Media Blackout on “Smart” Meter News?

I sent this on 12/17/11 to twenty five reporters and editors on staff at the Los Angeles Times.  I decided to wait to see if I got a reply before sharing it.  They did not reply, but perhaps they read the letter.  Besides the LA Times, there has been very little coverage of “Smart” Meters by any local media (Orange County Register, Irvine World News; news stations). This is possibly due to newspapers depending on advertising revenue from the utility/wireless industries.

One Point.  After I sent  the letter, I discovered that the reporting on the study of the effect of cell phones on children was even more flawed.  The study actually did show a statistically significant risk of brain cancer from cell phones for children.

Hello Ms. Healy and Editors of LA Times,
I just recently started researching the effects of RF electromagnetic radiation since “smart” meters were installed in my neighborhood–and so I came across your (Ms Healy’s) article on cell phones and children. http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jul/28/news/la-heb-cellphones-kids-cancer-20110728.   I was surprised when I read it that you didn’t mention that brain cancer can have a very long latency period.  So, although that was a study about children and brain cancer, from my newcomer’s understanding, if the study artificially shortens the latency period, the  researcher might not see much of an effect.

I recommend that you look at the web site Microwave News which is run by Louis Slesin, who is a PhD.  In this issue
http://dos-protect.com/index-2.html  Dr. Slesin notes  a study which did a similar analysis:   Slesin writes  “. . .and here comes perhaps the strangest part of their argument— because the most likely average latency time between exposure and the manifestation of a brain tumor is 5-10 years. Most everyone else puts the latency at 20-30 years, or at the very least more than 10 years.”

What I also find concerning is the almost “wide-eyed stance” that you and other LA Times writers seem to take regarding non thermal effects from RF radiation.  The  article which mentioned the Turkey studies http://articles.latimes.com/2011/may/23/news/la-heb-cellphones-pregnancy-teens-20110523, discussed them as if non thermal physiological effects were brand new information–when there have been studies on this for the past 40 years.   It has been known, for example, for decades that exposure to RF radiation (as little as two hours) can make the blood brain barrier more permeable–which then allows toxins and other matter to cross it.

I also have noticed in LA Times articles on this topic (and Smart Meters) that when the LA Times talks about studies, they do not distinguish between studies which are sponsored by industry and studies which are independent.  The Times does the same when they discuss “scientists.”

This is a real problem, and this misinforms the reader.

I also see in the LA Times a rush to reassure and diminish any studies which show health effects–such as the article which went to press on June 1, 2011, the day after WHO declared RF radiation as a “class 2b possible carcinogen.”  In that article http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jun/01/news/la-heb-cellphones-cancer-20110601, the LA Times was quick to compare this new classification as no more dangerous than  drinking “coffee.”   The WHO classification, actually, was a “big deal” [“decisive” said Dr. Adlkofer who headed the EU REFLEX studies], but you wouldn’t know it from reading The Times.

Regarding Smart Meters,  I have little to say–because your paper has published so little about this topic.  It’s almost as if there’s been a media black out. As a result of the lack of coverage, many people do not even know that the “upgrade” that Edison installed on their homes is actually a microwave transmitter.  This, of course, allows Edison to say that the installment of “smart” meters in Southern California has gone “smoothly.”

In the one recent article/editorial that your paper did on “smart” meters, it was authored by someone who had interned for the CPUC, not exactly a pro consumer governmental body. (It’s headed by the former president of Southern California Edison.)

I think the LA Times’ reputation as an independent newspaper could be harmed if this continues to be how Electromagnetic Radio Frequency radiation which is increasingly blanketing our environment is covered.   The new “Smart Grid” system means that there will be “smart” appliances which will come with RF radiation emitting transmitters, creating even more exposure.

At no peace time ever, in the history of human’s existence on this planet, have we lived in such a man-made radiation soup.  It’s worthy of much more in-depth analysis and coverage.

Melissa Levine
Irvine, California

This entry was posted in Cell Phones, Health Impact, Science, media blackout, Smart Meters. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Media Blackout on “Smart” Meter News?

  1. Janice says:

    Hi Melissa, I’m in LA county, unfortunately, we have the new meter in already. 😦 Called SCE to removed but they gave us the run around. Do you know what I can do about this?

    Thanks,
    Janice

    • LS says:

      Melissa- I just posted something on stopsmartmeters.org. I am also in LA county, I’ve gotten the TOTAL runaround from SCE, I’ve contacted all of my local/regional elected officials, and I’ve heard nothing. I filed complaints with the CPUC and their response was completely hollow and unsatisfying.
      I purchased an analog meter from http://www.freedomtaker.org, (for $65, including shipping, I received an analog meter, a ring for it, lots of information, and a CD with a ‘legal notice’ that I sent to SCE via certified mail that gives them warning that, if I don’t hear from them within 30 days, I will remove their meter and have it replaced. It *seemed* very legal-ish. I honestly cannot say if it would hold up in court, but I won’t risk my health, my husband’s health, or, most importantly, the health of my little boy. According to Jerry Day, the guy who runs the freemdomtaker website, there has been unbelieveable demand for the meters, although I haven’t actually seen any anecdotal evidence from anyone who has removed their SCE meter and what SCE’s response was. Although I could easily replace the meter myself, I don’t want SCE to be able to claim that I was ‘unsafe’, so we have a licensed electrician coming next Tuesday to make the swap. I plan on taking video of the event, hopefully I’ll get that posted somewhere, and I plan on letting the stopsmartmeter.org website know exactly what SCE does to me for my ‘civil disobedience’.

  2. Hi Janice,

    Right now the CPUC is considering a permanent Opt out option, but the latest proposal from PG&E (which will apply to SCE and San Diego Gas and Electric customers, I’ve been told) is to charge ratepayers to get the Analog reinstalled plus a monthly fee. The analog option is great, but the fee is a way to discourage (or prohibit because of expense) people from participating and also lines the utility industry’s pockets with more revenue. The utilities (nationwide) received a “money bomb” of 25 billion dollars in federal stimulus funds. We think any costs should come from their corporate shareholders profits.

    1. Write to the CPUC commissoiners directly.http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/PUC/aboutus/commissioners/.
    2. Send a complaint also via http://smartmeterhelp.com/ and call elected officials
    3. We also have local e-mail lists to stay connected. I can add your e-mail to my list even though it’s OC. Everyone’s working together.
    4.There are also some Facebook pages such as StopSmartMetersNow and Southern Californian’s Against Smart Meters (Susan Brinchman’s page).
    Melissa
    Post edited 1/27/12

  3. Leslie,
    I just pressed something accidentally on the wordpress dashboard and mixed up the order of the comments (I’ll figure out how to fix that later).
    Jerry Day might be a good resource for what is happening on this front in regards to SCE as he recently video taped a smart meter return to an SCE office.
    SCE has been known to play hardball. They did a police type raid at one landlady’s residence who had (to protect her tenants) a bank of smart meters removed and replaced with analogs. . . Edison called the replacement meters “foreign” meters.
    They then put locking clips on the meters. . . The landlady then removed the meters again, and I haven’t heard what’s happened since. I will see if I can find out more.
    Melissa

  4. Leslie,
    I sent an e-mail to get more info. Regarding removing smart meters, part of me, of course, thinks this is a wonderful idea. . I can imagine utility industry and other “powers that be” quaking in fear if there was a rebellion like this (also which then spread across the country). So I applaud and support those who choose to do this. It’s also an extremely effective action. It’s because of this type of civil disobedience that PG&E relented and is offering an analog option (for a hefty fee, that is, which will make it “no option” for a lot of people).

    But what else can you do?
    Move your child out of the room –as far away from the smart meter as possible. Wait for the opt out option to go into effect. Until that time–try shielding the meter and its emissions (mesh aluminum screening–doubled up which you can get in rolls from hardware store; heavy duty aluminum foil from Costco). Double pane windows, I’ve noticed, help to block the emissions.

    Also keeping the heat on elected representatives and the CPUC. Their opt out is inadequate but will make them look good without really addressing the issues (such as banks of meters and the cost). We need to now, some have suggested, do “direct calls and e-mails” to the CPUC commissioners and the CPUC judge. To e-mail the CPUC commissioners, go to this page http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/PUC/aboutus/commissioners/. It shows their pictures and then you can press on each name/picture and get to an e-mail box.
    This is e-mail of the judge amy.yip-kikugawa@cpuc.ca.gov

    Melissa
    PS. When I bought my RF Analyzer, I also measured other items in my house. Because radiation is cumulative, it gave me a sense of control to be able to eliminate some of the other sources.
    The cordless dect phones which most people have are very high emitters. Their base transmits pulsed radiation constantly. I replaced them with corded phones.
    PPS. Even though I eliminated other wireless sources, that doesn’t mean, of course, that it’s now okay for smart meters. I talked with statistics professor last night and using inverse square rule–and Dr. David Hirsch’s and the Santa Cruz Health Department’s diagram, he estimated that the full body exposure to radiation for someone sleeping one foot away from a “smart” meter was approximately 450 times greater than exposure from a cell phone.

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