Monthly Archives: September 2010

Fatuous in Fairfax – PG&E Blows it…Again: EON EMF Commentary

Fatuous in Fairfax – PG&E Blows it…Again
By Mary Beth Brangan and James Heddle

What Part of the Word ‘NO’ Don’t They Understand?
Last night Fairfax held another special Town meeting, allowing PG&E to formally respond to half the questions posed to PG&E by residents two weeks ago. PG&E thought that if they communicated properly to Fairfaxians, the town would drop their ordinance against smart meters. It was great theater, as PG&E once more demonstrated its abysmal ineptitude at responding to substantive public concerns, and its profound disrespect for public intelligence.

And, as Ellie Marks and Lloyd Morgan found when they presented at the Brisbane Town meeting about the new cell phone legislation passed by San Francisco recently, industry sent some of their biggest guns to quell the people’s rebellion. They know – all industry eyes are on ‘thought leader’ California as the growing wireless/electro-smog/cellphone/smart meter push-back gains momentum.

The gauntlet is thrown; the gloves are off; the chips are down; the truth is out; the handwriting is on the wall; and the multiple cats of privacy, property rights, hackability, public health, biological and environmental risks, economics and democratic choice are out of the bag. The corporate wireless build-out wet-dream is in danger of drying up from a terminal case of truthiness.

So, the Big Gun Gambit didn’t work in Fairfax.

Its not the ‘SmartGrid,’ it’s the wireless, stupid!
People shouted down Bill Devereaux (left, above), PG&E head of the Smart Grid/Smart Meter project after he gave a lengthy greenwash presentation on why PG&E claims wireless smart meters are so necessary to save the planet from climate change and make possible a plug-in electric car in front of every home. “We’ve heard all this before. Answer our questions!” demanded voices from the audience.

PG&E also flew in retired FCC staffer, now industry consultant, Robert Cleveland (center, above), who said he helped establish the FCC RF standards. He tried to convince people that smart meters were compliant with their regulations and that their regulations were adequate to prevent harm. “The fact that the last update of the standards was in 1996 tells me everything I need to know to know they’re inadequate,” one woman stated firmly during testimony.

Leeka Kheifets (right, above), an epidemiologist, currently at UCLA, also tried to reassure residents about safety. Kheifets is notorious for her work with Michael Repacholi in making sure industry interests take precedence over public health concerns at national and international levels.

Leeka worked with Repacholi to set the W.H.O. EMF policies and RF policies. (see one article explaining this below). “Who paid you to be here?” demanded a person from the audience. “PG&E,” a startled Leeka responded. “And who paid for the studies you’re quoting?” demanded another. “Responsible industry should fund the studies,” she insisted. “Smart meters would only be as strong as someone making a cell phone call outside your home,” Leeka asserted. “I don’t want my children exposed to cell phone-like radiation 24/7!” shouted one mother. Leeka was also given the hook.

More Questions Raised Than Answers Given
The educated and informed Fairfax audience was, except for one speaker, totally unimpressed. People were incensed that they were given no real answers to their specific questions regarding what the smart meter duty cycles were, what the peak pulse strengths were, why there was no opt out for medical reasons, why fiber optics, or other shielded cable options weren’t used, etc.

The one speaker who said he probably would be going against the grain, quoted a WHO (World Health Organization) statement in his remarks. Mayor Lew Tremaine retorted, “The WHO. is about as concerned about public health and safety as the World Bank.” The audience cheered its agreement.

Marzia Zafar of the CPUC also was part of the panel vigorously defending the need for the smart grid/smart meters. (She was also at the Sebastopol meeting in the spring.) At the end of the evening, she asked the crowd if it would accept the opinion of the upcoming report requested by Assm. Jared Huffman by the California Council on Science and Technology. Huffman has asked CCST to evaluate whether current FCC standards are adequately protective of public health. The audience shouted “NO!” PG&E reps and CPUC’s Zafar looked exasperated. She clearly doesn’t understand that the reason the public distrusts ‘official’ studies, is the many examples of such studies turning out to be industry-friendly cover-ups of the actual facts. (see articles below) Zafar’s behavior deepened the public perception that CPUC is the regulatee not the regulator in relation to PG&E’s policies.

The meeting went on until well after 10 pm. We videotaped and will post it asap.

The PG&E Traveling Clown Show will have a return engagement in Fairfax on Thurs. Oct. 28th at 7 PM. Based on the company’s consistent record, Fairfaxians expect it to be heavy on bovine waste material, but light on real answers to their substantive questions of public health, privacy and property rights, security, safety and democratic choice.



Here’s the link to a fabulous article by Louis Slesin of Microwave News from 2005, explaining Kheifets’ repeated references last night to studies on the relationship between childhood leukemia and EMFs. It also gives a good look at how science and standards have been manipulated by industry concerns.

And here’s a paste of a shorter article by Louis Slesin of Microwave News on Kheifets’ work with the WHO and Mike Repacholi.

WHO and Electric Utilities: A Partnership on EMFs

October 1, 2005… As members of the WHO Task Group make their way to Geneva for next week’s meeting to complete its Environmental Health Criteria (EHC) document on power-frequency EMFs, new information has emerged showing that the electric utility industry has played a major role at every stage of developing the review document.

Microwave News has learned that Mike Repacholi, the head of the WHO EMF project, recruited utility representatives to help write the original draft of the document and later asked them to review the completed draft. Then, as we reported last week, Repacholi invited eight utility representatives to attend next week’s task group meeting —the only observers who were invited (see September 22 entry). The task group and the industry observers will assemble at a WHO conference room in Geneva on Monday, October 3 to recommend exposure limits.

Documents show that Leeka Kheifets played a central role in drafting the EHC document. Kheifets has had a long relationship with EPRI, the research arm of the electric utility industry. She worked for EPRI before becoming Repacholi’s assistant in Geneva. Now, back in California, Kheifets recently disclosed to the British Medical Journal that she “works with the Electric Power Research Institute… and consults with utilities.” Among those who collaborated with Kheifets on the EHC document include: Gabor Mezei, also of EPRI, Jack Sahl of Southern California Edison, the U.S. utility and John Swanson of National Grid, the U.K. utility. 

Repacholi sent a draft of the EHC out for review in early July. Among those asked for comments were: 

• William Bailey, Exponent Inc., U.S.
• Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (FEPC) 
• Kent Jaffa, Pacificorp, U.S. 
• Michel Plante, Hydro-Quebec, Canada
• Utility Health Sciences Group (USHG), U.S. 

To be sure, a number of independent researchers were also participated, but it is highly unusual, if not unprecedented, for a WHO health document to be reviewed by so many with such strong ties to the affected industry. 

Not surprisingly, most of the industry comments seek to downplay potential health risks. 

Here for example is an excerpt from those filed by Plante on the epidemiology chapter:

“The whole section on cancer seems more like a desperate attempt to maintain some positive statistical association from epidemiological studies alive than a factual and honest presentation of arguments both, for and against, carcinogenicity.”

Plante, who will sit in on the weeklong deliberations at Repacholi’s invitation, has been assigned to the epidemiology working group, where he will no doubt continue to maintain that the link between EMFs and childhood leukemia is inconsequential.

Plante has played a villainous role in the EMF controversy. A decade ago, he was involved in stopping work on an epidemiological study on possible EMF cancer risks to electric utility workers. The Canadian-French study was the first —and the last— to investigate whether exposure to high-frequency transients could lead the cancer. The multi-million dollar study, published in the November 1, 1994 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology was considered, at the time, a landmark event. The research team led by Ben Armstrong and Gilles Thériault of McGill University found strong cancer risks as well as dose-response. Members of the EMF community were excited by the results and looked forward to follow-up efforts. But, Plante worked with others at Hydro-Quebec to shut down the McGill project by forcing Thériault to return the data he and the others had painstakingly collected (see MWN, N/D94). Thériault was never allowed near it again.

Jack Sahl, another invited observer who will also sit in on the epidemiological working group, was a leading member of the UHSG for much of the 1990s. The USHG was the brainchild of Tom Watson, now of Watson & Renner, a law firm based in Washington. In the 1990s, all the major electric utilities in the U.S. —by one count, 76 participated — were members of the USHG. Watson was originally invited to attend next week’s meeting, but his invitation was later withdrawn. Still obscure is why Repacholi changed his mind and disinvited Watson.

It is not known who wrote the comments submitted by the USHG, but it is possible that every electric utility that is a member of the USHG was given the chance to review the WHO document and funnel its comments back to the WHO.

What is clear is that the USHG attempted to weaken the EHC document. For instance, while the draft states that, “evidence is increasing that magnetic fields could interact with DNA-damaging agents, at least in some cellular models,” the USHG suggested that for the “sake of clarity and balance… it would be useful to include… ‘Any such effects on DNA cannot, however, be considered as established’.”

USHG also proposed the following change in the chapter on protective measures: “It should also be pointed out that ‘redirecting facilities or redesigning electrical systems may be so expensive as to be inconsistent with the low-cost and no-cost steps typically viewed as prudent avoidance’.”

Nor was the USHG bashful about promoting the utility position, arguing:

“It would be useful for the summary to include a clear statement that the scientific research does not establish ELF EMF as a cause or contributing factor in any disease or adverse health effect, including cancer.”

Very useful to industry, indeed.

Thanks to Repacholi, the electric utility industry has been and continues to be a full partner in the writing of the EMF document —a document which will be the WHO’s official position on EMFs for years to come. The most disconcerting part of all is that no one at the WHO thinks he is doing anything wrong.

Devra Davis on The Great Cellphone Cover-Up – EON EMF Video Digest 9-30-2010

Excellent New Video Report

Cellphone safety: What aren’t they telling us? (Direct link to the full CBC program)
CBS’s Wendy Mesley talks with scientist Devra Davis about the link between cellphone use and our health.
We keep hearing studies saying we don’t need to worry about cellphones. Wendy speaks with author Devra Davis, whose new book, Disconnect: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide it, and How to Protect Your Family, reveals how one of the world’s largest industries is taking this very seriously. Here’s the YouTube Channel version:

For more on this topic, please check these playlists on our YouTube Channel: Electro-Magnetic Health Protection and ‘Smart’ Meters – Dumb Idea.

You may also find useful the two posts below, our documentary Public Exposure and our interview with BioInitiative Report Co-Editor Cindy Sage. Both are also available as DVDs here and here.

Pulling the Plug on SMeters – EON EMF Digest 9-29-2010

Data proves smartmeter scheme costing everyone more
Queen’s Park – Andrea Horwath, Leader of Ontario’s New Democrats, says data from Toronto Hydro confirms that Dalton McGuinty’s so-called smart meters have raised rates for 80 per cent of consumers and aren’t producing any conservation gains for Ontario.

“Dalton McGuinty’s so-called smart meters make eHealth look like a bargain. For a billion and half dollars we have a scheme that leaves 80 per cent of people paying higher rates without shifting usage patterns,” said Horwath. “There’s nothing smart about Dalton McGuinty’s smart meters when it’s hiking people’s hydro bills.”

A Toronto Hydro study looked at ten thousand households in Toronto that have been billed using so-called smart meters since 2009. The study confirmed that after a year of operation:
• On average 80 percent of households have been paying higher rates than before smart meters were installed and there has been little if any shift in household energy consumption.
• In one billing period – from June to September, 2009 – ninety-two per cent of households paid more.
• On average, households seeing an increase were paying anywhere from 2 to 7 per cent more.
• These increases are separate from the added cost to households for the cost of the smart meter itself. Across Ontario, consumers will be paying $1.25 – $4.45 a month for decades to recover these costs.
“The McGuinty Liberals have spent billions on a scheme that leaves people paying more and leaves Ontario falling behind in our conservation goals,” said Horwath.

Victoria, Australia pulls plug on smart meters
The Victorian state government has finally twigged that most people will get screwed by electricity smart meters.
Energy Minister Peter Batchelor announced an indefinite moratorium on the smart meter rollout to every home across the state – because of concerns pensioners and the poor would be hardest hit by higher electricity prices. The writing has been on the wall for some time.

Did SmartMeter Cause San Bruno Fire?
Now we don’t want to jump to any conclusions, but the signs are beginning to point to the possibility that a ‘smart’ meter may have played a role in the fire and explosion that likely killed more than a dozen people, injured dozens more and destroyed an entire neighborhood. The Chronicle reported on this possible connection in their article this morning, and the web has been atwitter with speculation since last Thursday.

At the very least, PG&E’s chickens are coming home to roost. The horrific repercussions are coming to light of a corporation that cares more about profit than public safety and their lapdog the CPUC who have let them get away with it all. PG&E Workers are coming forward to testify about upper management ignoring safety procedures in an attempt to maximize profit. For this and many other reasons, major news outlets are calling for PG&E CEO Peter Darbee to step down.

PG&E on the Hotseat in Fairfax – Video

Citizens in Fairfax, CA – a leader in the growing movement of local jurisdictions who are pushing back against Pacific Gas & Electric’s dangerous, anti-democratic wireless ‘SmartMeter’ build-out with local ordinances – give PG&E representatives an ear-full of educated questions.
The Fairfax Town Council will hear PG&E’s answers to questions about SmartMeters on Sept. 29 from 7pm until 9pm in the Women’s Club, 46 Park Road, Fairfax. EON will cover the session and its sequelae. Stay tuned.

E-Smog Push-Back – EON EMF Digest 9-27-2010

PG&E on hot seat in Fairfax
Utility says folks have their wires crossed over SmartMeter concerns…
by Ronnie Cohen
Fairfax wants to be known as the little town that stood up to the giant utility.
Residents and officials of this environmentally conscious community appear united against Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s plans to save energy by replacing analog gas and electric meters with digital so-called SmartMeters. After the Town Council called for a one-year moratorium on the installation of the wireless meters in Fairfax, citizens and council members spent two hours last week voicing questions and concerns about how the devices could invade their privacy and harm their health….
Cartoon by Brian Narelle

…Sarah Reilly, a 40-year-old nutritionist, could be the poster child for a growing chorus of people who report electrical hypersensitivity and are leading the charge against SmartMeters. She said she began to suffer from headaches and could feel herself burning after sleeping with her head next to an electrical meter and near a transformer in her parents’ home in a Las Vegas neighborhood [R1]awash in cell-phone towers. Two years ago, Reilly said she chose to move to Fairfax in large part because of its designation as a pesticide-free and cell-phone-tower-free zone.
And, like the estimated 45 people who turned out for last week’s meeting, she intends to keep SmartMeters and the electromagnetic radiation they emit out of her town of 7,500.
“This community is not saturated in electro-smog,” said Reilly, a healthy-looking woman who feels sick if she as much as watches television or listens to a radio.
“Stop installing the meters until a proper health report is performed,” she told two PG&E representatives. The two men sat alone at a table facing a podium from which citizens shot questions and a steady stream of complaints and anger. “These signals may be invisible, but they have impact.”

Mary Beth Brangan called the installation of SmartMeters a “toxic trespass,” predicted PG&E would sell the information it gathers from the devices to third parties and government agencies and wondered if residents could opt out of allowing their personal information to be sold.
Councilmember Larry Bragman, a lawyer, said PG&E would have “unprecedented” access to mine data it gleaned from SmartMeters. “What about our rights to privacy?” he asked.
“What’s going to happen with all the data that’s collected? Every time it’s been collected, it’s been abused,” Bragman said, and the audience applauded.
The Public Utilities Commission has given PG&E permission to install SmartMeters throughout the state. The utility touts the wireless meters—which eliminate the need for human meter readers—as the first step in creating a smart and energy-efficient grid. The new meters allow individuals and businesses to measure their own energy consumption in real time, potentially leading to reduced usage during peak hours.
But Fairfax residents and officials questioned whether installing the wireless devices at a ratepayer-funded cost of $2.2 billion would prove economical from an energy or financial perspective.
“I haven’t seen any evidence of reduced electric use,” Councilmember Pam Hartwell-Herrero said. “Let’s look at how much bang for your buck you’re getting. My understanding is you get a heck of a lot more bang for your buck with insulation.”
The Fairfax Town Council will hear PG&E’s answers to questions about SmartMeters on Sept. 29 from 7pm until 9pm in the Women’s Club, 46 Park Road, Fairfax.
Contact Ronnie Cohen at [R1]


September 23, 2010 Bruce Romano, 202-418-2124

Washington, D.C. — The Federal Communications Commission today took steps to free up vacant airwaves between TV channels — called “white spaces” — to unleash a host of new technologies, such as “super Wi-Fi,” and myriad other diverse applications. This is the first significant block of spectrum made available for unlicensed use in more than 20 years.
TV white space spectrum is considered prime real estate because its signals travel well, making it ideally suited for mobile wireless devices. Unlocking this valuable spectrum will open the doors for new industries to arise, create American jobs, and fuel new investment and innovation. The National Broadband Plan noted the importance of unlicensed spectrum in creating opportunities for new technologies to blossom and recommended that the Commission complete the TV white spaces proceeding as expeditiously as possible.
The Second Memorandum Opinion and Order (Second MO&O) adopted today resolves numerous legal and technical issues. Notably, the Order eliminates the requirement that TV bands devices that incorporate geo-location and database access must also include sensing technology to detect the signals of TV stations and low-power auxiliary service stations (wireless microphones). It also requires wireless microphone users who seek to register in the TV bands databases to certify that they will use all available channels from 7 through 51 prior to requesting registration. Requests to register in the database will be public, thus allowing interested parties to weigh in on any given request.
The Commission is also taking steps to ensure that incumbent services are protected from interference from the use of white spaces in various ways. In particular, today’s Order reserves two vacant UHF channels for wireless microphones and other low power auxiliary service devices in all areas of the country. It also maintains a reasonable separation distance between TV White Space device and wireless microphone usage permitted to be registered in the database
Action by the Commission September 23, 2010, by Second Memorandum Opinion and Order (FCC 10-174). Chairman Genachowski, Commissioners Copps, McDowell, Clyburn, and Baker. Separate Statements issued by Chairman Genachowski, and Commissioners Copps, McDowell, Clyburn and Baker.
For further information, contact Hugh L. Van Tuyl (202-418-7506;, or Alan Stillwell (202-418-2470;

Is White Space Super Wifi Dangerous?
Magda Havas
Sept 24. If you think the electrosmog from cell towers is bad in some cities, you should be very concerned about White Spaces. In this article, I will try to give you a heads up to what is about to happen to our airwaves and it causes me extreme concern.
When the FCC and the CRTC decided to licence the radio spectrum frequencies for cell phone transmission towers, large telecom providers such as Sprint, Bell and Rogers paid billions of dollars to these licensing organizations so they could put up cell phone towers just about anywhere in the country.
On September 23, a day that I predict will go down in infamy, the FCC agreed to open up a large band of now unused TV spectrum for digital data communications for Super WiFi. It’s called White Space TV BAND spectrum, it’s free and mostly unregulated. Many years ago the FCC forced the TV broadcasters to simultaneously transmit digital TV signals over the air and discontinue the use of their traditional analogue broadcast frequencies and towers. (Channels 2-69). The TV broadcasters fought to keep control of this analogue spectrum so they could continue to broadcast to people that had TV aerials and older TVs not capable of receiving digital TV signals. They worried about interference from future White Space devices.
Currently the available “White Spaces “ frequencies are widely scattered in the radio spectrum because they’re located in the empty space between existing digital television channels. Adding to the complexity, white space devices such as Super WiFI transmission towers won’t be allowed to interfere with television broadcasts or other licensed uses. The result could be that such Super WiFI devices are limited by their geography.

Why should we be worried?
Instead of analogue frequencies that are used for television in the 54-698 MHz range, these White Spaces will now use PULSED DIGITAL waveforms which are extremely biologically active to the human body. WiFi currently uses the higher 2.4 gigahertz frequencies that cannot penetrate thick concrete at long distances and thus you get a slow speed connection resembling dial up. By using the lower TV frequency spectrum (54-698) MHz as a carrier wave, the PULSED DIGITAL WiFi signal will now be able to penetrate obstructions such as buildings over great distances and deliver high speed broadband data rates. Lower frequencies can penetrate better and travel further but they are much more dangerous to the human body.
And remember – this is a two way street. Unlike television you are just receiving the signal from a distance source. If you are mobile, using a Super WiFi USB stick, the radio transmitter will be right beside you pumping PULSED DIGIAL into and through your body. The current USB “Rocket Mobile” sticks use traditional cell phone frequencies that are licensed. Some “Rocket Sticks” can be highly dangerous when transmitting data and have been recalled by Industry Canada for broadcasting over Safety Code 6! And Safety Code 6 is not considered to be safe by many doctors, scientists and health officials.

smart-meter plan halted
Westerville Mayor Kathy Cocuzzi knew something was wrong when residents went up to her and whispered, “I support the meters,” as though afraid to say it in public.
Residents have been divided over a proposal to upgrade the city’s utility meters and, last night, a City Council meeting was packed with people waiting to speak about the issue.
In response, the council decided to kill the proposal to upgrade and, instead, slowly figure out a compromise.
It means that Westerville essentially has turned down a $4.32 million federal grant toward a $7 million project to update utility meters. The council said the city eventually will have to upgrade the meters anyway, but now will pay the entire bill.
Smart meters have technology to remotely monitor and control utility usage, and they’ve been catching on across the country as a way for cities and individuals to reduce energy and water consumption.

Wifi in Schools and the Dangers of non-ionizing radiation
The fact that scientists remain opposed to a scientific consensus is not a reason to distrust the consensus – if this were true, the presence of a single reputable climate denier in the peer reviewed literature would be a reason to refrain from belief in global warming. However, there are two reasons why the wifi case is different from climate denial. First: the precautionary principle runs in the opposite direction – whereas a slight doubt that human Co2 output will threaten the survival of the species is not a good reason to take action to stop Co2 emissions, a significant doubt that wifi causes health problems in children is not a good reason to take cheap and easy action to limit children’s exposure to wifi. Second, there is a structural bias behind Health Canada’s appraisal of the research into the effects of small levels of microwave radiation. This surprising claim comes from a study by Leo P. Inglis,surveyed here by Magda Havas, surveying the literature on microwave radiation’s health effects:
“In the U.S., the thermal effects are generally believed to be the only ones of significance; other contentions are usually dismissed as lacking a provable basis. In the USSR, non-thermal effects are considered the most significant and are overwhelmingly the ones most studied.”
This indicates a structural difference between scientific assumptions in US and USSR have swayed the directions of research, determined which studies got funding, what students took interest in, etc… This claim undercuts Health Canada’s statements which concern only the thermal effects of microwave radiation – if non thermal effects exist, Health Canada is not even looking for them.


“Specific Health Symptoms and Cell Phone Radiation in Selbitz (Bavaria, Germany)—Evidence of a Dose-Response Relationship”

Please distribute and share Dr. Horst Eger and Dr. Manfred Jahn’s English-language translation of their peer-reviewed study, “Spezifische Symptome und Mobilfunkstrahlung in Selbitz (Bayern) – Evidenz für eine Dosiswirkungsbeziehung,” originally published in umwelt·medizin·gesellschaft, Feb. 2010: 130-139.
The study shows a significantly increased health risk in the vicinity of cell phone base stations and underscores the inadequacy of the currently accepted exposure limits. Discussion includes references to several past studies since the 1960s that supports their findings.
“Specific Health Symptoms and Cell Phone Radiation in Selbitz (Bavaria, Germany)—Evidence of a Dose-Response Relationship” is now available to view/download here.

Thanks to this new English translation, this study can reach an even wider audience.
Special thanks to: Dr. Horst Eger and Dr. Manfred Jahn and the publisher for making this English translation possible; Ms. Katharina Gustavs for her English translation; Nancy Evans for recommending Katharina Gustavs translate this important study. The publishers affirm that this study has been peer-reviewed by their scientific board.
Ms. Kiku Lani Iwata
Burbank ACTION, California