RF radiation risks; taking a cue from history

YOUR TURN: RF radiation risks; taking a cue from history

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If the cost of doing business is people’s health — and, in fact, extends to our mortality as many respected scientists say — then it’s time we take a good hard look at questioning the wisdom of continuing to condone National Grid’s ill-advised wireless utility ”smart” meter pilot.

Marketed as Smart Energy Solutions, the Worcester pilot is dependent on an infrastructure that includes multiple WiMax (more powerful Wi-Fi) towers. The two-year experiment ends Dec. 31 in the face of credible science pointing to the health hazards of these wireless devices, which continually pulse microwave radiation in spiky bursts – some random, some periodic. Adding insult to injury, the Department of Public Utilities currently is considering a proposal to extend the pilot beyond December.

While we are all at risk, those most vulnerable are potential parents, pregnant women, children, seniors, those with preexisting conditions and the electromagnetically hypersensitive (EHS). Symptoms of overexposure can include memory loss, tinnitus, debilitating headaches, dizziness, insomnia, mental confusion, anxiety, joint and muscle pain and intestinal disorders. These conditions may be caused by other factors, but science shows that radio frequency radiation can cause or contribute to them – and there’s more than enough research to justify actions to reduce exposures.

Smart meters and cell phones occupy similar frequency bands of the electromagnetic spectrum, meaning cell phone research can apply to smart meter radio frequency radiation. The Federal Communications Commission claims RF that doesn’t heat tissue isn’t harmful, yet independent science shows this to be inaccurate, including the results of the U.S. National Toxicology Program’s cell phone study released earlier this year.

While scores of epidemiological investigations have linked cell phones to brain and heart malignancies, the NTP project is the largest and most comprehensive laboratory study of the cancer risks of cell phone radiation. The results of this thoroughly peer-reviewed, multi-year study roundly challenge the widely-held view that wireless radiation exposure is harmless.

Chief study designer Ronald L. Melnick emphasizes, “The NTP tested the hypothesis that cell phone radiation could not cause health effects and that hypothesis has now been disproved.”

An acclaimed study by leading EMF/RF researchers Barnes and Greenebaum provides an explanation in the IEEE Power Electronics Journal about how such radiation could cause such cancers. The NTP results prompted the American Academy of Pediatrics to issue new guidelines for using cell phones.

“They’re not toys. They have radiation that is emitted from them,” warned Dr. Jennifer A. Lowry, chair of the Council on Environmental Health Executive Committee.

AAP advises safer use means keeping the phone off the body and using it in other ways. Since the FCC bases its radiation guidelines on inaccurate, outdated data, this allows utilities to continue using them to justify projects like the Worcester wireless “smart” meter pilot. Industry strategy regarding wireless devices reprises past attempts to cast doubt on the risks of other hazardous materials like tobacco and asbestos.

The rapidly rising body of evidence showing health risks of low energy radio frequency radiation is motivating an increasing number of scientists, physicians, citizens and officials to advocate taking precautions now. If we fail to at least examine the evidence and continue to coast on weak, outdated questionably motivated positions, according to science not beholden to industry interests, the status of human health and the environment faces an unparalleled challenge.

Worcester citizens, along with many thousands globally, are bringing the information to the attention of our local populations and public officials charged with protecting our interests. It’s heartening to see some have taken the time and made the effort to listen. What harm does it do to look at the evidence? What harm does it do to pursue the Precautionary Principle? Are we not to take our lessons from history? Are we willing to live with the consequences of not paying attention when serious calls to action are being sounded by scientists and engineers far more knowledgeable than we— those like the EMF Scientists, to name but a couple hundred experts? What will history show about damage from wireless we’re experiencing today when the “juries come in with their verdicts” tomorrow?

We can opt to turn a deaf ear while we continue to be bathed in a sea of invisible, artificially-produced radiation from wireless devices … or we can look squarely at the evidence and move together from there to explore accessible, creative solutions that allow us to use our technology safely and responsibly. Which do you choose? To investigate the science, see the EMF-Portal and Bioinitiative Report on the web. Many other websites will tell you more about “EMF safety.”

Leslie Saffer is a writer, musician and member of the Worcester Info Team for Health (WITH), supporting Worcester decision makers and others in learning about and mitigating the public health risks posed by the rapid roll-out of wireless devices and infrastructure, emphasizing the Precautionary Principle and seeking collaboration on creative solutions.

You can submit your own guest column to Your Turn by emailing the editor at wbird@worcestermag.com, subject line: Your Turn. Submissions should be 700-750 words. Longer submissions will be considered and run as space allows.



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