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Apr 19, 2007

Are Mobile Phones Wiping Out Our Bees?
          By Geoffrey Lean and Harriet Shawcross
          The Independent UK
          Sunday 15 April 2007
        Scientists claim radiation from handsets is to blame for mysterious "colony collapse" of bees.
          It seems like the plot of a particularly far-fetched horror film. But some scientists suggest that our love of the mobile phone could cause  massive food shortages, as the world's harvests fail.
          They are putting forward the theory that radiation given off by mobile phones and other hi-tech gadgets is a possible answer to one of the more bizarre mysteries ever to happen in the natural world - the abrupt  disappearance of the bees that pollinate crops. Late last week, some bee-keepers claimed that the phenomenon - which started in the US, then spread to continental Europe - was beginning to hit Britain as well.
          The theory is that radiation from mobile phones interferes with bees' navigation systems, preventing the famously homeloving species from
      finding their way back to their hives. Improbable as it may seem, there is
      now evidence to back this up.
          Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) occurs when a hive's inhabitants
      suddenly disappear, leaving only queens, eggs and a few immature workers,
      like so many apian Mary Celestes. The vanished bees are never found, but
      thought to die singly far from home. The parasites, wildlife and other
      bees that normally raid the honey and pollen left behind when a colony
      dies, refuse to go anywhere near the abandoned hives.
          The alarm was first sounded last autumn, but has now hit half of all
      American states. The West Coast is thought to have lost 60 per cent of its
      commercial bee population, with 70 per cent missing on the East Coast.
          CCD has since spread to Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy
      and Greece. And last week John Chapple, one of London's biggest
      bee-keepers, announced that 23 of his 40 hives have been abruptly
      abandoned.
          Other apiarists have recorded losses in Scotland, Wales and north-west
      England, but the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
      insisted: "There is absolutely no evidence of CCD in the UK."
          The implications of the spread are alarming. Most of the world's crops
      depend on pollination by bees. Albert Einstein once said that if the bees
      disappeared, "man would have only four years of life left".
          No one knows why it is happening. Theories involving mites,
      pesticides, global warming and GM crops have been proposed, but all have
      drawbacks.
          German research has long shown that bees' behaviour changes near power
      lines.
          Now a limited study at Landau University has found that bees refuse to
      return to their hives when mobile phones are placed nearby. Dr Jochen
      Kuhn, who carried it out, said this could provide a "hint" to a possible cause.
          Dr George Carlo, who headed a massive study by the US government and
      mobile phone industry of hazards from mobiles in the Nineties, said: "I am
      convinced the possibility is real."
          The Case Against Handsets
          Evidence of dangers to people from mobile phones is increasing. But
      proof is still lacking, largely because many of the biggest perils, such
      as cancer, take decades to show up.
          Most research on cancer has so far proved inconclusive. But an
      official Finnish study found that people who used the phones for more than
      10 years were 40 per cent more likely to get a brain tumour on the same
      side as they held the handset.
          Equally alarming, blue-chip Swedish research revealed that radiation
      from mobile phones killed off brain cells, suggesting that today's
      teenagers could go senile in the prime of their lives.
          Studies in India and the US have raised the possibility that men who
      use mobile phones heavily have reduced sperm counts. And, more
      prosaically, doctors have identified the condition of "text thumb", a form
      of RSI from constant texting.
          Professor Sir William Stewart, who has headed two official inquiries,
      warned that children under eight should not use mobiles and made a series
      of safety recommendations, largely ignored by ministers.
Visibility: Everyone
Posted: Thursday April 19, 2007, 11:00 pm
Tags: phone bee cell decline raditation [add/edit tags]

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Lori Titus (0)
Friday April 27, 2007, 7:51 pm
No offense meant, but cell phones were the first things that scientists ruled out when testing for causes of CCD.

Now my favorite story is that the bees are going through the honeybee equivalent of the Rapture...

I will be talking about Colony Collapse Disorder in upcoming issues of my email newsletter. If you are interested in subscribing, please visit The Bee Folks at http://www.beefolks.com.

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