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ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUE By Joseph Andresen, MD It’s hard to believe. It seems that summer has come and gone in the blink of an eye. Those long sun-soaked days, family vacations, and pleasant memories now recede as the cool and crisp mornings of fall are upon us. I would like to take this opportunity to give special recognition to Dr. Cindy Russell. I’ve known Dr. Russell for the past two decades. She is a caring and dedicated surgeon. Her commitment to her patients, family, and our community is boundless. I will never forget the evening that our three-year-old son fell in the bathtub and had a deep cut over his eye, just before my wife and I planned to leave for the theater. Within minutes of my phone call, Dr. Russell was at our front door, then reassuring David as she put a stitch in his wound while he lay quietly on our family room couch. I still can’t believe that he didn’t protest a bit, but as I said, Dr. Russell is a pretty special doctor. Dr. Russell has had a longstanding interest in the environment and giving back in any way that she can. She is currently the Vice-President of Community Health, Chair of the Environmental Health Committee, and a CMA Delegate with the Santa Clara County Medical Association. This month’s issue highlights her contributions in a series of articles that we all will find informative, concerning, and, hopefully, moved to take action. What sustains you? How can we best motivate ourselves and others to improve our community and environment? Where is the largest incidence of workrelated asthma in the United States? If you guessed hospitals, you are correct!

How best to handle and reduce red bag waste? What are the consequences of pharmaceutical waste? Why shop with EPEAT? What are some of the new cleaning strategies that are effective and less toxic? Dr. Russell’s article “Creating a Healthier and Greener Medical Office: Saving Green by Going Green,” presents a cogent and convincing discussion of these topics. Joel Kreisberg, DC, MA, founder of the Teleosis Institute, is a wellrespected authority on the environment and medicine. In his articles, “The 4 Ts: Assessing Exposure to Multiple Chemicals” and “Green Pharmacy: Preventing Pollution,” we recognize the importance of production, proper handling, and disposal of medications to reduce undesired consequences in our environment. Any discussion of our changing environment and health issues would not be complete without the topic of cell phones and Wi-Fi. Of course, we must understand the current RF-EMF (Radio FrequencyElectromagnetic Frequency) standards and what they do not measure. Sunlight is something to which we all can relate. It is a natural form of electromagnetic radiation observed since the beginning of human existence. Humans produced microwaves and radio waves for the first time in 1886. What have we learned from the Bioinitiative Report? What is the latest on the safety of cell phone use, especially for those under the age of 20? What do we know about cellular function, risk of tumors, the immune system, the bloodbrain barrier, DNA, memory effects, neurological symptoms, and EMF?

Joseph Andresen, MD is the editor of The Bulletin. He is board certified in anesthesiology and is currently practicing in the Santa Clara valley area. Do you know your cell phone’s SAR (Specific Absorption Rate) level? What do Switzerland, Italy, and Russia have in common? All have imposed much lower RF limits than the U.S. The EU has adopted the “Precautionary Principle:” “When there are indications of possible adverse effects, though they remain uncertain, the risks from doing nothing may be far greater than the risks of taking action to control these exposures.” Should we do the same? How do we advise our patients? These are all important questions. Thanks to Dr. Russell’s very comprehensive article, “Why Fi: Is Wireless Communication Hazardous to Your Health?” we can discuss and answer many of the questions raised above. We now have a much better understanding of the potential risks of the electronic conveniences of our daily lives and a strategy to live with them. As I sit here with my laptop, typing this column, sitting a few feet from my Internet router with my cell phone in my pocket, I now realize that we all should have a renewed respect and awareness for our modern electronic environment. I hope you find these topics and discussions as informative and important as I have. Please share your thoughts and join us in this important dialog.


Profile for SCCMA/MCMS

2010 September/October  

2010 September/October  

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