RF Cancer Promotion: Animal Study Makes Waves

RF Cancer Promotion: Animal Study Makes Waves

Germany’s Alex Lerchl Does a U-Turn

 March 13, 2015

The RF–cancer story took a remarkable turn a few days ago. A new animal study challenged many of the assumptions which lie at the heart of claims that RF radiation —whether from cell phones, cell towers or Wi-Fi— are safe.

The new study, from Germany, a replication of an earlier experiment, also from Germany, found that weak cell phone signals can promote the growth of tumors in mice. It used radiation levels that do not cause heating and are well below current safety standards. Complicating matters even further, lower doses were often found to be more effective tumor promoters than higher levels; in effect, turning the conventional concept of a linear dose-response on its head.

And for those with the stamina to have stayed tuned to the slow-moving RF–health soap opera, the new paper offers an unexpected surprise. The lead author of new animal study is Alex Lerchl, who for years has charged that the only science showing low-level RF effects is bad science. Now the one whom activists had accused of being an industry lackey is being hailed as a hero.

Lerchl has shown that mice exposed in the womb with a known cancer agent, ENU, and then exposed to a UMTS cell phone signal had significantly higher rates of tumors of the liver and the lung, as well as of lymphoma than with ENU alone. (UMTS is a third generation, 3G, system based on GSM.) His study was designed to repeat, with a larger number of animals, an experiment published in 2010 by Thomas Tillmann of the Fraunhofer Institute of Toxicology and Experimental Medicine in Hannover. When Tillmann first presented his results a couple of years earlier, he called them “remarkable” (see “3G Can Promote Tumors”). Since then, the study has  been largely ignored —until now.

Lerchl found higher rates of cancer among mice exposed to SARs of 0.04 W/Kg, 0.4 W/Kg and 2 W/Kg —and in some cases, the lower the dose, the more cancer. For instance, he saw a higher incidence of lymphoma at the two lower doses than at 2 W/Kg, as shown in the histogram taken from his paper, which has been accepted for publication in Biochemical and Biophysical Research CommunicationsLerchl Lymhoma

From Lerchl’s BBRC paper, Figure 1; “**” indicates that the result is significant at p<0.01.

“Our results show that electromagnetic fields obviously enhance the growth of tumors,” says Lerchl in a press release issued by Jacobs University in Bremen, where he is a professor of biology. He declined to respond to requests for comment from Microwave News.

Lerchl’s animal study has one advantage over many of the others that have been carried out in the past: He, like Tillmann, used free-roaming animals. In a misguided effort beginning in the 1990’s, the EC supported a series of animal studies, known as PERFORM-A, at a cost of over $10 million, in which the animals were restrained to better quantify exposures. The entire enterprise turned out to be a fiasco. The exposure system was found to put the animals under sufficient stress to obscure the possible effects of the RF exposure (see our report: “Wheel on Trial.”)

The new study was sponsored by the German Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS).

 The New Lerchl vs. the Old Lerchl

Lerchl’s findings have prompted a sharp change in his outlook. Some years ago, he was almost ready to declare that RF is cancer-safe. Most studies with cells and animals showing damage due to RF “could not confirmed,” he wrote in a 2007 opinion piece published by FGF, the now defunct RF research group run by the German telecom industry. It seems that, he went on, “non-thermal HF EMF have no adverse health effects.” Lerchl did leave the door slightly ajar, stating that more research was needed.

In the years that followed, Lerchl was a relentless critic of what he claimed to be shoddy science that pointed to EMF effects. In one case, the REFLEX project, he charged that RF-induced DNA breaks were only found because the experiments were rigged (see our “Three Cases of Alleged Scientific Misconduct.”) Lerchl also made it a habit to write critical letters to the editors of journal that published papers showing EMF effects, sometimes forcing them to be retracted (see: “Lerchl Bags Another Trophy.”)

Some of Lerchl’s old adversaries see this new paper as a turning point. Franz Adlkofer, the former head of the REFLEX project, issued a statement calling Lerchl the “longstanding chief witness for the harmlessness of mobile communication radiation” and his new study as the worst possible outcome for the telecom industry. Adlkofer is now chairman of the board of the Pandora Foundation, a group that helps support research that is opposed by industry, with a special focus on RF radiation.

Enough To Change RF to a “Probable” from “Possible” Cancer Agent?

Current RF standards are based on the assumption that exposures below 4 W/Kg are safe and the radiation does not entail a cancer risk. “The fact that both studies found the same tumor-promoting effects at levels below the accepted exposure limits for humans is worrying,” write Lerchl and his colleagues.

Beyond the safety standards is the equally controversial issue of cancer. In 2011, a panel convened by the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified RF as a possible human carcinogen. At the time, the panel stated that there was only “limited evidence” of cancer promotion from animal studies. The confirmation of the Tillmann study by Lerchl could change that. (The panel had little to say about the Tillmann paper; see p.279 of the IARC RF Monograph.)

“This new study, in conjunction with previous work, makes a much stronger case for an IARC classification of 2A, a probable human carcinogen,” said David Carpenter, the director of the Institute for Health and the Environment in Albany, NY, in an interview.

Lung Cancer Linked to Pulsed EMFs in 1994

While most RF–cancer studies have looked at brain tumors, as well as acoustic neuroma, a major French and Canadian epidemiological study found a “strong” association between pulsed EMF signals and lung cancer among electric utility workers back in 1994. The nature of that link could not be sorted out because the sponsor, Hydro-Québec, blocked further access to the data set (see our report: MWN, N/D94, p.1 and p.4).

We asked Paul Héroux, who designed the EMF meter for the French-Canadian study, about the Lerchl paper. “There are some obvious parallels between the new German study and what we showed 20 years ago,” he told us, “both show exposure to pulsed electromagnetic energy, both show EMFs to be a cancer promoter and both show a link to lung cancer.”


AU-Man must pay $12,000 for disabling smart meter

About 20,000 customers statewide have defied attempts to roll out remotely read digital smart meters to their premises.

Critics claim thousands of other opponents were “bullied” into accepting them.  (read full article below)

Man must pay $12,000 for disabling smart meter

A smart-meter rebel must pay $12,000 for disabling his meter.

A smart-meter rebel must pay $12,000 for disabling his meter. Source: News Limited

A SMART-meter rebel has become the first Victorian convicted for illegally disabling one of the devices when it was installed at his home.

The householder was fined $750 and ordered to pay $11,737.31 in costs.

Energy Safe Victoria charged the man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, after he cut the smart meter’s wires and disconnected it on the same day it was installed in late 2013.

He last week pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court to carrying out unlicensed electrical work.

Four other charges relating to electrical safety and failure to supply documents were withdrawn.

Victoria’s energy safety director, Paul Fearon, condemned the “reckless” act.

“It is never OK to do any sort of electrical work if you’re not licensed and his actions in disconnecting the meter were reckless and dangerous,” Mr Fearon said.

“If the cut wires had made contact with the metal meter box, everyone in the home could have received an electric shock or worse.

“This man’s actions could have not only injured the people within his own home but also his neighbours as their homes could have become live as well.”

The landmark case comes as three more distribution companies confirmed they will not penalise smart meter “refusers” with extra fees to manually read their old-style meters at this stage.

CitiPower, Powercor and United Energy have joined AusNet Services in granting a reprieve, even though they had the right to charge extra from next month.

Jemena is still considering whether to impose a charge.

About 20,000 customers statewide have defied attempts to roll out remotely read digital smart meters to their premises.

Critics claim thousands of other opponents were “bullied” into accepting them.



‘Smart meters’ called a major threat to health, national security

‘Smart meters’ called a major threat to health, national security

There’s a growing body of science linking non-thermal radiation to cancer

Smart meter installation at University of Tulsa, 2012
Photo Courtesy: PSO

By Russell Mills


Utilities around the country are installing millions of “smart meters,” devices which use wireless technology to send information back to the companies about power usage by their customers.

But there’s a growing body of scientists deeply concerned about bathing the public in low-level, non-thermal radiation, and they say the smart meters pose the greatest danger of all.

For years, some have warned about everything from cell phone towers and microwave ovens to baby monitors and televisions.

But the amount of radiation emitted by smart meters has ramped up the rhetoric, and calls for governmental investigation and oversight.

Jerry Flynn retired from the Canadian Armed Forces after a 26-year career, much of which was spent as a specialist in electronic warfare.

“There’s no such thing as a safe level of radiation,” he told KRMG Thursday in a phone interview conducted from his home in British Columbia.

He said there’s evidence going back decades that non-thermal radiation is carcinogenic.

Many European countries limit the amount of such radiation allowed in homes and businesses, while the U.S. and his native Canada allow levels thousands of times higher.

And that situation is getting much worse, he says.

“There’s nothing more dangerous than a smart meter on your house,” he told KRMG, and he’s not the only one who thinks so.

Consider this statement on the Bioinitiative.org website:

The wireless meters produce spikes of pulsed radiofrequency radiation 24/7, and in typical operation, will saturate living space at levels that can be much higher than already reported to cause bioeffects and adverse health effects (utilities can only say they are compliant with outdated federal safety standards, which may or may not always be true – see http://sagereports.com/smart-meter-rf). These meters, depending on where they are placed relative to occupied space in the home or classroom, can produce RFR exposure levels similar to that within the first 100 feet to 600 feet of a mobile phone base station (cell tower).

As an expert in electronic warfare, Flynn sees another danger. Specifically, he believes they make our nation highly vulnerable to attack.

“They couldn’t be more irresponsible, they couldn’t expose the country to more risk than by using wireless technology to control the power grid,” Flynn said.

A single electromagnetic pulse (EMP) weapon, he said, could potentially knock the entire nation offline.

Stan Whiteford, a spokesman for PSO, has denied that the meters are dangerous, and also denies claims that they can transmit data about what devices in the home are being used, and how (see related story).


Public Service Co. of Oklahoma files application that could allow it to charge for smart meter opt-outs

There are quotes in several media stories about a small number of people that oppose the smart meters.  This is a half truth and it gives the appearance that only a few are out there not liking this technology. The fact of the matter is, that most of the people do not have a clue what smart meters are about, because they have not been informed.  They won’t be informed by those who are forcing this harmful technology on us.  So, the numbers who are trying to wake up and inform the public is small in comparison to our opposition. We are not making billions of dollars putting ourselves, our time and energy on the line…our message is one of truth.  We care about what happens to our friends, family, children and animals.  I have a loathing for the culture of thinking and how collectively we have degenerated and allowed, yes, allowed the men who are lesser than ourselves control every aspect of our lives by destroying the quality of our health care, education, food, family unit by manipulating income and taxes, intentionally putting us in a perpetual state of war and killing so that it is impossible to have a one paycheck family, thus destroying the cohesiveness. Stress induced day to living, poisoning our children in our schools with radiation poisoning.  Making it impossible to live in a world without the constant bombardment of RF and microwave pulsed radiation.  Do you really believe the people who have led us to this terrible end will suddenly have a soul searching cleanse and right the wrongs and improve the quality of life?  If you do and will not get into this war then shame on you for you have no right to complain about anything for you live a fairy tale….Sandaura


Public Service Co. of Oklahoma files application that could allow it to charge for smart meter opt-outs

As it continues with its deployment of smart meters, Public Service Co. of Oklahoma has asked state regulators to allow it to charge more to customers who want to remain on older mechanical electric meters.

 Paul Monies Published: March 13, 2015

 Customers of Public Service Co. of Oklahoma could soon choose to opt out of the electric utility’s smart meter program under an application filed with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.

The Tulsa-based utility, which has already installed more than 110,000 smart meters, wants regulators to allow it to charge extra for customers who don’t want the advanced metering infrastructure.

Smart meters have drawn opposition from a small subset of customers concerned about data privacy and what they believe to be health and safety risks from the meters.

If customers are not served with AMI (advanced metering infrastructure), they will require a different cost of service than the vast majority of PSO’s customers, as they will necessitate nonstandard processes such as manual meter reading and the special handling of service orders,” PSO wrote in its application filed Wednesday. “Further, these customers will not be able to participate in the cost saving programs which require an AMI meter.”

PSO spokesman Stan Whiteford said the company’s rollout of smart meters has gone smoothly so far. It has completed installations in its southeastern territory and is working on the Tulsa area.

“We have encountered a small number of customers who don’t want them,” Whiteford said. “This (application) is an opportunity to offer a nonstandard meter for customers who might find that more acceptable.”

The application comes after Commissioner Dana Murphy tried unsuccessfully Tuesday to add a smart meter opt-out to a proposed settlement in PSO’s pending rate case. Murphy’s fellow commissioners, Bob Anthony and Todd Hiett, were unwilling to support her proposed modifications.

PSO expects to spend $133 million to install smart meters across its entire customer base. The utility wants regulators to allow it to recover the costs from customers through a $3.11 per month surcharge on residential customer bills. PSO has 540,000 customers in eastern and southwestern Oklahoma.

The utility has already put in place an interim rider to collect the smart meter surcharge as it waits for a final decision by the Corporation Commission on the proposed rate case settlement.

Rep. David Brumbaugh, R-Broken Arrow, said Thursday he pulled House Bill 1454, which would have allowed electric customers to opt out of smart meters. The bill passed a House committee in late February.

Brumbaugh said his bill was no longer needed after PSO filed its application. He said the measure tried to strike a balance between customer concerns over smart meters without interfering in the management discretion of utilities.

Once PSO’s smart meter installation is complete, Oklahoma will have among the highest penetration rates for smart meters in the country. Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. completed its smart meter installation in 2013 and has more than 818,000 smart meters in Oklahoma and Arkansas.


OHIO-Are ‘smart’ meters a dumb idea, or is digitized metering getting a bad rap?

Are ‘smart’ meters a dumb idea, or is digitized metering getting a bad rap?

Maribeth Joeright/MJoeright@News-Herald.com<p> FirstEnergy Corp. Spokesman Mark Durbin displays the type of smart meter that has been used in a pilot program involving thousands of households from Mentor to Mayfield.

Mentor-on-the-Lake resident Wayne Pless said he doesn’t want the digital “smart” meter that was placed on his home in November to track his electricity usage.

“The only reason to monitor an activity is to control the activity,” he said.

Pless is not alone in his aversion to the advanced metering infrastructure being rolled out across the United States and other parts of the world. It has come under fire in some areas with concerns ranging from privacy invasion to health hazards and other safety issues.

However, proponents tout benefits such as cost savings and better service capability.

There are more than 50 million smart meters installed in the nation — about 43 percent of U.S. households — according to a September 2014 report from The Edison Foundation’s Institute for Electric Innovation.

“Smart meters are playing a critical role in shaping the future of the electric grid and enabling the integration of new technologies and innovations across the grid,” said Lisa Wood, Edison Foundation vice president and Institute for Electric Innovation executive director. “The growing deployment of smart meters is helping utilities improve reliability while also enabling customers to be more energy efficient and allowing the connection of more renewable resources to the grid.”

Keeping their options open

Some utility companies, including American Electric Power and Duke Energy — serving central and southern Ohio — seek to charge customers more than $30 a month to opt out of their smart meter program.

The fee requests, which are being contested by the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel, are pending with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. PUCO requires the opt-out option in light of “perceived health or privacy concerns,” spokesman Matt Schilling said.

In the last year, the regulatory agency has received about 50 customer calls regarding smart meters. Roughly half were related to opting out and the rest were general health and privacy concerns.

In Pennsylvania, a state law enacted in 2008 requires electricity providers — including Akron-based FirstEnergy Corp. — to install smart meter technology on all homes and businesses by 2025.

FirstEnergy’s program in Ohio is voluntary, spokesman Mark Durbin said.

“If someone who has a smart meter through our voluntary program wants it removed, we will do so at no charge,” he said.

The pilot program, begun in 2011 with a $57 million federal stimulus grant, affect about 34,000 of the company’s 2 million Ohio customers. The Ohio program included the installation of smart grid technology in local substations and distribution circuits in a 20-by-20-mile area from Mentor to Mayfield.

The meters use a secure wireless network to send hourly usage information to FirstEnergy, and the utility can send messages to customers the same way.

“The pilot program was designed as a way of studying customers’ response to price signals enabled by smart meters and in-home technologies,” Durbin said. “In other words, would customers be willing to voluntarily reduce their usage on very hot — what are known as ‘peak demand’ — days if they received some type of rebate. Typically, this would be accomplished through reducing the air conditioning usage for a set period of time.”

Customers were notified a day ahead via text message, voicemail or email that the special pricing would be available the next day. They also received a message on their thermostat or in-home display.

About 12 percent of the smart meter users chose to participate in the rebate program.

“This percentage rate is about in line with what other utilities throughout the country have experienced with similar voluntary demand-reduction programs,” Durbin said, adding that there was a small savings to customers. “At this time, no other pricing test events are planned. And we have no plans to install additional smart meters in Ohio. However, the test results do indicate that smart meter technology has the capability to slightly reduce demand when requested.”

Digital debate

Some area residents are concerned about adding more radiation-emitting infrastructure to the area.

Sebastian Sanzotta, 40, of Mentor, suffers from electromagnetic hypersensitivity and said he had to leave his job as a radiologic technologist and blood lab specialist at a local hospital because of it.

Sanzotta, also a Persian Gulf veteran, said his military and medical training taught him to respect the random nature of radiation, and he believes that smart meters collectively are contributing to what some scientists have termed “electrosmog.”

He cites the BioInitiative reports of 2007 and 2012  among other findings to back such a view.

The reports support “A rationale for biologically based public exposure standards for electromagnetic fields and cover EMF from powerlines, electrical wiring, appliances and handheld devices; and from wireless technologies such as cell and cordless phones, cell towers, ‘smart meters,’ WiFi, laptops, 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.

“New safety standards are urgently needed for protection against EMF and wireless exposures,” the 2012 report says.

While the studies are not without detractors, Sanzotta believes public health is at stake, and not just his.

“Virtually everyone’s having problems with (increasing radiation and EMF exposure), they just don’t know it,” he said.

Durbin said safety is FirstEnergy’s top priority. The company’s smart meters, manufactured by Itron, undergo a rigorous quality assurance process to ensure safety, accuracy and reliability, he said.

The meters comply with safety standards established by utility organizations, including the American National Standards Institute and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, he said.

The “relatively weak” strength of the radio frequency signals generated by smart meters means that any impact of RF exposure would be minimal, according to the Electric Power Research Institute.

“Experts calculate that it would take 30 years of living with a smart meter to receive the same RF exposure that a typical cellphone user receives in just one day,” Durbin said.

FirstEnergy also places the utmost importance on the security and protection of customer information, he added.

“The communications network used in conjunction with the smart meters is highly secure and uses multiple layers of protection,” he said. “Smart meters have no way of measuring what appliances are being used in a home. In addition, we do not sell any personal information about customers to any third parties.”

The company has received a few requests to replace the smart meter with a traditional analog meter.

“Because this is a voluntary program, we complied with the request,” he said.

Two legislative bills related to customers’ rights regarding smart meter installation were introduced in the last Ohio General Assembly. However, neither made it out of committee.

About the Author

Betsy mainly reports on the cities of Chardon, Kirtland and Mentor. Reach the author at BScott@News-Herald.com or follow Betsy on Twitter: @ReporterBetsy.