TechnologyTell

A Skeptical Look at the Hazardous Health Effects of Smart Meters

Sections: Green Home Tech, Power management, Smart Home

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In trawling the web for interesting green home tech news this morning, I came across a troubling story at (the usually very level-headed) theenergycollective titled “Are Smart Meters Hazardous To Your Health?” Troubling, not so much for its conclusion–the story does wrap with a cursory nod to valid science and admits that “the Michigan Public Service Commission released a report that … ultimately concluded that the risk from installing and operating these meters is insignificant.”

The troubling thing is that on the way to that conclusion, the story relies on the sort of “balanced” journalism that gives speculation, scaremongering, and uncritical thinking exactly as much weight as silly little things like facts, figures, math, and observable reality.

Recently, however, there’s been some backlash against smart meters. Some concerned citizens claim that the radio frequencies that smart meters use to transmit information are harmful to human health. Many of these residents say they’ve experienced new or worsening health problems since a utility smart meter system has been installed on their home or in their neighborhood. Complaints range from insomnia, anxiety, and headaches to skin rashes, heart palpitations, and nausea. They claim that these health problems are the result of radio waves emitted by the smart meters as information is transmitted to and from the power company, and they want the right to opt out of installation.

This may sound like a little outlandish and conspiratorial, and might normally be dismissed with a laugh, but there are several substantial websites and grassroots efforts dedicated to furthering this theory. “Wireless technology is a public health hazard, claims a website called StopSmartMeters.org. “Smart meters can violate already high FCC limits on human exposure to microwave radiation, and are being installed even as people are developing ‘electro-sensitivity.’ There are also reports of ‘smart’ meter interference with pacemakers and other implants.”

The more we give respectable ink to this sort of woo, the more people are going to attribute every headache, upset tummy, and bout of insomnia to EMF. Which isn’t to say that these people aren’t legitimately getting sick (even psychosomatic illnesses are legitimate illnesses); it’s merely to say that smart meters and other regulated sources of RF have not be shown to be the problem, and any studies that seem to demonstrate such a link are often based on suspect methodologies.

Instead of countering these claims with good science as soon as possible, the story keeps digging deeper into the woo, pointing out that the accusations and lawsuits surrounding concerns about smart meters represent a “legitimate concern for the public and local governments.” Parse the language there carefully and it’s actually saying that the lawsuits and complaints are causing more work for all concerned. Still, language is a powerful and often subtle thing, so I seriously take issue with tying the clause “legitimate concern” so closely to such unscientifically supported baboonery.

Worse still, as I said, even though its conclusion is correct–no, there’s almost certainly no reason to fear smart meters–the article only supports that conclusion with a hesitant appeal to authority, which isn’t the right way to reinforce a scientific reality.

The one thing the story gets completely right is that these concerns shouldn’t be dismissed with a laugh; they should be dismissed with comprehensive studies and analysis, all of which has been done already and continues to be done. If you’re thinking about opting out of the smart meter roll-out due to fears of EMF exposure–especially as a result of stories of this nature–consider this: the RF energy naturally generated by the earth under your feet is, on average, eight times what you’d be exposed to standing three feet away from a smart meter. Check out this chart comparing common sources of RF energy, and for a more in-depth (skeptical, scientifically sound) look at the health effects of exposure to electromagnetic radiation, check out this entry from the Skeptic’s Dictionary.

Via: [theenergycollective]

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  • Susan Reed

    This counter story to complement this one that is written by 40 and health professionals, who together have coauthored hundreds of peer-reviewed studies, could provide a window into “good science”: http://www.pakalertpress.com/2012/07/13/smart-meters-correcting-the-gross-misinformation/
    Smart Meters: Correcting the Gross Misinformation
    Posted on July 13, 2012

  • Dennis Burger

    I’m sorry, but no. That counter story does not stand up to scrutiny, especially when it links to reports that absolutely contradict the statements it’s making. Example: linking to this piece (http://emfsafetynetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/PGERFDataOpt-outalternatives_11-1-11-3pm.pdf) and claiming that it reveals “peak level emission two and a half times higher than the stated safety signal,” when in fact that study clearly shows peak level emissions of electrical smart meters that are 0.058% percent of FCC allowable RF emissions.

    Never mind the vague appeal to authority in the introduction, which is absolutely irrelevant to the discussion.

    Just for the sake of argument, let’s assume that their premise is correct and that there’s a substantial body of work supporting the health risks of EMF. Because, like any good skeptic, I’m open to the idea that such is possible. It hasn’t been demonstrated, but again, let’s assume that it’s true, going forward. Even if that were the case, critics of smart meters still have to contend with that fact that radio and television broadcasts, other human beings — and even the very earth itself — are a greater source of RF energy than smart meters, unless you have one installed under your pillow.

    How many people spend any time at all within three feet of the front of these things?

  • Susan Reed

    Have you read the 2,000 some scientific studies compilation by Zory R. Glaser gathered for the U.S. military in the 1970s on biological effects/harm of radiofrequency? (found at Magda Havas site)
    The BioInitiative has another 2500+ more recent studies listed.
    PowerWatch UK has an ongoing list of scientific studies of biological effects of radiofrequency/microwaves that includes those showing effects/harm, and those not showing any.
    The military uses RF as a weapon, even at lower levels, to disorient, etc. There is still, I believe, a secret program on such weaponry going on. Medicine uses highly focused amounts of RF for procedures and biological impacts. The logic would be: RF is biologically active and to explode exposure from growing numbers of sources without deeper, longer studies is irresponsible – at best. The risks are just much of human life. Bee populations. Life on the planet. Oh, well. Why study until we know more when there’s fun and profit to be had?

  • Susan Reed

    P.S.
    Living close to radio and television antennas is not safe. Epidemiological studies have shown cancer and other ills. IT’s just that they were well-spaced. Not pervasive like smart meters. Remember, too, you have the time factor with smart meters, the cumulative TIME part of the equation.
    Thanks.
    http://www.emfwise.com/myth.php

  • Dennis Burger

    Susan, first off, let me say that I’m genuinely sorry if my first reply to you came off as overly snarky. In reading back over it, that sort of tone is not indicative of how I choose to communicate with people, and if I crossed a line, you have my heartfelt apologies.

    That said, though, I strongly disagree with a few things you’ve said. Particularly this: “Oh, well. Why study until we know more when there’s fun and profit to be had?” I really hope my stance on this issue doesn’t come across that way. If there’s a legitimate concern here, I think we ought to err on the side of caution. I care more about human safety than I do profits or progress. But more than anything, I care deeply about what’s true.

    I feel like you’re conflating issues here in a way that’s intellectually dishonest. Not intentionally so, I don’t think, but then again, I don’t claim to be a mind-reader. For example, you talk about low energy RF weapons. The only quantitative data I could find on LERFs put their energy output at roughly 10mW/cm^2. With smart meters, we’re talking about energy levels of approximately 0.000015mW/cm^2 — if you’re three feet away from the things. And I seriously doubt most people spend any significant time at all within a yard of their smart meters.

    If that’s a danger to you, then living on earth itself is a danger, because the ground under your feet is bombarding you with RF energy on the order of 0.00013mW/cm^2. That’s twenty-four hours a day — not the two seconds ever hour that smart meters trasmit. Factor in the cumulative time part of the equation, and you’re getting (if my back-of-the-napkin calculations are correct) 1800 TIMES the RF energy from the planet Earth as you are from a smart meter, assuming you spend all day within three feet of said meter.

    You say, “Living close to radio and television antennas is not safe. Epidemiological studies have shown cancer and other ills.” Some studies seem to show this; some don’t. It’s far from conclusive, and in fact, the larger and more comprehensive the study, the less likely it is to support those findings. In other words, the better the science, the less likely it it seems that we’re getting cancer from power lines. From the Skeptic’s Dictionary article I linked above (http://www.skepdic.com/emf.html, please do read that)”

    —For example, a 2004 British Medical Journal article claimed to have found an inexplicable increase in leukemia in children living near power lines in England and Wales. The researchers wrote: “There is no accepted biological mechanism to explain the epidemiological results; indeed, the relation may be due to chance or confounding.”—

    —On the other hand, a 2003 study of women on Long Island found no causal connection between living near power lines and developing breast cancer. A single study does not prove there is or there isn’t a causal link between EMFs and cancer. We have to look at what is indicated by the preponderance of the evidence from all the studies.—

    That’s power lines, though. We’re not talking about power lines. We’re talking about smart meters, which — while transmitting — are ten times weaker than the RF you’re getting from power lines, on average.

    Again, I’m all for studying this more. I’m all for throwing as much good science at this as can be thrown at it. And I have no horse in this race. I don’t make a dime from any of the industries involved. If smart meters are found to be a genuine health hazard tomorrow and the entire industry goes bust, it doesn’t affect my pocketbook in the slightest.

    What bothers me most, though, is that the anti-EMF crowd seems to cling to outdated and underfunded studies, and resorts to scare tactics and false equivalence at every opportunity. That chafes me. A lot.

  • Susan Reed

    Thank you for the opportunity to test what I learned in context of some of your data and assumptions.

    Your smart meter “energy level” of about 0.15µW/m² (0.000015µW/cm²) at 3 feet going off a total of 2 seconds per hour sounds like the kind of “average” that industry engineers are fond of doing on paper. It is not this simple, and the human body does not experience some abstract average of exposure in real-time.

    The pulsed delivery mode vs. a nonstop signal is also an important factor in determining biological impacts. Take flickering of a CFL light bulb, for example, compared to a non-flickering incandescent bulb. The flickering action causes seizures in some people. You could average the flickers, but the damaging effect would still occur from the delivery mode. Similar modulated waves in RF devices is makes the signals more damaging. http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/07/31/cell-phones-emit-more-harmful-radiation-than-fm-radios.aspx

    Additional factors in determining actual RF exposure from any source involve which frequencies (some are more biologically active); length of cumulative radiation exposure (hours, weeks, decades, etc.), intensity variations from RF reflection off metal objects creating hot spots; combined exposure from multiple neighborhood meters (and other RF sources).

    Peak power density of smart meters involves multiple short, powerful punches to living bodies and cells. WE-Energies smart meters were measured to peak at >1999µW/m² – the upper limit of the HFE35C analyzer – every six seconds. Additional bursts of about 300, 198, 460, etc. clustered around the highest one. With only ten bursts every 6 minutes, that’s 600/minute, and 36,000 biological punches every hour 24/7. And that is only ONE smart meter, not a pulsing neighborhood full.

    As for the 1.3µW/m² of natural ground RF you cite (which I did not find written anywhere), it is relatively low, has no disruptive modulations, no pulsing punches. Life evolved and adapted to it over eons and it is not growing in intensity or amount. No comparison.

    I agree with you that distance matters. But you can’t assume people are always 3-feet from a wall. Look at beds and sofas against the walls. Plus, I measured one smart meter 7-feet inside a house at the dining room table to exceed 1999µW/m² with multiple high punches clustered around it. True, I am no expert, nor have high end professional equipment, but no one who should be monitoring these devices is doing their job. FCC standards are outdated (1996) and only address microwave cooking levels that heat tissue. http://emfwise.com/emf-safety-standards.php

    Very low levels of pulsed RF have been shown to damage the protective blood-brain barrier, putting people at risk for numerous degenerative conditions. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_WJ_aJPWIA
    DNA damage via oxidative stress has also been shown in recent literature. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JrBjQJhHfzk
    To dismiss these and thousands of other scientific findings as “not conclusive” is the industry’s fancy-dance. Precautions should be taken until further well-funded independent studies are done. The refusal to take any of the damning information into account is to play Russian Roulette with public health. It risks the DNA integrity of all the generations to come.

  • Susan Reed

    oops. I meant WE-Energies burst every 6 seconds, not minutes.

    • Susan Reed

      that’s still 60 hits/minute, 3600 punches every hour. Add in ambient hits from neighborhood plus hot spots around metal appliances, etc., and it’s a pulsing soup, never specifically tested for safety 24/7 – unprecedented, involuntary, in perpetuity.

  • Dennis Burger

    Thanks for the articles and YouTube links, Susan. I’m always open to more information. But again, I don’t find any of the information you’re providing me satisfying from a scientific standpoint. There’s simply too much conflation going on here. And you’re creating an analogy between things that aren’t analogous. You’re also stating things that are simply incorrect. Take, for example, your attempt to draw an analogy between CFLs causing seizures in photosensitive people (I’m one of those, by the way), and the effects of modulated RF. First, CFLs are not a seizure trigger unless they’re faulty. Old fluorescent bulbs could potentially cause a problem because of their much lower refresh rate, but CFLs are way, way, way above the threshold.

    Even if you were correct, though, that has absolutely nothing — nothing — to do with the “pulsing” RF you’re describing, and the first link you provided isn’t a scientific paper, nor does it cite proper peer reviewed literature. In fact, the second of two sources that it cites is known alt-medicine, anti-scientific woo. (See http://quackfiles.blogspot.com/2006/01/review-of-energy-medicine-scientific.html for reference).

    You say, “Plus, I measured one smart meter 7-feet inside a house at the dining room table to exceed 1999µW/m² with multiple high punches clustered around it. True, I am no expert, nor have high end professional equipment, but no one who should be monitoring these devices is doing their job.” Measured it with what? And what was the baseline measurement? What other measurements can you provide to demonstrate proper calibration?

    Until its demonstrated that smart meters subject us to anything approaching the sort of energies that a cell phone held to the head does, I don’t think Leif Salford’s research is applicable. It’s simply more conflation.

    It’s also worth noting that his studies have not been confirmed in attempts by other researchers, so even if there were a logical analogy, it wouldn’t matter. (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/bem.20138/abstract;jsessionid=0CD7ADA4C5311EA1C6CE549291D44417.d03t04) and (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/bem.20123/abstract). A finding that cannot be replicated by other researchers is very suspect, scientifically speaking.

  • Susan Reed

    The point about flickering light triggering seizures is that the PULSED mode of delivery can create biological effects. It is not unheard of that the MODE OF DELIVERY can create an effect in general terms. To you, conflation. To me, broadening and overview of thought. The PULSED mode of RF, the wave modulation, is also a factor in biological impact.

    As for other studies “confirming” this highly experienced scientists’ work, can you prove the studies you cite exactly duplicate his work? Change one little detail and you get different results. Does this little study you cite prove my scientists’ findings CANNOT be duplicated? Has your little study been DUPLICATED? Much trickery may occur in science by parties with certain interests.

    As for “calibration” of the HFE35C Gigahertz Analyzer, a top of the line non-professional RF meter, the ambient room levels were 7 to 12 µW/m2. The peaks, as I stated before, maxed out the analyzer, greater than 1999µW/M2. A cell tower two blocks away read between 240 and 680 µW/m2. I have these recorded. So, inside the home 7 feet from the meter wall is like having your own personal cell tower. (Living near cell towers is also not so very smart.)

    A final thought, though no doubt you will have the last word. I assert that even ONE study showing blood brain barrier breach and oxidative stress that damages DNA ought to be pursued TO THE HILT before deploying more wireless devices. I mean independent, fully funded, comprehensive, long-term, non-industry, HONEST studies. FYI, I never gave my permission to be exposed to chronic RF in an uncontrolled, haphazard manner. One could say I and others are being experimented on because RF IS used biologically in medical instances in a very focused way. I never gave my permission to have RF added to my environment from your manmade devices. And there you have it.

  • Dennis Burger

    There’s no reason I have to have the last word on the matter. Really, Susan, you’re free to respond to anything I say here. I welcome the discussion.

    My point was, pulses of light at sub-80Hz triggering seizures has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not the “pulses” of RF coming from smart meters have negative biological effects. Even IF the pulses of RF were somehow proven tomorrow to be problematic, that would have absolutely zero to do with why sub-80Hz light pulses trigger seizures. One of these things is not like the other, and by conflating them, you’re creating a chain of logic in the brains of scientifically ignorant people that simply isn’t reflected in reality.

    Also, this statement of yours — “Does this little study you cite prove my scientists’ findings CANNOT be duplicated?” — makes me strongly suspect that you have absolutely no conception of how science works. It’s such a logical fallacy that it’s hard to even properly address. “Much trickery may occur in science by parties with certain interests,” you say. How about applying that same skepticism to Leif Salford’s research? What makes him impervious to the biases you accuse others of?

    The way science works is this: Person X does an experiment. If the results are promising, Person X publishes after peer review. Person Y and Z try to replicate the results in different ways. If they do, they publish after peer review, and we’ve got the beginning stages of a theory to try and start falsifying. If not, it’s pretty safe to assume that variables in Person X’s work were at play.

    See XMRV and what ultimately turned out to be flawed research (laboratory contamination). See also Andrew Wakefield and his discredited link between MMR vaccine and autism. Despite the fact that XMRV and MMR vax have been conclusively discredited as having any link with chronic fatigue syndrome and autism, respectively, the True Believers still cling to flawed (or dishonest) research and argue voraciously about it.

    It may not be intentional on your part, and I’m not trying to lump you in with Jenny McCarthy/Judy Mikovits crowd; I’m merely pointing out that your arguments and your tactics are frighteningly similar to theirs.

  • Susan Reed

    I aim for logic, but you are right, I am not a scientist. Are you? You sound like a tech nut. I am a concerned citizen about a technology that has exploded without due testing and with evidence over decades of biological impacts and harm. Can you dismiss all the studies Zorach Glaser compiled for the U.S. Navy from the 1970s? Do you dismiss studies from other countries, such as what the Russians learned about RF risks in early occupational studies, which causes them to have much lower exposure standards than the U.S.?

    Please list and cite the particular compilations or studies that prove RF is safe.

    Additional food for thought, and why/how the disagreement over EMF impact occurs:

    “In the eye of the beholder: the role of style of thought in the determination of health risks from electromagnetic fields”
    http://andrewamarino.com/PDFs/124-FrontSci2000.pdf

    I am not a scientist, are you? I find this article helpful in understanding why minds greater than mine or yours disagree.

  • Dennis Burger

    Guilty as charged. My actual job is “tech geek.” And no, I’m not a scientist. I was, once upon a time, on the verge of being a biologist. I had a scholarship for such, and went so far as assistant teaching (actually, completely teaching, but only in an unofficial capacity) a 101-level biology course, and that’s it. My experience with physics extends to some 400-level coursework, a lengthy argument with Igor Novikov about time dilation across Einstein-Rosen bridges some years ago, and an ongoing fascination. So I’m neither biologist nor physicist. But I’m very interested in both fields.

    And one doesn’t have to be a scientist to understand the way science works. Again, I’m finding nothing here but appeals to authority. And the link to Marino’s piece there is exactly indicative of the sort of problem I have with your argument. He’s basically writing an essay, yet wrapping it in the trappings of a scientific paper. It looks like the sort of thing that ought to be peer reviewed and submitted to a journal. But examine the language, and it’s just a sort of appeal to the fears of folks who don’t understand science or how it works (I’m not saying Marino doesn’t understand it; I’m saying he’s appealing to those who don’t). And in places, it’s outright word salad. Why bother to wrap that essay in the trappings of scientific authority if not to play on appeals to such authority? It’s not a scientific paper.

    And when you ask for “particular compilations or studies that prove RF is safe,” again, you’re asking science to do something that it doesn’t do. That is far beyond the scope of any one study. An experiment or study addresses one hypothesis at a time, so as to minimize variables.

    Such as this: http://www.rfcom.ca/epi/muscat.shtml

    That’s a proper scientific paper. Large enough to compensate for margins of error, and pinpointed at one specific claim. The result: “use of handheld cellular telephones is not associated with risk of brain cancer, bur further studies are needed to account for longer induction periods, especially for slow-growing tumors.” It addresses the concerns it can address, thoroughly spells out the concerns it can’t address, and paves the way for future investigation.

    And it’s not an appeal to authority.

  • Susan Reed

    If many or most studies and most experts on both sides of the controversy say ” further studies are needed” why does your ilk insist that unbridled roll-out is a-okay?
    That is making guinea pigs of the public, as I said before.

    As for an appeal to “authority” that is what you do by choosing which scientists and experts to side with. No different. And Marino’s points are valid about thought style and what you DO about risk factors in light of public health. (again, do you experiment on everyone until more research is done? Looks that way.)

    How can you stand up for weak U.S. standards in the face of much lower standards in numerous other countries? http://www.justproveit.net/content/safety-standards
    Add that to the recent call by the American Academy of Pediatrics for NON-THERMAL safety standards from the FCC in light of what they must perceive as RISKS to children. You dismiss them, as well?

    True, many variable determine impact and effects from RF including knowing frequency, strength, length of exposure, distance and how much is absorbed, and state of the living cells and body to start with. And IMPACTS are NOT linear either. This is why it is difficult to duplicate some studies. It does not mean studies showing harm should be discounted.

    Another example of how to view the groups of scientific studies can be found here:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QyzZX-bCiqs

    I still see you as someone willing to risk people for love of technology.

  • Dennis Burger

    Ooh, hey there, Susan. Hold the venom. I’m not speaking for any “ilk.” I’m speaking for me. One tech geek. That’s it. Attack my tactics. Attack my sources. All of that is fair game. But don’t attack me. If I come off as attacking you, I’m sorry. I don’t mean to; I mean merely to attack your methods.

    I didn’t say anything about “most studies and most experts”; I referenced one study — the author of which I wouldn’t know from any given cast member of Jersey Shore — and his study was about cell phones, in response to your studies about cell phones. Nothing was said about needing more studies on the issue of smart meters. Stop conflating, please.

    I’m not choosing which scientists to side with. I’m choosing which studies are larger, better controlled, with less likelihood for sample size errors, and not seeking a specific result.

    The real thing I take issue with is your painting me as “someone willing to risk people for love of technology.” Wrong, wrong, wrongity wrong. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

    What I am is someone who recognizes all of the health, safety, convenience, and environmental benefits of smart meters, and who doesn’t think the anti-EMF crowd has done anything to convince me that there’s anywhere near enough potential for biological harm to outweigh the benefits. Smart meters allow for near instantaneous detection of power outages, for one thing. Not to rely too much on anecdata, but since smart meters were implemented in my area (a region with horrific weather, and numerous power outages), I’ve seen the response time improve significantly. I’ve got a neighbor whose child requires a respirator, and who can’t afford a generator. The more we’re without power, the worse that child’s condition of life. Smart meters have directly improved his quality of life by diminishing power down times. It used to be that you’d call Alabama Power to report an outage half an hour after the fact, and they wouldn’t know a thing about it. Now you can call two minutes after the lights go out, and they’ve already got trucks en route.

    Smart meters also allow me (as a data-loving geek) to more accurately chart my energy usage and reduce it in intelligent ways. For those who don’t care about the data, smart meters enable things like automatic (voluntary, but automatic) demand response actions. My thermostat, for example, can talk to the smart meter and automatically reduce energy usage automatically in a demand response scenario, should I choose to enable it (I do).

    It also means that a meter reader doesn’t have to drive around inspecting every meter every month. That reduces the amount of carbon being pumped into the atmosphere.

    Smarter energy usage — which leads to the need for fewer new power plants — combined with the reduced need for the vehicular poisoning of our atmosphere, is a not-insignificant step toward combating climate change (an actual phenomenon supported by scientific study, by the way — although I can find you any number of scientific-looking “papers” by “experts” that claim to disprove it.)

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, so if you’re going to come at me claiming that a device that does that much good for the environment, the earth, and the people living on it is rotting our brains with pulses of RF, you’re gonna have to provide me with some solid, convincing, REPEATABLE science. That’s all I’m asking for. My mind can be changed here. If smart meters do more harm than good, I’ll join hands with you and start ripping them off the sides of houses myself. But nothing I’ve seen yet from the anti-smart meter crowd is convincing to me.

  • Susan Reed

    U.S. standards for RF/microwave exposures are inadequate. And don’t say cell phone and smart meter radiation are not similar enough in kind to compare. That is like saying in an experiment testing water molecular makeup will not apply to another experiment on water’s molecular makeup. This is not conflation. It is common sense.
    http://www.justproveit.net/content/safety-standards
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/gao-criticizes-fccs-standards-for-cellphone-radiation/2012/08/07/08c1e91e-e0c9-11e1-8fc5-a7dcf1fc161d_story.html

    People worldwide are sensitive to microwave/radiofrequency radiation, including people in the tech industry, like you:
    http://host.madison.com/article_c414989a-6d77-5eb1-a57c-4057dc75e02d.html

    People in America should be free to have their own opinion on what devices they want on their homes and apartments and work places, not the utility monopoly – especially since evidence shows we are NOT being protected in the U.S. The GAO recently admitted the U.S. lags in the world on RF standards (see link above). The American Academy of Pediatrics has also called for the FCC to look at regulating RF/microwave radiation below microwave heating levels.

    People should be able to CHOOSE mechanical analog meters. “Smart” meters were supposed to be offered, not forced for everyone, including those who have cannot tolerate them or do not see them as safe. To force us to have them is tyrannical and painful, but from what I have seen, climate change believers are willing to do this type of thing in the name of their beliefs. Can you prove me wrong on this?

  • Dennis Burger

    I’m sorry, Susan, I really don’t mean for this to sound as harsh as it probably will, but if you refuse to accept the incredibly overwhelming scientific evidence for global climate change, but you’re willing to accept the meager anecdotal evidence for EMF sensitivity, then no, there’s nothing I can say to change your mind.

    There’s no such thing as a “climate change believer.” At this point, it’s not a matter of belief. You either accept science as a valid process or you don’t. In your case, you obviously don’t. And since my way of thinking is driven by a scientific outlook on life, and yours is based purely on unreliable personal experience and anecdata, we’re simply talking past each other.

    It’s not a matter of proving anyone or anything wrong. It’s a matter of valid, methodologically sound scientific study, which apparently you have little to no respect for given your denialism in regard to climate change. Enough valid, methodologically sound science to support your point of view would change my mind in a heartbeat. I’m not sure anything would change your mind. So why bother trying?

  • Susan Reed

    We agree we disagree. The problem is you want to impose devices on my home that I do not want. That is called tyranny. In a free country people can choose what devices to have on their houses. They can choose what they deem to be safe, effective devices. In a free country, you and I can disagree but I can still have my freedom of choice. People can have freedom to assess the information themselves and make their choices. People are free to even make mistakes. People are free to grow as they will, not be herded or forced.

    Your view is tyrannical because you would kill my freedom of choice and control over my own home. I would not try to change your mind, but you should not have control over my home environment or thoughts. The issue is freedom. Science can be used to snuff freedom depending upon interpretation. The issue is freedom vs. tyranny.

  • Dennis Burger

    Look at those goalposts move! HA!

    Susan, come on. This is not an issue of tyranny. You are completely free to opt out of the electrical grid entirely. Is anyone forcing you to have utility power? No, no one is. There’s no law stating that every citizen is required to have electrical service with their local utility. That would be tyranny.

    If you do want utility electrical service, though, in increasingly more locales, that service is going to come with a smarter meter, which reduces your impact on the environment, allows for potentially more intelligent and informed energy usage, and has not been demonstrated to have any appreciable health effects.

    If you’re that concerned with the supposed dangers of RF, do you realize how much RF is generated just from your home’s electrical wiring? Is the contractor who put it there tyrannical for including it without asking your permission?

  • Susan Reed

    I speak for all who feel like I do here:
    I always had utility sevice with mechanical analog meters. These utilities are necessary. I cannot afford to go off grid. I should be able to continue my service with a device that does not risk ill effects – in MY estimation. I regulate my own health, not some energy company that is supposed to serve MY needs.

    I had utility services for years. To cut me off because I cannot tolerate the new transmitting device is tyrannical and cruel. This is a MONOPOLY we are talking about here. No other affordable choices.

    In fact, this is a bigger issue. This is what collectivism looks like. Individuals and their needs are expendable. Lives are expendable. It would not hurt these utilities to allow individual opt outs to serve CUSTOMERS. But customers do not count here. This is not capitalism, but collectivism at its worst.

    The views I see here go beyond a utility issue. Liberty. Choice. Access. These are words elite central planners would rather blot out if they could.

  • Dennis Burger

    Again, though, Susan, you’re not answering my question: do you realize that the electrical wiring in your home is a source of RF? Do you realize that the computer you’re typing on is a source of RF?

    You have the choice whether or not to use those. You have a choice whether or not to pump electricity through the wires in your home. You have a choice whether or not to use a computer.

    But let’s look at what happens if you “choose” not to have a smart meter; the utility has to send someone out in a truck to your house every month to read your meter. You’ve also taken a link out of the chain in creating a smart grid. You, in your personal choice, are imposing your desire to adversely affect the environment on everyone else.

    Again, if it can be scientifically demonstrated that these smart meters are adversely affecting the health of individuals, I’ll be the first to join you in ripping them off of homes tomorrow. But until such time, no, I don’t support your desire to force your personal, unfounded beliefs on everyone else.

    You’re more than welcome to believe that the RF from smart meters is frying your brain. You’re more than welcome to believe that little green men are visiting you at night to probe you. You’re more than welcome to believe that storing razor blades inside a pyramid keeps them sharper longer. But as soon as such beliefs start affecting other people, that’s when a skeptic like me has to stand up and say, “No, you don’t get to force your unfounded beliefs on other people.”

    Let me put an important caveat on what I’m about to say before I say it: I’m not angry with you the way I get angry with anti-vaxxers, because I think you’re mostly harmless. BUT, I put your argument in the same category of fallaciousness argument that anti-vaxxers put forth: “You can’t PROVE that vaccines are 100% safe, so you can’t force me to vaccinate my child!” The problem with that is, those people are causing harm. They’re causing deaths. They’re screwing up the herd immunity, and as a result, measles is making a comeback. And all of their arguments are based on scaremongering and absolute woo woo.

    As are yours. I’m not saying you and your co-conspirators are directly responsible for any deaths — again, please understand that — but if your movement gains any traction, you WILL be responsible for totally unnecessary impacts on the environment, totally wasteful energy usage, and the removal of an incredibly powerful informational tool, all because of completely unfounded beliefs based on conflation and a complete lack of understanding when it comes to the workings of science.

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