Cindy Sage Debunks 'Smart' Meter Propaganda

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Click here for a DVD of Cindy Sage’s interview on the BioInitiative Report, which she co-edited.

Comments by Cindy Sage,
Sage Associates
November 16, 2010
on the article:
‘No Health Threat From Smart Meters’
Klaus Bender. PE
Director of Standards & Engineering
Utilities Telecom Council

In this article, we defined the concept of the smart grid and the benefits to society. We also highlighted the importance of radio networks to the successful deployment of the smart grid. We discuss the important concepts of RF energy and the impact on humans. Specifically, there is no demonstrated longterm impact of low level non ionizing energy on humans.

[Note: Italicized text quoted from Mr. Bender’s statement for UTC.]
The author ignores decades of published scientific work that delineates bioeffects and adverse health effects due to long-term, low-intensity ELF and RF exposures. This statement that there is no demonstrated impact is false and unsupportable.

Ionizing energy, beginning with the ultraviolet component of sunlight, has been demonstrated to have long term impact, but the frequencies citing in this report are hundreds of orders of magnitude below that of sunlight. Therefore, this shows that the often quoted sources in the media expressing concern about the RF safety from smart meters are shown to be based on faulty logic, or faulty “facts” and misrepresentations.

Bender’s assertion that only ionizing radiation has adverse effects on humans shows either an intention to mislead, or gross ignorance of the scientific literature and scientific controversy over the inadequacy of existing FCC and ICNIRP public safety limits for non-ionizing radiation. Further it ignores scientific evidence that anyone in a position of leadership should take into account before issuing industry-position articles.

We show that a specific analysis of the component used in this smart grid deployment are significantly below general population MPE and note, again, that FCC limits for MPE of general population are already at least 50 times lower than levels that can cause tissue heating.

This statement justifies smart meter exposures on the basis of clearly outdated and inadequate FCC public safety limits. Tissue heating is of no relevance. Health harm from chronic, low-intensity exposure to smart meters in the manner installed and operated in hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of residences would be due to nonthermal (low-intensity) exposures that are chronic – not acute exposures that are very short term. Bender also ignores the evidence that FCC MPEs for localized exposure (peak exposure) are also likely violated since there is no adequate way to mandate separation distances for the public.

An examination of a majority of smart meters being deployed today will show these devices use low power levels associated with unlicensed devices, on the equivalent magnitude as the devices that provide WiFi connectivity in the home. Millions of laptop computers are used in homes every day that transmit at levels similar to the smart meter and the transmitters from these devices are always “on”.

Exactly the point. The public already has significant exposures to RF/MW, from other sources. The cumulative exposure by adding on mandatory, smart meter exposures may place people over the exising FCC limits (which are inadequate) even in their own homes.

Some utilities are deploying meter reading systems that use commercial wireless providers to gather data. These meters have the same radio components as cell phones, the same phone consumers raise to their head every day.

This thinking highlights how industry is oblivious to the obvious. Cell phone exposures, to which Bender compares smart meter emissions, are already showing a doubling of risk for malignant brain tumors at only 10 years and longer ipsilateral use, in adults and a five-fold increased risk for young people. Surely, a comparison of smart meter emissions to cell phone use is not reassuring. And, the combined exposures are even more likely to be harmful to health.

So when confronted with complaints that say smart meters cause a variety of health effects, ask the complainant to produce the science to support the claim. The conversation should end shortly thereafter.

The author is cheerfully referred to the ‘classroom corner’ to read and report back on the references listed below.

Who is UTC?
From their website at:
“The Utilities Telecom Council (UTC) is a global trade association dedicated to creating a favorable business, regulatory, and technological environment for companies that own, manage, or provide critical telecommunications systems in support of their core business.
Founded in 1948 to advocate for the allocation of additional radio spectrum for power utilities, UTC has evolved into a dynamic organization that represents electric, gas, and water utilities; natural gas pipelines; critical infrastructure companies; and other industry stakeholders.”

What do you expect? This rebuttal by Bender on behalf of an industry trade group should be considered in light of UTCs stated mission “to create a favorable business, regulatory and technological environment for the telecom industry”.– to promote the industry rather than to provide reliable, independent assessment of health problems associated with the industry’s products.

Required Reading for Mr. Bender
Click here to download the PDF of this article including the full list of the hundreds of studies in Mr. Bender’s Required Reading Assignment.


Tragedy of the Commons Revisited: The High Tech-High Risk Wireless World
Cindy Sage, MA, Sage Associates, Santa Barbara, CA, USA
Reviews on Environmental Health, Volume 25, No. 4, 2010, pp 319-324
Freund Publishing House Ltd.

The October-December 2010 issue of Reviews on Environmental Health will carry this article by Cindy Sage, MA, Sage Associates, and co-editor of the BioInitiative Report. It is a perspective on the need to recognize “the air as commons”. It addresses our diminishing capacity to deploy unlimited radiofrequency and microwave radiation burden into the environment. What is ‘the wireless commons’? Who owns it? Who is monitoring it’s carrying capacity, and who is preventing overuse with respect to public health and environmental impacts?


Tragedy of the Commons Revisited: The New Wireless Commons
In 1968, Garrett Hardin, an eminent population ecologist from Santa Barbara, CA published an article in Science titled ‘Tragedy of the Commons’ (1). It was immediately hailed as a landmark piece of thinking. It reshaped prevailing views about our place in the ecological network of the planet. It was pivotal in defining how pursuit of our individual actions to maximize self-interest will, across populations all doing the same thing, result in diminished and overused environmental resources.

Hardin focused our attention like never before on three things. Resources are finite. The actions of each of us, acting in our own self-interest, collectively degrades and depletes them over the long-term. And, the inevitable result is diminished quality of life. He saw that where individuals seek to maximize their own use of finite resources at the expense of the common good (i.e. the commons) it’s at the expense of everyone’s ultimate self-interest to do so.

Before sustainability was a even buzzword, Hardin created a way of seeing the world that emphasized how individuals must learn to recognize and to act with more in mind than squeezing one more cow onto the common pasture. He gave us new ways to think about how we might better manage our resources in the face of new technologies. He was not a believer in the technological fix. Those lessons are highly relevant today.

‘The Air as Commons’ and Wireless Technologies

Where wireless is concerned, the new ‘commons’ is the air all around us. The air is an essential part of our common heritage. Decades of traditional air pollution control efforts have validated the need to protect this ‘commons of the air’ from chemical and particulate contaminants (2). Today, the new threat is emissions from wireless technologies.

All wireless technologies impact this ‘commons’ and every one adds to the burden of radiofrequency and microwave radiation that is transmitted through the air, into buildings and into all living things. Wireless transmissions drive electromagnetic energy through our air, into and through virtually all indoor and outdoor living environments. The protective air cushion around our planet holds breathable air, buffers us from space radiation, and supports and sustains life in tandem with the natural electromagnetic signature of the earth itself. We are changing this ‘commons of the air’ in major ways. Wireless signals from broadcast and communications technologies are crowding out and overpowering the natural background. The ‘commons of the air’ is being altered in unprecedented ways that have enormous consequences for life on earth.

Who owns the the new ‘commons’? Who should be allowed to pollute it? What are the limits? On what basis should carrying capacity be defined? Who defines the limits? Do these limits conserve the resource for the future? Do they protect public health and welfare, and the health and well-being of other living things on earth? Who bears the burden of proof of safety or of harm? How should the ‘new commons’ be managed for the greater good? Do we know enough to act responsibly? Who decides? When should limits be placed on utilization?

Societies must now define carrying capacity for chronic electromagnetic and wireless exposures. Taking into account there is large individual variability to withstand it, new limits must conserve and sustain the ‘commons of the air’ so that is sustainable for all – and this includes sensitive populations, the young, the elderly, and those with existing sensitivity.

Correspondence: Cindy Sage, MA, Sage Associates, Santa Barbara, CA USA