An Electronic Silent Spring – July, 2015 Newsletter from Katie Singer

An Electronic Silent Spring

July, 2015 Newsletter from Katie Singer


Please share following significant, new publications and conferences about children’s exposure with your family, schools, neighbors and physicians:

1. Victoria Dunckley, MD’s excellent book, Reset Your Child’s Brain (New World Library), has just been published. Dr. Dunckley is an integrative child psychiatrist: whenever possible, she aims to find non-pharmaceutical solutions to behavioral problems. To that end, Dr. Dunckley has children with behavioral problems first go on a three or four-week “electronic fast.” In some cases, the fast appears to clear up problems entirely. In other cases, problems are significantly reduced, and then Dr. Dunckley can make a proper diagnosis of the child’s situation.

Dr. Dunckley also reports on studies that show that interacting with screens (i.e. playing video games) is more dangerous for children’s brain development than “passively” watching TV. (And if you want to learn about the dangers of TV, read Jerry Mander’s 1978 classic, Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television.)

2. To hear Dr. Dunckley and other scientists report on the dangers of and solutions to electromagnetic radiation (EMR) exposure, view the conference organized by Camilla Reese at the Commonwealth Club on June 22, 2015: “Cell Phones and Wireless Technologies–Should Safety Guidelines Be Strengthened to Protect Adults, Children and Vulnerable Populations? Should Parents, Teachers & Schools Restrict Technology Overuse Among Children?” The conference is several hours long and very worthwhile.

3. Why Don’t FCC Safety Guidelines on Mobile Phones Consider Children?

Dr. Om Gandhi, prof. of electrical engineering at the University of Utah, has served as Co-chair of IEEE’s SCC 28.IV Subcommittee on RF Safety Standards (1988-97) and as Chair of IEEE’s Committee on Man and Radiation (COMAR) 1981-82. In IEEE’s June 23, 2015 journal, Spectrum: he published, “Yes the children are more exposed to radio-frequency energy from mobile telephones than adults.”

In this paper, Dr. Gandhi writes that “it is very hard to understand why” the FCC’s safety guidelines only consider the head of a mannequin whose size is in the 90th percentage of US military recruits.

Please share Dr. Gandhi’s paper with parents, physicians and educators to encourage limits on children’s exposure to mobile devices.

4. Bad news about federal regs followed by encouraging news

First, the bad news: The FCC is apparently preparing for landline extinction.           Please read Jacob Kastrenakes’ July 10, 2015 blog, “Getting rid of copper lines has consequences, and the FCC wants you to know them.” http://tinyurl/peg63bm

The FCC will vote about emergency backup power provisions for cell phones in August, 2015. As far as I know, the FCC never called for Comments about these provisions.

Dr. Gary Olhoeft pointed out to me that big users of landlines include doctors, insurance companies, title companies and others who use faxes to protect their clients. What will these folks do when landlines are eliminated?

Now, the encouraging news: Norm Alster, a journalism fellow at Harvard’s Center for Ethics, has published Captured Agency: How the FCC is Dominated by the Industries It Presumably Regulates). In the book, Alster reports that in April, 2015, he asked 202 people, how likely it is that the US Congress forbids local communities from considering health concerns when deciding whether to issue zoning permits for wireless antennae.

Only 1.5% of respondents considered this likely to be true.

This means that the vast majority of people are unaware of Section 704 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which states that no health or environmental concern may interfere with the placement of a cell tower.

When Alster asked respondents if risks to health (including brain cancer) caused by cell phones were identified, would they restrict their mobile phone use and get a landline?

The majority said that they would.

This means that the majority of people currently do not know that using mobile devices causes harm.

I find this survey encouraging–and challenging: if people become informed about The Telecom Act’s Section 704–and about the dangers of exposure to EMR from wireless technologies, then significant numbers of people might well reduce their use.

The challenge remains in educating people. How do we provide information so adults and children think it’s their own idea to reduce use and exposure?

To read Norm Alster’s full report:

5. My June newsletter posted incomplete info about turning off your Wi-Fi router (until you get hard-wired Internet access). Barb Payne sent the following correction:

Type in or, then hit enter. This’ll take you to your modem router. Give your password. At “wireless set up,” you’ll have the choice to enable or disable. You can restore Wi-Fi the same way. If one of these sets of numbers don’t work, phone your Internet service provider and ask, “What URL do I use to access my router settings online? If you use a wireless router that is not provided by your Internet service provider, the correct set of numbers for turning it off should be provided by your router’s manufacturer.


Thanks to everyone who gets informed about the dangers of wireless technologies and reduces their electronics usage and their EMR-exposure.

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Katie Singer

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