NTP Cancer Study Re-ignites Massachusetts Smart Meter Safety Debate
On May 27, the National Toxicology Program released preliminary research results showing increased brain and heart tumors in rats after two years of exposure to wireless radiation. The Environmental Health Trust reported, ”This study represents a “sea change” in science in that it is a well designed study providing hard evidence that non-ionizing, radiofrequency radiation could cause cancer.”
Joel Moskowitz of Electromagnetic Radiation Safety reported, “Overall, thirty of 540 (5.5%), or one in 18 male rats exposed to cell phone radiation developed cancer. In addition, 16 pre-cancerous hyperplasias were diagnosed. Thus, 46 of 540, or one in 12 male rats exposed to cell phone radiation developed cancer or a pre-cancerous lesion as compared to none of the 90 unexposed male rats”
Wireless safety assumptions in the US are based on the claim that the only mechanism of harm from non-ionizing radiation is an increase in temperature. The NTP study was designed to maintain constant body temperature for study rats. Therefore, development of malignant gliomas in the brain and schwannomas of the heart were not caused by tissue heating, indicating both that low-level chronic exposure to RF is linked with cancer, and that the mechanism of injury is not heat. This indicates that FCC limits are irrelevant, outdated, and inadequate.
Five years before the NTP study was released, in May of 2011, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified radio frequency exposure a possible human carcinogen. The findings were ignored, dismissed, and/or ridiculed by pro-industry voices, including tobacco scientist Peter Valberg, who testified concerning the safety of smart meters for National Grid and before the MA Department of Public Utilities.
Opponents of the Worcester smart meter pilot program criticized the MA DPU for ignoring the IARC classification and publishing misleading smart meter orders denying emerging evidence of harm and citizen complaints. The smart meter health study published by Worcester’s administration also sparked great concern.
Cancer is not the only risk associated with RF exposure. Chemical biomarkers of biological stress are seen in electromagnetic hypersensitivity (microwave sickness) including histamines, markers of oxidative stress, auto-antibodies, heat shock protein (HSP), melatonin markers and leakage of the blood-brain barrier]. Low intensity pulsed microwave activation of voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) is postulated as a mechanism of non-thermal impacts.
Epidemiologists have posited a link between wireless use and sky-rocketing neurological death rates in the US compared with 20 other Western countries. http://surgicalneurologyint.com/surgicalint_articles/neurological-deaths-of-american-adults-55-74-and-the-over-75s-by-sex-compared-with-20-western-countries-1989-2010-cause-for-concern/
The rats in the NTP study did not reproduce, but Infertility has been associated with RF exposure. http://www.bioiniiiative.org/ Dr. Hugh Taylor’s research at Yale found a link with prenatal RF exposure and hyperactivity in rats, as autism rates continue to rise. http://www.babysafeproject.org/the-science.html.
Now that the NTP study results have been reported, the City of Worcester has the opportunity and responsibility to immediately address the Worcester smart meter pilot program on behalf of the Commonwealth. Because the pilot includes a private WiMax communications system, the City is being blanketed with microwaves affecting not just the 11,000 homes outfitted with meters, but 182,000 Worcester residents, the majority of whom are non-benefitting and non-consenting.
If the Worcester pilot did not assign binding liability for adverse health or environmental impacts due to an assumption of safety, now the issue of liability for the future of the pilot is crucial. If National Grid will not guarantee the safety of its multiple overlapping wireless networks, with health monitoring of chemical markers to assess biological stress for those reporting harm, the pilot should be halted. Continued justification of safety of smart meters based on FCC limits is both unethical and immoral.
Patricia Burke of HaltMAsmartmeters.org works with activists across the country calling for new biologically-based RF exposure limits.