Children, Cellular Towers on Chicagoland Schools


Were you watching the news last night, October 3, 2016, on Channel 5 in Chicago?  They showed a news clip about families on the south side who are angry about the cell towers located on their child’s school building.  Parents, citing unknown risks, want more testing on potentially harmful radiation levels in classrooms.

One of the parents was walking his son to kindergarten at Sutherland Elementary on the south side.  He looked up and saw 2 towers on the building, which he had never seen before.  He immediately started to research what they were.  He was not alone with his concerns.  Parents of another school in the Beverly and Mt. Greenwood neighborhoods prepared a petition asking for answers about potential risks from the phone towers on the school buildings.

NBC5 Investigates filed Freedom of Information Act requests with 409 public school districts across the Chicago area, and found that 139 local schools rent space on their grounds, buildings, and smokestacks for cellular antennas.  Over 90 of those are Chicago Public Schools – most of them elementary-level — where kids may attend for as many as nine years.

The Beverly parents were especially alarmed by news of a recent study from the National Toxicology Program, which seemed to show a direct link between cell phone RF and cancer.  It turns out the National Toxicology Study was done in Chicago at the Illinois Institute of Technology.  Moreover, its findings were reported worldwide.  “This is by far the largest study that’s ever been done in the world on cell phone radiation,” said Dr. David McCormick, who ran that project.

“I don’t blame the parents for being concerned,” he said.  “My first question would be, does your child use a cell phone?  Because if your child uses a cell phone, the exposure is very likely to be substantially larger than the exposure from the cell tower.”  A few weeks ago, during Childhood Cancer Month, Answers for Angels wrote an article about cell phones in the hands of children, which links to cancer.  Find that article here.

The Beverly parents are hardly alone in their concerns.  School systems ranging from south-suburban Tinley Park and west-suburban Naperville, to the entire Los Angeles Unified School District, have said NO to cell towers because of similar worries over long-term exposure to RF.  In addition, the International Association of Fire Fighters has long opposed the mounting of cell antennas and towers at its members’ fire stations, citing similar concerns about low-intensity RF radiation.

National health and communication experts, including the American Cancer Society and the FCC, have said there is no credible health threat posed by cellular equipment.

NBC5 Investigates has compiled both a list and an interactive map, showing all of the schools, throughout Chicago and the suburbs, which have cellular antennas on their property.  Tilden High School located at 47th and Union, Chicago, rents a cellular tower.  Elementary School District 159, 6202 W. Vollmer Rd., Matteson rents a cellular tower also.

Is your school renting cellular towers on their grounds?  To find out, click on the link below.
Source: Are Kids at Risk? Scores of Chicago-Area Schools Allow Cell Towers on Their Buildings, Grounds | NBC Chicago http://www.nbcchicago.com/investigations/Are-Kids-at-Risk-Scores-of-Chicago-Area-Schools-Allow-Cell-Towers-on-Their-Buildings-Grounds-395744921.html#ixzz4M83kFNxW

 

 

Cell Phones and Cancer


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Nowadays it seems as though every young kid has a cell phone. The age at which a child receives a mobile device seems to be getting younger and younger with every passing year. While there could be a number of different arguments made for why a child should or should not have a cellular phone, today we are going to talk about the big reason why it might not be a good idea: the fact that they can cause cancer.

It has long been thought that cellular devices might be linked to cancer, but now some studies are showing that they most certainly are. The World Health Organization now lists mobile phone use in the “carcinogenic hazard” category, along with engine exhaust, lead, and chloroform.

Cell phones emit non-ionizing radiation from their antennas. This radiation can be absorbed by the tissues nearest to the antenna, which would be on/in your head. The low radiation can be compared to microwaving food, only your brain is the food. When you’re holding a cell phone up to your head for prolonged amounts of time, you can imagine that you could be increasing this absorption and thus your susceptibility to cancer. The National Institutes of Health revealed that 50 minutes of cell phone use emitted enough radiation to artificially increase the activity in brain cells.

An international study on cell phones and cancer that was released in 2010 showed that participants in the study who used a cell phone for 10 years or more had double the rate of brain glioma. The same results were seen in rat studies, where male rats exposed to the same type of radiation that we are exposed to with cell phones were more likely to develop certain types of brain and heart tumors. Not only is this scary for adults who are increasingly using cell phones for work and maintaining contact with family, but it’s also an even bigger risk for children.

The scalps and skulls of children are much thinner than ours and thus can be more easily penetrated by radiation. The impact of radiation can be even greater on a child due to their cells dividing at a faster rate. Children also have more time to accumulate prolonged exposure to this radiation by using their phone and the scariest part is that the health effects might not show up for 30 years. So, while little Johnny might think that calling his friends and talking all night is the cool thing to do, it might not be so cool later down the road if he develops life-changing health issues. Protecting our children is always the number one priority and with that, here are a few things that you can tell them to do (and do yourself) to minimize risk:

  • Avoid carrying a phone next to your stomach if you’re pregnant.
  • Don’t carry the cell phone in your pocket next to your groin.
  • Don’t sleep with your phone under your pillow.
  • Text instead of talk to keep your phones away from your face.
  • Avoid using cell phones in elevators, rural areas, or buildings where your phone gives off more radiation to connect to cell phone towers.
  • Don’t use your cell phone in a Wifi area too often.
  • Use a wired ear piece instead of holding your phone to your head.
  • Use your landline instead.

Due to the fact that it takes so long to observe the damage caused by cell phone use, there are still many studies needed in the area and there are likely to be more findings in the future. In the meantime, though, take the necessary steps to protect your child. After all, better safe than sorry!

Exposure to toxins in the environment is and should be a growing concern for the public. We are seeing increasing cancer rates in younger and younger children and environmental toxins are a major reason why. Exposure to these toxins in utero or in early childhood is linked to health issues later in life, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer.

In Alaska, where there are twice the amount of birth defects as the lower 48, environmentalists have noted that this number can be attributed to pollution from the lower 48 and Asia, as well as the cold climate and poor ventilation indoors. The Alaska Community Action on Toxics will be hosting a Children’s Environmental Health Summit October 5th-6th at Alaska Pacific University in Anchorage. There they will bring together parents, teachers, scientists, health care professionals, and members of the community to share information and ideas, educate, and discuss possibilities for policy changes. If you are interested in attending this summit, read more here.

September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Make sure you are doing your part in educating yourself and others so that we can protect our innocent children from the harmful effects of the environment and from this terrible disease.

 

 

Sources:

Estus, Joaqlin. “Scientists say cell phones, Wifi, are environmental health hazards”. KNBA. Published September 14, 2016. http://knba.org/post/scientists-say-cell-phones-wifi-are-environmental-health-hazards. Accessed September 23, 2016.

Dellorto, Danielle. “WHO: Cell phone use can increase possible cancer risk”. CNN. Published May 31, 2011. http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/05/31/who.cell.phones/. Accessed September 23, 2016.

German, Kent. “Cell phones and cancer: 9 things you should know right now”. Published June 6, 2016. https://www.cnet.com/news/9-things-you-should-know-about-that-recent-cell-phone-cancer-link-study/. Accessed September 23, 2016.

 

 

 

Is Your Child’s Drinking Water Safe?


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After the Flint Water Crisis that exposed 6,000-12,000 children to lead poisoning, water toxicity is becoming a topic that (rightfully so) remains in the forefront of parents’ minds. In New Jersey, several schools within the city of Newark showed elevated levels of lead. The same is true in Howland, Ohio and other cities nationwide. The question remains: is the water that your children ingests really safe?

According to experts, there is no safe level of lead exposure, especially when dealing with children who are most vulnerable to its effects. Even small amounts of lead can be incredibly dangerous, as the levels build up in your body over time. For children 6 and under, it’s an even bigger risk since they are still physically developing and absorb it easier than adults do. It can hinder or damage brain development, which is why it’s not something that you want your child to come into contact with. Other issues that it can cause for children are behavioral and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems, headaches, anemia, seizures, coma, and even death. Yet more than half a million children ages 1-5 have blood lead levels higher than the “level of concern” which is 5 micrograms per deciliter.

Why is that number so high? Well, part of the issue is that it can be hard to detect the signs of lead poisoning. Below are some indicators that you need to be on the lookout for with your child:

  • Fatigue, lethargy, or hyperactivity
  • Headaches
  • Weight Loss
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Constipation
  • Nausea, vomiting, or abdominal pain
  • Poor Appetite
  • Metallic taste in mouth
  • Learning difficulties or reduced cognitive abilities
  • Slowed growth

The other part of the equation is that while testing is getting better due to the latest crises, it’s something that needs to happen much more frequently and consistently in order to keep our children safe from harm. If you are worried about the piping system at your child’s school, get in touch with the school administration and talk to them about having the water tested.

Even the soil that children play in might be contaminated with lead, especially if it’s in an urban area or near busy roads. Keep this in mind when choosing where to live so that you children can get into a safer, more environmentally friendly district. Both inside and outside of school, take extra precautions to ensure that your child isn’t around or in contact with contaminated soil. What can you do?

  • Don’t let your children play in soil near industrious areas or roadways.
  • Do wash their hands and clothes after playing outdoors.
  • Do mop or wet-wipe your floors and interior surfaces to remove dust that may be contaminated.

If you suspect that your water may be supplied by lead pipes (or even worry about it in the slightest), then there are also several things you can do at home to help avoid contaminated water.

  • Make sure you have a water filter. This can be an inexpensive fix to a potentially dangerous issue.
  • Run the water for several seconds at each tap before use.
  • Only use cold water for drinking or cooking, and especially for baby formula.

You can also contact your local water supply to inquire about the levels of lead in their system or have your own, home water tested by a certified lab. You can contact the EPA’S Safe Drinking Water Hotline at 1-800-426-4791 or get in touch with state or local authorities to determine how to get your water tested.

The U.S National Toxicology Program also classified lead as “reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogens”. In other words, it is thought to be quite capable of causing cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer and the Environmental Protection Agency concurred—the results are in that lead is not something you want to mess around with. Studies have shown links between lead and kidney tumors as well as tumors of the brain, lung, stomach, and other organs in the body.

If you haven’t been concerned about lead contamination before reading this, it’s time to reevaluate. No dangerous risk such as lead poisoning is worth your future or your child’s future. Now that it’s almost time to head back to school, make sure your child is protected when they do!

 

Sources:

Connor, Tracy. “Is There Lead in Your Kid’s School Water? NBC Surveys 20 Big Cities”. NBC News. Written May 5, 2016. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/there-lead-your-kid-s-school-water-nbc-surveys-20-n567126. Accessed August 3, 2016.

Dennis, Brady. “Schools around the country find lead in water, with no easy answers”. Washington Post. Written July 4, 2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/schools-around-the-country-find-lead-in-water-with-no-easy-answers/2016/07/03/b44240fe-37c3-11e6-a254-2b336e293a3c_story.html. Accessed August 3, 2016.

“Lead: What is Lead?” American Cancer Society. Revised May 27, 2014. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/athome/lead. Accessed August 3, 2016.

Mercola, Joseph MD. “Why Lead is So Dangerous for Children”. Written April 18, 2013. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/04/18/children-lead-exposure.aspx. Accessed August 3, 2016.