[Note: Smart meters utilize a powerful form of Wi-Fi in a mesh network. Help your child concentrate more in school by not being befuddled from a "smart" utility meter on the home. San Diego County Resident? Don't forget to opt-out from smart meters - fill out the form at http://www.sdge.com/sites/default/files/documents/smartmeter_opt-out.pdf. If you are on the CARE program for reduced utility rates (low income) you will pay $10 for the opt-out fee and $5 a month. If not, the fees are higher but initial fee may be paid over a three month period, according to the CPUC's ruling. Center for Electrosmog Prevention is fighting the fees, along with a number of other organizations, which may be refunded, ultimately. For now, avoid the hazardous, neurologically toxic radiofrequency radiation that can impact health, memory, cognition, and ultimately, school success, according to some physicians and experts. In CA, SCE and PG&E customers may opt-out by calling the utility or mailing them a written request. Other utility customers, contact your utility to demand an opt-out.]
by Susan Brinchman, Director, Center for Electrosmog Prevention
published in the La Mesa Patch, August 25, 2012
(click here for article with Media, including many documents supporting this article)
As with all fads, wireless is no different. Doctors and hospitals are even installing it in patient locations, apparently unaware of the health risks, just as some medical professionals once promoted smoking cigarettes. There is a rush to add Wi-Fi to all libraries, as well as schools, shopping areas, hotels, and medical facilities. It is the La Mesa-based Center for Electrosmog Prevention’s position that placement of Wi-Fi where the public is accommodated is a risk to the general public and a barrier for disabled people and those with medical conditions who must avoid RF radiation. RF radiation is a known toxin associated with exacerbation of medical conditions and as being the cause of some, according to the AAEM (American Academy of Environmental Medicine).
Follow the Money
The problem is that independent researchers have found that the type of radiation emitted by wireless technologies has not been proven safe [and] many people are reporting illness from it, with health and biological impacts supported by decades of independent investigations. The US government has not informed its citizens, unlike a growing number in Europe. Financial interests seem to be at the root of this “oversight”. Much money is being pumped by corporate interests into advertising and public relations to convince people that wireless is their “best friend”, with conflicted “scientists-for-hire”, industry organizations, and government contributing to its suddenly rampant use.
Reasons to Avoid Wi-Fi in the Home, Schools, Businesses, Libraries, Medical Offices, and Hospitals
(Wi-Fi = Wireless Networking Technology)
- Wi-Fi causes a pervasive, constant exposure to RF (radiofrequency) microwave radiationn, implicated in hazardous health and biological effects. This may be immediate or cumulative, occurring over time, such as smoking is known for.
- Increased RF radiation exposures = increased risk for the onset or aggravation of pre-existing health problems, including cancers, immune system disorders, neurological problems, including memory, learning, headaches, and cardiac abnormalities such as heart arrhythmias, according to many independent researchers and experts.[i]
- Stronger signal = stronger radiation exposures, measured up to 800 times normal background levels
- Low level signals also a risk, according to researchers, harm is not primarily dose-related, as some low-level signals may also interfere with cellular function.
- Pregnant women, babies, and children in high risk groups for serious health impacts, according to many researchers.
What is WI-FI?
Wi-Fi is the name of a popular wireless networking technology that uses radio waves to provide wireless high-speed Internet and network connections. (Webopedia)
How does WI-FI work? Wi-Fi works with no physical wired connection between sender and receiver by using radio frequency (RF) technology, a frequency within the electromagnetic spectrum associated with radio wave propagation. When an RF current is supplied to an antenna, an electromagnetic field is created that then is able to propagate through space.
(from WebOPedia, http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/W/Wi_Fi.html)
WI-FI Exposures in the Community
In La Mesa (or your town), you may be exposed to Wi-Fi in the public library (San Diego County Library system won an award for its wireless systems and scanners which have been measured from hundreds of times, up to 84,000 times, normal background levels), your child’s school, your college or university, your doctor’s office or your local hospital (like Grossmont Hospital), your workplace, restaurants (like Applebee’s), bookstores (like Barnes and Noble), furniture stores (like Jerome’s), and grocery stores (like Von’s). Commercial businesses are rushing to install WI-FI thinking it will bring in customers and because they wish to use devices that may be more convenient to use wirelessly.
The businesses above are examples of those with Wi-Fi. We suspect that they have no idea of the risks to workers or the public. People often think of Wi-Fi as a “plus” – free Internet. Once informed, we hope that these businesses will remove Wi-Fi and provide Internet access on a safe, wired basis. The public, once informed, should think twice about exposure to toxic RF radiation.
WI-FI at Home
So-called “smart” utility meter technologies use WI-FI in both a wide area (vast indoor and outdoor) and home area network. There are two radios inside each smart meter, one, with a frequency very close to that of cell phones, is used to communicate with the other smart meters in the neighborhood, transmitting signals back and forth, using radiofrequency, on a virtually constant basis to maintain the mesh network. The system ultimately sends all the neighborhood data from one unfortunate customer in the neighborhood with a collector meter (that sends and receives far more than the average, and thus causing far greater exposures to RF radiation) to the nearest wireless infrastructure on a pole nearby, and then to the nearest cell tower. The second radio, called a Zigbee, in the case of SDG&E’s Itron smart meters, is part of the home area network, communicating constantly with the wireless-enabled appliances, AC units, and furnaces in your home. The Zigbee radio uses a frequency very close to that of microwave ovens. Most new appliances come wireless enabled, even though this is not advertised – particularly if they are GE-brand, which has invested heavily in the “smart” appliance market. This second radio is set to be turned on in early 2013, according to SDG&E, and will add yet another layer of unwanted, dangerous RF radiation on a constant basis, inside your home, for those who have not “opted out” of smart meters back to the non-wireless analogs. (To learn more about opting out, click here).
Smart meter pulses have been measured as high as thousands of times normal background levels. The pulses occur every one to two seconds. Independent esearchers and physicians are warning about these exposures. Both the microwave frequencies used and the pulsing is considered dangerous.
Home WI-FI systems for wireless internet produce less RF radiation than commercial WI-FI, but are also risky, especially if the router is located close to occupied or sleeping areas.
Problem: Convenience and a desire for more money should not rule. Public and personal safety is more important.
1. Avoid WI-FI in public places and use wired cable or fiberoptics for your home internet access. Wired Internet access is also far more secure, as wireless is easily hacked.
2. If a favorite business has WI-FI, complain and ask that it be removed and replaced with wired.
3. Call or write SDG&E (or your utility) today or fill out one of their forms to request an opt-out from both the gas and electric SDG&E “smart” meters.
(If you can’t opt-out in your area (outside of California), contact your state legislators and PUC to demand an opt-out option. If you live in an apartment or other multi-family dwelling unit with banks of smart meters that may impact your health, consider organizing everyone to opt-out, and write the CPUC (California Public Utility Commission) Administrative Law Judge, Amy Yip-Kikugawa (firstname.lastname@example.org), who is deciding whether entire communities may be allowed to opt-out, to request that she approve this option, explaining your situation.)
Smart Meter Opt-out Forms & Fliers to use and share
4. Call your water company to see if their water meters are “smart” (wireless). Demand an opt-out or for the water district to drop smart meters (or any plans for them), which helps fill the neighborhood with WI-FI-derived RF radiation. Helix Water District quickly dropped their expensive, non-beneficial, risky smart meter pilot program in the Mt. Helix area, and plans to extend it beyond, for all their customers, when publicly challenged on the topic in Letters to the Editor and at a Helix Water District public meeting by this author, in 2011.
Schools and WI-FI:
Going back to school should not include being exposed to high levels of harmful RF (radiofrequency) microwave radiation all day that can contribute to health impacts, attention, hyperactivity, behavior, and learning problems – even seizures may occur. Scientists have shown that children are more susceptible to health and brain impacts of RF radiation, so why should they be forced to be exposed to it while getting a public (or private) education? Low levels are also not safe, as independent scientists have linked low levels of radiofrequency radiation, particularly in the microwave and EMF ranges, with biological and health impacts.
Recommendation: Immediately, find out if your child’s school has WI-FI. If so, complain, ask the school to wire its computers, and find another school without WI-FI for your child to attend. Avoid schools with WI-FI installed like you’d avoid the plague.
Dr. Magda Havas, Canadian wireless expert, recommends that schools not install WI-FI and replace WI-FI by returning to wired connections – ethernet or fiberoptic. (Magda Havas is an Associate Professor of Environmental & Resource Studies and researcher on the biological effects of environmental contaminants. Dr. Havas received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, completed Post-Doctoral research at Cornell University, and taught at the University of Toronto before going to Trent University in Peterborough, Canada.)
“May 2012. At the request of some teachers I have updated the open letter I wrote in May 2009 about Wi-Fi in the school environment. Much has happened during the past 3 years making it even more urgent that a moratorium be placed on the deployment of Wi-Fi in schools; and that schools that currently have Wi-Fi consider reducing the microwave exposure as much as possible for part or the entire day and for part or the entire school by returning to the use of wired connections (ethernet or fiber optics) for internet access.”
“Click here for the updated open letter.”
Wi-Fi and Health
Wi-Fi is dangerous for both the general public and workers forced into exposures all day long. In the USA, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) (www.aaemonline.org), a highly respected environmental physicians’ association, has issued three dire warnings about the impact on health of electromagnetic radiation and smart meters, and one about WI-FI in schools, in 2012. In July, AAAEM issued a list of Recommendations for patients with a wide variety of medical problems to avoid RF radiation, as exposures may cause more symptoms or even be the root cause of illnesses.
The text of the AAEM’s Recommendations written for use by all patients’ physicians, nationwide, is as follows:
Physicians of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine recognize that patients are being adversely impacted by electromagnetic frequency (EMF) and radiofrequency (RF) fields and are becoming more electromagnetically sensitive.
The AAEM recommends that physicians consider patients’ total electromagnetic exposure in their diagnosis and treatment, as well as recognition that electromagnetic and radiofrequency field exposure may be an underlying cause of a patient’s disease process.
Based on double‐blinded, placebo controlled research in humans,1 medical conditions and disabilities that would more than likely benefit from avoiding electromagnetic and radiofrequency exposure include, but are not limited to:
• Neurological conditions such as paresthesias, somnolence, cephalgia, dizziness, unconsciousness, depression
• Musculoskeletal effects including pain, muscle tightness, spasm, fibrillation
• Heart disease and vascular effects including arrhythmia, tachycardia, flushing, edema
• Pulmonary conditions including chest tightness, dyspnea, decreased pulmonary function
• Gastrointestinal conditions including nausea, belching
• Ocular (burning)
• Oral (pressure in ears, tooth pain)
• Dermal (itching, burning, pain)
• Autonomic nervous system dysfunction (dysautonomia).
Based on numerous studies showing harmful biological effects from EMF and RF exposure, medical conditions and disabilities that would more than likely benefit from avoiding exposure include, but are not limited to:
• Neurodegenerative diseases (Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. 2‐6
• Neurological conditions (Headaches, depression, sleep disruption, fatigue,
dizziness, tremors, autonomic nervous system dysfunction, decreased memory,
attention deficit disorder, anxiety, visual disruption). 7‐10
• Fetal abnormalities and pregnancy. 11,12
• Genetic defects and cancer.2,3,13‐19
• Liver disease and genitourinary disease.12,20
Because Smart Meters produce Radiofrequency emissions, it is recommended that patients with the above conditions and disabilities be accommodated to protect their health. The AAEM recommends: that no Smart Meters be on these patients’ homes, that Smart Meters be removed within a reasonable distance of patients’ homes depending on the patients’ perception and/or symptoms, and that no collection meters be placed near patients’ homes depending on patients’ perception and/or symptoms. (AAEM)
AAEM has also taken a position against Wi-Fi in schools, as follows:
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine
Statement on Wi-Fi in Schools (AAEM, June 9, 2012)
“Adverse health effects, such as learning disabilities, altered immune responses, headaches, etc. from wireless radio frequency fields do exist and are well documented in the scientific literature. Safer technology, such as using hard-wiring, must be seriously considered in schools for the safety of those susceptible individuals who may be affected by this phenomenon. ”
Europe Has Been Warned by WHO and the Parliament of the European Union
In Europe, awareness of these dangers has reached governmental authorities far more than in the USA, to date. On May 31, 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO), a conservative health authority, announced that it was placing RF radiation on its list of 2B Carcinogens. Insiders have revealed that WHO could have placed it on a higher risk level (probable) based on the evidence. Immediately following that decision, the Parliament of the European Union issued a warning to all its member governments, to request that they reduce exposure of their citizens to RF radiation. Following that warning, France has imposed a moratorium on WI-FI in its public libraries after workers reported illness following its installation; the Bavarian Parliament of Germany recommends not installing WI-FI in school for health reasons, and the German government’s health protection agency recommends the public reduce their exposure to high frequency radiation to minimize health risks. It also recommends:
- use of cabled connections rather than Wi-Fi and bluetooth
- site Wi-Fi access points away from people, including at work
The Education Professionals Union (Voice), of the United Kingdom (formerly the Professional Association of Teachers), is calling for a moratorium on new Wi-Fi networks in schools and the suspension of existing Wi-Fi. Voice is calling for a full investigation into WI-FI networks in schools in the UK.
“We continue to be concerned about the possible effects of Wi-Fi. Particularly on children whose brains and bodies are still developing”.
Speaking about the announcement of an investigation into Wi-Fi by the Health Protection Agency (measuring emissions from computers in schools to check whether they are within ICNIRP guidelines), Voice General Secretary, Philip Parkin stated:
“Whilst we welcome this investigation I do not feel that it goes far enough. It seems to be concentrating on what should be known already rather than on what is not known. It seems to me that the HPA (Health Protection Agency, United Kingdom):
- has pre-judged outcomes before they have done the work;
- seems to only be considering the thermal effect of EMR (electromagnetic radiation) and not the potential long-term health risks associated with the non-thermal effects;
- is assessing against the totally inadequate ICNIRPS guidelines which only relate to the thermal effects of EMR;
- does not appear to be doing any health-related investigations amongst children; and
- appears to be concentrating on measuring radiation levels which are already known, or should have been before the technology was allowed to be used in schools.” (WiredChild.org)
ICEMS on Electromagnetic Fields and Health
The International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety (ICEMS) is made up of scientists, medical doctors and engineers from around the world. In their Beneveto Resolution (2006) and Venice Resolution (June 2008), ICEMS stated its concern for the effects of exposure from electromagnetic fields on the public health. They state:
“We take exception to the claim of the wireless communication industry that there is no credible scientific evidence to conclude there is a risk. Recent epidemiological evidence is stronger than before, which is a further reason to justify precautions be taken to lower exposure standards…”
“We strongly advise limited use of cell phones, and other similar devices, by young children and teenagers, and we call upon governments to apply the Precautionary Principle as an interim measure while more biologically relevant standards are developed to protect against, not only the absorption of electromagnetic energy by the head, but also adverse effects of the signals on biochemistry, physiology and electrical biorhythms.”
Request the Removal of Wi-Fi Based on Discrimination Laws
1. Consider requesting removal, in writing, of Wi-Fi from places of public accommodation and government buildings such as schools using the Americans With Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as well as Section 453 of the Public Utilities Code and additional state and federal discrimination laws that protect individuals with disabilities and/or medical conditions. Click here and here to learn more.
2. On a temporary basis, you may request that Wi-Fi be turned off while you are in the building, such as for a doctor’s appointment. The author has been graciously accommodated in this manner by a physician’s office, recently.
For more info on Wi-Fi:
For independent research and position statements, on electromagnetic radiation exposures and health that support the above article go to www.smartmeterdangers.org and www.electrosmogprevention.org.
Director, Center for Electrosmog Prevention, La Mesa, CA
[i] Smart Meter Dangers Research http://smartmeterdangers.org/index.php/smart-meter-research and Position Statements http://smartmeterdangers.org/index.php/position-statements
Dr. Magda Havas: The Truth About Wired and Wireless Technologies
Dr. Havas is an associate professor of Environmental & Resource Studies at Trent University where she teaches and does research on the biological effects of environmental contaminants. Her research deals with the health effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic energy at the extremely low frequency range associated with electricity (60 Hertz) and at the radio frequency range commonly associated with wireless telecommunication. Dr. Havas is particularly interested in monitoring exposure of the population in urban centres to radio frequency radiation and power-frequency fields. She is the author of numerous works on the subject. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, completed Post-Doctoral research at Cornell University, and taught at the University of Toronto before going to Trent University in Peterborough, Canada.
Dr. Magda Havas: WiFi in Schools is Safe. True or False?
s Wi-Fi in schools safe? Find out by watching this video. Learn how the Wi-Fi routers used in schools differ from those in homes; learn about studies that have documented the adverse effects of this radiation on rats, blood cells, the heart, cancer; learn about alternatives to wireless routers that are cost effective, energy efficient and that don’t emit microwave radiation.