Wireless Water Meters…..a threat? November 14, 2013Posted by healthyself in Electromagnetic pollution, Electromagnetic Radiation, EMF Exposure, EMF's.
Tags: electromagnetic frequencies, emf's, wireless, wireless meters
Are wireless meters a threat? Stillwater resident concerns prompt Nov. 14 review of water meter options
November 13, 2013 at 3:11 pm
Staring at the yellow sheet of paper in his hand, Jim Cashman could hardly believe what he saw.
“The water service to this property will be shut off for failure to provide access to the water meter,” the paper read.
The notice came after the Stillwater resident and his wife objected to the mandatory installation of a wireless water meter in their home. If they didn’t comply, they had been warned, the water to their home would be turned off.
But Cashman didn’t want a wireless water meter.
“That didn’t sit well with us for a variety of reasons, the foremost being health and privacy issues,” Jim Cashman said. “And to have these crammed down our throats is wrong.”
The Cashmans aren’t the only ones being required to make the switch. The Stillwater Board of Water Commissioners has mandated that all water meters in its jurisdiction be replaced with a wireless model, which crews can read simply by driving past properties. The $1.4 million project is being funded by bonds (at record-low costs) with no additional charge to customers. About 90 percent of the meters in Stillwater have already been replaced, with the remainder of installations planned to be
completed this month.
The city’s water board, which consists of three commissioners appointed by the city council, says it’s simply trying to be a good steward of financial resources.
“These meters we’re replacing are old,” Commissioner Steve Speedling said. “They’re not catching some of the flow.”
That means some customers pay less than they owe. By updating the system, Speedling said, the city can charge customers more fairly and receive full payment for water used. The new meters will also comply with updated federal standards for lead content, which go into effect in January 2014.
In addition, Water Department Manager of Operations Robert Benson said the department will save an estimated 72 work days per year with the wireless meters. Instead of eating up approximately 20 days (160 man-hours) per quarter reading meters, the wireless system will allow an employee to spend about two days per quarter taking readings. For a staff of six people, that’s significant.
Cashman said he understands the perceived advantages, but it bothered him that he didn’t have a choice in the matter. He attended two water board meetings and asked for more time to study the meters without fear of his water being shut off. Although it threatened to turn off the water, the water board has not done so, instead granting him two extensions.
When Cashman began researching, what he found appalled him.
“There are a lot of issues regarding these wireless water meters,” he said. “And they are not as safe as some people portray them to be. … Dozens of cities around the country … have given their people opt-out provisions.”
Health and privacy concerns
In recent years, wireless “smart” meters for water or electricity have been the subject of controversy across the country and around the world.
Concern has centered around privacy concerns over what type of information smart meters transfer, as well as worries that the meters could cause health problems because they emit low-frequency radiation. The meters work by emitting a digital pulse several times a minute that can be detected by a digital reader in a water department vehicle as it drives by.
St. Paul Regional Water Service began a replacement project similar to Stillwater’s in 2010 and finished earlier this year. In response to citizen concerns, the water service approved a provision allowing residents to select an alternate meter. A $12 charge applied to customers who chose a non-radio device that requires someone to physically read the meter.
Leo Cashman, of St. Paul, (no relation to Jim Cashman) helped lead the charge against mandatory smart meters in St. Paul and is joining the debate in Stillwater. He’s the founder of Safe Technology Minnesota, a nonprofit dedicated to educating the public “about the health and environmental dangers of EMF (Electromagnetic Field) pollution.” He has a bachelor’s degree in physics and feels passionately about the subject of excessive radiation. He even avoids cordless phones and microwaves.
But he starts explaining his concerns with a caveat:
“Nobody is against electromagnetic radiation,” he said. “Your eyes are open, and you’re seeing light. That’s electromagnetic radiation. … It’s kind of like sound. That’s another form of energy that travels around. … Nobody’s against that either, although you don’t want to have a loud sound that blows your eardrums out.”
With cell phones, microwaves, smart meters and more, Leo Cashman says people are exposed to too much radiation today. He claims there’s a growing body of scientific evidence that suggests the levels of radiation to which humans are exposed have harmful effects.
Like many who share his position, one study Leo Cashman cites is a “BioInitiative 2012” report with contributions from scientists around the world, including scientists from Harvard Medical School, Columbia University, the University of Athens and Lund University Hospital in Sweden.
The BioInitiative study calls for stricter government limits and more study of potential health effects of low-frequency radiation. It concludes that “the business-as-usual deployment of new wireless technologies is likely to be risky and harder to change if society does not make some educated decisions about limits soon.”
Leo Cashman said many other studies have also suggested health risks. He said the FCC’s regulations are inadequate to protect against the risks.
“It’s not nearly as protective as what you have in many European countries or elsewhere on earth,” he said.
He says the FDA, which he believes has a responsibility to regulate radiation, has been “negligent in setting any standards.”
Leo Cashman alleges that much public policy is influenced by industry-funded studies and interests, but he says it’s irresponsible to ignore what he sees as strong evidence of health risks.
“When a … unit of local government carefully makes a decision, they ought to be informed by the science and make a decision that protects public health,” Leo Cashman said. “What they’re doing is they’re putting their convenience ahead of our safety.”
Jim Cashman agreed.
“I don’t think there was enough time and research that went into this decision to force these upon us,” Jim Cashman said.
The water board’s perspective
Members of Stillwater’s Board of Water Commissioners say that the decision-making process started about two years ago and that commissioners did their due-diligence.
As for privacy concerns, the board says this model of wireless meter isn’t truly a “smart” meter. It only broadcasts the number of gallons of water used for billing purposes — it doesn’t broadcast information about usage patterns or times. It does collect usage data, which is stored internally for 90 days and can only be retrieved with physical access to the meter. Commissioner Speedling said the department would only access that information as a diagnostic tool if a customer reported a problem.
Commissioners say they have also considered health concerns. The commission hired a consulting firm,TKDA, to research the safety of the wireless meters.
“We had heard there (were) some groups out there that had concerns about using this type of technology, but everything that was coming back to us was stating this was safe,” Speedling said.
“There’s confusion by people because they’re confused by the information that’s available on the Internet and in the newspapers,” Commissioner George Vania said.
Vania — who has a master’s in engineering and recently retired from a 40-year career in the water and wastewater industry — said the board took a science-based approach all along.
Before the commission made its initial decision, Vania said, it reviewed information from the FCC and FDA, as well as Health Canada. None of those organizations found evidence to support the idea that cell phone or similar low-level radiation causes harm to humans.
He also noted that the radiation emitted by one of the water meters is far below that of cell phones and other common devices. In fact, it emits radiation for a total time of less than one minute per day.
After hearing from Cashman and another resident who expressed concern at a water board meeting, Vania did more research, including looking at the BioInitiative 2012 study.
Although he found it to be one of the sources most commonly cited by opponents of smart meters, Vania called the BioInitiative study a “poorly prepared technical document.” He pointed to critiques, such as an article from sciencebasedmedicine.org by Kenneth Foster, a professor of bioengineering at the University of Pennsylvania. In his article, Foster calls the BioInitiative report “an egregiously slanted review of health and biological effects of electromagnetic fields.”
Vania said many independent agencies have concluded that there isn’t sufficient evidence to support the claim that wireless smart meters cause health problems.
Some local governments in California have banned wireless smart meters, but the California Council on Science and Technology concluded in 2011 that there wasn’t evidence of known health impacts. In December last year the Public Utility Commission of Texas reached a similar conclusion. The World Health Organization has not been able to rule out the possibility that radiation from cell phones and other devices causes cancer, but it has not found evidence to conclude that exposure to such low frequency electromagnetic fields is harmful to human health.
Vania admitted he can’t rule out the possibility that in 10 years science might demonstrate a health risk associated with wireless water meters, but he doesn’t believe any studies have done so to date. He strongly believes the water board is doing its best to protect the community using a sicence-based approach.
“Look, I got the meter in my house,” he said.
But Leo Cashman disagrees with Vania’s conclusions.
“I think it’s completely wrong to say there’s no science indicating harm,” he said. “Anyone who says that hasn’t looked very hard or has only looked at industry science.”
Regardless of what others conclude, Jim Cashman hopes he’ll get to make up his mind for himself and choose whether or not to allow installation of a wireless meter.
“It is a violation of basic human rights to be forced into having a pulse digital radiation device put into the inside of our home,” he said. “It is only right, at the very least, to give people a choice in the matter.”
For now, Cashman isn’t in danger of having his water shut off. The water board has been gathering information from other cities about options they provide customers, and the board is meeting Thursday, Nov. 14, to discuss how to proceed.
“Right now everything’s on the table,” Speedling said. “We have to make a decision as a board on what we’re going to do to maintain what’s best for the community.”
That includes consideration of the cost for making exceptions to the rule.
Leo Cashman plans to testify at the Nov. 14 meeting, and both sides agree it’s a good opportunity for members of the public to ask questions or make their opinions heard.
The meeting is at 8:30 a.m., Nov. 14, at the water department, 204 Third Street N., Stillwater.
The water board has more information at ci.stillwater.mn.us. Scroll down and click on “Board of Water Commission’s Water Meter Replacement Project.”
Leo Cashman’s organization has more information at safetechmn.org.
Steps You Can Take to Protect Yourself and Your Family March 12, 2011Posted by healthyself in "Cellular" Relay Antennas, Adolescents, Alarming, Amplified Signals, Antennas, Biological Effects, Biologically Signficant, Blogroll, Brain Cancer, Cell phone safety, Cell Phone Transmissions, Cell Phones, Cellular Damage, Childhood Cancer, Children, Children's health, Cordless Telephone Base Units, Danger, Dangerous, Denial of Risk, Electromagnetic Radiation, Electrosensitivity, Electrosmog meter, EMF Exposure, EMF Research, EMF-induced effects, Exposure, Health Deterioratrion, Health Risk, Health Risks, Human Populations, Kids, Landline, Lifestyle, Lifetime, Long Term Health Effects, Long Term Health Risks, Medical Research, radiation, RF Meters, Risk of Cancer, Risk of Disease, Smart Meter, Tweenies, Unsafe, Who is Affected?, Wireless Microphones, Wireless Phones, Wireless Revolution, Wireless router.
“Unless you’re willing to give up your wireless conveniences, you need to at least make accommodations to minimize the inherent health risks to yourself and especially your children. Kids growing up today are exposed to an unprecedented amount of radiation and dirty electricity, and we already KNOW that some people simply cannot handle these levels of exposure.
It’s also only a matter of time before this generation of children reaches the age where health deterioration becomes evident. If it’s 30 years, then many of us older folk will die before the health effects become apparent. But 30 years for today’s children is another story—the health effects may hit them before they’ve even entered middle-age!
I also urge you to help spread awareness on this issue. People must be made aware. So please, help educate others, especially those in government responsible for setting exposure guidelines. We recommend you sign the EMF Petition to Congress and support local, national and international advocacy groups in this field.
Also, take as many of these proactive steps as you can to minimize your and your family’s exposure:
- Have your child avoid wireless technology: Barring an emergency, children should not use a cell phone, or a wireless device of any type. Children are far more vulnerable to cell phone radiation than adults, because of their thinner skull bones. One alarming 2008 study indicated that that children and teenagers raise their risk of brain cancer by 500 percent if they use cell phones!
- Reduce your cell phone use: Turn your cell phone off more often. Reserve it for emergencies or important matters. As long as your cell phone is on, it emits radiation intermittently, even when you are not actually making a call.
- Use a land line at home and at work: Although more and more people are switching to using cell phones as their exclusive phone contact, it is a dangerous trend and you can choose to opt out of the madness.
- Reduce or eliminate your use of other wireless devices: You would be wise to cut down your use of wireless and electronic devices. Just as with cell phones, it is important to ask yourself whether or not you really need to use them, how often, and for how long. In your home it is usually a very simple matter to run multiple Ethernet cords to avoid the need for wireless internet and to replace wireless routers and wireless/hard-wire ‘combination’ routers with ‘wired-only routers’.
Camilla Rees of ElectromagneticHealth.org cautions that in testing many homes she finds the ‘combination’ wireless/wired routers often still emit microwave radiation even if you have a hard-wired Ethernet cord plugged into it and believe you’re not using the wireless part of it!
“Sometimes when I visit people’s homes they are concerned because of a new Smart Meter, wondering if that is causing their symptoms, but commonly it turns out very high levels of radiation are coming from a ‘combination’ wired/wireless router, both store-bought routers or those provided by the utility. Naturally, this can be dumbfounding, as all along they assumed they were using a safe router and didn’t know that they were being continually exposed to radiation,” she says.
“This is not to say that smart meters are not a problem, but very basic home electronics issues need to be ruled out first and the only way to do that is by measuring with a meter.”
As for portable phones, if you must use a portable home phone, use the older kind that operates at 900 MHz. They are no safer during calls, but at least many of them do not broadcast constantly even when no call is being made.
Note that the only way to truly be sure if there is an exposure from your cordless phone is to measure with an electrosmog meter, and it must be one that goes up to the frequency of your portable phone (so old meters won’t help much). Many people buy a meter and go searching for older model portable phones at thrift stores, where there is no packaging and one can actually test the phone.
As many portable phones are 5.8 Gigahertz, we recommend you look for RF meters that go up to 8 Gigahertz, the highest range now available in a meter suitable for consumers. You can find RF meters at www.emfsafetystore.com. But you can pretty much be sure your portable phone is a problem if the technology is DECT, or digitally enhanced cordless technology.
Alternatively you can be very careful with the base station placement as that causes the bulk of the problem since it transmits signals 24/7, even when you aren’t talking. So if you can keep the base station at least three rooms away from where you spend most of your time, and especially your bedroom, they may not be as damaging to your health.
Ideally it would be helpful to turn off your base station every night before you go to bed.
Obviously, apartment living poses special problems, where you could conceivably be exposed to multiple portable phones and multiple wireless routers from multiple neighbors. In cases like this, not only is it important to minimize exposures from your own personal communications devices, but inevitably, you must learn about measuring/detecting and RF shielding or face the consequences of potentially excessive exposures.
- Use your cell phone only where reception is good: The weaker the reception, the more power your phone must use to transmit, and the more power it uses, the more heating it generates (SAR), and the deeper the dangerous radio waves penetrate into your body. Ideally, you should only use your phone with full bars and good reception.
Also avoid carrying your phone on your body as that merely maximizes any potential exposure. Ideally put it in your purse or carrying bag. Placing a cell phone in a shirt pocket over the heart is asking for trouble, as is placing it in a man’s pocket if he seeks to preserve his fertility.
- Don’t assume one cell phone is safer than another.There’s no such thing as a “safe” cell phone. They all create biological effects, and a low SAR phone, depending on the angle with which you use it, or the duration of use, or the location of use, can be more damaging that a higher SAR phone. Consider all cell phones inappropriate in a truly health conscious lifestyle.
- Keep your cell phone away from your body when it’s on: The most dangerous place to be, in terms of radiation exposure, is within about six inches of the emitting antenna. You do not want any part of your body within that area.
- Respect others who are more sensitive: Some people who have become sensitive can feel the effects of others’ cell phones in the same room, even when it is on but not being used. If you are in a meeting, on public transportation, in a courtroom or other public places, such as a doctor’s office, keep your cell phone turned off out of consideration for the ‘second hand radiation’ effects. Children are also more vulnerable, so please avoid using your cell phone near children.
- Use safer headset technology: Wired headsets will certainly allow you to keep the cell phone farther away from your body. However, if a wired headset is not well-shielded — and most of them are not — the wire itself acts as an antenna attracting ambient information carrying radio waves and transmitting radiation directly to your brain.
Make sure that the wire used to transmit the signal to your ear is shielded. The best kind of headset to use is a combination shielded wire and air-tube headset. These operate like a stethoscope, transmitting the information to your head as an actual sound wave; although there are wires that still must be shielded, there is no metal wire that goes all the way up to your head.”
I PHONE Safety September 24, 2009Posted by healthyself in Bioeffects, Biofield, Electromagnetic Field, Electromagnetic Interference, Electromagnetic pollution, Electromagnetic Radiation, Electrosmog, Emissions, Exposure, radiation.
“As innovative and popular as it is, the iPhone may well be one of the worst offenders, for a number of reasons.
Even when you’re not using your iPhone but have it on, it still operates as a base station, transmitting radiation to you.
Further, iPhones tend to get a great deal of use due to their amazing plethora of applications, which increases your risk.
Data waves from your iPhone substantially affect your biology, altering intercellular communication. But, iPhones aren’t the only offenders. Though they may not act as base stations, every phone still has to connect to a base station. As long as your phone is turned on, it continually emits EMR in an attempt to connect to that base station.”
EMF’s and the Heart March 19, 2009Posted by healthyself in Blogroll, Blood Brain Barrier, Brain, Brain Waves, Ear, ear ache, EEG, Electrical Pulses, Electrical Surges, Electrochemical Communications, Electromagetic pollution, Electromagnetic pollution, Electromagnetic Radiation, Electrosensitivity, EMF Exposure, EMF Research, EMF's, EMF-induced effects, Hearing, Heart, Heart Attacks, Heart Disease, Heightened Risk.
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“The heart’s EMF (electro-magnetic field) is five thousand times more powerful than the electromagnetic field created by the brain and, in addition to its immense power, has subtle, non-local effects that travel within these forms of energy. … the heart generates over fifty thousand femtoteslas (a measure of EMF) compared to less than ten femtoteslas recorded from the brain.” (p. 55) The profound significance of these facts leads … to comment: “The Heart’s Code points the way to a new revolution in our thinking. Metaphorically, the heart is the sun, the pulsing, energetic centre of our biophysical “solar”system, and the brain is the earth, one of the most important planets in our biophysical system. One implication of the energy cardiology/cardio-energetic revolution is the radical (meaning “root”) idea that energetically, the brain revolves around the heart, not the other way around.” (1998, p. xii) The heart is the largest source of biophysical energy in the body and within our psychological life. … the heart involves energy and information that comprises the essence or soul of who we are. The idea, that the heart is the centre of the psychology of the individual, instead of the brain, would indeed revolutionize our understanding of normal and supernormal psychology. Adopting this view would be analogous to the Copernican revolution, wherein scientists realized that the earth, rather than being the centre of the universe, traveled around the sun within the solar system. The egocentric attitude of humans was shattered. Likewise, the acceptance of a deeper conceptualization of the heart, consciousness and the nature of Self would constitute a revolutionary development in modern psychology, philosophy and the life sciences.”
“The Soviets have led the way in learning about the risks of electropollution, and, as we have seen, they’ve apparently been the first to harness those dangers for malicious intent. .. the spectrum of potential weapons extends far beyond the limits of the Moscow signal, and Americans have been actively exploring some of them for many years. Most or all …EMR effects can be scaled up or down for use against individuals or whole crowds …”
“The crudest of these … would be a sort of electromagnetic flamethrower with a greater range than chemical types. Dogs were cooked to death in experiments … as long ago as 1955, and high-power transmitters using short UHF wavelengths can severely burn exposed skin in seconds.”……
.”…. discovery that certain pulsed microwave beams increased the permeability of the blood-brain barrier could be turned into a supplemental weapon to enhance the effects of drugs, bacteria, or poisons.”
“…calcium-outflow windows …could be used to interfere with the functioning of the entire brain….”
“… microwaves of 300 to 3,000 megahertz were pulsed at specific rates, humans (even deaf people) could “hear” them. The beam caused a booming, hissing, clicking, or buzzing, depending on the exact frequency and pulse rate, and the sound seemed to come from just behind the head…”
“….ridiculed for this announcement, just like many radar technicians who’d been told they were crazy for hearing certain radar beams. Later work has shown that the microwaves are sensed somewhere in the temporal region just above and slightly in front of the ears. The phenomenon apparently results from pressure waves set up in brain tissue, some of which activate the sound receptors of the inner ear via bone conduction, while others directly stimulate nerve cells in the auditory pathways. Experiments on rats have shown that a strong signal can generate a sound pressure of 120 decibels, or approximately the level near a jet engine at takeoff….”
“…could speed up, slow down, or stop isolated frog hearts by synchronizing the pulse rate of a microwave beam with the beat of the heart itself. Similiar results have been obtained using live frogs, indicating that it’s technically feasible to produce heart attacks with a ray designed to penetrate the human chest.”
Medical Devices and Electromagnetic Interference January 24, 2008Posted by healthyself in Blogroll, Blow Dryers, Electromagnetic Communications, Electromagnetic Forces, Electromagnetic Interference, Electromagnetic pollution, Electromagnetic Radiation, Electromagnetic Signals, Electromagnetic waves, Electrophysiology, Electrosmog, Elevators, ELF, Emergency Medicine, EMF Exposure, EMF Research, EMF's, EMF-induced effects, EMI, Emissions, EMR, Florescent Light Balasts, Health Care, Health Care Facilities, Medical Devices, Noisy Electric Motors, Walkie Talkies, Wireless Technologies.
“The delivery of health care is an inherently mobile activity, with patients moving though the care delivery process and almost all health care workers in constant motion. So it’s no wonder that wireless technologies have been adopted with gusto.”
“Electromagnetic interference (EMI) has been a concern with medical devices since their inception. This EMI can be divided into intentional and unintentional interference. Intentional interference typically comes from radio frequency (RF) radiators like walkie-talkies, wireless phones, WiFi radios, and cell phones that use frequencies and specified power levels that may interfere with the operation of other radios or electronic devices. Unintentional interference is caused by things like paper shredders, bad florescent light ballasts, and noisy electric motors (from blow dryers to elevators). ”
“Any electronic device can be affected by EMI, including medical devices. The wireless features of medical devices (or any other wireless device, for that matter) can also be affected. The larger medical device vendors have dedicated engineers and techs who do EMI testing and troubleshoot interference problems at customer sites.”
“In an effort to promote best practices regarding the use of mobile wireless communications and computing technologies in health care facilities, standards committees TC 215 and ISO 35.240.80 have created recommendations for electromagnetic compatibility (management of unintentional electromagnetic interference) with medical devices.”
“Here’s the abstract: