed in conjunction with the medical community outlining the characteristics of expressed clinical symptoms related to radio frequency radiation exposure…’
13.   ‘Recommend the use of exposure warning signs to be posted in commercial and public buildings. In addition, encourage commercial and public buildings, especially healthcare facilities, to establish RF-radiation free zones where employees and visitors can seek refuge from the effects of wireless RF ‘emissions…’
14.   ‘…engage agencies with appropriate scientific expertise, including ecological knowledge, to develop RF-radiation safety limits that will protect the trees, plants, birds, insects, and pollinators…’
15.   ‘…engage our Federal Delegation to legislate that under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) the FCC do an environmental impact statement as to the effect on New Hampshire and the country as a whole from the expansion of RF wireless technologies…’
A minority report was also published by Commissioners from the telecommunications and industry associations.‘Final Report of the Commission to Study The Environmental and Health Effects of Evolving 5G Technology’, http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/statstudcomm/committees/1474/reports/5G%20final%20report.pdfWhat about your exposure?You can find out how much wireless radiation you are exposed to in your home, workplace, school or practice with one of our wireless radiation meters:Acoustimeter AM11 Acousticom 2 Warm regards

Lyn McLean
EMR Australia PL
02 9576 1772