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  • by Eve Lees

Smart Meters: Better safe than sorry

Originally published in Personal Health Newsletter, April 2013 and The White Rock Sun, Feb 2013.

The World Health Organization has reclassified radio frequency electromagnetic fields (EMF’s) as a Class 2B carcinogen risk, possibly carcinogenic to humans. They claim high levels of exposure to electric and magnetic fields in frequencies of up to 100 kilohertz can affect the nervous system, resulting in acute health effects.

The frequencies emitted from Smart Meters (approximately 60 kilohertz, say some sources) coupled with several other items we use daily (cell phones, cordless phones, computers, etc.) put many of us at higher than the ‘safe’ exposure limit of EMF’s. We should be concerned with the total daily exposure we get from all these “low level” devices. And the Smart Meter program is a massive project. Each residence will be surrounded with several of them.

We can be truly grateful that wireless technology has allowed many life-saving advancements, particularly in the medical field. However, perhaps we’ve reached our health limit with its safety. We can’t ignore the possible existence of electromagnetic hypersensitivity – or those who are getting sick from electronic devices and the ‘energy’ they emit. Dr. Stephen Genuis, University of Alberta’s Department of Medicine, wrote a paper in 2008: The Public Health Impact of Electromagnetic Radiation. It expressed his concern that doctors won’t recognize EMF illness and may mistreat it.

The jury is still out about wireless technology: Is it to blame for the increase of cancer in children? Do cell phones cause throat and brain cancer? With the increasingly high rates of diseases like cancer, are we absolutely certain wireless technology isn’t partly to blame? Until there is proof either way, at least we had the choice to avoid EMF pollution in our own homes. That is, until we were forced to accept

Smart Meters.

We can follow certain practices in our own homes to minimize our EMF exposure. We don’t have to own a cell phone or we can choose to turn if off. We can use corded (not cordless) phones, a hardwired (not wireless) computer, use battery operated devices wherever we can, and leave most electronic appliances unplugged from the wall when not in use. And there are several other practices we can do to lower EMF’s in our homes.

Is that being fanatical? Perhaps. But it’s really not fanaticism as long as we don’t excessively preach, worry or lose sleep over it. Some of us are simply doing what we can to maintain good health; it’s choosing to be cautious. However, the installation of Smart Meters denies us the choice to be cautious. Smart Meter installation is going ahead anyway, whether we like it or not.

In the past we thought many of our discoveries and inventions were harmless: Asbestos, uranium, Thalidomide, lead in gasoline, lead in paint and other products, hydrogenated oils in our foods, tanning beds, most plastic products (grocery bags and bottles), and the chemicals in them – like Bisphenal A (BPA) used in most plastics and the lining of cans. We also once thought CFC’s (chlorofluorocarbons) and DDT (dichlorodiphenyl-trichloroethane) was harmless.

The director of the European Environment Agency, Jacqueline McGlade, wrote in 2009, “We have noted from previous health hazard histories such as that of lead in petrol, and methyl mercury, that ‘early warning’ scientists frequently suffer from discrimination, from loss of research funds, and from unduly personal attacks on their scientific integrity. It would be surprising if this is not already a feature of the present EMF controversy . . .”

It was a shocking surprise when we learned, for instance, how dangerous asbestos is. That Accutane prescribed for teenage acne caused several disorders. Or that leaded gasoline contributed hugely to environmental pollution. We now realize the main chemical in the herbicide Roundup (glyphosate) is linked to Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Ten or twenty years from now, will we get a shocking surprise about wireless technology?

The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (a group of highly credible doctors and scientists) warn more research is needed before Smart Meters are installed. And there are many other health professionals who caution about EMF’s and the massive exposure we’ll be getting from Smart Meters (see list of “Sources concerned” below).

It’s an impressive list of those opposed. Yet there are equally credible health professionals claiming Smart Meters are safe. So which side is right and which is wrong? Are the advocates of one side more educated than the other? Is unethical politics or financial gain to blame? Or is one side a bunch of liars who won their degrees in a poker game?

Obviously there’s a standoff. Which clearly shows doubt exists. Let’s not risk our good health. The Smart Meter program should have been detained, perhaps indefinitely – or at the very least, allow us the right to choose.

It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Eve Lees is a Health Writer / Speaker and Nutrition Coach. Visit her website for more articles on popular topics.

Sources concerned about Smart Meters:

David O. Carpenter, MD, Director, Institute for Health & the Environment, University at Albany, USA.

Jennifer Armstrong, MD, Past President, Canadian Society of Environmental Medicine, Founder, Ottawa Environmental Health Clinic, Ontario, Canada.

Pierre L. Auger, M. D., FRCPC, Occupational medicine, Multiclinique des accidentés 1464, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Fiorella Belpoggi, Director Cesare Maltoni Cancer Research Center, Ramazzini Institute, Bologna, Italy.

Martin Blank, PhD, former President, Bioelectromagnetics Society, Special Lecturer, Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, USA.

Barry Breger, MD, Centre d’intégration somatosophique (orthomolecular medicine), Montreal, Quebec.

John Cline, MD, Professor, Institute for Functional Medicine, Federal Way, WA, USA, Medical Director, Cline Medical Centre, Nanaimo, BC, Canada.

Alvaro Augusto de Salles, PhD, Professor of Electrical Engineering, Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Christos Georgiou, Prof. Biochemistry, Biology Department, University of Patras, Greece.

Andrew Goldsworthy, PhD, Honorary lecturer in Biology, Imperial College, London, UK.

Claudio Gómez-Perretta, MD, PhD, Director, Centro de Investigación, Hospital Universitario LA Fe, Valencia, Spain.

Livio Giuliani, PhD, Senior Researcher, National Insurance Institute (INAIL), Chief of Radiation and Ultrasounds Research Unit, Rome, Italy.

Yury Grigoriev, PhD, Chair Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, Moscow, Russia.

Settimio Grimaldi, PhD, Director, Institute of Translational Pharmacology (Neurobiology and molecular medicine), National Research Council, Rome, Italy.

Magda Havas, PhD, Centre for Health Studies, Trent University, Canada.

Lennart Hardell, MD, Professor of Oncology, University Hospital, Örebro, Sweden.

Denis L. Henshaw, PhD, Professor of Physics, Head of The Human Radiation Effects Group, University of Bristol, UK.

Ronald B. Herberman, MD, Chairman of Board, Environmental Health Trust, and Founding Director emeritus, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, USA.

Isaac Jamieson, PhD Environmental Science (electromagnetic phenomena in the built environment), independent architect, scientist and environmental consultant, Hertfordshire, UK.

Olle Johansson, PhD, Professor of Neuroscience (Experimental Dermatology Unit), Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.

Yury Kronn, PhD, Soviet authority on physics of nonlinear vibrations and high frequency electromagnetic vibrations, founder of Energy Tools International, Oregon, USA.

Henry Lai, PhD, Professor of Bioengineering, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA, USA.

Abraham R. Liboff, PhD, Professor Emeritus, Department of Physics, Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan, USA.

Don Maisch, PhD, Researcher on radiation exposure standards for telecommunications frequency, EMFacts Consultancy, Tasmania, Australia.

Andrew A. Marino, MD, PhD, JD, Professor of Neurology, LSU Health Sciences Center, Shreveport, LA, USA. Karl Maret, MD, M.Eng., President, Dove Health Alliance, Aptos, CA, USA.

Sam Milham, MD, former chief epidemiologist, Washington State Department of Health, USA.

Joel M. Moskowitz, PhD, Director, Center for Family and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley.

Gerd Oberfeld, MD, Public Health Department, Salzburg State Government, Austria.

Jerry L. Phillips, PhD, Director, Center for Excellence in Science, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Colorado, USA.

John Podd, PhD, Professor of Psychology (experimental neuropsychology), Massey University, NewZeland.

William J. Rea, MD, thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon, founder of the Environmental Health Center, Dallas, Tx, USA.

Elihu D. Richter, MD, Professor, Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Jerusalem, Israel.

Leif G. Salford, MD, Senior Professor of Neurosurgery, Lund University, Sweden. Nesrin Seyhan, MD, Founder and Chair of Biophysics, Medical Faculty of Gazi University, Turkey.

Cyril W. Smith, PhD, lead author of “Electromagnetic Man”, retired from Electronic and Electrical Engineering, University of Salford, UK. Morando Soffritti, MD, Scientific Director of the European Foundation for Oncology and Environmental Sciences “B. Ramazzini” in Bologna, Italy.

Antoinette “Toni” Stein, PhD, Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE-EMF Working Group), Co-Coordinator, Berkeley, CA, USA.

Stanislaw Szmigielski, MD, PhD Professor of Pathophysiology, Consulting Expert, former director of Microwave Safety, Military Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology, Warsaw, Poland.

Bradford S. Weeks, MD, Director, The Weeks Clinic, Clinton, WA, USA.

Stelios A. Zinelis, MD, Vice-President, Hellenic Cancer Society, Cefallonia, Greece.

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