Australia Smart Meter Forum: Wireless effects on health

From Stop Smart Meters Australia: “Nicole Bijlsma, author of Healthy Home, Healthy Family, a Building Biologistand founder of the Australian College of Environmental Studies, presented a moving account of the effects of increased electromagnetic radiation levels on the population and, in particular, on children. She said that our children are the “canaries in the mine”. Nicole pointed to overseas standards for radio frequency emissions which have been set at a fraction of our standards. She called for urgent action on smart meters, saying that smart meter emissions affect the population in their home, the one place in which children were able to rest and should be safe. Nicole said that already 30,000 papers have been produced on electromagnetic radiation in the last 30 years. “By the time the data is available [on smart meter effects], it may be too late.”

Harvard doctor warns against wireless hazards

The following is a letter sent to the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) from Martha R. Herbert, PhD, MD regarding wireless installations in LA schools.

TO: Los Angeles Unified School District
FROM: Martha R Herbert, PhD, MD
RE: Wireless vs. Wired in Classrooms
DATE: February 8, 2013
 

I am a pediatric neurologist and neuroscientist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and on staff at the Massachusetts General Hospital. I am Board Certified in Neurology with Special Competency in Child Neurology, and Subspecialty Certification in Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

I have an extensive history of research and clinical practice in neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly autism spectrum disorders. I have published papers in brain imaging research, in physiological abnormalities in autism spectrum disorders, and in environmental influences on neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and on brain development and function.

I recently accepted an invitation to review literature pertinent to a potential link between Autism Spectrum Disorders and Electromagnetic Frequencies (EMF) and Radiofrequency Radiation (RFR). I set out to write a paper of modest length, but found much more literature than I had anticipated to review. I ended up producing a 60 page single spaced paper with over 550 citations. It is available at http://www.bioinitiative.org/report/wp-content/uploads/pdfs/sec20_2012_Findings_in_Autism.pdf.

In fact, there are thousands of papers that have accumulated over decades – and are now accumulating at an accelerating pace, as our ability to measure impacts become more sensitive – that document adverse health and neurological impacts of EMF/RFR. Children are more vulnerable than adults, and children with chronic illnesses and/or neurodevelopmental disabilities are even more vulnerable. Elderly or chronically ill adults are more vulnerable than healthy adults.

Current technologies were designed and promulgated without taking account of biological impacts other than thermal impacts. We now know that there are a large array of impacts that have nothing to do with the heating of tissue. The claim from wifi proponents that the only concern is thermal impacts is now definitively outdated scientifically.

EMF/RFR from wifi and cell towers can exert a disorganizing effect on the ability to learn and remember, and can also be destabilizing to immune and metabolic function. This will make it harder for some children to learn, particularly those who are already having problems in the first place.

Powerful industrial entities have a vested interest in leading the public to believe that EMF/RFR, which we cannot see, taste or touch, is harmless, but this is not true. Please do the right and precautionary thing for our children.

I urge you to step back from your intention to go wifi in the LAUSD, and instead opt for wired technologies, particularly for those subpopulations that are most sensitive. It will be easier for you to make a healthier decision now than to undo a misguided decision later.

Thank you.

Martha Herbert, PhD, MD
Pediatric Neurology
Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging
Massachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School
Boston, Massachusetts
USA
 

Click here for Dr. Herbert’s letter:Harvard MD on Wi-Fi Health Effects

BioInitiative 2012 Report: new urgent warnings on wireless and EMF public health risks

A new updated BioInitiative 2012 Report  says that evidence for risks to health has substantially increased since 2007 from electromagnetic fields (EMF) and wireless technologies/radiofrequency radiation (RFR).  The report reviews over 1800 new scientific studies and includes 29 independent science and medical experts from around the world.  Cell phone users, parents-to-be, young children and pregnant women are at particular risk.

Summary of Key Scientific Evidence:

  • Evidence for Damage to Sperm and Reproduction
  • Evidence that Children are More Vulnerable
  • Evidence for Fetal and Neonatal Effects
  • Evidence for Effects on Autism (Autism Spectrum Disorders)
  • Evidence for Electrohypersensitivity
  • Evidence for Effects from Cell Tower-Level RFR Exposures
  • Evidence for Effects on the Blood-brain Barrier
  • Evidence for Effects on Brain Tumors
  • Evidence for Effects on Genes (Genotoxicity)
  • Evidence for Effects on the Nervous System (Neurotoxicity)
  • Evidence for Effects on Cancer (Childhood Leukemia, Adult Cancers)
  • Melatonin, Breast Cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Stress, Stress Proteins and DNA as a Fractal Antenna
  • Effects of Weak-Field Interactions on Non-Linear Biological Oscillators and Synchronized Neural Activity

Cell and cordless phones linked to cancer

Lennart Hardell, MD at Orebro University, Sweden says, “There is a consistent pattern of increased risk for glioma (a malignant brain tumor) and acoustic neuroma with use of mobile and cordless phones.” He further states:

“Epidemiological evidence shows that radiofrequency should be classified as a human carcinogen. The existing FCC/IEEE and ICNIRP public safety limits and reference levels are not adequate to protect public health.”

A dozen new studies link cell phone radiation to sperm damage. Even a cell phone in the pocket or on a belt may harm sperm DNA, result in misshapen sperm, and impair fertility in men. Laptop computers with wireless internet connections can damage DNA in sperm.

Based on strong evidence for vulnerable biology in autism, EMF/RFR can plausibly increase autism risk and symptoms. ” While we aggressively investigate the links between autism disorders and wireless technologies, we should minimize wireless and EMF exposures for people with autism disorders, children of all ages, people planning a baby, and during pregnancy,” says Martha Herbert, MD, PhD.

Wireless devices such as phones and laptops used by pregnant women may alter brain development of the fetus. This has been linked in both animal and human studies to hyperactivity, learning and behavior problems.

There is more evidence than we need

“The last five years worth of new scientific studies tell us the situation is much worse than in 2007 and yet people around the world have so much more daily exposure than even five years ago. Exposures are linked to a variety of adverse health outcomes that may have significant public health consequences.” (Editor’s notes)

“There is now much more evidence of risks to health affecting billions of people world-wide. The status quo is not acceptable in light of the evidence for harm.” David O. Carpenter, MD, co-editor Bioinitiative 2012 Report.

This study covers EMF from powerlines, electrical wiring, appliances and hand-held devices; and from wireless technologies (cell and cordless phones, cell towers, ‘smart meters’, WI-FI, wireless laptops, wireless routers, baby monitors, and other electronic devices).  Health topics include damage to DNA and genes, effects on memory, learning, behavior, attention, sleep disruption, cancer and neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. New safety standards are urgently needed for protection against EMF and wireless exposures that now appear everywhere in daily life.

A new suggested RFR precautionary level

A reduction from the BioInitiative 2007 recommendation of 0.1 uW/cm2 for cumulative outdoor pulsed RFR down to something three orders of magnitude lower is justified in 2012 on a public health basis. A precautionary action level of 0.0003 uW/cm2 to 0.0006 uW/cm2 is suggested.

Applying a ten-fold reduction to the ‘effects level’ reported in short-term studies or studies on adults is intended to compensate for the lack of long-term exposure in a particular study, or to adjust for using adult studies in considering children as a sensitive subpopulation.

We hold their future in our hands

Acknowledgements for the report go to the “many independent scientists, researchers and experts who have labored, some for decades – many of whom are no longer with us – to bring this body of science into the public arena.”

Cindy Sage, Co-Editor of the report extends gratitude to her husband and family and “to Avery, Drake, Ford, Jenner, Luke, Solei, and all the children whose trusting faces remind us that we hold their future in our hands.” 

Maternal Exposure to Magnetic Fields During Pregnancy in Relation to the Risk of Asthma in Offspring

The conclusions of the Li et al paper support an association between a mother’s magnetic field (MF) exposure during pregnancy and asthma in children born to those mothers. Here are some of the conclusions of the study.

“Our findings provide new epidemiological evidence that high maternal MF levels in pregnancy may increase the risk of asthma in offspring.” Children born to mothers who had a median daily MF exposure during pregnancy between 0.3 milligauss (mG) and 2 mG had a 74% increased risk of asthma.  Children born to mothers who had a median daily EMF exposure during pregnancy over a 2 mG EMF had a 3.5-fold increased risk (a 350% increased risk) of asthma.

This study shows a statistically significant increased risk for asthma.  Every 1 mG increase of maternal EMF level was associated with a 15% increased risk of asthma in the child. 1.15; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.04- 1.27).  A dose-response is shown for increasing maternal MF during pregnancy and asthma in the off-spring.

Comments

This study is one more that underscores the importance of limiting exposures to elevated magnetic field (EMF) during pregnancy.   There are so many studies that now document EMF exposures (using the all-inclusive EMF to cover both ELF-EMF and RF) to be potentially neurotoxic and genotoxic, we should actively be limiting indiscriminate and persistent exposure of families and their children to avoidable EMF.

Li et al previously published a study linking miscarriage to intermittent ELF-EMF exposures of 16 mG.  A few years ago, Divan et al reported that maternal use of a cell phone during pregnancy was associated with increased risk of behavioral and learning problems in children of these mothers by the time the child was in primary school. Whether it is the ELF-EMF component, or the RF component of cell phone exposures isn’t known (it may be one or both). Whether it is a function of the exposure level on the fetus in-utero, or something about the mothers’ immune status as affected by the cell phone emissions is not known either. Johansson has published extensively on EMF/RF effects on the immune system.

Sage and Johansson published a paper in Bioelectromagnetics showing that cell phones and PDAs can produce excessively high ELF-EMF exposures when worn in the ON mode (on a belt, in a pocket, close to the body). These exposures were on the order of tens to hundreds of milligauss.  Since the study did not discriminate between magnetic field exposure (EMF) and the possible presence of ‘dirty electricity’, (which Sam Milham and Magda Havas have reported to be associated with asthma in children), dirty electricity’ may be an important but unmeasured factor here. Future studies really need to address the ‘dirty electricity’ component of EMF.

Both ELF-EMF and RF are now classified as possible human carcinogens by the WHO IARC.

People need better information on EMF and health risks, so they can make educated choices about limiting exposures, if they wish to.  People also need better informed decision-makers when it comes to new technologies that emit ELF and RF on a persistent and repetitive basis, so entire communities are not exposed to involuntary EMF exposures in daily life. There is more than sufficient evidence now to actively review where such exposures come from, what the alternatives are, and commonsense ways to improve the living environment (homes, schools, offices, healthcare facilities, etc) by making more informed choices.

Cindy Sage

[Cindy Sage, MA is the Science and Public Policy Advisor for the EMF Safety Network, Co-Editor Bioinitiative Report http://www.sageassociates.net/]

European Resolution Calls on Governments to Reduce EMF

PACE calls on governments to ‘take all reasonable measures’ to reduce exposure to electromagnetic fields

May 27, 2011

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), meeting in Kyiv at Standing Committee level, today called on European governments to “take all reasonable measures” to reduce exposure to electromagnetic fields, especially to radio frequencies from mobile phones, “and particularly the exposure to children and young people who seem to be most at risk from head tumours”.

According to parliamentarians, governments should “for children in general, and particularly in schools and classrooms, give preference to wired Internet connections, and strictly regulate the use of mobile phones by schoolchildren on school premises”, and put in place information and awareness-raising campaigns on the risks of potentially harmful long-term biological effects on the environment and on human health, especially “targeting children, teenagers and young people of reproductive age”.

Following the proposals of the rapporteur (Jean Huss, Luxembourg, SOC), the Assembly called on governments to provide information on potential health risks of DECT-type wireless telephones, baby monitors and other domestic appliances which emit continuous pulse waves, if all electrical equipment is left permanently on standby. They should, instead, recommend “the use of wired, fixed telephones at home or, failing that, models which do not permanently emit pulse waves”.

Governments should “reconsider the scientific basis for the present electromagnetic fields exposure standards set by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection, “which have serious limitations” and apply as low as reasonably achievable (ALARA) principles.

The adopted resolution underlines the fact that “the precautionary principle should be applicable when scientific evaluation does not allow the risk to be determined with sufficient certainty” and stresses that “the issue of independence and credibility of scientific expertise is crucial” to achieve a transparent and balanced assessment of potential negative impacts on the environment and human health.

The potential dangers of electromagnetic fields and their effect on the environment

Resolution 1815 (2011)1
Parliamentary Assembly, Council of Europe

1. The Parliamentary Assembly has repeatedly stressed the importance of states’ commitment to preserving the environment and environmental health, as set out in many charters, conventions, declarations and protocols since the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment and the Stockholm Declaration (Stockholm, 1972). The Assembly refers to its past work in this field, namely Recommendation 1863 (2009) on environment and health, Recommendation 1947 (2010) on noise and light pollution, and more generally, Recommendation 1885 (2009) on drafting an additional protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights concerning the right to a healthy environment and Recommendation 1430 (1999) on access to information, public participation in environmental decision-making and access to justice – implementation of the Aarhus Convention.

2. The potential health effects of the very low frequency of electromagnetic fields surrounding power lines and electrical devices are the subject of ongoing research and a significant amount of public debate. According to the World Health Organisation, electromagnetic fields of all frequencies represent one of the most common and fastest growing environmental influences, about which anxiety and speculation are spreading. All populations are now exposed to varying degrees of to electromagnetic fields, the levels of which will continue to increase as technology advances.

3. Mobile telephony has become commonplace around the world. This wireless technology relies upon an extensive network of fixed antennas, or base stations, relaying information with radio frequency signals. Over 1.4 million base stations exist worldwide and the number is increasing significantly with the introduction of third generation technology. Other wireless networks that allow high-speed internet access and services, such as wireless local area networks, are also increasingly common in homes, offices and many public areas (airports, schools, residential and urban areas). As the number of base stations and local wireless networks increases, so does the radio frequency exposure of the population.

4. While electrical and electromagnetic fields in certain frequency bands have wholly beneficial effects which are applied in medicine, other non-ionising frequencies, be they sourced from extremely low frequencies, power lines or certain high frequency waves used in the fields of radar, telecommunications and mobile telephony, appear to have more or less potentially harmful, non-thermal, biological effects on plants, insects and animals as well as the human body even when exposed to levels that are below the official threshold values.

5. As regards standards or threshold values for emissions of electromagnetic fields of all types and frequencies, the Assembly recommends that the ALARA or “as low as reasonably achievable” principle is applied, covering both the so-called thermal effects and the athermic or biological effects of electromagnetic emissions or radiation. Moreover, the precautionary principle should be applicable when scientific evaluation does not allow the risk to be determined with sufficient certainty, especially given the context of growing exposure of the population, including particularly vulnerable groups such as young people and children, which could lead to extremely high human and economic costs of inaction if early warnings are neglected.

6. The Assembly regrets that, despite calls for the respect of the precautionary principle and despite all the recommendations, declarations and a number of statutory and legislative advances, there is still a lack of reaction to known or emerging environmental and health risks and virtually systematic delays in adopting and implementing effective preventive measures. Waiting for high levels of scientific and clinical proof before taking action to prevent well-known risks can lead to very high health and economic costs, as was the case with asbestos, leaded petrol and tobacco.

7. Moreover, the Assembly notes that the problem of electromagnetic fields or waves and the potential consequences for the environment and health has clear parallels with other current issues, such as the licensing of medication, chemicals, pesticides, heavy metals or genetically modified organisms. It therefore highlights that the issue of independence and credibility of scientific expertise is crucial to accomplish a transparent and balanced assessment of potential negative impacts on the environment and human health.

8. In light of the above considerations, the Assembly recommends that the member states of the Council of Europe:

8.1. in general terms:

8.1.1. take all reasonable measures to reduce exposure to electromagnetic fields, especially to radio frequencies from mobile phones, and particularly the exposure to children and young people who seem to be most at risk from head tumours;

8.1.2. reconsider the scientific basis for the present electromagnetic fields exposure standards set by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection, which have serious limitations and apply “as low as reasonably achievable” (ALARA) principles, covering both thermal effects and the athermic or biological effects of electromagnetic emissions or radiation;

8.1.3. put in place information and awareness-raising campaigns on the risks of potentially harmful long-term biological effects on the environment and on human health, especially targeting children, teenagers and young people of reproductive age;

8.1.4. pay particular attention to “electrosensitive” persons suffering from a syndrome of intolerance to electromagnetic fields and introduce special measures to protect them, including the creation of wave-free areas not covered by the wireless network;

8.1.5. in order to reduce costs, save energy, and protect the environment and human health, step up research on new types of antennas and mobile phone and DECT-type devices, and encourage research to develop telecommunication based on other technologies which are just as efficient but have less negative effects on the environment and health;

8.2. concerning the private use of mobile phones, DECT phones, WiFi, WLAN and WIMAX for computers and other wireless devices such as baby phones:

8.2.1. set preventive thresholds for levels of long-term exposure to microwaves in all indoor areas, in accordance with the precautionary principle, not exceeding 0.6 volts per metre, and in the medium term to reduce it to 0.2 volts per metre;

8.2.2. undertake appropriate risk-assessment procedures for all new types of device prior to licensing;

8.2.3. introduce clear labelling indicating the presence of microwaves or electromagnetic fields, the transmitting power or the specific absorption rate (SAR) of the device and any health risks connected with its use;

8.2.4. raise awareness on potential health risks of DECT-type wireless telephones, baby monitors and other domestic appliances which emit continuous pulse waves, if all electrical equipment is left permanently on standby, and recommend the use of wired, fixed telephones at home or, failing that, models which do not permanently emit pulse waves;

8.3. concerning the protection of children:

8.3.1. develop within different ministries (education, environment and health) targeted information campaigns aimed at teachers, parents and children to alert them to the specific risks of early, ill-considered and prolonged use of mobiles and other devices emitting microwaves;

8.3.2. for children in general, and particularly in schools and classrooms, give preference to wired Internet connections, and strictly regulate the use of mobile phones by schoolchildren on school premises;

8.4. concerning the planning of electric power lines and relay antenna base stations:

8.4.1. introduce town planning measures to keep high-voltage power lines and other electric installations at a safe distance from dwellings;

8.4.2. apply strict safety standards for sound electric systems in new dwellings;

8.4.3. reduce threshold values for relay antennas in accordance with the ALARA principle and install systems for comprehensive and continuous monitoring of all antennas;

8.4.4. determine the sites of any new GSM, UMTS, WiFi or WIMAX antennas not solely according to the operators’ interests but in consultation with local and regional government officials, local residents and associations of concerned citizens;

8.5. concerning risk assessment and precautions:

8.5.1. make risk assessment more prevention oriented;

8.5.2. improve risk-assessment standards and quality by creating a standard risk scale, making the indication of the risk level mandatory, commissioning several risk hypotheses and considering compatibility with real life conditions;

8.5.3. pay heed to and protect “early warning” scientists;

8.5.4. formulate a human rights oriented definition of the precautionary and ALARA principles;

8.5.5. increase public funding of independent research, inter alia through grants from industry and taxation of products which are the subject of public research studies to evaluate health risks;

8.5.6. create independent commissions for the allocation of public funds;

8.5.7. make the transparency of lobby groups mandatory;

8.5.8. promote pluralist and contradictory debates between all stakeholders, including civil society (Aarhus Convention).

1 Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 27 May 2011 (see Doc. 12608, report of the Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs, rapporteur: Mr Huss).

Smart Meter Opt-In Left Out

by Judy Vick, M.S., L.M.F.T.

There should have been a customer “opt-in” to the PG&E wireless smart meter program when it was originally proposed as a primarily wired program in 2006 for 1.7   billion ratepayer dollars.  Or perhaps when PG&E switched the smart meter program to wireless in 2009, when they came back to request an additional half billion dollars of ratepayer money.

A 2008 report by San Francisco Environment and the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, cautioned that the plan to equip homes with so-called smart meters should be put off until the gadgets are proven to save money for ratepayers and be safe for the environment, echoing the criticism of reports across the country on smart meters, which said the meters’ savings don’t outweigh the costs.  The report recommended PG&E first employ a pilot program of 300,000 to 500,000 test homes.

But instead, PG&E rushed ahead and “deployed” mandatory installation of wireless smart meters for all customers, regardless of the fact that wireless smart meters are not mandated by the federal government and are not a requirement of a smart grid.

Author Orlean Koehle, a prominent Republican in northern California, researched the utility companies claim that they are following federal law by mandating these installations, but when she consulted a lawyer, she found that was not the case. “Upon reading the bill (2005 Energy Policy Act), it does not mandate utility companies to install smart meters in homes; they are only to offer them and install them upon customer request,” Koehle said as she read from the lawyer’s response.

Ratepayers have now paid billions of dollars for the wireless smart meter program, money they can ill afford in this economy. And they are paying in more ways than one, with their health and wellbeing, their property, safety, and security.

The number of California local governments that oppose the smart meter program are steadily growing—40 and counting.  Thirteen of these governments passed ordinances and local laws banning the meters.  You have to stop and ask yourself—why is there so much resistance across California and in other states and countries over a simple utility meter?

First, smart meters don’t save energy. People save energy.  The results promised by PG&E have never been demonstrated in any test or actual program done in the country.  Consumer organizations such as Public Citizen, The California Public Utilities Commission Division of Ratepayer Advocates, and the Consumer Law Center have refuted PG&E’s consumer benefit claims.  Public Citizen launched a national campaign to expose the faulty assumption that smart meters will save energy.  Instead, Public Citizen’s analysis of the program found that smart meter installations have thus far prioritized utility budget efficiency, profiting utility companies, not household budget efficiency.  “Pouring through utility dockets, utilities make it clear that the vast majority of projected savings from smart meters is from laying off utility workers—and not from consumers’ lowering their energy use and bills. Utilities highlight savings from remote disconnection—mainly for nonpayment. This raises serious consumer safety and health issues.”  For this, people are paying double and triple what they used to pay for energy.  And people and businesses who are unfortunate enough to not be able to avoid using energy at peak times, pay more for energy than those who do not. Residents of Bakersfield filed a class action lawsuit for excessive billing from wireless smart meters after they were installed.

Mark Toney, Executive Director of the Utility Reform Network (TURN), exposed the fact that utility companies’ critical peak pricing includes a 10 fold increase in cost for energy use during heat waves.  He noted that many people die every year from heat, more than other natural disasters.  How many more people will be at risk, not using energy during heat waves for fear of excessive energy bills?

Adding insult to injury, in addition to the program not delivering on promised benefits, electrical fires, appliance damage, and interference with existing household electrical systems have been reported from smart meter installations.  And a government report revealed that the smart meter system will be easy for hackers to remotely shut off power and cause widespread outages.  The security weaknesses could also allow hackers to snoop on customers and steal data.  A paper out of the University of Cambridge highlights privacy concerns from smart meters as well as security risks caused by linking home-area networks from smart meters.

But at the forefront of the heightened resistance to the wireless smart meter program, is the fact that people are getting sick.  There is regular testimony at the California Public Utility Commission from people who report injuries from wireless smart meters and are demanding an end to the smart meter program.  For every person testifying at the CPUC, there are many others writing the CPUC and their elected officials for help.  You can read personal account after personal account on emfsafetynetwork.org.  Many of these people have never been activists, but are getting involved to protect themselves, their families, and their communities. They are spending their personal time attending city council and county board meetings, walking neighborhoods, writing letters to their elected officials, going on local radio and television stations to try to stop this harmful program.  Those who are especially dedicated are physically blocking contractors from installing the wireless meters and devising ways to prohibit their analog meters from being removed from their property.  Meanwhile, PG&E airs radio spots promoting the benefits of the meters and continues installations at a rapid pace.

There are significant and unnecessary health problems from wireless smart meters identified by dozens of scientists. The microwave radiation (also referred to as electromagnetic radiation, emf, and radiofrequency radiation) emitted from the meters is harmful to health, causes DNA breakages and a myriad of symptoms. Our bodies are bio-electric, as measured by EKGs and EEGs. Interference from microwave radiation can alter the electrical activity which regulates the function of our hearts, brains and other organs. Heart rhythm disturbance, sleep disruption, and headache are some of the common symptoms.

Additionally, 3-5 % of the population is considered electrically hyper-sensitive and 30-35% of the population is moderately sensitive.  In Sweden, electrohypersensitivity (EHS) is an offically fully recognized functional impairment.  Electromagnetic radiation also interferes with sensitive medical equipment and medical implant devices.  8-10% of the population have medical implant devices, such as insulin pumps, cochlear implants and heart pacemakers.

The Seletun Scientific Statement (2011) recommends that global governments adopt new exposure guidelines for electromagnetic radiation—pointing to biological hazards and risks to the genetic code from unchecked proliferation of wireless technologies.  The recommendation is based on scientific studies reporting health impacts at much lower exposure levels.  Many researchers now believe the existing safety limits are inadequate to protect public health because they do not consider prolonged exposure to lower emission levels that are now widespread.

Other countries have recognized the problem of emf exposure from wireless technology and are returning to wired systems.  The European Environment Agency, an agency of the European Union that advises 32 countries on public policy, is calling for lowering public exposure to electromagnetic fields: “Waiting for high levels of proof before taking action to prevent well known risks can lead to very high health and economic costs, as it did with asbestos, leaded petrol and smoking.”

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) recently acknowledged health effects from low level, “non-thermal (non-heating)” emf exposure: “CDPH suggests further review of the literature on non-thermal effects, which is complicated and controversial, but does not support a claim of no non-thermal health effects from radio frequency electromagnetic fields.”

Daniel Hirsch, Professor of Nuclear Policy at University of California, explains that the whole body cumulative radiation exposure from wireless smart meters is 100X more than cell phone exposure.  He adds that the wireless smart meter program deployment “is a large experiment on a very large population.”

The problem with the wireless smart meter individual opt-out, is that it does little in the real world to protect public health, unless most of us opt-out.  Wireless smart meters are mounted in close proximity to our every day lives, attached to our homes and businesses, and places where we spend a lot of our time.  Many people report their utility meter is mounted on the exterior side of their bedroom wall, and often in places easily accessed by children.  Wireless smart meters emit electromagnetic pulses for more than a mile in every direction, and the signals go through walls and our bodies.  If you choose to opt-out—but your neighbor doesn’t, you are still exposed.  If you opt-out but you live in a condo, and share a wall that mounts 15 smart meters for your condo neighbors, how can you protect yourself and your family?  If you opt-out, but live by a smart grid repeater station for your neighborhood, you can do little to reduce your exposure.  In addition, we are experiencing a growing accumulation of electromagnetic radiation in our environment from cell towers, wifi, cell phones, electronic equipment, etc.

The CPUC chose to exempt the wireless smart meter program from an environmental impact report, the type of review that is usually required of such a massive state-wide program.  So the burden of proof regarding harm has shifted to the consumer.  But it shouldn’t be.  The CPUC needs to take responsibility to protect consumers and our environment now, by calling for independent testing and evaluation of the wireless smart meter and the smart grid.  In the meantime, there should be a moratorium on any further installation of wireless smart meters from any utility company (smart meters are planned for water, gas and electric meters), until PG&E can prove the wireless meters are safe.  And we should demand evidentiary hearings on wireless smart meters

As it is proposed, the PG&E Opt-Out plan is a $270 up-front fee to opt out, a $14 monthly surcharge and a yet-to-be determined “exit fee” if you move.   The opt-out costs are prohibitive for many individuals and families, which is PG&E’s intention, to try to stop the widespread and growing opposition to the wireless smart meter program.

Enough.  Ratepayers should not be penalized for the failure of the smart meter program.  It is PG$E’s turn to pay.  PG&E should restore analog meters at no cost to customers.  Consider that PG&E has profited from customers who have paid twice and three times their regular energy bills since their wireless smart meters were installed, and from laying off meter readers.  Additionally, PG&E should be required to pay reparations to ratepayer-victims who suffered ill health, fires, explosions, damage to existing electronics and/or theft of personal information due to forced smart meter installation.

See EMF Safety Network protest filing.

PG&E just announced a compromise that will be filed with the California Public Utilities Commission 4/26/11.  It is an agreement to honor customers who do not already have a smart meter and request one not be installed, until the California Public Utilities Commission has clearly defined the final opt-out plan and has allowed you time to opt out.   You need to call PG&E at 1-866-743-0263 to request that PG&E not install a smart meter.  The CPUC could take 5 months or more to finalize an opt-out program.  After the opt-out program is in place, PG&E will contact you to determine whether you still want to opt-out, given the final opt-out plan.

Customers who still have an analog meter, should be able to keep it at no charge. There should be no additional monthly fees to have an analog meter. PG&E can estimate usage based on the prior year, or customers can self-read and report monthly by phone or email. A meter reader can check twice a year so that any underage or overage can be adjusted. Or, meter readers should keep their jobs and let them continue to read meters.

It took a long time to make the connection between cigarettes and lung cancer, with the tobacco industry obstructing the truth. We should not make the same mistake again.

Email California Public Utilities Commission

This article originally appeared in the SLO Coast Journal

Judy Vick is the EMF Safety Network representative for San Luis Obispo County. She has a master of science degree in psychology from California Polytechnic State University, and has worked as a licensed psychotherapist in public service for 15 years. Since 2005, she has led community efforts to stop installation of cell tower projects planned for neighborhoods in San Luis Obispo County. She has trained with Wellstone Action and EMILY’s List on grassroots campaign strategies. As a delegate to the CA Democratic State Convention, she personally appealed to former President Bill Clinton on the public health hazards of electromagnetic radiation (EMF). Currently, as the EMF Safety Network Representative for San Luis Obispo County, she is leading the public education campaign on wireless smart meters. As a result, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors and the SLO County Health Commission voted unanimously to oppose the installation of smart meters in SLO County, until the public has viable opt out options.

Audio, Video and Books

“Health Effects of Electromagnetic Fields” SF Nov. 18 2010 Conference videos

Ecological Options Network Smart Meter Videos

Former telecom officer rams tank into a cell tower

 A Cell Tower Lament for the Earth

16:9 News Investigation: Wi-Fi

2009 Stavanger Norway Conference on EMF- videos

Cindy Sage:  Bioinitiative Report Video

Dr. Magda Havas: Cell Phones & Cigarettes: What do they have in Common?

Dr. Magda Havas: Cell/Transmission Towers & Your Health

Dr. Martin Blank:Electromagnetic Fields and Health Risk 

Electromagnetic Health.org  Audio interviews: “Listen to the Experts” 

The Council on Wireless Technology Impacts presents:  Public Exposure part 1  Public Exposure part 2 

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 SNAFU Videos: Bad Reception: The Wireless Revolution in San Francisco (Opening Montage/Preview) purchase here

Anti Cell Phone Antenna Demonstration, San Francisco

San Francisco Residents Take on the Cell Phone Industry

Matt Gonzalez Takes on the Cell Phone Industry

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Explosion in Brain Tumors and the truth about wireless: VIDEO

Dr. Mercola: “Does a cell phone’s radiation effect stop when the call ends”

Is it a real or a fake Saguaro Cactus?  Cell Phone Towers

Cell Phone Antennas Blamed for Kindergarten Cancer Cases

Books:

Dr. Devra Davis  Disconnect:The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide it, and How to Protect Your Family

Blake Levitt

Samuel Milham MD MPH Dirty Electricity: Electrification and the Diseases of Civilization

more books: Less EMF