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5 Tips to Protect Kids From Cellphone Radiation During Holiday Travel
By Nicole Ferox
If you're traveling this holiday season, chances are your kid will have a device in his or her lap for at least part of the trip.
Don't feel bad. We get it. Traveling with kids is harder than lifting a memory foam mattress.
Anything using a Wi-Fi or cell signal emits some amount of radiation in the form of radiofrequency energy, including smartphones, tablets, Kindles, laptops and smartwatches. The amount of radiation depends on the device and the strength of the signal.
Research from the National Toxicology Program found that lab animals exposed to radiofrequency radiation at levels similar to those emitted by cellphones had a greater likelihood of developing brain cancer and heart tumors. This study offers valuable insight into the potential risk to people, including future exposure to 5G wireless networks.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to reduce the amount of radiation those devices give off and how much your kid is directly exposed to.
1. Get It Out of Your Child's Lap
Make space between the device and your kid's body. Even a few inches make a big difference.
Instead, put the device on a portable lap desk or airplane tray table to keep it from resting on your child's body. (Portable lap desks are easy to find, even in foldable travel versions. As a bonus, they're great for eating and drawing in the car, too.)
Also, teach your kids to carry their cellphone in a backpack or purse—somewhere other than next to their body in a pocket. This is especially important when kids are on a call—phones emit higher radiation when they're transmitting a call or data.
2. Keep Devices in Airplane Mode
This is especially important when the signal is weak or when you're moving—like in a car or train. The harder a device has to work to find a tower, the more radiation it releases. So as you're speeding along, cellphones and cell-enabled tablets are working extra hard to connect with towers along the way, and your kids are getting a bigger dose of radiation. When they're in airplane mode, devices don't send or search for a signal and therefore don't emit radiation.
You can minimize your kids' pushback about this by downloading apps and videos before leaving home so you don't stream them while you travel. Many apps can be played without Wi-Fi or cell signal, and as of this writing, Netflix and Amazon's Prime Video allow users to download TV and movies via their iPhone app.
3. Always Use Headphones or Speaker Mode for Calls
Cellphones emit their highest radiation levels during phone calls, and that level goes up even more when the signal is weak or moving. And because children's small heads and thinner skulls can absorb more radiation, regular cellphone use puts them at increased risk of potentially harmful exposure. Teach kids to use headphones or speaker mode every time they make a call (and put the phone somewhere away from their bodies while they talk, like on a table or arm rest, or in a cup holder).
4. Don't Let Kids Sleep With Their Devices
Kids shouldn't sleep next to their devices, and especially not with them under their pillow. According to Pew Research Center, 90 percent of young adults sleep with their phone in or right next to their bed. Even when they're not being used, cellphones emit a small amount of radiation, and small amounts—of almost anything—can add up to big trouble for children. Plus, there's a ton of research which shows that heavy device use, especially right before bed, messes with our circadian rhythms and ability to fall asleep. And as every parent knows, that's the last thing you want to happen with your kids, especially when you're on your way to a week at Grandma's house.
5. … or Next to the Wi-Fi Router
When you do finally get to Grandma's, don't put the kids' air mattresses next to the router in her office. Scientists don't know what the effects of Wi-Fi are on human health, because most studies, including the research that gave rise to cellphone radiation being classified as a possible carcinogen, have been done on conventional cellphone radiation. But the closer the source of radiation, the more kids will absorb. So some experts recommend placing the router in an area of the house where people spend fairly little time, rather than near beds.
And of course, if you're willing to go all out to help your kids avoid radiation exposure, there's always the radical option of giving the screens a rest and breaking out the markers and drawing paper instead.
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Farms with just one or a handful of different crops encourage fewer species of pollinating and pest-controlling insects to linger, ultimately winnowing away crop yields, according to a new study.
Up to half of the detrimental impacts of the "landscape simplification" that monocropping entails come as a result of a diminished mix of ecosystem service-providing insects, a team of scientists reported Oct. 16 in the journal Science Advances.
Monocrop palm oil plantation Honduras.
SHARE Foundation / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0
"Our study shows that biodiversity is essential to ensure the provision of ecosystem services and to maintain a high and stable agricultural production," Matteo Dainese, the study's lead author and a biologist at Eurac Research in Bolzano, Italy, said in a statement.
It stands to reason that, with declines in the sheer numbers of insects that ferry pollen from plant to plant and keep crop-eating pests under control, these services will wane as well. But until now, it hasn't been clear how monocultures affect the number and mix of these species or how crop yields might change as a result.
Aiming to solve these questions, Dainese and his colleagues pulled together data from 89 studies cutting across a variety of landscapes, from the tropics of Asia and Africa to the higher latitudes of northern Europe. They tabulated the number of pollinating and pest-controlling insects at these sites — both the absolute number of individuals and the number of species — along with an assessment of the ecosystem services the insects provided.
In almost all of the studies they looked at, the team found that a more diverse pool of these species translated into more pollination and greater pest control. They also showed that simplified landscapes supported fewer species of service-providing insects, which ultimately led to lower crop yields.
The researchers also looked at a third measure of the makeup of insect populations — what they called "evenness." In natural ecosystems, a handful of dominant species with many more individuals typically live alongside a higher number of rarer species. The team found as landscapes became less diverse, dominant species numbers dwindled and rare species gained ground. This resulting, more equitable mix led to less pollination (though it didn't end up affecting pest control).
"Our study provides strong empirical support for the potential benefits of new pathways to sustainable agriculture that aim to reconcile the protection of biodiversity and the production of food for increasing human populations," Ingolf Steffan-Dewenter, one of the study's authors and an animal ecologist at the University of Würzburg in Germany, said in the statement.
The scientists figure that the richness of pollinator species explains around a third of the harmful impacts of less diverse landscapes, while the richness of pest-controlling species accounts for about half of the same measure. In their view, the results of their research point to the need to protect biodiversity on and around crops in an uncertain future.
"Under future conditions with ongoing global change and more frequent extreme climate events, the value of farmland biodiversity ensuring resilience against environmental disturbances will become even more important," Steffan-Dewenter said.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Mongabay.
Ivory Coast's rainforests have been decimated by cocoa production and what is left is put in peril by a new law that will remove legal protections for thousands of square miles of forests, according to The Guardian.
By Karin Kirk
Greenland had quite the summer. It rose from peaceful obscurity to global headliner as ice melted so swiftly and massively that many were left grasping for adjectives. Then, Greenland's profile was further boosted, albeit not to its delight, when President Trump expressed interest in buying it, only to be summarily dismissed by the Danish prime minister.
During that time I happened to be in East Greenland, both as an observer of the stark effects of climate change and as a witness to local dialogue about presidential real estate aspirations, polar bear migrations and Greenland's sudden emergence as a trending topic.
Heavy metals that may damage a developing brain are present in 95 percent of baby foods on the market. Cirou Frederic / PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections / Getty Images
Heavy metals that may damage a developing brain are present in 95 percent of baby foods on the market, according to new research from the advocacy organization Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF), which bills itself as an alliance of scientists, nonprofit organizations and donors trying to reduce exposures to neurotoxic chemicals during the first three years of development.
By Kerstin Palme
Creepy-crawlies are among the oldest life forms on this planet. Before dinosaurs ever walked the earth, insects were certainly already there. Some estimates date their origins to 400 million years ago. They're also extremely successful. Of the 7 to 8 million species documented on Earth, around three quarters are likely bugs.
But several insect species could disappear for good in the next few decades and that would have serious consequences for humans.
Volvo introduced its first-ever all-electric vehicle this week, kicking off an ambitious plan to slash emissions and phase out solely gas-powered vehicles starting this year.
The report, released Wednesday, found that almost every European who lives in a city is exposed to unhealthy air, Reuters reported.