Westhampton, N.Y., library president Tom Moore, citing the position of the FCC on alleged dangers of Wi-Fi, said Feb. 26 that the library would keep its Wi-Fi system. Critics responded.
Moore linked to the three-page statement of the Federal Communications Commission on “Wireless Devices and Health Concerns” that concludes that “According to the Food & Drug Administration and the World Health Organization, among other organizations, to date, [Nov. 7, 2015] the weight of scientific evidence has not effectively linked exposure to radio frequency energy from mobile devices with any known health problems.”
While some have linked wireless devices to cancer and other illnesses, posing potentially greater risks to children than adults, “currently no scientific evidence establishes a causal link between wireless device use and cancer or other illnesses,” says the FCC release.
Moore said said library Wi-Fi is obtained via a router provided by Optimum, a brand name of Cablevision, which is being sold along with sister company Newsday to Altice for $17 billion.
He noted there are Optimum "hotspots" throughout Long Island in addition to Wi-Fi service in homes.
"As with other public gathering places such as coffee shops and airports, the library is a Wi-Fi hotspot providing access to the internet through personal mobile devices," he added. "The library is in the process of upgrading our access poiints using the CloudTrax network. This will enable us to measure the RF signals and allow us to adjust strength if necessary."
Board Foils Attempt to Discuss Wi-Fi
Library trustees and eight residents who were at the Feb. 10 meeting were given, at the start of the meeting, a one-page handout describing the six-part series on dangers of Wi-Fi that ran at the Ashland, Mass., library from Oct. 8, 2015 to Feb. 11, 2016.
The series included a documentary on "hundreds of local governments that are standing against the multi-billion dollar rollout of Wi-Fi utility meters"; a warning that cellphones, laptops, tablets, etc., emit radiation that "causes intracellular disarray leading to innumerable and sometimes serious problems"; a documentary on "how the mobile industry creates doubt about harmful radiofrequency waves through the manipulation of science," and a film about cellphone radiation and its potential long-term health effects. The Jan. 26, 2016 session focused on radiation dangers to children as described by Michael Hugo, Board of Health Chair, Framingham, Mass.
Trustees were told that residents are very interested in the topic and would like the Ashland series to be presented at the WH library. The topic was not discussed at the board meeting. Moore expressed the need for the meeting to be conducted at a fast pace since an executive session was to begin at 8 p.m. A resident complained of the short shrift given to members of the public at the meeting. Unlike the Westhampton Beach Trustee meetings, which are videotaped, the library board meetings are not recorded in any way.
Citizens will be able to vote on the proposed library budget May 17. About 60 residents attended the Oct. 30 meeting of the board, most of those in the room demanding that trustees be elected rather than appointed. Ignoring their wishes, the board appointed three new trustees Feb. 16.
EMF Health Advocates See Dangers
The library’s decision resulted in claims of dangers from EMF expressed by Joel Moskowitz, Ph.D., director, Center for Family & Community Health, Univ. of Calif./Berkeley, and Diane Hickey, co-founder of the National Assn. for Children & Safe Technology.
Both provided numerous links to support their views. They feel the FCC has not kept up with current research. They note that Tom Wheeler, FCC chairman, was president and CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Assn. from 1992-2004 and is the only person ever named to both the Cable TV Hall of Fame and the Wireless Hall of Fame.
Moskowitz, associate producer of “Mobilize: A Film about Cellphone Radiation,” on Feb. 16 conducted a webcast seminar on “new research related to wireless technology.”
He conducts the Electromagnetic Radiation Safety web site. Among sources cited bv Moskowitz are:
• International EMF Scientist Appeal - 220 scientists from 42 nations who have published peer-reviewed research on electromagnetic fields (EMF) and health have signed this petition calling for stronger regulations and precautionary health warnings.
• Government Failure to Address Wireless Radiation Risks: http://bit.ly/govtfailwireless
• Wi-Fi in Schools & Other Public Places: http://www.saferemr.com/2013/03/opposition-to-los-angeles-public.html
• Recent Research on WiFi Effects: http://www.saferemr.com/2015/09/recent-research-on-wifi-effects.html
• Pregnancy & Wireless Radiation Risks: http://www.saferemr.com/2014/06/joint-statement-on-pregnancy-and.html
• How does wireless radiation produce harmful health effects?: http://www.saferemr.com/2015/10/how-does-wireless-radiation-produce.html
• Expert Forum on Cell Phone and Wireless Risks to Children: http://www.saferemr.com/2015/07/expert-forum-on-cell-phone-and-wireless.html
• Industry-funded Scientists Undermine Cell Phone Radiation Science: http://www.saferemr.com/2015/02/industry-funded-scientists-undermine.html
• Wireless Radiation TV News: http://www.saferemr.com/2015/07/wireless-radiation-tv-news.html>
• Tips to Reduce Your Exposure to Wireless Radiation: http://www.saferemr.com/2015/10/tips-to-reduce-your-wireless-radiation.html
Hickey Says FCC Guidelines Are Dated
Hickey said "The FCC’s exposure guidelines did not consider information that addresses non-thermal prolonged exposures, i.e. chronic/prolonged, low-level (non-thermal) exposures. The FCC exposure guidelines are considered protective of effects rising from a thermal mechanism but not all possible mechanisms. Therefore, the generalization by many that the guidelines protect human beings from harm by any and all mechanisms is not justified."
Norbert Hankin, Senior Scientist, Radiation Protection Division, Environmental Protection Agency, says, "Currently there are no national or international "standards" for safety levels of radiofrequency devices. Therefore, for anyone to claim that they meet FCC "standards" gives a false impression of safety certainty . . ." FCC guidelines only deal with thermal effects, i.e. heat damage. It says nothing about safety from the risk of many chronic diseases that the public is most concerned about such as cancer, miscarriage, birth defects, semen quality, auto immune diseases, etc.
The FCC guidelines are irrelevant and cannot be used for any claims of safety unless we are addressing heat damage. The bottom line is that the safety level for RF exposure related to non-thermal effects is unknown at present (2011).
The California Medical Assn. said, “Resolved, that the CMA understands that existing public safety limits for microwave EMF devices are outdated and inadequate to protect public health . . . “
House of Delegates Resolution Wireless Standards Reevaluation 2014 Resolution 107- 14, PASSED, Date Adopted Dec 7, 2014: http://www.parentsforsafetechnology.org/california-medical-association-resolution-on-wireless.html
Critics Fault Independence of the FCC
Critics of the FCC say it shows signs of being dominated by the industries it is supposed to be supervising. They refer to the E-book of Norm Altser, Captured Agency: How the Federal Communications Commission Is Dominated by the Industries it Presumes to Regulate. It is published by the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University.
Major recommendations to FCC include:
1. Acknowledge that there may be health risks in wireless communications. Take down the dismissive language. Maturely and independently discuss the research and ongoing debate on the safety of this technology.
2. In recognition of this scientific uncertainty, adopt a precautionary view on use of wireless technology. Require prominent point-of-sale notices suggesting that users who want to reduce health risks can adopt a variety of measures, including headphones, more limited usage and storage away from at-risk body parts.
3. Back off the promotion of Wi-Fi. There are wired alternatives that do not expose children to wireless risk.
4. Petition Congress for the budgetary additions needed to expand testing of emissions on antenna sites. It was Congress after all that gave industry carte blanche for tower expansion so long as they comply with FCC standards. But there is evidence of vast non-compliance and Congress needs to ensure that tower infrastructure is operating within the law.
5. Acknowledge that children and pregnant women may be more vulnerable to the effects of RF emissions and require special protection.