Health Effects From Smart Meters? Utility Industry Gets a Free Pass from the FCC

The many letters submitted in response to last January’s (2011) flawed CCST report on “smart” meters are a good place to look if one wants to hear different perspectives regarding the health effects from “smart” meters. However, one soon sees, it is not really a debate of different views of science but rather between science and special interests doing their best to obfuscate or deny science.

Almost every letter in favor of “smart” meters was written by someone with financial ties to the industry, including one written by an engineer, whose name I recognized, who is often brought in by the City of Irvine or the wireless companies, to counter citizens’ concerns about cell towers. If there is any convincing evidence that this radiation is safe, I’m sure we would all be happy to see it.

What I encounter from the three utility companies’ letters, for example, is a kind of brute force disregard for the public’s health. They are legalistic letters which claim that the radiation from “smart” meters is safe, that it is not cumulative and that there is no such thing as different people having different reactions or health susceptibilities to it.

They based their claims on FCC standards which go back to science from the Eisenhower administration (1953) and which do not acknowledge non thermal effects. At that time, the military (because of national security issues) had a need to have higher levels of permitted standards and so disregarded and/or downplayed health risks. The FCC standards only cover short term exposure (6-30 minutes) to thermal levels which determine how long it would take to cook tissue. This is far different from the ongoing (as many as 24,000 times in a 24 hour period) sharp, pulsed spikes of non thermal radiation which “smart” meters emit.

The Russians, whose standards for the general public are 100 times lower than the U.S., have done more extensive research in the past 60 years on the effects of radiofrequency radiation. The Russian Academy of Scientists, for example, just recently released results of a four year study, which showed “serious cognitive decline” in children who used cell phones.

Another example, an infamous one, of the Russian’s work with RF radiation (which the U.S. government knew about half way through but didn’t inform their own personnel) was when from 1953 to 1975 they aimed very low levels of pulsed microwave radiation (lower than what is emitted from many devices such as cell phones and smart meters we are exposed to today) at the American Embassy in Moscow. Three ambassadors came down with leukemia; two died; 1/3 of the workers in the embassy had “leukocyte and chromosome” damage and were given hardship benefits.

Dr. Franz Adlkofer who headed REFLEX (an EU funded research study on the effects of RF radiation which involved ten different laboratories in half a dozen countries and which found genotoxic effects) said on 11/18/11 in a talk at Harvard the current standards (which the utility companies and CPUC happily defer to), because they ignore long term effects, are “pseudo science.”

It’s, of course, an inconvenient truth for the utility companies that growing evidence of deleterious long term effects from non ionizing radiation is happening at the advent of their Smart Meter program—and definitely inconvenient for the ratepayers, some of whom have been faced with the choice of being sickened from “Smart” meters or having their power turned off.  The scientific evidence is, to use Devra Davis’ phrase, at such “a tipping point” that even the World Health Organization (which also has industry ties) finally (almost 21 years after this was recommended by the EPA) classified radio frequency electromagnetic radiation as a class 2B possible carcinogen.

Dr. Adlkofer, who called the WHO classification “decisive” goes on to say that had WHO considered the results of the REFLEX study which showed “changes in structure and function of genes in isolated human cells but also living animals” the classification of RF electromagnetic radiation “would not have been possibly carcinogenic but rather probably carcinogenic” (one grade higher).

The pharmaceutical industry when they want to introduce a new drug has an obligation, before it is approved, to show that it is safe. The utility companies, however, with their denial and paid experts, and with the help of the FCC, a licensing agency whose interests are not to protect health but to promote industry (similar to the goals of the CCST) have gotten a free pass.

This entry was posted in Edison (SCE), FCC Standards, Radiation, How This Happened, History, Radiation, Southern California Edison, What Edison Says and doesn't Say. Bookmark the permalink.

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