HEALTH



Go to our discussion of dirty electricity to understand why DTE’s opt-out meter will not protect your health.

Click here to read the personal health testimony of Michigan citizens on how smart meters and the opt-out meter is affecting their health. This testimony was submitted in the DTE opt-out case.

 

Introduction

You may not feel the electromagnetic radiation from an advanced (smart) meter, but it can still affect your health. At least three percent of the population is immediately affected by smart meters, experiencing tinnitus, insomnia, heart palpitations, hormonal disorders, and a host of other problems. Our children, the elderly, and the chronically ill are the most susceptible groups. Thirty-five percent of the population are expected to be be severely affected over the long term, and many more will be moderately affected. As early as 1971, the Naval Medical Research Institute referenced 2311 research articles listing, in a separate document, in excess of 120 impairments and illnesses attributed to RF radiation. People who were not previously sensitive to electromagnetic fields can become so after smart meter installation.

The smart meters being installed by DTE and Consumers Power affect health both because of the radiofrequency (RF) they emit and the dirty electricity (voltage transients and harmonics) generated by the switched mode power supplies used to run the meters. Some people experience problems immediately. For others, it takes a few months to a year. For the majority of the population, the health effects will be seen in the coming decades in the form of endocrine disorders (diabetes, thyroid problems, etc.), reproductive issues, cancer, ADD, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and dementia. Click here for accurate information on how often the meters transmit and why this affects your health.

For an excellent presentation on how smart meters work, why what the utility industry tells you shades the truth, and how radiofrequency (RF) emissions affect health, click here.

For an accessible scientific explanation on why electromagnetic frequencies (EMFs) affect people and cause health problems, click here. For a more detailed explanation, click here.

VERY IMPORTANT: The dirty electricity put out by smart meters is as much a cause of health problems as the radiofrequency radiation. This is why DTE's opt-out plan, which uses a smart meter with the radio-transmitter turned off, will not protect your health. See this Prevention Magazine article for a discussion of dirty electricity.

For a stunning example of how DTE advanced (smart) meters can affect your health without you knowing it, read the following story about a boy and his mother. This story is followed by scientific information on the effects of the electromagnetic fields produced by smart meters, digital meters, and DTE and Consumers’ opt-out meters.

Before we get to that story, it is important for you to know that standards for biological effects of radiofrequency have not been established by the FCC. The FCC has standards based on only thermal effect. This means that if a device meets FCC guidelines for radio frequency output, it meets guidelines for thermal effects only. An excerpt from this link explains this quite well:

"The FCC standard is based on a thermal effect. It was originally based on the amount of radiation that would heat an adult male in the US military exposed to radar. While the heating effect is not disputed, [non-thermal] biological effects, some of which have adverse health consequences, occur well below the thermal guideline. As a consequence various countries in the world are opting for a “biologically” based [i.e., non-thermal] guideline rather than a “thermal” guideline, which takes into account not only adult males in peak physical condition but children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those who have developed electrohypersensitivity (EHS)."

Moreover, smart meters meet FCC guidelines only when the strength of the signal is averaged. Our bodies don’t react to an “average reading.” Here’s an analogy. Imagine being hit by a car going 45 miles per hour.  The damage your body sustained would be severe. Now, if this car had been driven at only ½ mile per hour all day, except for the 1 minute it was going 45 mph before it hit you, it’s average speed throughout the day would be only slightly more than ½ mile per hour. Would your body sustain less damage? Clearly not. The relevant speed would be the speed at the time of impact. Similarly the bodies of children and adults are experience the actual strength of each pulsed signal, not the “average.” 

 

Smart Meters Silently Harm Health
Leslie and Drew’s Story

Many people who are affected by smart meters get insomnia. But a 16-year-old diabetic boy was sleeping just fine, even though a smart meter had been installed on his bedroom wall. However, smart meters can be silent killers. Drew had had stable blood sugar levels since his diagnosis two years earlier. In July 2012, a smart meter was put on his home. Neither he nor his mother knew this. His mom, Leslie, was suddenly unable to sleep but didn’t know why. In late August, after telling friends about her unremitting insomnia, someone asked her if a smart meter had been put on her home. “What’s a smart meter?” she asked.

She discovered the advanced meter, and, after calling DTE, learned it had been installed the day she became unable to sleep. Meanwhile, her son was sleeping just fine. But smart meters can be silent killers. Four months after the meter was put on his home, Drew went to the endocrinologist for his usual check-up. The doctor told him his blood-sugar levels (A1c) had shot into the danger zone. Click here to see a copy of the doctor’s report, parts of which have been redacted for privacy.

Leslie suspected the smart meter might be the cause of their symptoms. She spent months trying to get DTE to take it off their home. DTE refused. They didn’t care. Finally, she took the smart meter off herself. Drew went back for his checkup a month later, and his blood-sugar levels had returned to a normal range. Three months later, at his next check-up, they were even better. His mother, meanwhile, was able to sleep again.

For other personal stories of how DTE smart meters have severely affected the health of DTE customers, click here.  See Leslie’s Story, Linda’s Story, Karen’s Story, Matthew’s Story, Becky’s Story, Cynthia’s Story, and Loretta’s Story.

 

Health Problems

Smart meters and DTE's opt-out meter cause many health problems. More and more people are being made sick. Here are just a few, gathered from actual people in Michigan who have been affected.

For a more extensive list of health problems experienced by Michigan residents due to DTE’s smart meters and radio-off opt-out meters, click here

To read the personal health testimony of Michigan citizens, submitted in the DTE opt-out case, click here.

For a list of numerous health problems reported by people across the country, click here.

Scientists have shown that the electromagnetic frequencies emitted by smart meters and digital meters:

 

Scientific Studies on Electromagnetic Frequencies

An Overview

Click on the picture to go to the link.
Most Independent Studies Show Biological Effects
The majority of all studies done on the biological effects of EMFs show harm to biological systems. These studies have been carried out since the 1930s. As corporations began to make more and more money from wireless and digital devices, they began contracting with scientists to “replicate” these studies, changing a variable or two (for instance, studying something for one month instead of two years). Their non-independent studies invariably show that non-ionizing fields do not have health effects. Yet the thousands of independent, non–industry-funded scientific studies (reported in, for example, The Bioinitiative Report; Handbook of Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Fields (2006); Forty Scientists; ) have shown that the electromagnetic frequencies emitted by smart and digital meters can cause severe health problems, including cancer, Parkinson’s, ADD, and the breaching of the blood-brain barrier.


Industry Claims

Utility company claims that advanced (smart) meters are no worse than a cell phone, baby monitor, or garage door opener are inaccurate. Daniel Hirsch, Professor of Nuclear Policy at the University of California–Santa Cruz, calculated that the whole-body cumulative radiation exposure from wireless meters is 100–150 times more than cell phone exposure. For his full report, click here. When utilities say that the emissions are low, less than a cell phone, they are using the time-averaged amount, not the actual amount being broadcast at a given moment. In fact, the amount given out in a single burst can be 200 times the stated average.

 

Suppression of Evidence

In July 2012, scientists met to release new studies on how wireless and digital devices severely affect the brain, changing its morphology. These stories are rarely reported in the mainstream media. See this article in GQ and this article in the University of Washington Alumni Magazine for information on how the industry has covered up this information. One of the first researchers into radiofrequency, Allan Frey, published a study in 1962 that had been commissioned by his employer, General Electric. The company wanted to understand why radar operators were suffering from severe tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Frey discovered it was the RF. He continued to do research in the field, but as GE realized that we were moving toward a wireless age, they began to discredit his work. This has been the path industry has taken with most scientists who were originally employed by industry and found health effects. Much more information can be found with an Internet search.

For more information on how and why data has been suppressed, see Frey 2012, where he reports: “For example, after my colleagues and I published in 1975 that exposure to very weak microwave radiation opens the regulatory interface known as the blood brain barrier (bbb), a critical protection for the brain, the Brooks AFB group selected a contractor to supposedly replicate our experiment. For 2 years, this contractor presented data at scientific conferences stating that microwave radiation had no effect on the bbb. After much pressure from the scientific community, he finally revealed that he had not, in fact, replicated our work. We had injected dye into the femoral vein of lab rats after exposure to microwaves and observed the dye in the brain within 5 minutes. The Brooks contractor had stuck a needle into the animals’ bellies and sprayed the dye onto their intestines. Thus it is no surprise that when he looked at the brain 5 minutes later, he did not see any dye; the dye had yet to make it into the circulatory system.” For a synopsis of misconceptions about the safety of many electromagnetic frequencies, go to http://www.emfwise.com/myth.php.

 

Some Recent Studies

The director of National Institute of Drug Abuse, Dr. Norma Volkow, has released a study finding that exposure to just 50 minutes of cell phone radiation stresses the brain, releasing free radicals and stress proteins that significantly reduce brain function—and may cause tumors. Smart meters expose us to radiation 24/7. No one is on their cell phone 24/7.

Because smart meter radiation causes the blood-brain barrier to leak, it's implicated in Alzheimer's, dementia, and Parkinson's. Of course, other toxins can act on the body to cause the diseases as well. Just like you can cause a fire with a match, a lighting strike, or a gas explosion, there's more than one way to cause dementia, autism, hypothyroidism, and insomnia.
Smart meter electromagnetic frequencies disrupt our production of melatonin, a sleep and mood hormone.

The fact that pulsed electromagnetic fields—both radiofrequency and the kind you get from the switched mode power supplies in the smart and opt-out meters—knock calcium ions off the cell membranes and cause calcium to pour out of the cells, explains the vast majority of health problems caused by these meters. See the section below, How Can Smart Meters and Digital Meters Cause Such a Vast Array of Health Problems?

VERY IMPORTANT: The dirty electricity put out by smart meters is as much a cause of health problems as the radiofrequency radiation. This is why DTE's opt-out plan, which uses a smart meter with the radio-transmitter turned off, will not protect your health. See this Prevention Magazine article for a discussion of dirty electricity.

This chart from the BioInitiative 2012 report summarizes many of the health effects resulting from various EMFs.

Click here for an extensive list of scientific studies indicating that RF and pulsed electromagnetic fields (dirty electricity) are harmful to health.

 

How Can Smart Meters and Digital Meters
Cause Such a Vast Array of Health Problems?


A Lot of It’s About Calcium Ions in Your Body

The electromagnetic field of the human heart. From Arthur Winfree, University of Arizona, When Time Breaks Down.

Some people think that people are making up their symptoms. But here's the reality: Electromagnetism,  the same force that runs our computers and phones, runs our bodies. Our brains and hearts are electrical conduction systems. That's why pacemakers work, and that's why people can have seizures. The electromagnetic forces in our bodies transmit information essential to life. They do this in the form of ions, which are positively or negatively charged chemicals, and voltage differences across the cell membrane. It comes as no surprise, then, that the electromagnetic frequencies that we use in our modern society have an effect on our bodies and our health.  Smart and digital meters interfere with the electrical conduction systems in our bodies, in part by changing the way an important cellular messenger, calcium, is used. Calcium is a ubiquitous cellular messenger. Because it sends signals to all different kinds of cells, it can affect everything from your ability to sleep to whether your thyroid functions properly.

Electromagnetic radiation that is far too weak to generate significant heating effect (this is the standard used by the government to judge whether smart meters are safe) can nevertheless remove calcium ions from cell surfaces. Dr Andrew Goldsworthy,  of the Imperial College, London, explains how the loss of these ions can make cell membranes leak, which in turn gives rise to the symptoms. Dr Goldsworthy spent many years studying calcium metabolism in living cells and also how cells, tissues, and organisms are affected by electrical and electromagnetic fields. He is on the Life Sciences Advisory Group for the European Space Agency. Not only is Dr Goldsworthy well-versed in electromagnetic forces from both a biological and physico-chemical point of view, he is an amateur radio enthusiast who deeply appreciates the technological ingenuity that has led to our wireless world. The following is a synopsis of his work. Citations follow this synopsis.

Calcium ions are the primary messengers of cellular activity and impact nearly every aspect of cellular life (David Clapham, “Calcium Signaling,” in the journal Cell [2007]). They relay vital signals from hormones, the immune system, and neurotransmitters. Their proper ratio in various parts of the body is essential to health. It is the effect of radiofrequency (RF) radiation and of what is commonly called “dirty electricity” (a.k.a., noise on the line, power quality issues, voltage transients and harmonics) on calcium ions that is responsible for many of the health consequences associated with smart meters. Its effect on melatonin production is another major factor. There a number of ways unnatural electromagnetic frequencies affect calcium.

Each of our cells is surrounded by a membrane that is just two molecules thick. The inside of that membrane has a negative charge. The outside has a positive charge because of the calcium ions that are bound to it (see picture). These calcium ions do a couple of things. They hold the cell membrane together  like the mortar holding together the bricks of a wall. The alternating electromagnetic fields produced by smart meters tend to dislodge the calcium ions. This weakens the membrane and makes it more inclined to leak out the contents of the cell. It doesn’t take much energy to do this. Cell membranes keep apart materials that should not be allowed to mix.

What happens when the cell membrane leaks? It depends on the cells affected.

These are just a few of the effects.

Calcium is the ion that controls messages within cells; it controls a cascade of cellular functions. When the membrane becomes leaky, too much calcium can move  into the cell. This affects the cells’ ability to produce energy and pump out appropriate enzymes for digestion and other metabolic processes.

Calcium is the major regulator of nerve impulses. When the calcium gradient is disrupted, it affects nerve transmission in multiple ways, disrupting cells’ ability to communicate with each other. This, of course, has consequences for brain function.

All of the effects reported from exposure to RF radiation and dirty electricity can be accounted for by the effects of these electromagnetic fields on calcium ions and on melatonin.

The effects on the cell membrane are also implicated in cancer and in the reduction we have seen in recent years in sperm counts.

While some people immediately feel the effects of RF radiation and dirty electricity, many people do not. Rather, the effects show up as “health problems” down the road—lower sperm counts, cancer, infertility, fatigue. For people who are genetically predisposed to these problems, the disruption of calcium ions by RF can tip the balance.

Think of this: A smart meter puts out 100–160 times more radiation than a cell phone. The current from the meter flows through the wiring of your house and workplace 24/7. Thirty-five percent of Americans will experience the negative health effects of RF radiation and dirty electricity after prolonged exposure. Imagine the increased costs of health care. Imagine the human suffering.

Here is a list of articles by Dr Andrew Goldsworthy. The first one is the simplest to read.

Electromagnetic Fields and Health: Executive Report
Summary of Health Effects and Causes in Easily Understandable Language
Health Effects of Electromagnetic Radiation
The Dangers of Electromagnetic Smog
The Biological Effects of Weak Electromagnetic Fields
Andrew Goldsworthy Witness Statement
Voltage-gated calcium ion channels.
Wi-Fi in Schools
Modern Day Electromagnetic Frequencies and Effects on Human Health

Dr. Martin Pall, professor emeritus at Washington State University,  recently reported, in the Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, that research makes it clear that the main mechanism by which non-ionizing electromagnetic frequencies (ELF and radiofrequency) affect the body is via voltage-gated calcium channels (very similar to the findings made by Goldsworthy). A calcium channel is a molecule that permits or prevents the passage of a calcium ion from the outside to the inside of a cell. Once inside the cell, the calcium ion stimulates the cell’s chemistry to perform such tasks as making proteins, contracting muscles, releasing hormones, and firing neurons. Virtually every cell in the body uses calcium channels to respond to biological signals. If the cells are getting signals when they shouldn’t, they do things they shouldn’t do—for instance, heart muscle contracts, the brain sends signals that keep you awake. If a calcium-channel blocker—the same type of thing as a beta blocker—is administered, the negative effects are blocked.  Pall notes that it has been commonly held that only ionizing radiation can have negative health effects (via tissue heating), but notes that there are 20,000 studies reporting biological effects from non-ionizing radiation.

The important thing to understand is that the calcium ion does what it does because it is electrically charged—which means both it and its channel respond to electromagnetic fields. Pall notes: “Microwave electromagnetic fields do not work by heating. They produce health effects by VGCC (voltage-gated calcium channel) activation.” You can watch Dr. Pall’s discussion of these calcium channels here.

Links to the Thousands of Scientific Studies
Please click here to access a listing of thousands of scientific studies that have been done on electromagnetic frequencies and health. In addition, see the Bioinitiative Report, also reporting thousands of studies, and Handbook of Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Fields (2006). Click here for an article summarizing some of the studies done—ranging from effects on calcium to autism.

Why are smart meters and digital meters harmful to health?
The pulsing microwave radiation that wireless meters emit has more severe biological effects than the continuous radiation put out by other wireless devices. The whole-body cumulative radiation exposure from wireless meters is 100–160 times more than cell phone exposure. When utilities say that the emissions are low, less than a cell phone, they are using the time-averaged amount, not the actual amount being broadcast at a given moment. In fact, the amount given out in a single burst can be 200 times the stated average.

Itron smart meters, the meters used by DTE, can put out bursts of microwave radiation from 9,600 to 190,000 times a day. The utilities tell you they emit for just 45 seconds a day. That is the total amount of transmission time, but the bursts are occurring every 2 to 9 second in millisecond blasts. Think of a jackhammer going off and on every day, 24/7. That is what the cells in your body experience as smart meter bursts hit every 2 to 9 seconds. Cells cannot handle this, and the variety of effects listed above begin to happen. Some people can actually feel the radiation, but many people can’t. Instead, the effects show up down the road as “health problems of uncertain origin.”

Another glaring omission from the utility company computations is that in a neighborhood of mesh networked meters constantly chirping to each other, one is likely to be hit by several meters’ transmissions, not just one’s own meter. Thus, you are likely being hit much more often than the every 0.5 to 9 seconds. Banks of meters on businesses and apartments have the worse emissions because they are clustered in groups.

The “dirty electricity” emitted by smart meters as well as DTE's opt-out meter, the so-called radio-off non-transmitting meter, has as many health effects as the microwave radiation emitted by the smart meters. In fact, this dirty electricity likely accounts for a large portion of the health problems people experience. Smart meter waves resonate with the current flowing through the electrical wiring. They then generate a magnetic field at right angles to the electrical current. The inside of the building is then encapsulated in a funnel of electromagnetic current. Smart meter waves are amplified by reflective surfaces: metal, laminate, tile, concrete, asphalt, stainless steel countertops, etc. This means the dose you are getting is even higher. In addition, smart meter waves intersect with each other, amplifying. This means that the effects of a bank of smart meters in a utility closet is multiplied. It means that the 50 smart meters in a neighborhood amplify.

During the Cold War the Russian Embassy microwaved the U.S. embassy in Moscow with low-level microwaves. Many of the personnel eventually died of cancers. The power of the microwaves used by the Russians was often much less than the power emitted by the new smart meters!

Some of the Scientists Who Find That EMFs of All Types Affect Health
This is a partial list. As noted, there are thousands of scientific studies, and nearly as many scientists.

Health Survey:

We have developed a health survey and we need your input! Take our health survey at http://smartmetereducationnetwork.com/healthsurvey

 

 

Newsletter, Facebook—Stay Up to Date

Stay up to date by subscribing to our newsletter (it comes out every 1 to 4 weeks). We constantly update our website, so check back often. You can find updates and time-sensitive actions to take under our “Alerts and Breaking News” box. We also use Facebook to send out quick news updates. (While we understand the privacy concerns with Facebook, at this point in time it is a useful tool for us, and is a great way to spread the word about smart meters. If you only wish to use Facebook for access to our updates, you can get an account without revealing personal information—it’s all in what you choose to share, and you can give them any name or birthdate you like.)

Our newsletter comes out every 1 to 4 weeks. It will keep you informed and tell you what actions you can take to fight smart meters. Note that most email programs will filter out our newsletter unless you adjust your email settings. Even though you may receive individual emails from us, when we send the newsletter out to a large group, the emails may be placed in a folder other than your inbox. This happened to us! We weren’t even getting our own newsletter.. Please make sure you look for emails from smartmetereducationnetwork@ gmail. com in your Promotions, Spam, Junk, or other folders. Please contact your email provider to learn how to adjust your settings, or search on the internet.

 

More Information:

BioInitiative Report - Summary
EmfSafetyNetwork.org Survey results: wireless meters impact health and safety & THE REPORT
40 Scientists on Smart Meters--Correcting the Gross Misinformation
ICEMS - Non-Thermal Effects and Mechanisms of Interaction Between Electromagnetic Fields and Living Matter (Summary, Part 1, Part 2)
Bees, Birds and Mankind
SMART METER RISKS MPSC—RADIO FREQUENCY THREATS TO THE PUBLIC HEALTH AND SAFETY
Biological Effects from RF Radiation at Low-Intensity Exposure,based on the BioInitiative 2012 Report, and the Implications for Smart Meters and Smart Appliances

 

Terms to Know

Advanced meter: smart meter (term used by DTE to hide the fact it is a smart meter).

AMI meter and AMI program: another name for the smart meter and the smart meter program. AMI stands for advanced metering infrastructure.

Blood-brain barrier: EMFs can cause the blood-brain barrier to be breached, allowing toxins to enter the brain. Toxin entry is thought to be partially responsible for Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.

Dirty electricity: spiky, pulsed electromagnetic field generated by smart meters that rides through building wiring and permeates the building’s rooms. Responsible for many of the health problems seen with smart and digital meters.

Electromagnetic fields (EMFs): consist of an electrical field and a magnetic field. Fields are created by the flow of electrical current through the wire, sunlight, etc.  

Electromagnetic frequency: examples are 60 Hz electrical current of your home, RF of a cell phone. Often used interchangeably with electromagnetic field.

Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS): sensitivity to electromagnetic fields. Symptoms are complex and involve all bodily systems

Hydrogen bonds: Electrostatic bonds that help hold the DNA double helix together. Breakage of hydrogen bonds may cause changes in DNA that can lead to cancer. RF and other EMFs may disrupt the Hydrogen bonds.

Meter upgrade: the installation of an advanced (smart) meter on your home by DTE.

Microwave radiation: the type of radiation emitted by smart meters. Known to cause biological harm.

Non-transmitting meter: another name for the DTE and Consumers opt-out meters.

Opt-out meter: this is a smart meter. The only thing that is different is the radio-transmitter is turned off. It still generates dirty electricity, it still retains the two antennas, and it is only incrementally less harmful to your health. It can still record detailed information about your electrical usage.

Radio-disabled meter: another name for the DTE opt-out meter.

Radio-off meter: another name for the DTE opt-out meter.

Radiofrequency (RF): high-frequency electromagnetic waves in the range of 10 MHz to 300 Ghz. All wireless devices, including smart meters, cell phones, and Wi-Fi emit RF.

Switched mode power supplycontained in all smart meters, it creates dirty electricity.

van der Waals bonds: an extremely weak electromagnetic force that helps hold the DNA double helix together. Breakage of the van der Waals bond may cause changes in DNA that can lead to cancer. RF and other EMFs can disrupt the van der Waals bonds.