Sedona Smart Meter Awareness - Keeping Sedona Safe One Home & One Business at a Time

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?

The history is a long and sordid one, beginning with the military’s increasing use of radio technology, especially radar, in the 1950s. They didn’t want to kill or maim their soldiers and technicians outright, so they set out to find out what level of RF would injure them. The science that informed that assessment was anchored in the physics-based belief that unlessyou knocked an electron off a molecule inside a body—which is what x-rays orthe radiation still streaming out of Fukushimacan do—you couldn’t induce cancer or other long term harm.

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

Take Action - Submit your Comment in the FCC’s latest proceeding FCC 13-39 on its Radiofrequency (RF) Radiation exposure policy.

The 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.

You will be submitting Comment in two FCC Dockets -
ET Docket No. 03-137 and
ET Docket No. 13-84.

The important 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.

SeeMemorandum 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.

Mr. Hobson further advises:

The 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 IEEE).

While 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.

In this proceeding, the FCC is responding to the July 2012 report from the Government Accountability Office (GA0) which recommended that the FCC:

• 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 appropriate.

Complete text of FCC 13-39

At paragraph 6 the FCC states:

6. Since 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 and practical.

Webpage 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.

Comment 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.

If 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.

Steps 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.

Don’t wait until the last minute. Try to submit your Comment by Friday morning August 30, 2013.

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