Friday, February 29, 2008

Is Your Cell Phone Killing You?!

Can you picture the life without a cell phone? I can’t, since it’s very handy. I can rely on it like on a good friend. But my friend has two sides of which I have not been fully aware.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
I knew there might be some affects on my health, but I didn’t realize that there are so many.

I quickly did a research what bad things mobile phones may cause. The results were horrifying.

Cell phone may:
- Affect Protein Expression
- Affect Human Skin
- Affect Living Tissue
- Increase Risk of Mouth Cancer
- Harm Blood Cells

It turns out that my good friend morphed to the monster.

Looking for more details I discovered that the list of illnesses is not complete. I added another ones:

- Nausea, Headaches
- Brain Tumors
- May trigger Alzheimer's disease
- and…

…Acoustic Neurona (along with Brain Tumor)
If you have used your mobile phone for more than 10 years, you might have increased your risk of developing acoustic neuroma, a benign tumor on the auditory nerve.

Interestingly enough, studies found that the risk was confined to the side of the head that was used most often while talking on the phone. As a matter of fact, the risk of acoustic neuroma was nearly four times greater on the side of the head that the phone was most frequently held compared to the other side, which appeared normal.

Protein Expression, Living Tissue and Skin Disease
According to Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority (STUK) study, “small area of forearm's skin in 10 female volunteers was exposed to RF-EMF (specific absorption rate SAR = 1.3 W/kg) and punch biopsies were collected from exposed and non-exposed areas of skin. Analysis has identified 8 proteins that were statistically significantly affected (Anova and Wilcoxon tests). Two of the proteins were present in all 10 volunteers.

This suggests that protein expression in human skin might be affected by the exposure to RF-EMF. The number of affected proteins was similar to the number of affected proteins observed in our earlier in vitro studies.”

Taking a stock mobile phone radiation might alter protein expression in human skin.
▪ Physiological significance of this change is not known and requires further study.
▪ Larger human volunteer study will be needed to confirm results of this pilot study.
▪ Proteomics screening is valid method for search for molecular targets of mobile phone radiation. Without this approach the identification of the proteins responding to mobile phone radiation would not be reasonably possible.

"Mobile phone radiation has some biological effect. Even if the changes are small, they still exist", says Dariusz Leszczynski, Research Professor at STUK.

According to Leszczynski it is much too early to say will these changes induced by the mobile phone radiation have any effect on health.

"The aim of this project was not detecting any possible health effects, but to find out whether living human skin responds to mobile phone radiation and whether proteomics approach is useful in sorting out this issue", he states.

Mouth Cancer
A recent research has shown that chatting on a mobile phone before bedtime would cause you insomnia. The team from Sweden's Karolinska Institute and Wayne State University, in Michigan, found that mobile phone radiation of 884 MHz provokes insomnia, headaches and concentration difficulties.

But these are short-term effects, and many cancers have a 10-to-20-year latency period. Still, one cancer risk has just been detected by a team at the Tel Aviv University. The new research published in the "American Journal of Epidemiology" shows that people using cell phones for many hours daily are 50% more likely to develop mouth cancer, than individuals who do not use cell phones at all. Moreover, cell phone users in rural areas could be exposed to a higher risk for cancer because cell phones have to emit higher levels of radiation for picking up the signal of the fewer available antennas.

Blood Cells
According to New Scientist:

“A study has shown that radiation from mobile phones may cause a substantial increase in the forces that living cells exert on each other. Experts said this research could be critical to providing answers to the question of whether radiation from mobile phones is linked to cancer and other health problems. Although several researchers believe this to be the case, they have been unable to come up with ways that radiation could produce this affect and harm biological tissue.

Future studies will be conducted to check the dielectric properties of various types of biological tissue during exposure to radiation across the range of frequencies normally used by mobile phones.”

Nausea and Headaches
Radio signals for the next wave of cell phones--third generation (3G) phones that transmit high-speed Internet data--caused headache, tingling sensations and nausea among participants in a research study.

The side effects occurred after participants were exposed to radiation from 3G base station signals. No side effects were noted from current mobile phone base stations.

Base stations transmit constant signals, exposing everyone within range, while cell phone handsets emit stronger levels of radiation to the user.

Government officials say further research is needed to confirm findings and explore long-term health effects.

Triggering Alzheimer's disease
After digging the BBC website I found something on Alzheimer’s disease. The study was carried out on rats.

Rats aged between 12 and 26 weeks, whose brains are thought to be in the same developmental stage as teenagers, were exposed to two hours of radiation equal to that emitted by mobile phones.

Upon examination 50 days later, researchers found an abundance of dead brain cells in rats that had been exposed to medium and high levels of radiation.

They hypothesized that in people whose neurons are prone to Alzheimer’s disease, radiation from mobile phones may trigger the disease earlier in life.

How to fight the radiation. Some tips
Surely the best way to avoid mobile phone radiation is to give up using cell phone. But this might hard for most of us. So I prepared other tips which easy to employ.

- Switch off your cell phone when you are not going to use it.

- Don’t use wireless mobile phone headset, as they make matters worse.

- Make sure that you are not talking on cell phone unless you are using a speakerphone or headset specifically designed to reduce radiation. Headset may reduce the cell phone radiation even up to 90%.

- Keep your mobile phone as far from your body as possible.

- Use Mobile Phone Bio-Shield which helps to relieve conditions associated with cell phone radiation.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Waste Less, Be Creative. Part II

In part II I’d like to focus on creative part of being green. Certainly we can’t buy all eco, organic and green stuff. What to do in those cases? Well, as an eco person I found myself rather creative in finding new ways for non-recyclable things.

Let’s have a look at some creative ideas.

Protect car seats from muddy or wet clothing (it’s good for newspapers, as recycling them it’s not recommended).

Stuff in leather shoes to preserve shape (it’s better than using shoe trees made of wood, or plastic. Newspaper is also a good deodoriser).

Stuff in wet shoes overnight to dry and deodorize.

Crumple and place in suitcase for couple of weeks to remove stale odours.

Stuff hats to keep their shape.

Stuff leather handbags in storage.

Wrap around candle bottoms so they'll fit holders tighter.

Cover store windows when remodelling.

Dampen and spread over window-panes before painting.

Use to dry and polish window after washing.

Stuff under doors and in cracks to stop cold wind fromcoming in.

Use as a bounce reflector when taking flash photographs or use to reflect sunlight into shadow areas.

Sharpen pencils by rubbing the point on newspaper.

Spread out between garden rows to discourage weeds.

Use to wrap green tomatoes to ripen.

Cover plants during a frost.

Use as a mat for wet darkroom photographs.

Put under car wheels when stuck in snow, mud or sand.

Shred and use for packing breakables.

Wrap and store Christmas tree ornaments.

Crumple (no colours) and place in plastic containers to eliminate odours

Other everyday objects
Transform a plastic ice cream tub into a flowerpot.

Turn used tires (not steel-belted) into children's swings or other playground equipment.

Plastic soda bottle uses: Make a disposable funnel from the top half Cut a scoop from the bottom half, Or use the bottom half as a plant "greenhouse."

Other eco using
You can even make your own packaging peanuts! Use real popcorn, and the recipients can sprinkle it in their garden for the birds.

Plastic grocery bags make excellent small trash can bags and are great to take with you for cloth diaper and/or accidents for babies and toddlers.

Paper grocery bags are a cheap way to cover schoolbooks.

Toilet paper rollers make great craft items.

Good heavy foil can be washed and reused time and time again.

Worn out clothes can be used as rags or saved for quilt squares.

Newspaper is great for cleaning windows and mirrors. You can also use newspaper if you have indoor pets.

Leftovers: Stop throwing them out. If you don't want them the next meal, freeze what is left after a meal. Use on those days you don't feel like cooking, or make a soup or stew.

Boxes make great storage containers, mailers, and play towns for the children.

Plastic milk jugs can be used to store water in for sudden power outages, water for plants, etc.

Small plastic water or soda bottles are great for freezing water in and taking with you on a shopping trip. This saves a lot of drink purchases while you are out.

Old mouse pads can be cut into sections to make coasters.

Last words
Only the imagination is the limit, but I’m pleased to hear other tips for converting non-recyclable things into eco stuff. Feel free to post the as a comment.

Set yourself a challenge of not how much you can recycle but rather how little you can throw away. Remember how resourceful the older generations were in wartime collecting piece of string and anything they can put to good use.

The point I'd like to add is, don't be afraid to take packaging back to the shop or supermarket where they came from. This is a real pain for the store but it will send out a message that they really need top think about reducing waste and excess packaging.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Waste Less, More Create Or The Old Shoes Story. Part I

One thing about green lifestyle is that you need to be creative; you need to look at stuff from different angles. But before I explain that, let me tell you a short story that happened to me some years ago.

The Old Shoes Story
During my travel to South Africa I met a poor guy who had no shoes. I thought I had a spare pair (by this stage I had done a lot of travelling so the shoes were poor condition). I brought the shoes and gave it to him. He accepted the gift with the enthusiasm of a kid.

The next day I returned to meet the poor man, I asked him where he got the new pair of shoes he was wearing. He exclaimed they are the ones you gave me. He had cleaned them up and fixed them and they now looked brand new. Although I was please for him there was a part of me that wanted my shoes back

Reuse? Why reuse and how?
Since the earliest civilisations man has produced waste and disposal by landfill has been the main way of dealing with it. In modern times growing industrialisation and consumerism have transformed the types and quantity of waste we generate in our every day lives. As a result, the ways in which we manage this waste have had to change dramatically over a relatively short period of time.

It has been said many times on this occasion that we should reuse whatever is possible. Actually we can reuse almost anything we want. Below are some easy non-creative tips:

Old Electrical Equipment
Donate old electrical equipment to schools or community centres so that others can reuse them.

Old Clothes and Books
Other people can reuse your unwanted clothes and books when you donate them to charity shops.

Car-boot Sale
Have a car-boot sale and get rid of some unwanted items. Other people may find a use for them, plus it gives you the opportunity to earn some extra cash.

Rechargeable Batteries
Rechargeable batteries can be reused many times before they need throwing away, opposed to regular batteries that create unnecessary waste.

Build a Compost Bin
You can reuse many waste items, such as eggshells and old tea bags, using a compost bin. This waste then degrades and turns into compost that can be used to help your garden grow.

Grass Cycling
After mowing your lawn, instead of throwing the grass cuttings away, leave them in your garden. The nutrients from the cuttings go back into the soil and act as a fertiliser.

Try to buy things that you can easily refill, like Aquaballs for laundry. Similarly you can refill ink cartridges for your home or office printer.

Use paper wisely
Recycling old newspapers is a good thing, but it’s still not the most efficient. You can use paper more creatively like using it to clean up after your pets, or bury it (layered newspaper, covered over with mulch, slowly converts a patch of earth into a bad of prime potting soil - perfect place to plant your geraniums).

Going green you not only save the planet, but also save your pocket.
In next part I will post some creative ideas how to reuse everyday objects. If you have any other good ideas, poste them as a comment.

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