Australië: enkele ervaringsverhalen

zaterdag, 29 maart 2014 - Categorie: Verhalen

Bron: .
28 maart 2014

Waves of uncertainty over wi-fi.

After thousands of studies, the most that experts worldwide can determine is the radiation used for wi-fi networks, digital devices, cordless phones and cell phones is a ''possible'' cause of cancer. With such uncertainty, OLIVIA WANNAN asks if we are using this technology with enough caution.

As in many countries around the world, the debate about long- wave radiation has come to a head in New Zealand through the recent introduction of wi-fi networks in schools.

The energy waves have been harnessed for more than a century to bring radio and television to our home, track objects by radar, microwave our food, and connect us through texts, phone calls and the internet.

Yet the World Health Organisation lists this radiation as a ''possible'' cause of cancer, based on research showing a link between heavy cellphone use and an increased risk of developing brain tumours.

Kapiti Coast parent Damon Wyman is a vocal advocate for caution. He became aware of the possible health effects of wireless technology after losing his son Ethan, 10, to cancer last August.

Ethan died 11 months after being diagnosed with two brain tumours. Three months earlier, he had been given a wi-fi connected iPad.

His parents later discovered he had been falling asleep with the device under his pillow.

Even though it was on standby, it was still emitting bursts of radiation as it tried to connect to the router, Mr Wyman said.

Doctors who saw Ethan said the tumours appeared to be about four months old, Mr Wyman said. ''We're not saying that caused it, but it seems like a bit of a coincidence.''

Children were rarely exposed to most of the other potential cancer- causing agents such as coffee and lead, Mr Wyman said.

Until recently, parents could limit exposure to the energy waves, deciding what age their child received a cellphone or digital device and setting restrictions on their use. But new bring-your-own-device initiatives introducing wireless networks running all day in school classrooms had suddenly taken away that control.

''Schools have to be neutral. They have to have a safe environment,'' he said.
Mr Wyman has campaigned to have the technology turned off in the junior classrooms at Te Horo School. The board of trustees decided to switch it off after surveying parents, who were concerned about the possible health effects.
This month the Government reiterated its belief that wi-fi in schools was safe, backed by the result of a study at Te Horo School and one in Canterbury.
Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew said the study confirmed wi-fi in schools was not a health risk to pupils or staff, with exposures thousands of times lower than recommended levels.

Mr Wyman remains sceptical.

He said many parents falsely believed a classroom's wi-fi station emitted no more radiation than an at-home router. But new school wi- fi systems were ''industrial- grade'', emitting a lot more than a residential version. Professional measurements of the classroom's wi-fi station at Te Horo School showed similar radiation levels to those of some commercial cellphone network towers.
''This goes way beyond what a child would see normally.''

Mr Wyman obtained the figures from measurements taken by radiation expert and Ministry of Health adviser Martin Gledhill.

The ministry called in Mr Gledhill to assess the levels of radiation in Te Horo School classrooms with wi-fi after the board switched it off. He disagreed that school systems emitted significantly more radiation than at-home routers. ''There might be some variation, but it's not going to be hugely different.

''What they're getting at home and what they might get at school is a bit of a red herring. Really, what's important is where it sits with what's considered a safe limit.'' Mr Gledhill said the radiation emissions in the classroom were, at the most, still 250 times less than the maximum New Zealand safety limits allowed.
The wi-fi base station and the electronic devices also communicated in pulses, so averaged out over time, overall radiation was even lower, he said.

Mr Gledhill, a physical sciences expert, is the Health Ministry's only expert spokesman on the safety of the emissions. Requests from The Dominion Post to the ministry to additionally speak to a specialist with a background in biology were unsuccessful.

Mr Gledhill said the maximum safety levels prescribed in New Zealand were set in 1999, based on guidelines established by an international panel of experts. Many nations took their guidance from the same group, including Australia and Britain. Nothing since has moved the panel to make any new recommendations.
''The only effect that showed up with any consistency was the effects of heat stress and the limit was set based on that.

''You get people who say it ignores all sort of other health effects, but an awful lot of work has gone on for the last 30 years looking for effects at exposure levels much lower . . . but nothing has shown up with any clarity.''
Britain's Health Protection Agency echoed this when it looked at studies up until 2010, noting ''findings still remain divergent with no obvious reason as to why some researchers find effects and others do not''.

Yet a biologist specialising in radiation spoken to by The Dominion Post last year said things were becoming a little more clear cut at the cellular level.
''Of late there has been more evidence there are certain changes in the biochemistry within cells and tissues exposed to radio frequencies long-wave radiation,'' said Sophie Walker of the Institute of Environmental Science and Research.

''It's quite a new area really in terms of science. And translating those changes in the biochemistry through to experienced short-term changes is a difficult link to make - one that will be made with more work.''

Dr Walker said conclusive evidence on radiation's risks and safety was still years away.

''The radiation has only been used in the wider population for the last 30 years so true long-term studies are still under way.''

She provided twice-yearly reports to the Health Ministry on the latest scientific findings. A spokesman for the Crown research institute said Dr Walker was unable to comment for this article, citing the institute's contractual obligations to the Health Ministry.

The uncertainty around the radiation's effect should mean we treat the technologies using it with kid gloves rather than abandon, Monash University radiation researcher Mary Redmayne said.

The Melbourne-based scientist said there was not enough research for us to know what a safe level of exposure was.

''The research has looked at a narrow range of possible problems,'' she said. ''For instance, I'm going to set up a breast cancer study. There hasn't been a breast cancer study - no- one's considered that.''

Many studies have focused on the technology's link with brain cancers and leukemia in children, and DNA damage in sperm.

Dr Redmayne has studied the effect of long-wave radiation, particularly on the young.

She said young people have thinner skulls, and the brain's protective defences - a protein that covers nerve cells called myelin - were only fully developed in middle age. This combination meant children's brains were poorly insulated from outside interference, such as radiation.

Their bodies also grew more new cells than adults. The damage that led to cancer happened more commonly as cells were divided into new ones. ''This pulsed radiation is very new to mankind, very recent. There really hasn't been time to know for sure how much effect it has.''

However, the ministry remained certain of its policies, based on the advice of experts such as Mr Gledhill and backed up by a broad international consensus, environmental health manager Sally Gilbert said.

''The internationally recommended values for maximum exposure for radio- frequency radiation and electromagnetic fields provide good protection against harm.''

When it came to wi-fi in schools, the Education Ministry was confident it was safe, based on Mr Gledhill's report on Te Horo School and advice from health officials, Education deputy secretary Andrew Hampton said.

The ministry would continue to monitor international developments, and allow school boards to make their own decisions on installing wireless technology.
While Mr Wyman might wish for moves like those in the German state of Bavaria, which promotes the use of wired internet networks in schools, he is a pragmatist.

He would like to see policies minimising children's exposure in schools until the data became more conclusive. Rules requiring teachers to switching off wi-fi bases when not in use, asking their pupils to use flight mode on their devices, and encouraging them to place electronics on desks rather than on their laps could all significantly reduce exposure.

Many education providers already have policies to minimise pupils' exposure to a similar type of radiation, ultraviolet light, Mr Wyman said.

Even the chance that wi-fi technology was dangerous should be enough to have such initiatives.

''Who bears the risk until this is known? Let's take the precautionary principle and reduce exposure as much as possible.''

Sofia’s Story – Punitive power and the smart meter tyranny
Bron: .
26 maart 2014

Sofia is a sole parent, with a 14 year old daughter.

She became ill after a wireless smart meter was installed on her house 19 March 2013. Sofia hadn’t given permission for its installation. In fact, she wasn’t even aware that her original electricity meter had been swapped for a smart meter, as it occurred whilst she was on an interstate business trip.

It was only afterwards, when she and her medical advisors were searching for the cause of the sudden deterioration in her health, that she discovered the horrible coincidence. The smart meter had been installed in the worst possible position, inside her bedroom cavity wall, just centimetres from where her head lay as she slept at night.

Victorian smart meters, such as hers, emit microwave radiation 24/7. Network traffic can result in as many as 190,000 transmissions per day from a mesh smart meter. Authorities never alerted the public to this fact.

The technicalities of wireless smart meters were the last thing on Sofia’s mind when she ended up in hospital with swollen legs and an acute burning rash, all over her body. She had developed a burning sensation in her eyes, throat, mouth, and covering her face. That was just the start of the nightmare. Sofia was also suffering from unexplained headaches, insomnia, nausea, irritability, constant fatigue and short-term memory loss. To make matters worse, she experienced an acute deterioration of her vision.

Sofia was subsequently diagnosed with EHS (electro hypersensitivity), triggered by her smart meter’s microwave radiation. She has had to cease professional employment. She is no longer able to go about her normal daily activities in the community, without experiencing great pain from exposure to ubiquitous electromagnetic radiation. She is now on a Disability Pension.

All Sofia is asking for is the return of her safe, analogue meter. But do you think her power distributor, United Energy, or the Victorian State government are listening? All her pleas have been ignored and ridiculed. Even the Victorian Energy Ombudsman was unable to help her.

Finally, at her wits’ end, and in a state of unbearable pain, Sofia took matters into her own hands. Her smart meter was removed. As a result, her health slowly started to improve. In order to show good faith and a willingness to pay her electricity bills, Sofia continued to pay her electricity based on estimated usage.

On 3 March 2014, 8.30am Sofia’s power was cut off, without warning or written notification. United Energy, Sofia’s power distributor, refuses to reconnect her, unless a wireless smart meter is installed.

This is despite the provision of medical evidence verifying her condition. This is despite the fact that other Victorians, who have objected to a smart meter, have now received letters formally honouring their request to not have a smart meter installed.

It seems that the horrible quagmire which Sofia ended up in would never have eventuated, if only she had known enough in the first place to lock her meter box.

Her requests to speak to her power distributor’s management have been refused. Efforts by her Federal MP and Legal Aid have come to naught. A representative of the Victorian Department of State Development and Business Innovation lamely suggested that she move to the country to escape the radiation, leaving her 14-year daughter in the care of friends so she can continue with her schooling.

And this all is happening, despite the former Energy Minister stressing, in one of his interviews, that disconnecting power from people’s houses is INHUMANE.

Sofia and her daughter are still living without power and suffering immensely mentally and emotionally.

How callous and inhumane can United Energy be?

How could this happen to anyone living in a democratic country like Australia?

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