by Amy O’Hair
Why does your utility assert the smart meters they are installing are safe?
In a sentence, they are protected by the very high limits the FCC has
set for public exposure to radio-frequency (RF) radiation.
The RF from smart meters doesn’t exceed those limits, they say,
therefore you can’t be harmed by it. Leaving aside the fact that smart
meter RF pulses may in fact exceed those limits, let’s look at the FCC “guidelines.” What follows may surprise even those who think they understand the matter….
Who is the FCC? What do they do?
The United StatesFederal Communications Commission (FCC) was never supposed to look after your health; it’s just not their job.They oversee allotting broadcast frequencies across the spectrum;
mediate competition between service providers; keep communications up in
emergencies; and slap the wrists of celebrities who curse on radio or
peel off clothes on TV. The type of oversight they can exercise on
“health” matters would be, for example, regulating the frequency of this human-implantable medical-records radio chip. Whether that chip will produce disease at the insertion site is none of their concern.
Nonetheless, this is the government agency that has set the upper
limit for how much radio-frequency (RF) radiation you can be exposed to
from radio transmitters. How and when did they arrive at their
“guidelines,” and what are those limits?The science is old, and the limits are sky-high.
How did we get here?
Radio-frequency radiation doesn’t have the energy to dislodge an
electron, but it can heat human tissue–and do other things, as we’ll
see. The military knew that heating wasn’t good, so they based
the upper limit for human exposure on this threshold, called the
“thermal effect.” FCC limits do protect you from being cooked
by a psychopathic neighbor who wants to install an airport-grade radar
transceiver on his roof aimed at your house.But, as it will be clear, this sort of guideline leaves a great deal to be desired in the realm of protecting public healthfrom short-term “non-thermal” effects and long-term harm.
See Continuation of article on our page "How is RF Measured?"
A L E R T July 5, 2013
Action - Submit your Comment in the FCC’s latest
proceeding FCC 13-39 on its Radiofrequency (RF) Radiation
90-day comment deadline is Tuesday, September 3rd (allowing
for Labor Day holiday). The 150-day Reply deadline November
1, 2013. Don’t wait until the last minute. Try to submit
your Comment on Friday August 31, 2013 before Labor Day.
be submitting Comment in two FCC Dockets -
No. 03-137 and
ET Docket No. 13-84.
difference about this proceeding is that it is the FCC that
is proposing to review the thermal (tissue-heating) model
of harm that is the basis of its RF radiation safety policies.
of attorney James Hobson for background and in-depth analysis
of the components of the FCC 13-39 202-page document. Mr.
Hobson is an attorney with Best Best & Krieger of Washington
DC, a law firm that specializes in telecom law. Mr. Hobson
has represented local governments and citizens groups in federal
telecom law and state utilitiy legal proceedings.
proceeding may look like a stacked deck, but for those who
must live with the substantive and procedural outcomes,
there is no excuse not to participate. There is research
available which never makes it past the thermal filters
of the industry-dominated standards bodies (notably the
not expected to be expert in the substance of the safeguards,
local governments (including city and county health officials)
provide some counterweight to the virtually solid industry
front arguing that thermal protections are sufficient and
even these could be relaxed. In my experience, doctors,
physicists and biologists often have volunteered to testify,
and this local resource should not be overlooked.
Formally reassess the current RF energy exposure limit,
including its effects on human health, the costs and benefits
associated with keeping the current limit, and the opinions
of relevant health and safety agencies, and change the limit
if determined appropriate.
Reassess whether mobile phone testing requirements result
in the identification of maximum RF energy exposure in likely
usage configurations, particularly when mobile phones are
held against the body, and update testing requirements as
6 the FCC states:
the Commission is not a health and safety agency, we defer
to other organizations and agencies with respect to interpreting
the biological research necessary to determine what levels
are safe. As such, the Commission invites health and safety
agencies and the public to comment on the propriety of our
general present limits and whether additional precautions
may be appropriate in some cases, for example with respect
to children. [Emphasis added.] We recognize our responsibility
to both protect the public from established adverse effects
due to exposure to RF energy and allow industry to provide
telecommunications services to the public in the most efficient
and practical manner possible. In the Inquiry we ask whether
any precautionary action would be either useful or counterproductive,
given that there is a lack of scientific consensus about
the possibility of adverse health effects at exposure levels
at or below our existing limits. Further, if any action
is found to be useful, we inquire whether it could be efficient
where you can submit your FCC Comment electronically. Using
this webpage submission form requires that you attach your
Comment either in WORD or PDF. To do so, be sure you use this
template for the first page of your Comment. PDF is the
most secure form as no one can make changes to your Comment
after you submit it.
from individuals has the greatest impact when filed in the
form of an Affidavit. Page 2 of the template
gives you the format for an affidavit.
you have the ability to scan your document, take
a copy of your Affidavit to a Notary Public to have your signature
notarized. Then scan that copy and save in PDF form. Attach
that document as your electronic filing.
for using the FCC electronic filing web form:
First fill in the box for theProceeding Numberwith03-137. Then click on the link <Add
Another Proceeding> as you also type in 13-84.
In the Contact Info section type in your name in the <Name
of Filer> box and your e-mail address in the<Email Address>Box.
In the Details section ignore Exparte Presentation. For <Type of Filing>, COMMENT
will already be showing in the box. In theFile
Number box type –13-39.Ignore the Report Number and Bureau ID Number boxes.
In the Address section you want <Address for:Filer>.
Most of you will also want <Address Type:
US Address>. Then type in your own address information
in the remaining boxes in this section.
In theDocument(s)section click on the
Browsebutton and find the name of your document
where you have saved it on your computer in your own Folders.
Click on the name of your document. If you have additional
information that you wish to submit such as some kind of
Exhibit, click on the <Add Another Attachment>
link and follow the same procedure.
If you have made an error, click on <Reset> at the
bottom of the page to clear the form and start over.
Lastly click on the <Continue> button
at the bottom of the page to review your submittal and to
finish the process.
Print out the confirmation page so that you have a record
of the number assigned to your submittal.
wait until the last minute. Try to submit your Comment by
Friday morning August 30, 2013.