2nd Letter to Editor

TO: Editor , The Sounder, Random Lake Wisconsin

There are few industries these days that put the welfare of those affected by their policies or toxins above the profit to be made by following those policies and creating those toxins. It is now commonplace for industries to hire PR people -spin doctors- to respond to the public’s concerns, and We Energies has an exceptional crew at work in this capacity.

It is true, as We Energies Customer Services Vice-President Joan Shafer states, that the radiation from their radiowave-transmitting “smart” meters is allowable under present FCC regulations concerning non-ionizing radiation. However, the present FCC regulations were based on inaccurate assumptions and have not been updated as these assumptions were proven false. The regulation is in about the same place as regulation re negative effects of cigarette smoking or asbestos was 30 or 40 years ago.

In just a few decades, with the explosion of wireless signals of radio and TV broadcasts, radar, military applications, microwave towers and cell phones, and ever etcetera, the density of radio waves and microwaves in our environment has been increased to many millions of times higher than the natural levels with which all life on earth evolved, with no forethought regarding possible health effects.

The frequencies at and below that of visible light are known as non-ionizing, and those above light as ionizing. At ionizing frequencies, the particles of radiation contain enough energy to eject electrons from atoms and molecules, leaving them electrically imbalanced, or ionized. Ionized molecules are highly reactive and can damage cells, thus ionizing radiation is strictly regulated.

As technology advanced and we began to use the higher frequencies, it was accidentally discovered that frequencies of about 27MHz (27 mega Hertz, or 27 million cycles per second) caused body heating. It was inaccurately concluded that any biological effects not caused by ionization must be caused solely by overheating. Thus the safety standard set for exposure to manmade electromagnetic energy took only heating into consideration, relying on how much radar MW energy it took to heat metal balls and containers of salt water, which were believed to represent the electrical characteristics of animals and humans.

However, the biochemical processes of a living body all involve electromagnetism. A living system itself supports a variety of oscillatory electrical/ biochemical activities, each characterized by a specific frequency, some of which happen to be close to those found in the RF/MW signals – a coincidence that makes these bioactivities vulnerable to being interfered with in various non-thermal ways.

The Consumer Affairs Commission (1999) found current thermal guidelines associated with EMR irrelevant, since cancer and Alzheimer’s are associated with non-thermal EMR effects.

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences concluded in 1998 that extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields should be regarded as possible carcinogens.

In 2002, Norbert Hankin of the EPA’s Center for Science and Risk Assessment, Radiation Protection Division stated: ” The FCC’s current exposure guidelines, as well as those of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, are thermally based, and do not apply to chronic, non-thermal exposure situations.” Nontheless, the flawed standard remains in effect.

So much for the assurance based on the fact that “smart” meter radiation complies with FCC regulations.

We Energies’ Ms. Shafer also remarked that “based on a large and diverse body of research, exposure limits are designed to protect against identified hazards…” This is pure B.S. Thousands of studies have shown that present exposure limits are allowing exposure that is causing great damage to animals and human beings.

It’s well established by the research of Dr. Carl Blackman and others that there is a biological effect called calcium ion efflux and influx caused by EMR at levels not involving heating but involving frequency. Calcium ions in cells play a role in the growth and development of cells, in DNA synthesis and in the life and death of cells. Therefore calcium ion alteration of cells by EMR is a biological mechanism linked to neurological degeneration such as Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases of age, to cancer and many other health effects. The scary aspect of this is that calcium ion efflux occurs at intensities and field strengths that are extremely low. Much lower than allowed by FCC regulations.

There are also well-established mechanisms by which external electromagnetic signals are resonantly absorbed in human tissue, especially the brain and heart, causing reduced melatonin. Melatonin is the most potent naturally produced antioxidant, protecting cells from genetic damage that leads to cancer, neurological, cardiac and reproductive damage, illness and death. Of course, reduced melatonin also causes sleep disorders.

The National Cancer Institute in the U.S. did a study of people in industries that exposed their workers to microwaves and found a tenfold increase in brain tumors among employees who have been exposed at work for twenty years.

So much for research showing communications frequencies are safe.

Ms. Shafer states that the new meters operate at lower power and duration than cell phones, hand-held devices like a BlackBerry or other radio frequency devices, implying that they are therefore safe.

As noted by Dr. Henry Lai of the University of Washington, one of the world’s leading experts on the biological effects of RFR: “ In excess of 70% of the studies funded independently of the cellular phone industry identify biological effects of RFR at the low power levels typical of cell phones and cellular base station antennae.”

Reports of headache are consistent with the fact that microwaves non-thermally affect the dopamine-opiate system of the brain and increase the permeability of the blood-brain barrier. The reports of sleep disruption, on the other hand, are consistent with the effect of the radiation on rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and on melatonin levels, while memory impairment is consistent with the finding that microwave radiation targets the hippocampus.

University of Toronto investigators report that the heightened probability of cracking up your car persists for up to 15-minutes after completing a cellphone call. That’s comparable to the risk of crashing while driving dead drunk. This is due to the effect of the radiation on your brain.

The production of histamine, which triggers bronchial spasms in asthma, is nearly doubled after exposure to mobile phone transmissions. Cellphone-like radiation also reduces the effectiveness of anti-asthmatic drugs and retards recovery from illness.

The British medical journal The Lancet printed a study showing that radiation from cell phones causes an increase in blood pressure and directly alters cell function in the human body.

Swedish cancer specialist Dr. Lennart Hardell has found that right-handed people have a two-and-a-half times higher risk of a brain tumor in the right-hand side of the brain, whereas left-handed people have elevated risk of a left-hand side brain tumor. Investigations of thousands of cases of brain tumors and mobile phones of all types has found up to a 50% increased risk of a brain tumor after five years, which doubles after ten years. (An important point to note is that the damage to the body is cumulative. Not everyone notices immediate effects.)

Cell phone “safety tests” are done by exposing fluid in a plastic head to a cell phone held next to the “ear” while the temperature of the fluid is monitored. This has nothing to with how radiation causes harm to living creatures in non-thermal ways. A plastic head cannot possibly suffer from conditions such as insomnia, headaches, forgetfulness, inability to focus, Alzheimer’s or cancer. Your head is not a plastic piñata.

Neurosurgeon Leif Salford of Lund University in Sweden showed cell phone radiation causes leakage through the blood-brain barrier. At least ten other scientific papers also show blood-brain barrier effects of RFR. Salford’s continuing research shows that microwave exposure causes brain cell destruction of up to two percent, and that “low power broadcasts can be more damaging than higher power ones, depending on frequency, modulation, coherence, bandwidth and other properties of microwave radiation.” Some of the damaged rats were only exposed to 0.1 watt of microwave transmission, much less than the peak 0.6 watt microwave output of a typical cell phone. The “smart” meter’s output is .143 watts.

So much for the reassurance that cell phone-like radiation is safe.

The most creative of Ms. Shafer’s reassurances is that when a radio wave-broadcasting meter is attached to your home “99.4 percent of the time there is no transmission occurring.” This is like saying that it’s safe to hang out in the middle of a firing range because 99.4 percent of the time no projectiles will be passing through you.

The biological effects of your exposure to the radiation is the only thing that really matters. It is not in We Energies interest to educate you about those effects. You will have to become informed.

For reliable, unbiased information, please see:

Shivani Arjuna
Town of Fredonia

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