New York Bill Would Allow Customers to Opt Out of Smart Meters; Undermine Federal Program

New York Bill Would Allow Customers to Opt Out of Smart Meters; Undermine Federal Program

From Cindy Sage. A letter sent to the New York Times:

Cindy Sage, the Bioinitiative reports co-editor on smart phone virtual shopping

From Cindy Sage. A letter sent to the New York Times:

Dear New York Times people,

I have received your gift of a Google Cardboard viewer thanking me for being a loyal subscriber to the Times.

What a hilarious debacle in the name of ‘gifting’ and thanking your customers. I read and respect the NY Times, but this is a real mistake in judgment.

What you didn’t tell me is that this is a distinct health hazard to the very loyal subscribers like myself whom you are trying to thank with this gift. This would not be approvable under any Institutional Review Board as a scientific experiment on humans, without informed consent from them for exposing them to a classified Possible Human Carcinogen (WHO IARC Group 2B). No IRB would or could approve it.

Putting a cell phone at your forehead is ridiculously risky. Where are the health warnings?

Please see or any of the other 1000 or so scientific studies on the risks of cell phone radiation.

Thanks but no thanks. Looking for the quick demise of this ill-conceived customer relations program.

Cindy Sage, MA
Sage Associates
Co-Editor, BioInitiative Reports

San Francisco Demo to save landlines 5/23..

MEDIA ADVISORY Contact: Josh Hart, Spokesperson

MAY 19TH, 2016 Save Landline Telephones Coalition

AB2395: California Legislation Would Allow Destruction of the Landline Network
Protest Planned at AT&T Wireless Store in San Francisco Monday Lunchtime

The Save Landline Telephones Coalition will hold a demonstration in front of the AT&T store at 425 Market St. in San Francisco on Monday May 23rd at 11:30am to oppose California legislation AB 2395 and attempts by AT&T and other telecom corporations to destroy our reliable landline network.

AB 2395 is a bill currently before the California State Legislature that would permit AT&T to dismantle copper analog landlines, starting Jan. 1st, 2020 (in 3 1/2 years). Millions of people depend on landlines as the only safe and reliable means to call for help during power outages and emergencies, to access services, conduct business, and to reach their loved ones. The destruction of our landline network would disproportionately affect the poor, seniors, rural residents, those in prison, and others with few or no alternatives.

AB 2395 is purely about boosting AT&T’s profits while reducing consumer choices, harming rural areas of the state, and giving regulated corporations a free pass to destroy valuable public infrastructure while only offering vague references to alleged benefits. The bill would trigger the loss of thousands of solid union jobs, while reducing communication choices, and cut off people who depend solely on wired systems- particularly those with electrical sensitivities.

According to Josh Hart, Spokesperson for the Coalition:

Analog landlines remain the highest quality voice option hands down. It is not “progress” to rip out the highest quality network, and replace it with inferior options prone to static, interference, and dropped calls.”

AT&T and their shareholders would like nothing better than to escape their historical mandate to provide safe, reliable, affordable telecommunications to Californians. However, the potential economic damage resulting from the severing of this key, high quality, communications infrastructure is significant.

Further privatizing and deregulating essential public services will leave us not with advanced technologies but with systems that are less safe, less reliable, and less affordable.  If AT&T succeeds in pushing this damaging bill through, it is the public who will lose while AT&T reaps ever greater profits.

AB2395 will be heard by the State Assembly Appropriations Committee at 9 a.m. next Wednesday May 25th – Capitol Rm. 4202. (check for updates)

Protest AT&T’s Threat to Destroy our Safe and Reliable Landline Telephones

11:30am Monday May 23rd
AT&T Wireless Store, 425 Market St. (at Fremont St.) 
Nearest BART: Embarcadero
Visuals: Demonstrators with signs, handing out flyers, landline handsets, and busy signal/ disconnected audio clips

A Summary of Landline Issues:

Ebay / Myer’s new virtual reality shopping store ignores possible eye damage to the user

In a world’s first partnership between Ebay and Myer’s department store a virtual reality shopping mall now allows the user to access to thousands of items simply by downloading the eBay Virtual Reality Department Store app on their smart phone. What is also required is a foldout smart phone holder headset (called SHOPTICALS) for your phone which allows you to place the phone immediately in front of your eyes and start shopping.

As clearly seen, this places the smart phone about 2 inches from the user’s eyes, which will be exposing the eyes to the phone’s light and microwave emissions when using the headset. This should be of concern to both Ebay and Myer, not only because it might harm their customers but also because of the existing evidence (see below) that their technology poses a possible risk of eye damage to the user. If this turns out to be the case it exposes these corporations to a class-action litigation risk.

It is a disgrace that so many of the myriad of new devices being marketed are developed and sold without the slightest consideration of possible long term harm other than thermal (see


From Digital Trends:


“No one knows for sure at this point if prolonged use of digital devices actually causes permanent damage to the eyes,” explained Gary Heiting, OD, senior editor of, “but it’s well established that it causes eye strain and discomfort.”

Digital eye strain, sometimes referred to as computer vision syndrome, is well documented. If you’ve ever experienced dry or irritable eyes, blurred vision, eye fatigue, or head, neck and back pain after using a computer or smartphone, then you’re familiar with it.

A 2015 report from The Vision Council, Hindsight Is 20/20/20: Protect Your Eyes from Digital Devices, found that 61 percent of Americans have experienced eye strain after prolonged use of electronic devices — nearly 2 out of every 3 people. Long-term damage or not, we have an outbreak of eye strain on our hands.

Read more here

From Your Sight Matters:


Tiny Screens Can Cause Big Vision Problems
As much as we depend on our mobile devices for viewing and responding to emails, checking the weather, reading headline news, and posting status updates on Facebook, our smartphones may be causing us some vision problems. Staring at those tiny screens can bring on an array of eye issues such as blurred vision, headaches, sore eyes, headaches, muscle strain and dry eye.

According to Jeff Taylor, M.D., Medical Director for, at least 1 out of every 4 eye patients complains about eye strain due to reading text on a small screen. Normally, we blink about 15 times per minute, but this rate decreases by half when we are staring at our smartphone. As we squint to read these miniature screens, our facial, neck and shoulder muscles tighten, eyes become fatigued and vision can be blurred or strained. This series of symptoms is known as Computer Vision Syndrome.

Smartphones can also cause other issues as well. The iPhone’s newest update seems to affect balance and stability with the new icons zooming in and out. Users have complained of dizziness. Reading in bed can affect sleep patterns due to the blue light emitted from the screen. This light can decrease levels of melatonin and make it harder to fall asleep. For all the help that our phones and electronic devices offer, they are literally giving us a headache.

Read more here

From the BBC:


Smartphone overuse may ‘damage’ eyes, say opticians
Opticians say people are so addicted to smartphones they may be increasing their risk of eye damage. They are warning overuse from phones and other devices like computers, tablets, and flat screen TVs can lead to long-term damage.It comes as a survey of 2,000 people suggests under 25s check their phones thirty-two times a day. Optician Andy Hepworth said: “Blue violet light is potentially hazardous and toxic to the back of your eyes.

Read the full article here

From Rebuild Your Vision:


What’s the Deal with Blue Light? Smartphone Light Damaging to Retina at Night
If you lie in bed or sit in the dark and play with your cell phone or other electronic devices, you could be damaging your eyes. Not only will using digital devices in bed cause a disruption in your sleep cycle, but the blue light that emanates from these devices has been linked to a variety of health problems.

Smartphone Light Damaging to Retina at NightThe blue light coming off of these devices is a part of the full light spectrum, so everyone is exposed to it during the day when out in the sunlight. However, when you are exposed to it at night, in the dark, at the high levels that are emitted from cell phones, computers, tablets, and other devices with LED screens, it can cause problems to your eyes and vision.

Problems Caused by Blue Light

When your eyes are directly exposed to blue light, it can cause the retina to become damaged. According to the American Macular Degeneration Foundation, damage to the retina caused by blue light can result in the development of macular degeneration. Macular degeneration causes loss of central vision and when that happens, you will no longer have the ability to see things in front of you.

Read the full article here

And from Marker Watch:

Don’t give up your eyes for an iPhone

The biggest knock on smartphones is that all the apps, emails, viral videos, and text messages drive us to distraction, if not off the road. Spending half the day staring into a four-inch screen may also wreck one’s eyesight, new research suggests — and the devices may not be to blame so much as how we hold them.

David Allamby, an eye surgeon and the founder of Focus Clinics in London, recently coined the term “screen sightedness” and pointed out that according to his research, there has been a 35% increase in the number of people with advancing myopia since smartphones launched in 1997.
Nearsightedness, or myopia, is a condition caused by a combination of hereditary factors and environment, says Shlomit Schaal, an eye surgeon and assistant professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Louisville. It affects more than 30% of the population of the U.S. The environmental factors that contribute include “close work,” or stress on the eye caused by reading or otherwise focusing on a near object.

Using a smartphone strains the eyes in much the same way reading a book or staring at a computer monitor does, with one exception — the distance between the eye and the object. When a phone or other device is held close to one’s face, it forces the eye to work harder than usual to focus on text, says Mark Rosenfield, an optometrist who published research on the topic in The Journal of the American Academy of Optometry in 2011. The discomfort can eventually result in fatigue.

Read the full article here