Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Laptop use on laps might reduce sperm quality: report
Mon Nov 08 03:34:19 UTC 2010

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Using a laptop computer as the name suggests may not be good for male reproductive health, according to a study.
And there is little that can be done about it, aside from using the laptop on a desk, said Yelim Sheynkin, a urologist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook who led the study published in Fertility and Sterility.
In the study, thermometers were used to measure the temperature of the scrotums of 29 young men balancing a laptop on their knees. Even with a lap pad under the computer, the men's scrotums overheated quickly.
"Millions and millions of men are using laptops now, especially those in the reproductive age range," said Sheynkin.
"Within 10 or 15 minutes their scrotal temperature is already above what we consider safe, but they don't feel it."
According to the American Urological Association, nearly one in six couples in the United States have trouble conceiving. About half the time this is due to male infertility.
Under normal circumstances, the position of the testicles outside the body keeps them a few degrees cooler than the inside of the body, which is necessary for sperm production.
No studies have yet researched how laptops affect male fertility and there is no strong evidence that it would, Sheynkin added. But earlier research has showed that warming the scrotum even more than one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) is enough to damage sperm.
Though both general health and lifestyle factors such as nutrition and drug use can affect reproductive health, tight jeans and briefs are generally not considered a risk factor since people are moving around.
Holding a laptop on the knees, though, requires keeping the legs still and closed. After one hour in this position, the researchers found that the men's testicle temperature had risen by up to 2.5 C.
A lap pad kept the computer cool and meant that less heat was transmitted to the skin, but Sheynkin warned it didn't do much to cool the testicles and might give a false sense of security.
"I wouldn't say that if someone starts to use laptops they will become infertile," Sheynkin told Reuters Health, though he warned that frequent use might contribute to reproductive problems because "the scrotum doesn't have time to cool down."
When the men sat with their legs spread wide -- made possible only by placing the computer on a large lap pad -- they could keep their testicles cooler. But it still took less than 30 minutes before they began overheating.
"No matter what you do, even with the legs spread wide apart, the temperature is still going to be higher than what we call safe," said Sheynkin.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Wifi in Schools and the Dangers of non-ionizing radiation: crazed anti-science parents, or a Cold War failure of Normal Science?
September 9, 2010 by northernsong

The CBC has run stories on parents groups who are concerned about the possible health effects of WIFI in elementary schools. Individual reports of increased heart rate and headaches, from parents and from the children themselves, are are concerning – but intuitively one wishes to trust Health Canada who dismiss the complaints as subjective. The peer reviewed literature, according to Health Canada, overwhelmingly confirms that the thermal effects of WIFI are negligible, and that no causal relation has been found between those thermal effects and any health problems.
The fact that scientists remain opposed to a scientific consensus is not a reason to distrust the consensus - if this were true, the presence of a single reputable climate denier in the peer reviewed literature would be a reason to refrain from belief in global warming. However, there are two reasons why the wifi case is different from climate denial. First: the precautionary principle runs in the opposite direction – whereas a slight doubt that human Co2 output will threaten the survival of the species is not a good reason to take action to stop Co2 emissions, a significant doubt that wifi causes health problems in children is not a good reason to take cheap and easy action to limit children’s exposure to wifi. Second, there is a structural bias behind Health Canada’s appraisal of the research into the effects of small levels of microwave radiation. This surprising claim comes from a study by Leo P. Inglis,surveyed here by Magda Havas, surveying the literature on microwave radiation’s health effects:

“In the U.S., the thermal effects are generally believed to be the only ones of significance; other contentions are usually dismissed as lacking a provable basis. In the USSR, non-thermal effects are considered the most significant and are overwhelmingly the ones most studied.”

This indicates a structural difference between scientific assumptions in US and USSR have swayed the directions of research, determined which studies got funding, what students took interest in, etc… This claim undercuts Health Canada’s statements which concern only the thermal effects of microwave radiation – if non thermal effects exist, Health Canada is not even looking for them.
Significant differences in the direction of scientific research between closed off communities are expected by constructivists like Kuhn, who believes that the basic assumptions of a scientific community are determined by the appearance of fruitfulness in future research rather than through normal scientific inquiry itself. In the past I have taken interest in Scientific research done under the Nazi regime, and research done in secrecy for the US military during the cold war. Such research programs demonstrate the power of dollars over freedom – how a research program, even when the researchers are cut off from their peers – can make tremendous strides if given a set of goals and unlimited resources. This gulf between Soviet and American research is an example of the opposite, and much less controversial hypothesis: that a lack of democracy is harmful for scientific research. The lack of proper collaboration between American and Soviet researchers into the effects of microwave radiation allowed Soviet research to ignore the importance of thermal effects, whereas the converse allowed US scientists and regulators to ignore the importance of non-thermal effects.
So, while the Bio-Initiative report is rejected by Health Canada as not being in conformity with the scientific consensus, it might not be rejected by Health Moscow. For example, whereas in 2008 and 2009 Health Canada continued to hold that there was no evidence that cell phone use could have any health effects, the Russian Naitonal Committee on non-ionizing ratiation protection made this statement about risks posed to children’s health by cell phone radiation (similar to WIFI, but much stronger)

Potential risk for the children’s health is very high:
─ the absorption of the electromagnetic energy in a child’s head is considerably higher than that in
the head of an adult (children’s brain has higher conductivity, smaller size, thin skull bones,
smaller distance from the antenna etc.);
─ children’s organism has more sensitivity to the EMF, than the adult’s;
─ children’s brain has higher sensitivity to the accumulation of the adverse effects under
conditions of chronic exposure to the EMF;
─ EMF affects the formation of the process of the higher nervous activity;
─ today’s children will spend essentially longer time using mobile phones, than today’s adults will.

Health Canada continues to hold that the risks from cell phone use do not include any of the risks advised by Russian, British, German, Belgian, Israeli, and Indian health agencies.
The basic question boils down to this: is it up to skeptics to prove that electronic devices are unsafe, or is it up to corporations trying to expand their markets by creating new needs to prove they are safe? If you ask Health Canada – the onus is on scientists to prove that a risk can be statistically proven, i.e. people must already have been hurt by the product. In other words – should the precautionary principle be applied to new electronic devices as it is to new medicine?


Friday, April 9, 2010

Resolution on radiation protection

This resolution was ADOPTED on 3/23/2010 by the Board of Supervisors of the City and
County of San Francisco

FILE NO. 100043
1 [Potential Health Impacts of Wireless Facilities]
3 Resolution urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to study the health
4 impacts of wireless facilities and, if appropriate, to establish a safe level of exposure to
5 radio frequency radiation emissions; urging the Federal Communications Commission
6 to update its existing standards; and urging the California Congressional Delegation to
7 introduce federal legislation to repeal limitations on state and local authority imposed
8 by the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
10 WHEREAS, The health and safety of our residents are fundamental concerns of the
11 San Francisco Board of Supervisors; and
12 WHEREAS, There continues to be considerable debate and uncertainty within the
13 scientific community as to the potential health effects to individuals, especially children, from
14 exposure to extremely low frequency electromagnetic and radio-frequency radiation, and
15 .WHEREAS, The desire of the wireless companies to market new wireless services has
16 since led to a proliferation of cellular facilities targeting residential areas and areas near
17 schools, and
18 WHEREAS, Section 704 of the Federal Telecommunications Act of 1996 preempts
19 local communities from regulating the placement, construction, and modification of personal
20 wireless service facilities on the basis of the environmental effects of radio-frequency
21 emissions to the extent that the proposed facilities comply with the Federal Communications
22 Commission regulations concerning such emissions, and
23 WHEREAS, Based upon new and emerging scientific evidence there continues to be
24 considerable debate as to the adequacy of existing public exposure standards including those
25 promulgated by the Federal Communications Commission, and
Supervisor David Campos, John Avalos, Carmen chu, Eric Mar
1 WHEREAS, The scientific community and most health officials agree that more
2 research is needed to provide a definitive answer as to the effects of extremely low frequency
3 electromagnetic and radio-frequency radiation on our health and recommend the prudent
4 avoidance of equipment which generates non-ionizing radiation, and
5 WHEREAS, The full Parliament of the European Union has raised concerns about the
6 exposure of children and young people to electromagnetic fields and continuing uncertainties
7 about possible health risks; and therefore, adopted on April 2, 2009 a resolution encouraging
8 1) the establishment of setback criteria for wireless antennas, mobile phone masts and other
9 electromagnetic emitting devices to be set within a specific distance from schools and health
10 institutions, 2) stricter regulations and protections for residents and Consumers and 3) more
11 reliable information be made available about the effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields
12 to citizens in an effort to prevent a "proliferation of poorly positioned masts and transmitters,"
13 and
14 WHEREAS, The Federal Communications Commission is obliged to conduct periodic
15 reviews of current research and analysis of the health implications associated with radio-
16 frequency exposures in cooperation with industry, agency, and organizations responsible for
17 community health and safety to ensure exposure guidelines are appropriate and scientifically
18 valid, now, therefore, be it
19 RESOLVED, That the San Francisco Board of Supervisors urges the U.S.
20 Environmental Protection Agency to perform the appropriate research and experimentation to
21 determine the effects of non-ionizing radiation on the health of adults and children and, if
22 appropriate, establish a safe level of exposure, and be it
23 FURTHER RESOLVED, That the San Francisco Board of Supervisors urges the
24 Federal Communications Commission to pursue a comprehensive global analysis of best
Supervisor David Campos, John Avalos, Carmen Chu
1 practices and scientific evidence in order to update its existing standards and to adequately
2 measure the health impacts of wireless facilities, and be it
3 FURTHER RESOLVED, That the San Francisco Board of Supervisors encourages the
4 California Congressional delegation to introduce federal legislation to repeal limitations on
5 state and local authority imposed by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that infringe upon
6 the authority of local governments to regulate the placement, construction and modification of
7 telecommunications towers and other personal wireless services facilities on the basis of the
8 health and environmental effects of these facilities, and be it
9 FURTHER RESOLVED, That the San Francisco Board of Supervisors hereby directs
10 the Clerk of the Board to send a copy of this resolution to the offices of Senator Barbara
11 Boxer, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Congresswoman Jackie Speier, the
12 Federal Communications Commission, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Supervisor David Campos, John Avalos, Carmen Chu
City and County of San Francisco
City Hall
J Dr. CarltonB. GoodlettPlace
San Francisco, CA 94102-4689
File Number: 100043 Date Passed: March 23, 2010
Resolution urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to study the health impacts of wireless
facilities and, if appropriate, to establish a safe level of exposure to radiofrequency radiation emissions;
urging the Federal Communications Commission to update its existing standards; and urging the
California Congressional Delegation to introduce federal legislation to repeal limitations on state and
local authority imposed by the Telecommunications Act of 1996,
March 23, 2010 Board of Supervisors - ADOPTED
Ayes: 10 - Avalos, Campos, Chiu, Chu, Daly, Dufty, Elsbernd, Mar, Maxwell and
Excused: 1 - Alioto-Pier
File No.1 00043 I hereby certify that the foregoing
Resolution was ADOPTED on 3/23/2010 by
the Board of Supervisors of the City and
County of San Francisco.
Angela Calvillo
Clerk of the Board
Mayor Gavin Newsom
City ami County ofSalt Francisco Page4 Printed at 9:23 am 011 3/24/10