Scientific Consensus – Smart Meters Harm Our Health!

by Dianne Wilkins

[Ms. Wilkins is a paralegal who has been active in the legal challenge by the Maine group “Smart Meter Safety Coalition” to the ruling of that state’s public service commission requiring that persons opting out of smart meters must pay a fee.]

There is irrefutable proof of a general consensus among the proper, designated federal authorities and the established scientific/medical communities:

  • of a serious risk to our health from exposures to RF radiation from smart meters;
  • that children and pregnant women should completely avoid exposure to this type of RF
  • and that this acknowledged, proven risk is enough for our elected officials  to enact ordinances to protect the public health radiation;

It is an undisputed fact that our federal authorities, the FDA & US Center for Device and Radiological Health,1 EPA,2 FCC,3 world renowned scientists and reputable health research groups,4,5,6,7all agree that the current FCC safety guidelines for the type of radio frequency(RF) radiation from WiFi and other wireless devices, only protects people from radiation levels that cause burns or heating of body tissue and does not protect us from any other forms of injury, such as, cancer, degenerative diseases, heart irregularities, hormonal disruptions,  childhood Leukemia, Parkinson, Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimer, DNA damage, mutated and low sperm counts, Diabetes, or any other forms of injury. These scientists, physicians, published experts, federal agencies, and health research groups also overwhelmingly call for precaution, or in the case of children, complete avoidance of long term exposures to the type of radio frequency radiation from WiFi.

When you hear that “so & so’s” health study or review has concluded that RF radiation from wireless devices “meets FCC safety guidelines so therefore is safe,” all that they are really saying is that if the guideline limitations are met, the radiation will not cause harmful heating (thermal) of our body tissue but it does not protect us from any other forms of non-thermal injury from this radiation.

In fact, the FDA, which is the federal health authority designated by Congress to determine the health effects of RF radiation, 8,9,10,11,12 was so concerned with the lack of adequate FCC safety guidelines and the risk of harm from the type of RF radiation from smart meters and other wireless devices, that in 2003 it nominated the US National Toxicology Program13 to study and make a determination of the health effects.

As of today, this study is still underway and not due for completion until 2014. So at this point in time, our governing US authority on the safety of RF, has not yet decided on the health effects from the type of radiation from these wireless devices. This fact alone should warrant a precautionary approach, especially with our children.

What convinced our FDA that there may be risk of adverse health effects and to embark on the only long term study of this type of RF radiation by a federal health agency in the U.S.A.?

Research into health effects of radio frequency radiation has been going on for over seventy years. In 1971, the Navy Medical Research Institute published a bibliography of over 2,000 studies finding biological health effects from RF going back to the 1930s.14Among the health effects caused by low level RF (like the kind from WiFi) found in the Navy’s comprehensive report were central, peripheral, & autonomic nervous system disruptions, blood disorders, and many physiologic function problems.

In essence, while the research groups funded by the wireless industry15,16,17,18,19 claimed they could not duplicate the results of some non-industry funded health studies, most Non-industry20 funded studies have found serious adverse health effects from RF radiation exposures to wireless devices like smart meters.

The type of radiation emissions from smart meters, i.e. long term exposure to continuous, non-thermal, non-ionizing radio frequency (RF) radiation, has been shown to have adverse health effects at levels far below the FCC emission guidelines.21,22

In 2012, the distinguished American Academy of Environmental Medicine23 issued a position paper opposing the installation of wireless “smart meters,” based on  “scientific assessment of the current medical literature” and states that “Chronic exposure to wireless radio frequency radiation is a preventable environmental hazard that is sufficiently well documented to warrant immediate preventative public health action.” They also noted that “existing FCC guidelines for RF safety that have been used to justify installation of “smart meters” only look at thermal tissue damage and are obsolete, since many modern studies show metabolic and genomic damage from RF and ELF exposures below the level of intensity which heats tissues.” The American Academy of Environmental Medicine was founded in 1965, and is an international association of prestigious physician specialists in the field of environmental medicine and other professionals which provides research and education in the recognition, treatment and prevention of illnesses induced by exposures to biological and chemical agents encountered in air, food and water. The founders and members of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine are recognized as the first to describe and acknowledge Gulf War Syndrome.

Also in to 2012, another prestigious group, the Environment and Human Health, Inc. (EHHS),24 a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting human health from environmental harms through research, education and the promotion of sound public policy recommended that everyone reduce their exposure to wireless RF radiation due to the risk of adverse health effects and that the federal government immediately “evaluate cumulative exposure levels to radio frequency radiation in pregnant women and childrenin order to avoid harm. EHHS is made up of doctors, public health professionals and policy experts committed to the reduction of environmental health risks to individuals.

Currently on the board of EHHS are Susan Addiss, MPH, past Commissioner of Health for the State of Connecticut, past President of the American Public Health Association and current member of the Pew Environmental Health Commission;Robert G. LaCamera, MD, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine and Primary Care Pediatrician in New Haven, Connecticut from 1956 to 1996 with a sub-specialty in children with disabilities; Hugh S. Taylor, MD, Chief of the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at Yale University School of Medicine and Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences and Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology; David R. Brown, Sc.D., Public Health Toxicologist and Director of Public Health Toxicology for Environment and Human Health, Inc., also past Chief of Environmental Epidemiology and Occupational Health in CT and previously Associate Professor of Toxicology at Northeastern College of Pharmacy and Allied Health;Mark R. Cullen, MD currently Professor of Medicine and Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, also Director of Yale’s Occupational and Environmental Medicine Program and co-editor of the Textbook of Clinical Occupational and Environmental Medicine; John P. Wargo, PhD is Professor of Risk Analysis and Environmental Policy at Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and a Professor of Political Science, also the Director of the Yale Program on Environment and Health and author of Our Children’s Toxic Legacy, which won the American Association Publisher’s competition as best scholarly and professional book in an area of government and political science in 1997. Founded in 1997, the EHHI has affected state policy, and, in some instances, national policy, by their research, education, and written reports.

In 2010, in a recent comprehensive review of all the published health studies to date, Blake Levitt & Professor Lai, surmised that there are enough health studies showing serious adverse health effects to conclude that new FCC emission exposure safety limits are needed now, that children are especially vulnerable, and that everyone should limit or completely eliminate their exposures to the type of radiation from these devices.25

In 2009, two more recent published reviews of the health studies in Pathophysiology,26,27 the first by by Dr. Blank and Dr. Goodman from Columbia University, NY and the second by Cindy Sage and Dr. David Carpenter who is currently the Director of the Institute for Health & the Environment and Professor of Environmental Health Sciences of at the University of Albany, NY and was formerly the Dean of the Wadsworth Center Laboratories & Research for the New York State Department of Health. The reviews looked at over 1,500 health studies and found FCC safety standards to be inadequate to protect us from RF with serious risks to children and fetuses from RF exposure at levels far below the current guideline limits.28

Also in 2009, the Environmental Working Group, a well respected non-profit research group of scientists, engineers, policy experts, lawyers and computer programmers, pored over government data, legal documents, including data from more than 200 peer-reviewed health studies, government advisories, and industry documents to complete the Science Review on Cancer Risks and Children’s Health, a comprehensive, 10-month science evaluation of the hazards of the type of RF radiation from cell phones (same type as from smart meters)  and concluded that our children are more vulnerable and at risk of adverse health effects from this type of radiation, due to their immature body structure and again concluded that studies show adverse health effects at lower levels which are not covered by FCC guidelines.29

In 2007, the BioInitiative Working Group, an international collaboration of prestigious scientists and public health experts from Columbia University, the University of Washington, the Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, the Department of Oncology, Orebro Hospital (Sweden), the European Environmental Agency, the Medical University of Vienna (Austria) and Zhejiang University School of Medicine (China) released a 650 page report citing 2,000 studies documenting health effects from EMFs and RF. Among the overall conclusions of this report was that EMP and “RF may be considered genotoxic (cause DNA damage),” and that the DNA damage occurs at levels of EMF/RF that are far below the current safety limits, resulting in gene defects being passed down to the next generation.30

Some of the adverse health effects found from these publications and many other recent reviews<a title=”” 31,32,33 are really, very scary.

Increases in incidence of childhood Leukemia,34,35,36,37,38,39,40 Parkinson,41,42 Multiple Sclerosis,43,44 Alzheimer,45,46,47 & Diabetes,48 30% decrease in sperm count & sperm cell damage.49,50,51,52,53

-         accumulating damage to eyes54,55,56,57

-         increase in toxins crossing the blood brain barrier58,59,60

-         Cell DNA damage that can be passed down to the next
generation61,62,63,64,65

-         Drops in Melatonin levels, causing sleeplessness, depression, and
rapid aging66,67,68,69

-         Findings that children and pregnant women are more susceptible to
the health effects70,71

-         Decreased attention, memory & motor skills in children72,73,74,75

-         Decreases in calcium ion that leads to reduced immunity to all
disease76,77

-         And finally, elevated risk of brain,78,79,80 skin,81,82,83breast,84,85,86,87,88
and testicular89,90,91,92,93 cancer.

From these credible, peer-reviewed, published reviews and studies we can undeniably deduce that “risk” of serious adverse health effects does exist.  Do we really want to take this kind of “risk” with our future and children’s health?  As you can also see from the list, the FDA had many good reasons to be concerned about RF and to begin their long term health study.

Another very important warning that you may want to take note of was in May, 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified the type of radiation from smart meters as a possible Carcinogen, in the same category as DDT, Gasoline, Dioxane, & Lead.94 The WHO used the RF from cell phones in their study to make this determination but, as recently confirmed by the chair of the WHO research committee, this classification also applies to any wireless devices that uses radio frequency.95

As expressed by the scientists in the BioInitiative Report mentioned above,

What is missing with regard to EMF/RF has been an acknowledgement of the risk that is demonstrated by the scientific studies.  …in this case there is clear evidence of risk, although the magnitude of the risk is uncertain, and the magnitude of doing nothing on the health effects cost to society is similarly uncertain. This situation is very similar to our history of dealing with hazards of smoking decades ago, where power of the industry to influence governments and even conflicts of interest with the public health community, delayed action for more than a generation, with consequent loss of life and enormous extra health care costs to society.

            WiFi, smart meters and other wireless technologies have been rolled out at such a fast pace that most county and state health agencies have not had time to review or study the adverse long term health implications to the public or to our children.  One of the few state health agencies that have completed a review of the health studies, the County of Santa Cruz, California, Division of Public Health (on January 13, 2012), reached the same conclusion as the research groups, experts, and federal health authorities, which is that the FCC safety guidelines are not protective of RF from wireless devices and also joins the majority of the scientific community with its conclusion that there is no safe RF exposure level for non-thermal effects and therefore a risk of adverse health effects.96

Another large public health & safety group that has issued a position statement regarding public employees exposure to the same type of radiation as from WiFi, is the International Association of Fire Fighters Union – Division of Occupational Health, Safety & Medicine (IAFF) which states it is against exposing any firemen to radio frequency from antennas located on any firehouse premises, which includes the local chapter of the firemen unions in Michigan.97

Our public entities have a legal duty to protect the public from the risk of harm and need to listen to the proper federally designated health agencies (FDA & EPA), and the long, growing list of distinguished, qualified, published experts, scientists, physicians and research groups telling them to stop the rollout of wireless devices that use radiofrequency due to the large body of evidence showing serious adverse health effects, especially to children, infants, and pregnant women.  The wireless companies just want to make money and are not obligated to provide accurate information to towns; therefore they are not a reliable source of information regarding the health consequences of using smart meters.

Our town and county officials need to resist the pressure to conform, thoroughly research and acknowledge the health risk and error on the side of caution by discontinuing/not allowing the use of “wireless” smart meters.  Not acting now will not only cause current learning disabilities and disease in our children, but due to the well documented DNA damage, will also affect the health of the next generations.

Dianne Wilkins, Smart Meter Safety Coalition


Footnoted references follow:

[1] http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/?objectid=7E733ABE-BDB5-82F8-FBDC3F58C0CEE928    - click on left column “Fact Sheet” to see the FDA’s US National Toxicology Program’s current study on non-thermal RF Radiation (like the kind from smart meters) not due for completion until 2014!
[2]
http://www.emrpolicy.org/litigation/case_law/docs/noi_epa_response.pdf: The EPA states that the current FCC emission safety standard does not protect us from long term exposure from the nonthermal type of RF radiation (type from cell phones, smart meters and WiFi).
[3]
http://www.emrpolicy.org/litigation/case_law/docs/noi_epa_response.pdf: The 2002 advisory ltr. from the EPA   states the “FCC ‘s current exposure guidelines as well as those by the IEEE and the ICNRP, are thermally based and do not apply to chronic, nonthermal exposure situations”  and also that the “FCC does not claim that their exposure guidelines provide protection for exposures that are chronic/prolonged and non-thermal.
[4]
http://electromagnetichealth.org/quotes-from-experts/ -Expressions of Concern from Scientists, Physicians, Health Policy Experts & Others
[5]
 http://iemfa.org/index.php/publications - International Publications Calling for RF recall.
[6]
http://iemfa.org/index.php/appeals -International Doctors and Scientist Warnings against EMF.
[7]
http://www.pathophysiologyjournal.com/article/S0928-4680(09)00017-0/abstract - peer reviewed, published acknowledgement.
[8]
oet56e4.pdf: FCC OET Bulletin 56, page 27, last sentence, second paragraph which states “The FDA is, however, the lead federal health agency in monitoring the latest research developments and advising other agencies with respect to the safety of RF-emitting products used by the public…
[9]
http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/DeviceRegulationandGuidance/Overview/ClassifyYourDevice/ucm051504.htm: See “Introduction” on first page which states the FDA regulates emitting RF emitting electronic products & their purpose is to prevent unnecessary exposure etc. & on the second page, number 7 on the list, states one of the products is “radio and low frequency power generation and transmission equipment
[10]
http://www.fda.gov/Radiation-EmittingProducts/RadiationEmittingProductsandProcedures/HomeBusinessandEntertainment/CellPhones/default.htm; See under “Federal Communications Commission”, first sentence “The FDA shares regulatory responsibilities for cell phones with the FCC. FCC certifies wireless devices, and all phones that are sold in the US must comply with FCC guidelines on RF exposure. FCC relies on the FDA and other health agencies on health and safety related questions about cell phones
[11]
http://www.fda.gov/Radiation-EmittingProducts/FDARadiologicalHealthProgram/default.htm; See first sentence “FDA’s radiological health program is to protect etc…from RF...”
[12] http://www.fda.gov/Radiation-EmittingProducts/ElectronicProductRadiationControlProgram/GettingaProducttoMarket/default.htm#1; See Q2.A , second sentence that states “for most electronic products, safety regulations is divided between CDRH/FDA and state regulatory agencies. CDRH/FDA regulates the manufacture of the products, and the states regulate the use of the products.”  See Q3.A, CDRH is a component of the FDA.  See Q5.A, regarding radiation safety of RF, the EPA is responsible for issuing general radiation guidance to other Federal agencies.
[13]
  http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/?objectid=7E733ABE-BDB5-82F8-FBDC3F58C0CEE928 - click on left column “Fact Sheet”  to see the FDA’s US National Toxicology Program’s current study on non-thermal RF Radiation (like the kind from smart meters) not due for completion until 2014!
[14]
Navy: Glaser, Zorach R., Bibliography of reported Biological Phenomena (Effects) and clinical Manifestations of Attributed to Microwave and Radio-Frequency Radiation,Naval Medical Research Institute,  Research Report MF 12.54.05-0004B,  National Technical Information Service, US Dept. of Commerce, 1971
[15]
Huss A, Egger M, Hug K, Huwiler-Müntener K, Röösli M Environ Health Perspect,  ‘Source of funding and results of studies of health effects of mobile phone use: systematic review of experimental studies,’2007 Jan;115(1):1-4: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17366811
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[19]
Louis Slesin, Radiation Research and the Cult of Negative Results,’ Microwave News, 2006 July; Vol. XXVI No. 4: 2-5: http://www.microwavenews.com/docs/mwn.7-06.RR.pdf
[20]
http://www.icems.eu/papers.htm?f=/c/a/2009/12/15/MNHJ1B49KH.DTL  (click & read first part) & http://www.justproveit.net/studies, http://www.powerwatch.org.uk/science/studies.asp
[21]
Magda Havas: 2007 Analysis of Health effects of WiFi Network,  see her Appendix 2 for list of studies showing adverse biological effects of radio frequency atlow intensities,  http://www.magdahavas.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/07_Havas_WiFi-SNAFU.pdf
[22]
Johansson O., ‘Disturbance of the immune system by electromagnetic fields-A potentially underlying cause for cellular damage and tissue repair reduction which could lead to disease and impairment’, Pathophysiology. 2009 Aug;16(2-3):157-77. Epub 2009
Apr
23. Source: The Experimental Dermatology Unit, Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19398310?ordinalpos=14&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum  &   http://www.pathophysiologyjournal.com/article/S0928-4680(09)00035-2/abstract
[23]
http://aaemonline.org/images/CaliforniaPublicUtilitiesCommission.pdfThe Board of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine opposes the installation of wireless “smart meters” in homes and schools based on a scientific assessment of the current medical literature (references available on request). Chronic exposure to wireless radiofrequency radiation is a preventable environmental hazard that is sufficiently well documented to warrant immediate preventative public health action.”
[24]
http://www.ehhi.org/reports/cellphones/health_risks.shtml:
[25]
To read entire review go to  www.EMRnetwork.org/news.htm, scroll down to second item dated November 26, 2010 and mouse click on “read the whole article” or go to link below to read a quick summary: http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/userimages/ContentEditor/1299523036517/ER_PressRelease_Nov52010_Final_e.pdf
[26]
http://smartmetersafetydotcom.files.wordpress.com/2010/11/pathophysiology-paper1.pdfResearch at the more energetic levels of power frequency [7]and in the RF [8] ranges has shown that exposure to EMF can lead to breaks in the DNA strands. Therefore, DNA can no longer be considered unaffected by environmental EMF levels. It can be activated and damaged by EMF at levels that are considered safe [9]
[27]
  www.ntia.doc.gov/legacy/broadbandgrants/comments/6E05.pdf 2009 published review of health studies by Cindy Sage and Dr. David Carpenter “Existing safety standards are obsolete because they are based solely on thermal effects from acute exposures. The rapidly expanding development of new wireless technologies and the long latency for the development of such serious diseases as brain cancers means that failure to take immediate action to reduce risks may result in an epidemic of potentially fatal diseases in the future. Regardless of whether or not the associations are causal, the strengths of the associations are sufficiently strong that in the opinion of the authors, taking action to reduce exposures is imperative, especially for the fetus and children.”
[28]
  See the footnote references for every single study in this comment that shows adverse health effects at levels below FCC guidelines.
[29]
http://www.ewg.org/cellphoneradiation/executivesummary: September 2009 — Science Review on Cancer Risks and Children’s Health, Environmental Working Group’s  comprehensive, 10-month science evaluation of the hazards of cell phone radiation includes data from more than 200 peer-reviewed studies, government advisories, and industry documents.
[30]
Blackman, C., Blank, M. et al., BioInitiative Report: A Rationale for a Biologically-based Public Exposure Standard for Electromagnetic Fields:  http://www.bioinitiative.org/freeaccess/report/index.htm
[31]
Ecolog Report  &  http://www.icems.eu/papers.htm?f=/c/a/2009/12/15/MNHJ1B49KH.DTL : Review of all health studies on RF up to the year 2000 by Mobile Telecommunications & Health. Also see attached pdf document for a 2010 study of Non-thermal Effects of RF published in European Journal of Oncology by Italy’s National  Institute for Study and Control of Cancer which states that all current safety guidelines for RF are not protective to us and recommends limiting exposure to all RF.
[32]
Johansson O.,
Disturbance of the immune system by electromagnetic fields – A potentially underlying cause of cellular damage and tissue repair reduction which could lead to disease and impairment’ Pathophysiology, 2009 Aug.: 157-77 Epub 2009 Apr 23: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=johansson%20o.%2C%20Disturbances%20of%20the%20immune%2C%202009
[33]
Hardell L, Sage C., Biological effects from electromagnetic field exposure and public exposure standards,’ Biomed Pharmacother. 2008 Feb;62(2):104-9. Epub 2007 Dec 31: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18242044
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[40]
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: In 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the type of radiofrequency radiation from Cell Phones, Smart Meters and Wifi a Carcinogen, in the same classification as the toxins DDT,  Gasoline  & Lead.
[95]
http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Politics/2011/07/01/18363956.html: Press article that mentions Dr. Samet of WHO/IARC who was chair of the WHO committee deciding on the  2-B classification, confirming in an e-mail that the 2-B classification of radiofrequency (RF) as a Possible Carcinogen  applies to RF from any device (including WiFi, cell phones, smart meters and others) which completely negates the Maine PUC’s claim that the WHO 2-B classification only applies to RF from cell phones that they used in their “Order Denying Reconsideration” of their decision not to investigate the health concerns from smart meters ( see PUC case 2010-345)
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http://www.iaff.org/hs/Facts/CellTowerFinal.asp: International Association of Fire Fighters Union – Division of Occupational Health, Safety & Medicine (IAFF)  which is against exposing any firemen to radiofrequency from antennas  located on any firehouse premises, which includes local chapter of the firemen’s unions in Michigan

One thought on “Scientific Consensus – Smart Meters Harm Our Health!

  1. Dianne, This is a wonderful summary of all the smart meter issues that are still considered controversial by the industry, especially non-thermal effects. I will be including this article in our Evidence Presentation Binder for our 3rd appointment with Att. Boffetti, DOJ Chief of Consumer Protection. I also just found the 2012 edition of the Bioinitiative Report which includes about 1400 new scientific studies. This would be a valuable resource for any group working on smart meter issues.

    Thank you, Joan Wirth

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