Madison - St. Clair Record

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Ignore at your own risk: radio frequency/microwave radiation

Letter to the Editor

By The Madison County Record | May 30, 2017

To the Editor:

In a breaking news story on March 3, the CA Department of Public Health, in a widely distributed report, released a draft document outlining heath officials' concerns about cellphone radiation exposure after keeping it under wraps for over seven years.  For those who have denied the hazards of cell phone usage in the past, this study cannot be ignored. Cell phones emit a kind of energy called radiofrequency EMF's (electromagnetic fields).  

Health officials have long been concerned about possible health effects cell phone use. Several studies have found people with certain kinds of brain cancer were more likely to have used cell phones for 10 years or more. The March 3 study concluded: 

1. Cellphones are used by 91 percent of adults in the U.S. contributing to an overwhelming exposure to electromagnetic radiation. Tissue damage from EMF penetration can promote cellular mutations that increase your long-term risk of developing cancer. As cellphones are frequently kept close to the head and body they potentially affect nearby tissue. These 10 radiofrequency radiation-emitting cell phone brands are considered the worst to use. 

2.  It required a lawsuit to release California's Environmental Health Investigations' recommendations for safe cellphone use, containing study summaries suggesting long-term use increases risk of brain cancer.  It makes sense that as usage increases, so does your exposure to electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation, and, with it, your risk for developing cancer. Holding a cellphone up to your ear allows 80 percent of the EMF radiation produced to penetrate an adult's brain tissue up to two inches. 

3. Children are at greater risk of health damage since results of exposure to electromagnetic radiation may take upwards of 15 years to appear, and children's neurological systems are immature at time of exposure. The penetration of the cellphone radiation into the brain of a child is even deeper and greater than that of an adult, as the brain is still developing through the teen years. Also, the developing nervous system of a child is potentially more susceptible to a damaging agent. 

What about Smart Meters? 

It is up to each individual to determine how much they wish to use their cell phone in light of the new hidden California report, but what about wireless Smart Meters? For the first time in history a Class 2B carcinogen has been mandated on your private property after ComEd was able to convince members of the Illinois General Assembly to pass such a bill. ComEd lobbyists then spent over $16 million persuading the General Assembly to override Governor Quinn's veto and Governor Rauner signed it into law. 

Com Ed is now in the process of installing 4 million Smart Meters on the homes of all Illinois residences and business by misleading legislators and Illinoisans into believing that smart meters are safe and harmless.

Smart Meters, like cellphones, emit radiofrequency/microwave radiation into residences around-the-clock. The frequency emitted from cellphones is the same as that emitted from Smart Meters when they are transmitting data or performing network functions. What this means is that a single Smart Meter can emit high-intensity bursts of radiofrequency radiation all day long (up to 190,000 times a day according to California court documents). Multiply that by ComEd’s 4 million Smart Meter deployment and you will see why citizens are concerned. 

Other reasons for concern: 1. detailed (granular) data on household activities is being collected, posing a threat to privacy. 2. Emitted high frequency burst have been known to “fry” expensive electronics and appliances. 3. Fire risk increases as Smart Meters can ignite, arc, spark, and explode.

 Health issues 

While issues of privacy and fire risk are important, most everybody is worried about their health. Dr. Thomas Rau, medical director of the world-renowned Paracelsus Clinic in Switzerland, estimate that 3 to 8 percent of populations in developed countries experience serious electro-hypersensitivity symptoms, while 35 percent experience mild symptoms. Rau also believes that strong electromagnetic fields can lead to cancer, concentration problems, ADD, tinnitus, migraine headaches, insomnia, arrhythmia, Parkinson's, and even back pain. In a systematic review and meta-analysis of EMF radiation on sperm quality, researchers found an 8 percent reduction in motility and 9 percent reduction in sperm viability. 

Some people will develop symptoms immediately after installation; most will develop physical and neurological symptoms later from long-term chronic radiofrequency/microwave exposure. Infants, children, pregnant women and the elderly are most vulnerable. Pets also suffering from exposure. 

Because Smart Meters operate in a mesh network, relaying data from one house to another and then on to a collector,  Dr. Ronald M. Powell, Ph.D., has concluded that "The RF radiation from wireless Smart Meters is particularly threatening to health as that radiation is so persistent and so powerful."  

Dr. Ronald M. Powell is a retired career U.S. government scientist. He holds a Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Harvard University (1975). During his government career, he worked for the Executive Office of the President, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. 

Survey reveals common symptoms 

Dr. Powell published a study on March 12, 2015 of a survey about the symptoms which are being reported as people from coast to coast in the USA, and from one side of the world to the other, are becoming ill after exposure to the radiofrequency radiation emitted by Smart Meters - symptoms after exposure to Smart Meter radiation.   

The first survey comes from the United States and includes 318 respondents from 28 states from California to New York, and addresses wireless utility meters that are principally wireless Smart Meters. The second survey comes from the other side of the world, Victoria, Australia, and included 92 respondents, and addresses wireless Smart Meters exclusively.  Both surveys report new or worsened symptoms after exposure to the radiation from wireless Smart Meters in the respondent's environment. 

Survey results 

The two surveys group symptoms into somewhat different clusters, but many of these clusters are similar enough to enable comparison between the surveys.  Of the top seven clusters of symptoms in both surveys, six clusters are similar in description and nearly identical in order of occurrence: (1) sleep disruption; (2) headaches; (3) ringing or buzzing in the ears; (4) fatigue; (5) loss of concentration, memory, or learning ability; and (6) disorientation, dizziness, or loss of balance. 

Local survey called for 

Isn't it time that a survey be done here in Illinois?  Each village, town, or city in Illinois where ComEd has already installed Smart Meters should be asking its residents as to any possible adverse effects they might be experiencing since Smart Meters were installed. 

Questions might include: 

1.  Since the Smart Meter has been installed, have your electric bills increased? Decreased? Remained the same? 

2.  Have you experienced any electrical interference since the meter was installed? If so, please describe. 

3.  Have you experienced an electrical fire since the meter was installed? If so, please describe.

4.  Has there been a change in your health or anyone in your household's health since the meter was installed?  If so, please describe. 

5.  Where is your meter relative to your living space? For instance, how far from your kitchen or bedroom. 

6.  Have you, or a family member, been previously diagnosed with EMF(electro-hypersensitivity)? 

7.  Have you, or a family member, experienced any EMF symptoms since the new meter was installed? If so, please describe. 

8.  Did anyone from your utility company contact you to explain the pros vs. cons using a Smart Meter before it was installed? 

ComEd must permit a permanent opt-out of Smart Meters 

On Aug.22, 2016, Lake Bluff was the third municipality in Illinois to pass a resolution asking Commonwealth Edison to allow residents to permanently opt-out of the smart meter installation program by exploring permanent op-out options. The other two communities were Lake Forest on July 18, 2016, and Burr Ridge on June 29, 2016. Currently residents of these communities and throughout Illinois can pay a monthly fee of $21.53 to defer installation until June 30, 2022.   

In response to the increased public opposition to ComEd smart meters and its smart meter/deferral/program, ComEd completed a filing with the ICC on Aug. 29, 2016. This filing requests that the current sunset date for the smart meter deferral program be extended to June 30, 2022. The filing also commits ComEd “to investigate a possible permanent solution” for customers refusing smart meters.

Petition your municipalities to follow the action taken by Burr Ridge, Lake Forest, and Lake Bluff. Also request that the governing board of your municipality conduct a survey of its residents if Smart Meters have already been installed. Shouldn't the concerns and health of its citizens be foremost on their minds of those we elect to govern us?

Nancy Thorner

Lake Bluff

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