Dr. Magda Havas: “Cherry Picking and Black Swans”

Dr. Magda Havas presents this short video to illustrate the difference between “cherry picking” science and falsification or finding the “black swan”. She writes, “Some scientists are criticized for cherry picking their studies when in fact they are falsifying a hypothesis. Falsification, a concept coined by Sir Karl Popper (philosopher of science), is one of the methods that differentiates science from other forms of acquiring knowledge.”

American Academy of Environmental Medicine calls for a halt to wireless smart meters

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) has adopted a resolution calling for a halt to wireless smart meters.
The text of the resolution is below. (link to AAEM Resolution on letterhead)

This represents the first national physician’s group to look in-depth at wireless health risks; and to advise the public and decision-makers about preventative public health actions that are necessary.

Cindy Sage
Sage Associates

January 19, 2012

Proposed Decision of Commissioner Peevey (Mailed 1/22/2012)                                 BEFORE THE PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA     On the proposed decision 11-03-014

Dear Commissioners:

The Board of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine opposes the installation of wireless “smart meters” in homes and schools based on a scientific assessment of the current medical literature (references available on request).  Chronic exposure to wireless radiofrequency radiation is a preventable environmental hazard that is sufficiently well documented to warrant immediate preventative public health action.

As representatives of physician specialists in the field of environmental medicine, we have an obligation to urge precaution when sufficient scientific and medical evidence suggests health risks which can potentially affect large populations.  The literature raises serious concern regarding the levels of radio frequency (RF – 3 KHz – 300 GHz) or extremely low frequency (ELF – o- 300 Hz) exposures produced by “smart meters” to warrant an immediate and complete moratorium on their use and deployment until further study can be performed.  The board of the American Board of Environmental Medicine wishes to point out that existing FCC guidelines for RF safety that have been used to justify installation of “smart meters” only look at thermal tissue damage and are obsolete, since many modern studies show metabolic and genomic damage from RF and ELF exposures below the level of intensity which heats tissues.  The FCC guidelines are therefore inadequate for use in establishing public health standards.  More modern literature shows medically and biologically significant effects of RF and ELF at lower energy densities.  These effects accumulate over time, which is an important consideration given the chronic nature of exposure from “smart meters”. The current medical literature raises credible questions about genetic and cellular effects, hormonal effects, male fertility, blood/brain barrier damage and increased risk of certain types of cancers from RF or ELF levels similar to those emitted from “smart meters”.  Children are placed at particular risk for altered brain development, and impaired learning and behavior.  Further EMF/RF adds synergistic effects to the damage observed from a range of toxic chemicals.  Given the widespread, chronic and essentially inescapable ELF/RF exposure of everyone living near a “smart meter”,  the Board of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine finds it unacceptable from a public health standpoint to implement this technology until these serious medical concerns are resolved.  We consider a moratorium on installation of wireless “smart meters” to be an issue of the highest importance.

The Board of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine also wishes to note that the US NIEHS National Toxicology Program in 1999 cited radiofrequency radiation as a potential carcinogen.  Existing safety limits for pulsed RF were termed “not protective of public health” by the Radiofrequency Interagency Working Group (a federal interagency working group including the FDA, FCC, OSHA, the EPA and others).  Emissions given off by “smart meters” have been classified by the World Health Organization International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a Possible Human Carcinogen.

Hence, we call for:

•  An immediate moratorium on “smart meter” installation until these serious public
health issues are resolved.  Continuing with their installation would be extremely

•  Modify the revised proposed decision to include hearings on health impact in the
second proceedings, along with cost evaluation and community wide opt-out.

•  Provide immediate relief to those requesting it and restore the analog meters.

Members of the Board
American Academy of Environmental Medicine

Admin note:  The American Academy of Environmental Medicine, founded in 1965, is an international association of physicians and other professionals which “provides research and education in the recognition, treatment and prevention of illnesses induced by exposures to biological and chemical agents encountered in air, food and water.”

Top public health official report: Smart Meters DO pose a health risk!

Santa Cruz County, CA Board of Supervisors directed its public health officer to prepare an analysis of the research on the health effects of Smart Meters in December 2011. Poki Stewart Namkung, M.D. M.P.H., prepared this report: Health Risks Associated With SmartMeters which recognizes:

  • Smart Meters transmit pulsed radiation (RF)  24/7
  • There are evidence-based health risks of RF
  • RF exposure can be cumulative and additive
  • The massive increase in RF public exposures since the mid-1990’s
  • The controversy between independent and industry science, including lack of funding for independent research
  • Evidence to support an Electrical Sensitivity (EHS) diagnosis
  • The public health issue is that Smart Meters are involuntary RF exposures
  • FCC thermal guidelines are irrelevant for non-thermal public exposures.
  • The lack of relevant safety standards for chronic pulsed RF

The report summary calls for more government vigilance towards involuntary RF public exposures because, “…governmental agencies are the only defense against such involuntary exposure.”

The report also provides examples of strategies to reduce RF including minimize cell and cordless phone use, use speakerphone when possible, use wired internet connections, avoid setting a laptop on your lap, and more.

Excerpts:  “The public health issue of concern in regard to SmartMeters is the involuntary exposure of individuals and households to electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation.”

“There are numerous situations in which the distance between the SmartMeters and humans is less than three feet on an ongoing basis, e.g. a SmartMeter mounted on the external wall to a bedroom with the bed placed adjacent to that mounting next to the internal wall. ”

“…SmartMeters emit frequencies almost continuously, day and night, seven days a week.”

“… exposure is additive and consumers may have already increased their exposures to radiofrequency radiation in the home through the voluntary use of wireless devices …It would be impossible to know how close a consumer might be to their limit, making uncertainty with the installation of a mandatory SmartMeter. ”

“… all available, peer-reviewed, scientific research data can be extrapolated to apply to SmartMeters, taking into consideration the magnitude and the intensity of the exposure.”

“Since the mid-1990’s the use of cellular and wireless devices has increased exponentially exposing the public to massively increased levels of RF.”

” It must be noted that there is little basic science funding for this type of research and it is largely funded by industry.”

“…most research carried out by independent non-government or non-industry affiliated researchers suggests potentially serious effects from many non-ionizing radiation exposures, research funded by industry and some governments seems to cast doubt on the potential for harm.”

“Despite this controversy, evidence is accumulating on the results of exposure to RF at non-thermal levels including increased permeability of the blood-brain barrier in the head (Eberhardt, 2008), harmful effects on sperm, double strand breaks in DNA which could lead to cancer genesis (Phillips, 2011), stress gene activation indicating an exposure to a toxin (Blank, 2011), and alterations in brain glucose metabolism (Volkow, 2011). ”

“Currently, research has demonstrated objective evidence to support the EHS diagnosis…”

“Meeting the current FCC guidelines only assures that one should not have heat damage from SmartMeter exposure. It says nothing about safety from the risk of many chronic diseases that the public is most concerned about such as cancer, miscarriage, birth defects, semen quality, autoimmune diseases, etc. Therefore, when it comes to nonthermal effects of RF, FCC guidelines are irrelevant and cannot be used for any claims of SmartMeter safety unless heat damage is involved (Li, 2011). ”

“There are no current, relevant public safety standards for pulsed RF involving chronic exposure of the public, nor of sensitive populations, nor of people with metal and medical implants that can be affected both by localized heating and by electromagnetic interference (EMI) for medical wireless implanted devices.”

“Many other countries have significantly lower RF/MW exposure standards ranging from 0.001 to 50 ~W/cm2 as compared with the US guideline of 200-1 000 ~W/cm2”

“In summary, there is no scientific data to determine if there is a safe RF exposure level regarding its non-thermal effects.”

This is an excellent report and a must read for all public policy decision makers, and especially utility regulators.  Many thanks to Dr. Stewart Namkung, the Santa Cruz Supervisors and to the EMF educators in their area!  Please circulate!

Industry safety assurances unwise

Sage Associates recently published An Assessment of the EPRI Technical Report An Investigation of Radiofrequency Fields Associated With the Itron Smart Meter – Richard Tell Associates, Inc., December, 2010 by Sage Associates, November 11, 2011″

The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) commissioned a report by Richard Tell Associates Inc. that has assessed radiofrequency (RF) emissions from an Itron ‘smart meter’.  The Itron meter is being installed in California by two electric utilities (SCE and SDG&E) and is similar to others being installed by other utilities. EPRI bases its report primarily on field measurements at the Itron meter test farms in southern California and South Carolina, two homes in Downey, CA, a drive-around street test in Downey, CA, and test results from two utilities.

The EPRI report concludes that no violations of current FCC public safety limits are predicted to occur. However, our analysis shows that this conclusion is unsupported and in error, according to the FCC OET Bulletin 65 rules for predicting public exposures.

The EPRI report does not address compliance of multiple meters, at 100% duty cycle (which is required under FCC OET 65 formulas), and our calculations show violations at 60% reflection factor (the lowest level the FCC regulations specify). Multiple meters will also violate FCC OET 65 public safety limits for calculations using 50% to 100% duty cycle at 100% reflection factor, which are reasonable, worst-case assumptions.

The EPRI report provides a generic, best-case assessment of RF emissions since it focuses on ‘typical’ meters rather than a broad range of conditions of location, installation and operation of Itron meters under real-world conditions.  It does not provide a reasonable, worst-case analysis, nor take into account the way in which utilities are actually locating meters in neighborhoods, nor address that the public cannot be excluded from very close proximity to meters on their own homes.

The author says that only approximations of RF exposures for ‘typical’ meters, in ‘common’ installations applying to ‘common’ exposures of individuals, are ‘likely’ to comply with FCC exposure limits. This report ignores meters that are being installed outside these highly limiting parameters, where duty cycles may be far higher, installations within or very close to occupied spaces of a home, and where there may be less shielding and more reflection of building materials that amplify exposures rather than reduce them. Tell discusses many problems with predicting RF emissions and the need for long-term statistical monitoring of matured (read fully deployed and operational) smart meter networks across regions. He says this testing cannot be done today.

Utilities are hoping for the best, and deploying at full speed, regardless of the clear ‘between-the-lines’ warnings, from their own highly regarded expert.

Deploying millions of wireless utility meters on such limited testing and questionable assertions of safety is unwise. Given that RF has recently been classified as a Possible Human Carcinogen, and this wireless utility meter initiative imposes the most extensive RF blanket yet created over every living resident that is electrified, ratepayers and the decision-makers will not know what irretrievable commitments of health and resources have been made until it is too late. Where even the best industry study cannot give more reliable and defensible evidence of compliance with FCC safety limits, public utility commissions should halt the rollout, pending demonstration that RF emissions meet FCC public safety limits under a reasonable worst-case assessment as determined by FCC OET 65 formulas. As a consequence, no positive assertion of safety can be made by the parties involved in this issue, nor are any solid answers provided by this EPRI report.

Dr. Slesin: Cell phone study safety claims: “bias run amuck”

From Dr. Louis Slesin,

The latest analysis of the tumor risks among cell phone users in Denmark and the accompanying editorial brings to mind the old saying: “Trust your mother, but cut the cards.”

Be warned: Before you believe what you are told by the Danish Cancer Society or the Karolinska Institute or what you read in the British Medical Journal, check out the facts for yourself.

As for IARC, there seems to be an internal dispute going on as to whether it should take seriously its own panel’s decision to designate cell phone radiation as a possible cancer agent. It’s not clear what side IARC Director Chris Wild is on.

Read our in-depth report on the latest example of bias run amuck on cell phones and tumors: http://www.microwavenews.com/DanishCohort.html

Wireless microwaves made visible

From a San Francisco Bay Area, California KTVU news special report:

Health and science editor John Fowler investigated wireless health risks stating “the amount of microwave radiation these devices emit is so high- it’s illegal in many countries”.

Dr. Magda Havas, Canadian professor and environmental researcher, measures a family’s home with a microwave sound detector.  Using the sound detector she exposes the microwaves emitted by a cell phone, baby monitor, wi-fi router and a cordless phone.  Health risks mentioned in the video report included “mood disorders, chronic fatigue and even cancer”.

A doubting UC Berkeley physicist, Dr. Richard Muller claims microwaves don’t have enough energy to disrupt “even a molecule”.

Libby Kelley (Electromagnetic Safety Alliance) says, “It’s a crime in progress”…”We need to take action as a nation to protect health.”

Dr. Muller counters that people have always sought something to blame their ills, and “back in the 1600’s it was witches”.

It seems Dr. Muller has not heard about the World Health Organization classification of wireless as a potential carcinogen, or about the recent study by the National Institutes of Health which found cell phone exposure was associated with increased brain glucose metabolism.

Big thanks to KTVU and to editor John Fowler, for this special report!

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.


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