Article: Anatomy of a Discussion on RF/EMF Microwave Radiation Exposure Discussion on Mimo Wearable Wireless Baby Monitor

This 1/12/14 discussion was on Petaluma's own network, among several nationally recognized technology journalists:

View from 9:00 to 13:30 in the video and pay particular attention to the particpants' tone, facial expressions and body language during the discussion. Find below a full transcript and analysis of this 4:30 discussion, correcting the participants' factual errors.

Introduction: The discussion between Leo Laporte, Natali Morris and John Dvorak from 9:00 to 13:30 in the video is a pretty accurate slice of reality: it depicts three common positions that educated people often take in the debate over the need to protect themselves, or more importantly, protect their children, from too much exposure to Radio Frequency Electro-Magnetic Fields (RF/EMF) microwave radiation:

  • Leo Laporte represents the establishment, comfortable with the status quo and set in their beliefs. This is the position of our government, the FCC, the large wireless and technology companies, public school districts and all who profit from this great tobacco asbestos lead thalidomide wireless economic boom.

  • Natali Morris represents informed and concerned parents who care about the future world their kids will inherit. This is the position of critical thinkers who challenge the status quo, seeking the truth about what we know and what we don't yet know.

  • John Dvorak represents partially-informed and mostly detached observers: people who have read some material, but who have not put in enough time or effort to hold a very informed opinion and so they are easily duped by the very effective Doubt is Their Product strategies practiced by wireless industry-funded scientists. This is most likely the largest majority.

9:00 Leo introduces the Mimo Wireless Baby Monitor

9:48 John: "This is the worst thing ever."

10:00 Natali: "Yeah, that's dumb — and dangerous."

10:04 John: "Totally dangerous. I agree with that 100%."

10:20 Natali Morris: "[Regarding wireless wearables,] there's not very much research about whether or not that's safe to have on your person and I personally have used the Withings baby monitor that was announced last year at CES on my daughter and I just started to freak because it was a little too close to her and I thought I don't know what the repercussions are. No one does yet about Wi-Fi being this close to our body and I stopped wearing the fit bit for that same reason because it's constantly searching for my phone in order to send that data which means its going through my body. We just don't know enough and I know I sound like the hippy on the show, but we don't know anything about this."

10:54 Leo: "We know enough."

10:55 Natali: "Do you think that we do?"

10:56 Leo: "Wait a minute. We know. Yes."

10:57 Natali: "I don't know if we do."

10:58 Leo: "Yes. We know enough. This is very low power. This is not going to hurt."

Comment: Do you own/have an iPhone or iPad? If not, borrow one from the person next to you. Make sure it is running iOS 7, the latest system software, and do the following:

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Go to the very first setting in the list: it is called Airplane Mode, which is listed first, because it is the most important setting on any wireless device. Turn Airplane Mode On (which turns all antennas off).
  3. Check to make sure that Wi-Fi, BlueTooth and Cellular Data are all Off.
  4. Only after doing this, is an iPhone or iPad safe to give to a child. Don't believe me? Read on.
  5. In Settings, select/touch General --> About --> Legal --> RF Exposure (the description is more complete on the iPhone than the iPad).

If you don't have a device, you can find the language here. The following text is reproduced from Apple's Product Safety Guide:

To reduce exposure to RF energy, use a hands-free option, such as the built-in speakerphone, the supplied headphones or other similar accessories. Carry iPhone at least 10mm away from your body to ensure exposure levels remain at or below the as-tested levels. Cases with metal parts may change the RF performance of the device, including its compliance with RF exposure guidelines, in a manner that has not been tested or certified."

What's that about 10mm (which is about 1/2")? What's that about metal parts and its compliance with RF exposure guidelines, in a manner that has not been tested or certified? Are there metal parts on these devices?

You need to understand a bit about radio frequency electromagnetic fields (RF/EMF) microwave radiation to make sense of these words. RF/EMF microwave radiation swirls around a wireless device whenever it's antennas are on and even more so when it is uploading/downloading any data: low levels for text, medium levels for images and huge levels for video. RF/EMF microwave radiation creates a 3D cloud around the device (think of a balloon that you depress to create more of a doughnut shape) with a radius of 18-36". Anything in that cloud is being exposed, which includes any child's brain and internal organs. The RF/EMF microwave radiation penetrates deeply into any child's skull, bone marrow and tissues. In fact it penetrates 2x-10x deeper into children than into adults.

RF/EMF microwave radiation is absorbed by anything that contains water or fat (people) and reflected by metal surfaces (iPad cases, filing cabinets, children's braces, jewelry, watch bands and other items).

RF/EMF microwave radiation instantly affects one's blood; it causes the blood to clump, change shape and not transport oxygen efficiently - which affects learning and cognitive abilities. You can see blood degradation in the following video, caused by SmartMeters. RF/EMF microwave radiation from SmartMeters, Wi-Fi and wireless devices affects every single child in a classroom. Not just an unlucky few — every single child. Simple blood tests show the effects:

Live Blood Analysis: Observable Effects of RF/MW Radiation via Smart Meters

The big players know all about this. Insurance companies will not insure manufacturers of wireless devices for future health damage claims. Apple's words/warnings are legal fudge factors designed to prevent anyone from making claims against Apple in case the devices cause you or your child harm down the line. What kind of harm? Seriously bad stuff which you can read about here and here. How much down the line? 7-10 years or about half way through one's public education.

11:02 John: "Yeah I know, but when it's searching, it usually has to spike."

11:06 Natali: "Yeah, that's exactly my point. It's searching for your device in order to send the data to the cloud. It's searching for your [wireless] router[/access point] or it's searching for the device. So, how many things can you have on your person? I carry my phone in my pocket all the time, so that's sending signals about where I am and what the weather is and all of that stuff. And then you got the fit bit on your arm. I had the Withingsa [baby monitor] next to my daughter's head while she was sleeping and I just freaked, so I ended up using the DropCam and put it way across the room so that I can see the whole room. So this thing about putting some [wireless] thing directly on [a child's] hip that's sending a signal? There are already mattresses that do this. There are mattress pads that test [children's] breathing and test their movements and all of that."

Comment: That's right, John. It's all about the spikes, peaks and pulses. RF/EMF microwave radiation is comprised of a smooth carrier wave (700-5800 MHz) that has been altered/modulated to become an irregular, choppy wave that pulses data from one antenna to another at rates of 100-200 times per second (100-200 Hz). It is this pulsing that causes many negative biological effects summarized here and detailed here. The wireless industry relies on three falsehoods when communicating about their RF/EMF microwave radiation transmissions:

  • The Fallacy of Spatial Averaging: power density drops by the square of the distance from the antenna, but the actual power of any single stream of pulses does not significantly drop over the first 50 feet.

  • The Fallacy of Temporal Averaging: peak power is hundreds or thousands of times higher than reported average power; our cells are reacting to these peaks or spikes.

  • The Fallacy of Heat Dissipation: the biggest lie is that the only effect we need to be concerned about is heating of one's tissue. This has been scientifically disproven for over 40 years. There are many cellular effects observed at levels much lower than a level that would cause heating.

Natali was talking about a wireless device's beacon signals and its duty signals: the number of transmissions the device makes either to announce its presence (beacon signals) or to actually send or receive packets of data (duty signals). Both Edwin Mantiply from the FCC and Dr. Jeffrey Lodwick from Federal OSHA have agreed on the equations that allow one to calculate the total cumulative RF/EMF microwave radiation that humans are exposed to over a nominal period of time from any wireless device. These calculations are explained on the slides starting here and on the RF/EMF Counter page.

The important inputs are the near-field peak power measurement 18" from the antenna, the number of pulses the antenna transmits (usually 100-200 Hz) and the length of time for each pulse. Once we know those inputs, we can calculate the total cumulative RF/EMF microwave radiation exposure. Importantly, these exposures are additive: the more wireless devices around us, the higher the exposure and the more data transmitted, the higher the exposure. That is why choosing to stream a video wirelessly is the most dangerous RF/EMF microwave radiation choice anyone can make.

The total cumulative exposure is what matters, since we have no evidence that our bodies can dissipate the non-thermal biological effects caused by RF/EMF microwave radiation exposure. For example, in one Petaluma, CA kindergarten classroom, a single wireless access point (Cicsco 4410N) transmits its beacon signals at levels that exceed our FCC maximum public exposure guideline for RF/EMF microwave radiation nearly eight times every school day — that is 870+ times higher than our FCC maximum public exposure guideline for RF/EMF microwave radiation since the start of the school year.

People are exposed to toxins every day and these toxins enter our bloodstream. Our bodies are designed to filter out the toxins so they won't affect our most important internal organ, our brain. The brain is protected by a very sensitive, and extremely-low-power electrical gateway, called the blood-brain barrier, which is designed to keep our brain fluid separate from our blood. How low is extremely low power? It's a picoWatt or 0.000000000001 Watt.

The FCC's maximum public exposure guideline allows RF/EMF microwave radiation in any form (radar, smart meter, DECT cordless phone, GSM, CDMA 3G, 4G HSPA, 4G LTE, WiMax Bluetooth, Wi-Fi routers/access points/devices — virtually anything wireless) to be transmitted through the air (and through our brains and bodies) at 10 Watts of power at over 6 million miles per hour for each device. How many wireless devices are in your living room, your bedroom, your office or your child's classroom?

Simply stated: 10 Watts absorbed by our body overwhelms the 0.000000000001 Watt that governs our blood-brain barrier:

Dr. Leif Salford: RF/EMF Microwave Radiation Opens the Blood Brain Barrier

When someone says that xyz technology is fine because it is low-power, we must ask: low compared to what? The FCC maximum public exposure guideline for RF/EMF microwave radiation is 13 orders of magnitude (10,000,000,000,000 or ten trillion times) higher than the electrical potential in our blood-brain barrier. If you took 10 trillion men and laid them end-to-end, they would extend from the sun to the furthest planet in our solar system and back — four times.

It is no surprise that any living organism continuously exposed to such high levels of RF/EMF microwave radiation will show serious effects.

11:47 Leo: "It's conceivable that there is an issue. I have looked at all of this research about EMT, or not EMT, uh . . . EMF and Wi-Fi . . ."

12:00 John: "But we are being bombarded by [Wi-Fi] commonly."

12:01 Leo Laporte: "There is no evidence. There is zero after many, many studies."

Comment: How many studies have you really read, Leo? Any of the studies here, here or here? Do you know, Leo, that not a single study has been conducted on the effects of wi-fi on children in schools? The negative health effects associated with exposure to Radio-Frequency ElectroMagnetic Fields microwave radiation have been scientifically-established over the last 50 years. There is no debate about the effects of radiation sickness caused by too much exposure to RF/EMF microwave radiation: summarized here and detailed here.

The debate seems to be about how much RF/EMF microwave radiation is too much. The US government and the wireless industry support extremely high RF/EMF microwave radiation guidelines, exposure to 10,000,000 microwatts per square meter for an infinite amount of time, while scientists working in the field have flatly denounced these guidelines and are advocating for much lower levels, exposure to only 1 microwatt per square meter and for as brief a time as possible. Read the info and explore the links here.

There is no scientific consensus: many studies show negative health effects from RF/EMF microwave radiation exposure and many do not. To get to the bottom of this, one has to critically evaluate the parameters of each study (size, quality and segmentation of test and control subjects, length of time test and control subjects were followed, and the statistical methods employed) to determine not only the weight of the evidence, but the strength of the evidence. This takes a long time and a lot of work. Most people, including journalists, are not willing to spend the time or do the work. They just fall back on a subjective interpretation of how much they have read in the general press. Very few journalists, wireless engineers or physicists have read the biology literature.

There have been over 8,000 studies conducted by the US Government and by international scientists. Several thousand of these studies were analyzed by 31 hand-picked scientists from around the world by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2011. These scientists classified RF/EMF microwave radiation from any source as a Class 2B Carcinogen and published their monograph in 2013.

12:06 John: "That's not true. There was a study that was done that showed some correlation about brain cancer and, wait let me finish, and the conclusion was that it wasn't the wi-fi at all, but it was the proximity creating a build up of heat, which causes mutation."

12:23 Leo: "You can't microwave your brain. That's a bad idea."

12:26 John: "Yeah."

12:27 Leo: "I don't think we are at that level of power where your brain is getting heated up."

12:32 John: "Apparently, if you are on the phone all day, your brain is getting heated up a little bit - it's not cooking - just getting heated up. But I don't care. I use speaker phone [on my cell phone]."

Comment: It's not about heating, gentlemen; it's about what happens on the way to heating. All of the following effects have been published in peer-reviewed, scientific journals at levels of RF/EMF microwave radiation much lower than would cause tissue heating:

  • Permanent DNA damage, creating precursors for tumors
  • Breast, testicular and ovarian tissue damage
  • Interruption of intra/intercellular communications
  • Leakage at both the colon and the blood-brain barrier
  • Toxins, pesticides and heavy metals deposit into one's brain
  • Weakens immune system & lowers melatonin & other hormones
  • Tachycardia, heart and circulatory problems: blood clumping (Rouleaux formations)
  • Decreased cognitive functions: attention-deficit, autism
  • Cancer: brain and soft tissue cancers
12:38 Natali: "Right. That's one of the reasons that we're told now not put the phone directly to our head and that's even . . . the chat room is going crazy and saying that I am being a fearmonger."

12:48 John: "Yeah, they think you're crazy."

12:50 Natali: "Right, but this is because it's a pain point. Because I'm suggesting that maybe we need to actually distance our person from [the wireless signals]."

12:58 Leo: "But there have been many, many, many, many studies on this and this is not . . ."

13:00 Natali: But there not conclusive. I've read the same studies and they are all very iffy and they are not long enough.

13:03 Leo: "That means there is no evidence. That means there is no evidence. They are not conclusive because there is no evidence."

Comment: Leo's conclusion couldn't be further from the truth. The nature of scientific inquiry requires one to develop a hypothesis and then set out to gather evidence that falsifies this hypothesis. If one cannot falsify the hypothesis, then it is likely to be true. The classic case is to falsify the statement that "all swans are white." One can try to 'prove' this statement by counting white swans, but it doesn't matter how many white swans one counts. If someone finds even a single black swan, the statement is disproven.

In the matter of RF/EMF microwave radiation causing health effects, one has to consider all of the evidence gathered on the topic: in other words a study showing 'no effect' cannot cancel out a study showing 'effect' and vice versa. One cannot just count the total number of studies showing 'no effect' and compare this to the total number of studies showing 'effect'. The facts are that there are large numbers of studies on both sides — for whatever reasons. Neither side can claim victory. Leo's statement that "[the studies] are not conclusive because there is no evidence" is just plain false. It is disproven by the 5000-6000 black swan studies showing significant health effects from RF/EMF microwave radiation.

So what do we do when experts disagree? You take the safer approach until the scientists sort things out. You don't just assume everything will be OK. For the health of your children, you make a conscious decision to play it safe until you know one way or the other, with reasonable certainty. That is where we are today. No amount of wishing, debate or discussion can change the many gathered scientific results. We just need to make rational choices with full awareness of these results.

This is much more eloquently explained by these two video presentations prepared by accomplished PhD professors:

Stuart Firestein: The Pursuit of Ignorance

What does real scientific work look like? As neuroscientist Stuart Firestein jokes: It looks a lot less like the scientific method and a lot more like "farting around ... in the dark." In this witty talk, Firestein gets to the heart of science as it is really practiced and suggests that we should value what we don't know -- or "high-quality ignorance" -- just as much as what we know.

Science 101: Cherry Picking & Black Swans

Some scientists are criticized for cherry picking their studies when in fact they are falsifying a hypothesis. Falsification, a concept coined by Sir Karl Popper (philosopher of science), is one of the methods that differentiates science from other forms of acquiring knowledge. This video explains the difference between cherry picking and black swan citing/sighting and uses the health effects of RF/EMF microwave radiation as an example. It mentions the BioInitiative Report and other documents, appeals and resolutions related to the health effects of RF/EMF microwave radiation.

At this point in the TWIT discussion, the participants are talking over each other, minds have been made up and everyone, including the audience (the chat room) is looking to relieve their discomfort by either shooting the messenger (accusing Natali of being a fearmonger) or making a joke. John and Leo deliver their jokes shortly, but they both missed the most important point that Natali was making:

Time of exposure matters. It takes 20 years of steady smoking to get cancer from cigarettes, but it only takes 7-10 years for people to get cancer from steady exposure to RF/EMF microwave radiation. If you cut off the studies after five years, the scientists can report "no effect". That's the game and we are all being played. We are just now seeing these cancers arrive: Steve Jobs, Ted Kennedy, John McCain, Lebron James, Roger Ebert, Catcher Gary Carter, Pitcher Tug McGraw and many other athletes mentioned here. Look around and start connecting the dots. For our children, who have no choice in the matter, it is better to be safe than sorry, as explained here.

13:08 Natali: "We have not had enough time. Even a decade is too short of a time — of a trial period."

13:14 John: "This show is brought to you by Motorola [laughter]."

13:17 Leo: "No it's not. OK, anyway. So Marques, [laughter] by the way, you just came back from the most wi-fi electromagnetic frequency saturated zone in the world. If 20 years from now you get cancer you know who to thank."

13:30 Marques: "CES [the trade show formerly know as the Consumer Electronics Show]."

Comment: Does anyone still think that too much continous exposure to RF/EMF microwave radiation is just a joke?

Posted on January 12, 2014

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