CCST Report Waffles on Wireless Risks

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Doubt is Their Product
An agency the charter of which commits it to bring ‘together those who create knowledge with those who create wealth, in cooperation with those who make policy’ has taken a gambit straight out of the ‘product defense industry‘ playbook: ‘manufacture uncertainty.’

The California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) report – ‘Health Impacts of Radio Frequency from Smart Meters’ – ignores evidence of non-thermal human EMF exposure dangers and violations of FCC ‘guidelines.’ Comment on the Report here.

Not a surprising outcome from a team whose members all come from the ‘wireless sector’ and its close industry/government relations.

The Denialist Mantra – “More Study Needed”
Study finds no evidence of SmartMeter risk, but says more study warranted Marin IJ

According to the CCST Report, “While additional study is needed to understand potential non‐thermal effects of exposure to RF and effects of cumulative and prolonged exposure to several devices emitting RF, given current scientific knowledge the FCC guideline provides an adequate margin of safety against known thermal effects.

Without a clear understanding of the biological mechanisms at play, the costs and
benefits of additional standards for RF emitting devices including smart meters, cannot be determined at this time. ”

Dueling Reports
The CCST Report is flaccid compared to the recently released Sage Report.

The Sage Report Finds Multiple Failures to Meet Even Lax Federal ‘Guidelines’
The most rigorous and extensive study done to date on the electro-magnetic emissions of wireless so-called ‘smart’ meters reports many circumstances in which the devices – singly and in when aggregated in arrays and ‘mesh’ networks – fail to comply with Federal Communication Commission recommended ‘safety standards.’

The independent study – ‘Assessment of Radiofrequency Microwave Radiation Emissions from Smart Meters’ – was carried out by Sage Associates, a Santa Barbara consulting firm specializing in electro-magnetic radiation issues.
The author, Cindy Sage is a respected researcher and consultant and Research Fellow, Department of Oncology, Orebro University Hospital, Sweden. Sage co-edited the internationally influential BioInitiative Report, which has let to several European countries enacting far stricter human exposure standards than those currently in place in the U.S.

According to the Sage Report:
“In addition to exceeding FCC public safety limits under some conditions of installation and operation, smart meters can produce excessively elevated RF exposures, depending on where they are installed. With respect to absolute RF exposure levels predicted for occupied space within dwellings, or outside areas like patios, gardens and walk-ways, RF levels are predicted to be substantially elevated within a few feet to within a few tens of feet from the meter(s).”

Cindy Sage’s comments on the CCST Report:

The conclusions are indistinguishable from the industry mantra that says
proof beyond any doubt is required about wireless health risks before taking

It is reckless to require ‘clear evidence’ of harm as a precondition for taking
reasonable actions for prevention. Installing millions of RF transmitters in peoples’ homes
when we already have substantial scientific evidence about the risks of chronic, low-level RF
is a risk not worth taking. Especially without any discussion, or disclosure to the public
about trade-offs made without their knowledge or consent.

What CCST should have done was to advise the Legislature to press industry and the CPUC
for very detailed computer modeling to prove RF levels comply (or do not comply)
with FCC standards in the manner they are being installed and operated. And to look at
what low-level RF exposures might pose as a health risk, given the millions of people who
care deeply about this because ‘they are the experiment’.

It is better for the CPUC and government agencies to make mid-course corrections
now, than to go forward with inadequate information.

Our report identified possible FCC violations in the manner that many meters
are installed and operated. CCST had no new data from industry or any
other independent expert groups to evaluate, so why issue an “all-clear”?

Comparing wireless meters to other wireless devices that are voluntary, and which many
people choose not to use is not a fair comparison to government-mandated meters
that expose people in their homes 24 hours a day. Particularly when these devices
are already reported to double the risk of malignant brain cancers in half the time
it takes for low-dose ionizing radiation to do so in humans.

The costs for having guessed wrong is likely to have enormous economic and
public health consequences for Californians for decades to come.

Cindy Sage, MA
Sage Associates
Co-Editor, BioInitiative Report
Research Fellow, Department of Oncology, Orebro University Hospital, Sweden
(805) 969-0557


Huffman/Monning Statement
According to a joint statemeent by Assemblymembers Huffman and Monning:

“CCST’s study does not conclusively resolve the smart meter debate. It does provide a credible measure of assurance that smart meters, whether standing alone, in clusters, or in combination with other household electronic devices, do not pose a serious risk of harm from thermal effects. The report concludes that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) standard based on thermal effects is appropriate and would appear to be fully protective of human health, and that even under “worst case” operational scenarios, smart meters produce radio frequency (RF) exposures much lower than the FCC standard.”

The joint statement continues, “However, the CCST study does not dismiss the possibility that other, non-thermal health effects from RF exposures might be scientifically established in the future. CCST recommends that studies and monitoring on this issue continue, and that in the meantime, consumers should have more complete information than what is currently available regarding RF emissions from smart meters and other electronic devices so that they can make informed and prudent decisions. The benefits of smart meters and a smart grid do not require wireless technology, and consideration should be given to providing alternative hard-wired meters for consumers who continue to be concerned about potential health risks.
The Council will be accepting public comments about this report’s findings up to January 31, 2011 through a link to the report.”

For more info:

For a free PDF copy of the just released report by Cindy Sage and Associates on how so-called ‘smart’ meters can violate even the lax FCC radio-frequency exposure guidlines go to

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