Burk Article

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Burk Article

Andrew McAfee
Friends,
Here is an article that local doctor Larry Burk wrote and the N&O ran  
it this morning. If you can, please add a comment under the article on  
the webpage.

Thank you!

Andrew

Let's talk about electromagnetic fields

BY LARRY BURK

Read more: http://www.newsobserver.com/2010/09/15/681333/lets-talk-about-electromagnetic.html#storylink 
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Published Wed, Sep 15, 2010 02:00 AM
Modified Wed, Sep 15, 2010 05:56 AM
DURHAM Practically everyone has a cell phone these days, and alarms  
have been raised by prominent scientists about studies showing that  
long-term cell phone use doubles the risk of brain tumors. Dr. Ronald  
Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute,  
warned in 2008 that children should limit their use of cell phones to  
avoid potential health risks.

Those who have seen the movie "Thank You for Smoking" may remember the  
Big Tobacco lobbyist who has lunch each week with firearms and alcohol  
lobbyists, as self-described members of the "Merchants of Death." At  
the movie's end he quits the tobacco business and is seen negotiating  
with Scandinavian cell phone executives to provide similar services  
for their company by spinning the science regarding potential health  
hazards to their advantage.

It is ironic that one of the first reports of negative health effects  
attributable to cell phones in the 1980s came from an Ericsson  
telecommunications engineer named Per Segerbäck. His story is told in  
a February 2010 Popular Science article headlined "The Man Who Was  
Allergic to Radio Waves." Segerbäck's initial symptoms of dizziness,  
nausea, headaches, burning sensations and red blotches on his skin  
were part of what is now known as electromagnetic hypersensitivity  
(EHS).

In the engineering group he led for 20 years designing prototype  
telecommunication systems, all but two of the 20 members developed  
similar symptoms, although his were the worst. With a telecom antenna  
located right outside his window, his symptoms progressed to the point  
where Ericsson paid to have electromagnetic field (EMF) shielding  
installed in his Volvo, office and home, and provided him with a  
special EMF- shielded suit.

Ericsson produced a report on "Hypersensitivity in the Workplace" in  
1993, and Segerbäck was eventually dismissed when he could no longer  
function effectively in the EMF environment. He now experiences rapid  
loss of consciousness if exposed to a cell phone nearby and lives in a  
remote cabin relatively isolated from EMF.

Sweden now recognizes EHS as a functional impairment affecting an  
estimated 230,000 people. However, the majority of double-blind  
placebo-controlled studies funded by governments and the telecom  
industry have not shown that EHS sufferers can reliably tell when they  
are exposed to a real EMF rather than a sham field.

Given the funding bias in the studies, people with EHS may still be  
the "canaries in the coal mine" with their acute symptoms serving to  
warn us of the long-term dangers of EMF exposure, which are supported  
by more robust scientific evidence. Many countries now have stricter  
guidelines than the United States to protect their citizens from these  
potential hazards. In the U.S., some cities are following suit,  
including San Francisco, which did a 2007 analysis of the potential  
environmental effects of a proposed Earthlink Wi-Fi Network.

This alarm is occurring at a time when wireless networks, including  
high-powered Wi-Max, are rapidly proliferating. So it behooves us to  
have local discussions about the benefits and risks.

Last month Gov. Beverly Perdue announced "$115 Million in Federal  
Recovery Funds to Expand Broadband Access in North Carolina." This  
includes, among many other projects, construction of 24 new wireless  
towers to complement six existing towers for a public safety broadband  
network in the Charlotte area.

There is also funding for the Yadkin Valley Telephone Membership Corp.  
to offer a diverse Fiber-To-The-Home network to six western Piedmont  
counties. Given a choice between wireless and fiber optic, the latter  
appears to be the safer choice, with significantly less mass exposure  
of the general public. This option is also a greener choice, requiring  
much less expenditure of energy once the cables have been installed.

Now is the time to have public conversations in city councils and in  
the legislature, before the EMF genie is let completely out of the  
bottle in an uncontrolled way that is modulated only by financial  
interests. Unless we act now we will not have learned anything from  
our state's tobacco legacy. What kind of EMF-polluted world will our  
children inherit if we do not use appropriate precautionary principles?

Larry Burk, M.D., is president of Healing Imager, Inc., in Durham.  
Information on a local support group for electromagnetic  
hypersensitivity is at www.raleighes.info






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