Berkeley, CA-Cellphone Ordinance Puts Berkeley at Forefront of Radiation Debate


BERKELEY, Calif. — Leave it to Berkeley: This city, which has led the nation in passing all manner of laws favored by the left, has done it again. This time, the city passed a measure — not actually backed by science — requiring cellphone stores to warn customers that the products could be hazardous to their health, presumably by emitting dangerous levels of cancer-causing radiation.

Under the so-called Right to Know ordinance, passed unanimously in May by the Berkeley City Council, retailers are supposed to notify customers, starting in August, that “you may exceed the federal guidelines for exposure” to radio frequency radiation by carrying a cellphone in a pants or shirt pocket or tucked into a bra. “The potential risk,” the warning continues, “is greater for children.”

Even supporters of the ordinance acknowledge that there is no definitive scientific link between cellphones and cancer, although they argue that it may take years for cancers to develop. The American Cancer Society says that cases of people developing cancer after carrying cellphones may be coincidental or anecdotal. But some supporters are undeterred, noting that there are similar warnings in the fine print of cellphone manuals, and that the Berkeley warning is carefully written to reflect that language, albeit with additional cautionary words.


Radio frequency-shielded handsets plugged into Ellie Marks’s iPhone. Ms. Marks, the founder of the California Brain Tumor Association, said she believes that her husband contracted brain cancer from often having a cellphone pressed to his ear. Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times

“We want to raise awareness,” said Ellie Marks, the founder of the California Brain Tumor Association. Ms. Marks does not live in Berkeley but brought her case here because, she said, “Berkeley has a reputation for taking progressive action.” She said she was convinced that her husband, Alan, a real estate agent, contracted brain cancer at age 56 from often having a cellphone pressed to his ear.

Not surprisingly, the cellphone industry is not allowing such insinuations to go unchallenged. A few weeks after the law passed, CTIA-The Wireless Association, a trade group, filed a First Amendment lawsuit against Berkeley, charging that retailers cannot be forced to say something that is “false.” A hearing is set for Aug. 6 in federal court in San Francisco, and the ordinance will not go into effect until the matter is settled.

Theodore B. Olson, a lawyer with the firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher who was solicitor general under President George W. Bush, represents CTIA (formerly known as the Cellular Telephone Industries Association) and said in an email that the Berkeley ordinance was “alarmist” and “violates the most fundamental principles of the First Amendment.”

In its lawsuit, the trade group said there was no safety concern “no matter how the phone is worn.”

Many doctors and scientists tend to agree. “X-rays, which emit ionizing radiation, are known to cause adverse biological effects at high doses, including cancer,” said Jerrold T. Bushberg, a medical physicist and a professor of radiology and radiation oncology at the University of California, Davis. Cellphones, which emit non-ionizing radiation, do not, he said.

Speaking for himself and as a representative of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine, Dr. Bushberg said possible connections between cellphones and cancer have been studied exhaustively.

“We’ve been looking for signs of adverse effects at low levels for over 50 years without success,” he said. “We can’t say it’s impossible, but if there is a risk it would be very, very low, or we would have seen an increase in brain cancers.”

If cellphones were carcinogenic, Dr. Bushberg said, researchers would have seen an increase in brain cancer in Scandinavian countries, where they have been used longer and where, because of socialized medicine, excellent cancer registries exist. That has not happened, he said.


Max Anderson, right, a Berkeley City Council  member, helped write the ordinance on cellphone warnings. “Even if the science isn’t firm,” he said, “if there’s a risk, we should proceed with caution.” Credit Jim Wilson/The New York Times

At the heart of the debate is “simply one word: radiation,” said Robert Cahn, a senior scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “Just because cellphones emit radiation doesn’t make them dangerous.”

Other devices that emit low-energy radio frequency radiation and that have not proved harmful include baby monitors, garage door openers, wireless routers and smart meters.

Nevertheless, Berkeley has a habit of passing first-in-the-nation laws that seem radical but are promptly copied by other municipalities including creating smoking bans, a sanctuary for immigrants in the country illegally, a Styrofoam ban and health benefits for domestic partners. So if Berkeley succeeds in its fight to warn people about cellphones, can Cambridge, Mass., and other cities be far behind?

“If you can get it passed in Berkeley, you have a beginning,” said Susan Wengraf, a City Council member. “If you can’t, forget it, or come back three years later.”

On the streets of Berkeley, reviews for the ordinance were mixed. “Labeling things that have a potential threat is always good,” said Benjamin Fahrer, a farmer who said he creates “urban agriculture on rooftops.” He likened the new law to notifying the public on secondhand smoke and genetically modified foods.

Bill Doran, an engineer from Pasadena who had his cellphone out while in line for ice cream, said, “I’m a little skeptical about cellphones causing harm.” He was more concerned “that I’m not able to get reception here.”

At a phone store here, Calico Rose said the law would not change the way she carried her phone. She demonstrated by tucking her cellphone in her wallet, which she pressed into her bra. “It would probably take substantial use to cause cancer,” she said.

Nevertheless, a Berkeley City Council member who helped write the legislation, Max Anderson, said he had appealed to his colleagues in May to pass the ordinance on ethical grounds. “Even if the science isn’t firm, if there’s a risk, we should proceed with caution,” he said.

Lawrence Lessig, a professor at Harvard Law School, and Robert Post, the dean of Yale Law School and an expert on the First Amendment, have agreed to defend Berkeley pro bono over claims that the legislation is unconstitutional. “The First Amendment is being contorted to all sorts of wrong ends,” Mr. Lessig said.

“We’re not intending to challenge the science of cellphones,” Mr. Lessig said. “We’re just making people aware of existing regulations.”

CALIFORNIA-Light at the end of a long opt-out tunnel for electric co-op customer

Light at the end of a long opt-out tunnel for electric co-op customer


A small claims battle that sparked a big deal over smart meter opt-out fees scored a potential victory for a Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative customer, diagnosed with electromagnetic hypersensitivity, who was left in the dark for more than a year.

The 16-month standoff reached a tentative settlement in appellate court last month when PSREC General Manager Bob Marshall agreed to reconnect Josh Hart’s electricity, drop all past fees and provide self-read analog service at no charge.

With a final settlement on the horizon, Hart said, “No one should be paying extra fees above what is already an exorbitant price for electricity to have a safe analog meter on their home. Period.”

The utility terminated Hart’s electricity after he refused to pay an opt-out fee for use of an analog meter instead of a smart meter. The charges include a $141 initial fee and a $15 monthly recurring fee. Smart meters enable two-way communication between the meter and the utility for monitoring and billing.

Backed by his physician and medical records, Hart sued PSREC, maintaining that smart meters expose him to electromagnetic fields that trigger electromagnetic hypersensitivity symptoms including headaches, fatigue, muscle pain and more.

The dispute left Hart and his wife living without electricity in an all-electric home in Mohawk Valley. He said they could not use their refrigerator and had no hot running water. The couple depended on a wood stove for heat, cooking and heating water.

In previous proceedings, Plumas County Superior Court Judge Janet Hilde ruled that PSREC’s opt-out fees violate state discrimination laws stating public utilities cannot prejudice, disadvantage or require different rates or deposit amounts from a person because of a medical condition.

Hilde ordered the utility to cancel the opt-out fee and monthly charge for reading the analog meter. She also ordered utility officials to allow Hart to self-read the device.

The utility didn’t. It appealed.

“Obviously we disagree with Judge Hilde,” said Marshall.

As a key part of that appeal before Judge Ira Kaufman, PSREC cited a California Public Utilities Commission smart meter decision supporting residential opt-out fees.

Documents state the determination is based on the expense utilities would accrue in installing, maintaining and staff time to read the older analog equipment. It also concluded CPUC was unable to link smart meters to health risks and opt-out fees do not violate Americans with Disabilities Act or public utility codes.

“We don’t argue that someone has a medical condition,” said Marshall. “Not my worry, not my concern. We treat everyone the same, medical condition or no medical condition.”

However, CPUC Information Officer Andrew Kotch said Marshall’s take on who can use the commission’s regulations is misunderstood because the decision only applies to utilities it regulates. Those include Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas and Electric, Sierra Pacific Power and Pacific Power and Light. PSREC is a cooperative and not under the CPUC’s jurisdiction.

“We only regulate investor-owned utilities that have stockholders,” Kotch said. “I don’t understand why (PSREC) would base their actions on a commission that doesn’t regulate them.”

Marshall disagreed, stating that PSREC is regulated by the CPUC in some areas, so its determinations apply to his utility.

“PSREC is subject to the rules of the CPUC but not the rates,” he said. “Not everyone at the CPUC is aware of that, given how rarely we interact with them. We believe that we would be outside of the rules if we were to ignore this decision and discriminate in favor of someone with a medical condition.”

Nevertheless, Hart’s electricity was restored July 2 — prior to the signing of the final settlement. Both sides expect the agreement to be official soon.

“We turned the lights back on in good faith,” said Marshall.

As the director of Stop Smart Meters!, Hart said he hopes his case will bring awareness and action to the issue.

“Don’t just go along with a forced smart meter or unjust fees,” he said. “Take them to court.”

NEW ZEALAND-‘My advice is to say no to smart meters’

‘My advice is to say no to smart meters’

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The planned installation of smart meters in North Otago homes has prompted several organisations to urge people to refuse them.

Oamaru man Rob Hutchins’ Electro-sensitivity Trust supports people who have issues with electrical appliances, some suffering severe pain and headaches from devices using radio frequencies such as Wi-Fi and mobile phones.

It lobbies for recognition of the issue as physiological and not psychological.

”My advice is to say `no’ to smart meters,” he said yesterday.

” . . . get independent advice because they cannot be said to be safe.”

This biggest issue was the ”woefully out of date” NZ Standard introduced in 1999 for radio frequency devices, which only covered heating of the devices, not radio frequency emissions.

Smart meters send information to the electricity retailer using microwave frequencies, such as more accurate and frequent reading of electricity consumption.

Installation of the first smart meters on the Network Waitaki network will start next month when Meridian fits mabout 8500 meters.

Meridian, Contact and Trustpower maintainthe meters are safe and that there is no evidence from New Zealand or internationally that smart meters pose health and environmental risks.

However, they say if customers are concerned about having meters installed, they can discuss the issues and possible alternatives.

Mr Hutchins disputed a comment from Trustpower community relations manager Graeme Purches that much of the information being disseminated via the internet was misleading and there was no reputable peer-reviewed scientific evidence to support the claims.

He said there was a large amount of research from independent sources showing the meters were not safe.

Some parts of the United States had banned installation of the meters.

Katherine Smith, who set up New Zealand website stopsmartmeters, said radiation from smart meters was ”not trivial” and had been classified as a ”possible carcinogen” by the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Organic NZ editor Philippa Jamieson said people should not be forced to have transmitting devices like smart meters in their homes if they did not want them.

An Oamaru couple, who do not want to be named, have told their retailer they won’t have a smart meter in their house.

GERMANY-Smart Meters Can Destabilize Grid, Study Says



News & Analysis

Massachusetts State House Briefing: World Class Health Experts Discuss Public’s Right to Know About Cell Phone Safety

Right To Know – An Environmental Health Briefing from Grassroots Environmental Ed on Vimeo.

Organized by the non-profit Environmental Health Trust, this public briefing concerns the latest scientific evidence of human health impacts from exposure to wireless radiation, including cell phones, wireless routers, baby monitors, smart meters and other devices.

The briefing includes remarks by Environmental Health Trust founder Dr. Devra Lee Davis, and Mr. Frank Clegg of Canadians for Safe Technology (C4ST).

On June 10, 2015 – The Environmental Health Trust hosted a public briefing on June 10th. The experts discussed new science about health risks associated with prolonged and frequent exposures, and the public’s right to know about these risks.
This briefing was part of an overall global initiative aimed to educate the public about manufacturers’ health warnings for wireless devices. is a new campaign from the Environmental Health Trust designed to provide clear, science-based information to the public about health risks involved with wireless radiation. Currently, cell phone companies’ literature instructs consumers to distance their phones away from their bodies (the minimum required distance varies by manufacturer). The new provides radiation levels and warnings from all wireless devices such as phones, tablets and other devices.

A separate EHT expert briefing was held with local city officials in Massachusetts who are committed to programs of public education about safer use of technology in homes and schools.

Later that month Dr. Devra Davis spoke at the Commonwealth Club program on Wireless Risks to Children, June 22, 2015. Watch the video below.

Video: Dr. Devra Davis at Commonwealth Club program on EMF Risks to Children, June 22, 2015 from ElectromagneticHealth.Org on Vimeo.

Dr. Devra Davis of Environmental Health Trust presents at the Expert Forum on Cell Phone and Wireless Risks to Children at the Commonwealth Club of California. The program was co-organized by and Environmental Health Trust. Press Release for program and panelist Bios: To view all videos from this program, please go to:

A handful of FortisBC customers have chosen to be without power after refusing to select the type of smart meter they wish installed at their home.

Without power by choice

A handful of FortisBC customers have chosen to be without power after refusing to select the type of smart meter they wish installed at their home.

Utility spokesman David Wylie said a few customers in Trail and a few more in Kelowna had their power cut off after ignoring repeated requests to choose either a Standard Advance Meter or an advance meter with the wireless signal disabled.

“They are customers we have been working with for more than six months to try and address their concerns regarding having their electricity meter exchanged,” said Wylie.

“Despite our on-going attempts we have had to disconnect a few who have continually refused to make that selection.”

Wylie said several customers have contacted Fortis and made a decision once push came to shove and power was cut off.

“We did have a few customers who were disconnected after they continued to refuse the meter exchange or weren’t home at the time of our last visit. The majority of customers in those cases have since called us to have their meter exchanged and their power restored.”

The cost of reconnection will run the customer between $100 and $339.

“It’s important for customers who haven’t made a decision to contact us at 1-866-436-7847.”

Wylie said more than 100,000 customers have already switched over to the new meters. The switch is substantially complete in Kelowna, the South Okanagan, Boundary, Similkameen and Trail areas.

Parts of the Kootenays still have to be completed.

Wylie added the upgrade is for all customers. There is no option to keep the old meters.

That was a decision approved by the BC Utilities Commission. Customers who have concerns about the wireless connection can choose the radio off meter.

“We want to remind our customers that obstructing an electricity meter with any device that is intended to prevent access or sending us a letter indicating you don’t want an advance meter isn’t going to prevent having to make a choice about which type of meter you select,” said Wylie.

“We recognize some of the actions taken by our customers are costing them money and we want to be clear that we’ve met all of our legal and regulatory requirements.”

El Sewedy clinches $180mn smart meter deal

El Sewedy clinches $180mn smart meter deal

by Utilities ME Staff on Jul 29, 2015


Set as home page

An El Sewedy Electric subsidiary has clinched a EUR 160mn ($176.5mn) contract to supply smart meters.

Iskraemeco of Slovenia will deliver up to 1.6 million units to four Dutch utilities through 2020, the Egyptian company announced Tuesday.

Liander, Stedin, DELTA Netwerkbedrijf and Westland Infra manage 70% of the Dutch electricity market.


Under the deal, Iskraemeco will develop, test, produce and deliver smart electricity and smart gas meters beginning in 2016

The potential expansion of the smart meter quantities is expected during the course of the project, the statement added.

The original tender had been for a contract worth EUR 235mn to deploy up to 2.5 million units.

Smart Meters Activated in Kelowna

Kelowna   posted July 28, 2015 by   Anita Sthankiya

Smart Meters Activated in Kelowna

The Advanced Meters (smart meters) have been turned on in the Kelowna area as FortisBC has completed its installation


The Advanced Meters (smart meters) have been turned on in the Kelowna area as FortisBC has completed its installation program.

On Monday, smart meters in the valley were activated, which means a number of things for residents. The new meters will virtually eliminate estimated billing, which takes place if a meter cannot be actually read. The smart meters will also allow customers to choose a billing date that suits their needs, reduce theft and provide a more efficient response to power outages.

Customers should not see a change in their billing unless they have recently received a bill with an estimate on it, which could result in a debit or credit depending on the actual meter reading. Advanced meters wirelessly transmit information about total electricity use. The new meters will also allow customers to see how their electricity use changes during the day, week, and month by 2016.

A total of 98 per cent of both region one and two, which includes Trail, Salmo, Rossland, and Kelowna, are up and running with the advanced meters. the advanced meters.

Verizon’s Cellular Plan: The Smart-Meter-as-Smartphone Network

Verizon’s Cellular Plan: The Smart-Meter-as-Smartphone Network

The rebirth of smart-grid-as-a-service, with an LTE boost and some IOT magic

Jeff St. John
July 29, 2015
Verizon’s Cellular Plan: The Smart-Meter-as-Smartphone Network
Two years ago, Verizon told us it was just about to unveil a major new cellular-connected, cloud-hosted smart-grid-as-a-service offering that would convince utilities that it’s better to rent their smart metering infrastructure than to own it. We reported the news, waited for the first customer announcement — and nothing happened.That’s not too surprising, given how challenging the past two years have been for the smart meter business in North America. This slowdown certainly appears to have curtailed the growth prospects for smart-grid-as-a-service offerings from the likes of Verizon, AT&T, and General Electric, judging from their lack of new customer announcements on this front.

But, expand the business model to include the energy internet of things as a service, and you’ll be right in step with the rest of the smart meter competition.

That’s essentially what Verizon did on Wednesday with the launch of its Grid Wide Utility Solutions platform, a 4G LTE-enabled, cloud-hosted platform meant to connect “smart metering, demand response, meter data management and distribution monitoring and control” under one roof.

Most utilities use cellular service for various parts of their grid communications infrastructure, such as backhaul for utility-owned advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) networks that use mesh radio networks from companies like Itron, Landis+Gyr, Elster and Silver Spring Networks.

But Verizon’s platform takes cellular directly to each meter, and is aimed at smaller investor-owned utilities, municipal utilities and electric cooperatives that don’t want to invest in owning their own metering hardware and IT infrastructure, Jay Olearain, director of business development for energy & utilities at Verizon’s IOT Connected Solutions group, said in an interview.

The platform is now being piloted with unnamed utility partners using smart meters from General Electric, though Verizon is working on embedding its communications cards in meters from other vendors as well in the future, he said. “In particular, we’re looking at how LTE is a game-changer,” he added. The spread of Verizon’s 4G LTE cellular network is allowing for faster and more data-rich coverage, compared to previous generations of cellular.

As for the cost per meter, “We’re bringing LTE to the point where it’s price-competitive with mesh,” he said, though he wouldn’t provide any specific price points. Perhaps more importantly, though, “it’s not cost-competitive for them to do it on their own” with mesh.

Take the case of a utility that wants to put a relatively small number of meters or sensors at certain key parts of its grid — perhaps at key customer sites in sections of the distribution grid that are presenting power-quality challenges. These can be costly add-ons for mesh networks, which require a lot of adjacent meters to let data “hop” from one meter to the next on its way to central collection points. Cellular can hook them up wherever it has coverage.

“We’re working currently with some deployment proposals for greenfield space,” replacing an entire fleet of electromechanical meters with cellular-connected devices, he said. “But we’re talking to others for fill-in — they have an existing AMI vendor, but it just doesn’t make sense to reach certain endpoints with their AMI solution.”

Verizon is embedding a fair amount of computing power in the communications cards it’s putting in the field, allowing them to be actively managed for data throughput, frequency of backhaul communication, and other network service issues that can arise from sharing airspace with RF mesh, he added.

On the software side, Verizon bundles AMI head-end and meter data management (MDM) software in its hosted platform, as well as outage management software and some distribution grid power quality analytics capabilities, he said. Some of that software is developed in-house, and some of it is licensed from as-yet-unnamed partners, he said. Verizon is a smart grid communications partner across the country, with Siemens’ eMeter as a common partner, and it’s also working with Duke Energy’s so-called “coalition of the willing,” which gives it a lot of potential grid partners.

At the same time, Verizon is integrating with utility-hosted MDM software, as well as billing and customer information software platforms, using the MultiSpeak version of the utility Common Information Model standard, he said. “The integration fees are quite low,” he said, enabling deployments that “can be as low as, say, 500 to 1,000 meters,” though, once again, he didn’t provide specific price points.

And because it’s all provided over Verizon’s network and IT infrastructure, utilities can pick and choose from a menu of services they want to tap, from a few for initial rollouts to many in the future, he said. “It could be a small cooperative utility, 5,000 meters under management, and they want to do 10 percent of those, because they’re hard reads, or they want to turn them into power-quality sensors, or line sensors to get notifications on outages,” he said. “What’s attractive to us is having a large population of utilities get on-boarded, and they will start to consume services.”

That’s where the internet of things comes in, though more as an aspiration at present. “Looking at other IOT devices besides meters, those will be enhancements to our Grid Wide service over time,” Olearain said. “Down the road, it will be a family of other types of grid sensors.” Beyond that, “We’ve taken a look at, for example, the solar space — there’s definitely a big opportunity in supporting solar-as-a-service companies,” he said. “Demand response and load control is an enhancement you’ll see down the road.”

Verizon faces potential competition, and potential partnership opportunities, from the standing list of smart-meter-and-beyond networking platform players like Silver Spring Network and Toshiba’s Landis+Gyr, distributed energy players like SolarCity and Stem, and system integration and grid SCADA and gear giants like Siemens, Schneider Electric, ABB and GE. Cisco is also an obvious IOT contender in the grid space, with its IoX grid router running Linux for easy application development, a link-up with Itron’s edge-of-network Riva platform, and its work with Duke Energy, to name a few of its more prominent projects. Of course, Cisco and Verizon also work together at Duke and in other deployments.

“We’ve really stitched together an internet-of-things solution for what we call utility grid solutions,” Olearain said. “We have folks working on that exact strategy, looking beyond AMI and MDM, what’s next as a hosted service model. There are things that Verizon does today, that utilities do today. […] We’re looking at a true meter-to-cash solution at some point in time, as the system evolves — and beyond meter-to-cash, what other things are out there where hosted, as a service model, makes sense. We’re going to be looking at the way that utilities use information.”

Tags: 4g, cellular, cisco, communications, distributed energy, distributed intelligence, duke energy, elster, grid edge, internet of things, itron, landis+gyr, lte, mesh, sensus

An Electronic Silent Spring July Newsletter

An Electronic Silent Spring 
July, 2015 Newsletter from Katie Singer
Please share following significant, new publications and conferences about children’s exposure with your family, schools, neighbors and physicians:
1. Victoria Dunckley, MD’s excellent book, Reset Your Child’s Brain (New World Library), has just been published. Dr. Dunckley is an integrative child psychiatrist: whenever possible, she aims to find non-pharmaceutical solutions to behavioral problems. To that end, Dr. Dunckley has children with behavioral problems first go on a three or four-week “electronic fast.” In some cases, the fast appears to clear up problems entirely. In other cases, problems are significantly reduced, and then Dr. Dunckley can make a proper diagnosis of the child’s situation.
          Dr. Dunckley also reports on studies that show that interacting with screens (i.e. playing video games) is more dangerous for children’s brain development than “passively” watching TV. (And if you want to learn about the dangers of TV, read Jerry Mander’s 1978 classic, Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television.)
2. To hear Dr. Dunckley and other scientists report on the dangers of and solutions to electromagnetic radiation (EMR) exposure, view the conference organized by Camilla Reese at the Commonwealth Club on June 22, 2015: “Cell Phones and Wireless Technologies–Should Safety Guidelines Be Strengthened to Protect Adults, Children and Vulnerable Populations? Should Parents, Teachers & Schools Restrict Technology Overuse Among Children?” The conference is several hours long and very worthwhile.
3. Why Don’t FCC Safety Guidelines on Mobile Phones Consider Children?
Dr. Om Gandhi, prof. of electrical engineering at the University of Utah, has served as Co-chair of IEEE’s SCC 28.IV Subcommittee on RF Safety Standards (1988-97) and as Chair of IEEE’s Committee on Man and Radiation (COMAR) 1981-82. In IEEE’s June 23, 2015 journal, Spectrum: he published, “Yes the children are more exposed to radio-frequency energy from mobile telephones than adults.”
          In this paper, Dr. Gandhi writes that “it is very hard to understand why” the FCC’s safety guidelines only consider the head of a mannequin whose size is in the 90th percentage of US military recruits.
          Please share Dr. Gandhi’s paper with parents, physicians and educators to encourage limits on children’s exposure to mobile devices.
4. Bad news about federal regs followed by encouraging news
First, the bad news: The FCC is apparently preparing for landline extinction. Please read Jacob Kastrenakes’ July 10, 2015 blog, “Getting rid of copper lines has consequences, and the FCC wants you to know them.” http://tinyurl/peg63bm
          The FCC will vote about emergency backup power provisions for cell phones in August, 2015. As far as I know, the FCC never called for Comments about these provisions.
          Dr. Gary Olhoeft pointed out to me that big users of landlines include doctors, insurance companies, title companies and others who use faxes to protect their clients. What will these folks do when landlines are eliminated?
Now, the encouraging news: Norm Alster, a journalism fellow at Harvard’s Center for Ethics, has published Captured Agency: How the FCC is Dominated by the Industries It Presumably Regulates). In the book, Alster reports that in April, 2015, he asked 202 people, how likely it is that the US Congress forbids local communities from considering health concerns when deciding whether to issue zoning permits for wireless antennae.
          Only 1.5% of respondents considered this likely to be true.
          This means that the vast majority of people are unaware of Section 704 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act, which states that no health or environmental concern may interfere with the placement of a cell tower.
          When Alster asked respondents if risks to health (including brain cancer) caused by cell phones were identified, would they restrict their mobile phone use and get a landline?
          The majority said that they would.
          This means that the majority of people currently do not know that using mobile devices causes harm.
          I find this survey encouraging–and challenging: if people become informed about The Telecom Act’s Section 704–and about the dangers of exposure to EMR from wireless technologies, then significant numbers of people might well reduce their use.
          The challenge remains in educating people. How do we provide information so adults and children think it’s their own idea to reduce use and exposure?
          To read Norm Alster’s full report:
5. My June newsletter posted incomplete info about turning off your Wi-Fi router (until you get hard-wired Internet access). Barb Payne sent the following correction:
          Type in or, then hit enter. This’ll take you to your modem router. Give your password. At “wireless set up,” you’ll have the choice to enable or disable. You can restore Wi-Fi the same way. If one of these sets of numbers don’t work, phone your Internet service provider and ask, “What URL do I use to access my router settings online? If you use a wireless router that is not provided by your Internet service provider, the correct set of numbers for turning it off should be provided by your router’s manufacturer.
Thanks to everyone who gets informed about the dangers of wireless technologies and reduces their electronics usage and their EMR-exposure.
          If you’d like to help keep this newsletter going, please donate! Find the donate button at the bottom of the homepage at
Katie Singer