* Precautionary Principle - Register health effects - A EHS sufferer reports from Romania (part I) - Kids and Chemicals - THE YEAR OF PRECAUTIONARY ACTION (4/1/03)
In a BAZARRE article that appeared in the Journal of Risk Research (5,pp 351-369, 2002) two Motoriola consultants Drs. Belzano and Sheppard warned that unless the precautionary principle is "reformulated"for the telecommunications industry it will lead to the end of Western civilization. (See Microwave News article reproduced below).

This kind of writing is dangerous and reminds me of a recent book by a US writer on future 'fourth generational warfare'. The boys at Al Quada somehow got wind of it and have since incorporated some of the suggested tactics in their war against the Western Infidels.

If Osama reads Belzano and Sheppard's article will we see Al Quada take up the precautionary principle as one of their weapons to bring down the hated western civilization?

Perhaps Saddam's secret labs have already formulated a powdered form of precautionary principle that can be delivered by crop dusters or scud missiles.

Following Belzano and Sheppard's line of thinking should anyone who supports the precautionary principle be rounded up as a suspected terriorist and be given an indefinite stay at Guantanimo Bay?

I'm surprised they submitted their article to the Journal of Risk Research when the Journal of Paranoid Delusions would have been a far better place for this kind of stuff.

Don Maisch

Precautionary Principle

(From Microwave News, Nov/Dec, 2002, page 17)

"The Decline and Fall of Modern Society... Two longtime members of the RF community have written a scathing attack on the precautionary principle, predicting that unless reformulated it will lead to nothing less than the end of Western civilization. Drs. Q. Balzano and Asher Sheppard characterize the precautionary principle as "illogical, irrational and rife with arbitrariness" and describe its application by the U.K. panel on mobile phones chaired by Sir William Stewart as an "egregious" example of how policy decisions can go awry "in a storm sea of choices." Balzano and Sheppard, who are both consultants to Motorola, are especially distressed that the Stewart committee advised that children should be discouraged from using cell phones. "Because the [panel] misunderstood key scientific knowledge and lacked definitive research data on outstanding questions, fears of unknown risks were amplified unrealistically to generate speculations about the health of children." they write. Balzano and Sheppard call the application of ALARA-like rules to RF exposures from wireless technology an "absurbity," and argue that "ALARA is likely to fan public fears without demonstrable effects on disease risks." ( ALARA stands for "as low as reasonably achievable.") Instead, they favor the creation of "scientific fire bregades" that would respond to public concerns under the guidence of government science agencies and funded by the involved industry. They site with approval the example of the cooperative agreement, or CRADA, between the CTIA and FDA to investigate mobile phone health effects (see MWN, N/D99 and M/J01). Balzano and Sheppard conclude their argument, which appears in the Journal of Risk Research (5,pp.351-369, 2002), with this dire warning:

"Unless current efforts lead to its successful reformulation, the precautionary principle could institutionalize excessive caution and thus deepen rather than alleviate alarm from the doom-laden hypothetical risks called 'perceived threats.' The resulting suppression on innovation and technical progress would inevitably have disastrous effects on society, leaving it susceptible to the decay that over time turns great civilizations into antique ruins."

Klaus: It would be a good idea to remind people on your mail list to register any health effects they may be experiencing for cellphones, towers or antenna's. This information will be important in the future.Registering can be done online. egards Robert


Message from Robert Riedlinger

Hi Klaus: As you can see from below ranka has now given me permission to share her case history. Is there anyway we can stop what lies ahead for her in the psychiatric facility in Romania (where she is now living)? It it truly tragic that her doctors won't believe her. I've only got a minute left at this computer but I'm going to return to the library (I'm still in Belfast)later this afternoon and will clean up and paste for you into one email my correspondence with Ranka, so that her history profile reads fairly clearly. Then will send it to you this eve. Hope you will post it because some doctors (and scientists) might volunteer to get in contact with her medical doctors and avert what horrendously inappropriate treatment is awaiting her. And to think that her entire life is being destroyed this way.

Best, Imelda

From: "Ranka Sekulic"
To: "Imelda O'Connor"
Subject: Re: seasons greetings etc.
Date: Wed, 1 Jan 2003 17:02:11 +0100

Dear Imelda,
I am going back to the hospital the day after tomorrow and it makes me sick in my stomach. What a waste of life! Also, I am afraid of EM because last year in the hospital I woke up on the 31st with EM of medium strength and it lasted 2 months or so with decreasing intensity. I talked to one doctor about it and he advised me not to tell the others or I would get more pills.

Please share my information although I don't know how it can help. I will miss contact with you but I hope to come out again in about 3 weeks and to have a letter waiting for me.

With best wishes, Ranka

----- Original Message -----
From: "Imelda O'Connor" <imeldaoconnor@hotmail.com>
To: <ranka.sekulic@ri.hinet.hr>
Sent: Tuesday, December 31, 2002 7:04 PM
Subject: Re: seasons greetings etc.

Dear Ranka: I've just picked up your two messages. Plese let me forward them to people in Germany I know who have been targeted with EMR. Try to get back to me soonest. LOTS have been "framed" in this way. So have I. I have electronic type tick ticking on and off in my righte earlope area and get brain seizures when frequencies are revved up. Please allow me to share what you have written to me. I can get you excellent support from the best.


From: "Ranka Sekulic" <ranka.sekulic@ri.hinet.hr>
To: "Imelda O'Connor" <imeldaoconnor@hotmail.com>
Subject: seasons greetings etc.
Date: Mon, 30 Dec 2002 16:41:10 +0100

Dear Imelda,
I am still learning to use this computer and am not sure if my message went through. My new e-mail is ranka.sekulic@ri.hinet.hr My first exposure to EM was in England and later in America, Croatia,Kenya and Switzerland. I believe that certain people at the BBC had something to do with it, however schizophrenic it sounds. Something I heard voices and sometimes not. I also heard voices regarding my work at the BBC and my boyfriend there without the EM. For example, in Kenya, when I entered my room, that same moment I felt EM. That was the strongest one I felt and the whole night I walked around the reception desk in pain. It hurt less when I walked. The next morning they took me to hospital. You may also be interested that in late seventies I developed bad allergies to foods and scents.

All the best wishes for the New Year. Unfortunately, I cannot take my computer to the hospital.


On US TV on December 27th a special one-hour episode of "NOW with Bill Moyers" was entitled "Kids and Chemicals: A Special Report on the Scientific Searchfor Answers about how Environmental Toxins Affect America's Children" .

I hope to have the transcript available in the near future. Following is the press release for the program.

Don Maisch


Friday, December 27, 2002 9PM(ET) on PBS (check local listings)

It is a medical mystery marked "urgent." Across America growing numbers of children are suffering from asthma, childhood cancers like leukemia, as well as learning and behavioral disabilities. Scientists are searching for clues to the causes of these illnesses, and a growing body of research suggests that everyday environmental toxins - what kids eat, drink, and breathe - may put them at risk. Equipped with new technology and more sophisticated analysis, these scientists are asking compelling questions about the health risks to children growing up exposed to an ever-increasing number of untested chemicals in our environment.

Kids and Chemicals, a special edition of NOW with Bill Moyers to be broadcast on PBS, Friday, December 27 at 9 p.m. (ET), features medical investigators and health officials engaged in the latest research on links between childhood illness and environmental contamination. The program looks at families around the country who are coping with the consequences to their children of potentially toxic exposures.

"The disturbing increases in childhood illness in America cannot be ignored," says Bill Moyers. "How does the exposure affect children's health? The new research is studying how chemicals enter the human body, and posing questions that they could never ask before: Do chemicals affect children, babies and unborn fetuses more than adults? What factors increase toxicity, and how can we protect children from harm?"

Kids and Chemicals' producers Gail Ablow and Greg Henry go to Fallon, Nevada, a small desert town that has had 16 recorded cases of childhood leukemia in just five years. Alarmed, Dr. Mary Guinan, who was one of Nevada's top health officials, called in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate the potential links between this childhood cancer and the environment. Could toxic substances in water, food, air, schools, homes or the ground in Fallon be responsible for this "cancer cluster"? If so, which chemicals? Without clear evidence of a specific cause, everything - from jet fuel emissions to pesticides to naturally occurring arsenic in the water - is suspect.

As Moyers and his team learn in Fallon, research on cancer clusters once focused mainly on gathering environmental samples because investigators simply didn't have tools sensitive enough to measure which toxins had been absorbed into people. Dr. Richard Jackson, the director of the National Center for Environmental Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, explains how his laboratories are using the latest instruments. His research scientists are using sophisticated blood and urine analysis to test for minute traces of toxins in the bodies of the sick children and their families in Fallon.

This work is part of a larger movement in children's environmental health unfolding nationwide. Dr. Phillip Landrigan of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City works with scientists around the country to understand how kids are affected by exposure to chemicals. "Of the 3000 high production volume chemicals in use in this country today, only 43% have been even minimally tested," he tells Moyers. Only about 10% have been thoroughly tested to examine their potential effects on children's health and development."

Speaking with Landrigan, Moyers learns that children are potentially more vulnerable to chemicals than adults. "First of all, they're more heavily exposed pound for pound," says Landrigan. "They eat more food, they drink more water, they breathe more air. Then, of course, kids play on the ground. They live low, they put their hands in their mouth and so they transfer more toxic chemicals into their body than we do."

Traveling to Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, Moyers' crew meets Dr. Linda Sheldon of the Environmental Protection Agency's National Exposure Research Lab. Sheldon demonstrates how her team of scientists is gathering evidence of exposure to everyday chemicals in nursery schools, homes and daycare centers.

In New York City, a groundbreaking study led by Dr. Frederica Perera at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, follows more than 500 expectant mothers. These women are wearing air quality monitors in backpacks to trap the environmental toxins they breathe. As their children are born and as they grow, Dr. Perera and her team will look for links between the chemicals that the mothers were exposed to while their babies were developing in the womb and asthma, cancer risk, and learning disabilities.

Dr. Sandra Steingraber, a biologist at Cornell University, joins Dr. Landrigan in asserting that exposure during pregnancy doesn't, by itself, mean a child will get ill. What matters is the intensity of the exposure and when it occurs during fetal development. A chemical exposure occurring early in pregnancy might cause a miscarriage, argue the researchers. If it occurs later on, it might cause physical birth defects. Later still, it might damage brain cells. Scientists are trying to precisely identify these "windows of vulnerability." Says Dr. Steingraber: "Maybe certain problems that we understand . . . as attention deficit disorders, hyperactivity, the inability to pay attention, aggressive and violent behaviors, might have their origins during those windows of vulnerability during pregnancy and these questions are just being asked. Data is just beginning to come in."

Dr. Perera's team at Columbia is also studying the way that chemicals can actually bind to human DNA in the womb and form an "adduct." Work by Dr. Perera has shown that the greater the number of adducts, the greater the risk for cancer. "And that's the missing link in all of this," says Dr. Steingraber. "That's the link we're beginning to fill in."

To place the current studies in a public health policy context, Moyers revisits the firestorm over lead research, recalling the revolutionary work of Dr. Herbert Needleman, who correlated low-level lead exposure to lower IQ's in children, in 1979. Twelve years later, Needleman's work was attacked by the lead industry as it tried to protect its economic stake in lead products. Ultimately, the validity of Dr. Needleman's work was fully vindicated, and new public policy required unleaded gasoline and restrictions on lead paint. And many scientists believe that, as a result, children's IQ scores have risen, on average, three points. Yet, as Moyers points out, lead remains the number one environmental threat to children's health; many old houses and even many school buildings are still testing positive for lead today.

In Herculaneum, Missouri, lead contamination is a very current issue. The community has been up in arms about the astonishingly high levels of lead to which their families have been exposed because the town's primary industry, the Doe Run lead smelter, failed to comply with EPA standards. "Doe Run played a really good game," Robyn Warden, a mother, tells Moyers. "They told people everything was under control and we were safe. And people weren't educated enough to know any different. It took people actually investigating lead to figure out that we were being lied to."

Dr. Steingraber knows the importance of informed parenting. Even in a seemingly pristine environment in rural New York, she knows there are possibilities of risk. "Just because there are no smokestacks visible around us, just because you live a long way from the source of these chemicals, doesn't mean that nature won't bring them to you in some way," she says. A mother who breastfeeds her infant son, Dr. Steingraber also realizes that she passes toxins directly to her baby every time she nurses.

"No woman has uncontaminated breast milk on this planet," she states. Dr. Steingraber tries to reduce her children's exposure at home by using non-toxic products. "But we can't shop our way out of our current situation," she warns. "We still need to take action. It's time that our public policy takes action to get our kids out of harm's way."

There are unknown answers to many questions. Moyers reports on a proposed new project called "The National Children's Study," which will track 100,000 children from the womb to age 18 if it receives full funding from Congress. This long-term study may provide the definitive answers necessary for new regulations and laws protecting children from exposure to toxins. "Without conclusive science," Moyers says, "it is a constant fight to protect children's health."

Find out more about how scientists are studying environmental toxins and join the ongoing discussion about the critical issues covered in NOW online at: http://www.PBS.org/now.

Kids and Chemicals was produced by Gail Ablow and co-produced by Gregory Henry.
Editor: Howard Sharp.
Associate Producer: Karla Murthy.
Executive Producer: Felice Firestone.

NOW with Bill Moyers.
Executive Producer: John Siceloff; Senior Producer: Peter Bull;
Executives-in-charge: Judith Davidson Moyers and Judy Doctoroff O'Neill;
Executive Editors: Bill Moyers and Judith Davidson Moyers;
Supervising Producer: Sally Roy.

NOW with Bill Moyers is funded by PBS, the Kohlberg Foundation, Inc. and The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Additional funding for this program is provided by The Herb Alpert Foundation and The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Foundation. Corporate funding is provided by Mutual of America Life Insurance Company.

The series is a production of Public Affairs Television, Inc. for PBS, with contributions from NPR News. NOW is a national presentation of Thirteen/WNET New York.

Press Contacts:

Rick Byrne
Director of Communications

Further Links (from Omega):

and also from Don Maisch (excerpt):


Here we begin our review of 2002, a year dominated by war and preparations for war (a subject to which we will return). But first let's look at some positive developments of 2002.

The principle of precautionary action really took off during 2002. The groundwork was laid in 1998 by the Science and Environmental Health Network (SEHN) which has worked since then to embed the principle in everyone's thinking. See RACHEL'S #586 and http://www.sehn.org.

During 2002, it became apparent that SEHN's work has paid huge dividends. The precautionary principle is catching on. The principle is simple enough: when there is reasonable suspicion that harm is occuring or about to occur, we all have a duty to take action to prevent harm even if some cause-and-effect relationships have not been proven to a scientific certainty.

The precautionary approach stands in stark contrast to "business as usual" which dominates our culture and which says, "Do whatever you want until someone can line up the dead bodies and prove that harm is occurring." The precautionary principle is best summed up as "better safe than sorry." As simple as it may seem, precautionary action represents a completely different approach to the protection of human and environmental health.

Two new collaborations or campaigns based on precautionary action developed during 2002.

The first is CHE, the Collaborative on Health and Environment, created by Michael Lerner and his colleagues at Commonweal in Bolinas, California. The second is the Environmental Health Campaign developed by Lois Gibbs and her colleagues at the Center for Health, Environment and Justice in Falls Church, Va.

CHE - Collaborative on Health and Environment

In only 9 months, CHE has grown to include more than 350 organizations and individuals committed to improving environment and health through precautionary action. The only thing CHE members hold in common is a consensus statement, printed below. Membership in CHE is free and without obligation.

The CHE web site is being developed now. Soon it will contain peer-reviewed statements (and scientific documentation) indicating links between environmental deterioration and asthma, brain cancer, breast cancer, childhood leukemia, endometriosis, infertility, learning and behavior disorders, prostate cancer, and testicular cancer, among others. To see the work in progress, go to the CHE web site (http://www.cheforhealth.org) and look in the "Science" section at the bottom of the first page. The preliminary work is impressive. Here is the CHE consensus statement. If you agree with it, why not join CHE?

Contact: The Collaborative on Health and the Environment, c/o Commonweal, P.O. Box 316, Bolinas, CA 94924. Email: info@cheforhealth.org or http://www.cheforhealth.org

Campaign for Environmental Health

This campaign centers on a platform statement that was developed during 2002 with the participation of 80 leaders from grass-roots and national environmental groups. Here is the most recent version of the platform:

BE SAFE: Blueprint Ensuring our Safety And Future Economy

In the 21st century, we envision a world where our food, water, air and land are clean and safe, and our children grow up healthy and thrive. We can make this world a reality. The tools we bring to this work are prevention, safety, responsibility and democracy. Precautionary action is preventive medicine for our environment and health. We support this approach because it makes more sense to:

** Prevent pollution instead of spending millions of dollars to clean up the mess;

** Protect our children, and avoid illness and suffering, rather than asking how much damage from chemical exposure is acceptable;

** Use renewable, sustainable technologies instead of depleting our resources; and

** Have responsible parties restore damage, such as permanently cleaning up drinking water poisoned by toxic dumps, instead of burdening communities with health threats and expensive, short-term treatments.

We choose a "better safe than sorry" approach motivated by caution and prevention. We endorse the common-sense approach outlined in the Blueprint's four principles listed below.

Heed Early Warnings: Government and industry have a duty to prevent harm, when there is credible evidence that harm is occurring or is likely to occur -- even when the exact nature and full magnitude of the harm is not yet proven.

Put Safety First: Industry and government have a responsibility to thoroughly study the potential for harm from a new chemical or technology before it is used -- rather than assume it is harmless until proven otherwise. We need to ensure it is safe now, instead of being sorry later. Research to investigate the impacts on workers and the public should be confirmed by independent third parties.

Participatory Democracy: Precautionary decisions place the highest priority on protecting health and the environment, and help develop cleaner technologies and industries. Government and industry decisions should be based on meaningful citizen input and mutual respect (or the golden rule), with the highest regard for those whose health may be affected rather than those with financial interests. Independent science should inform public policy, and give the public information to make decisions about threats and guarantee effective safeguards and enforcement.

Choose the Safest Solution: Decision-making by government, industry and individuals must evaluate alternatives, and require use of the safest, technically feasible solution. We support innovation and promotion of technologies and solutions that create a healthy environment and economy.

We choose the precautionary approach to protect our health, environment and economy for ourselves and for future generations. [End of platform statement.]

The Environmental Health Campaign will unfold over the next two years. The immediate goal is to have groups and individuals sign on to the platform and then, if they choose to, participate in the campaign.

To sign on to the platform, or to get more information about the campaign, contact Anne Rabe (annerabe@msn.com), or: Environmental Health Campaign, Center for Health, Environment and Justice, P.O. Box 6806, Falls Church, Virginia 22040; phone: 703-237-2249;
E-mail: chej@chej.org.

Original message:
---November 14, 2002---
Environmental Research Foundation
P.O. Box 160, New Brunswick, N.J. 08903
Fax (732) 791-4603; E-mail: erf@rachel.org
========== .
All back issues are on the web at: http://www.rachel.org

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