Case that smart meters are bad for our health is inconclusive

Dear editor,

There are good reasons for the public to reject BC Hydro's installation of smart meters, but health effects isn't one of them.

Dear editor,

There are a number of very good reasons for the public to reject BC Hydro’s installation of the new smart meters, but negative health effects isn’t one of them.

The WHO (World Health Organization) study widely (and often hysterically) cited by those who believe that Wi-Fi and cell phones cause negative health effects actually doesn’t actually state that such health effects exist. It merely states that such health effects might be possible and that the situation should be monitored. Moreover, it refers to cell phones only, not to Wi-Fi or to radio frequency emissions generally. In any case, the possibility of such health effects is categorized by the WHO as their designation 2B. Below is the direct quote from the WHO report of what this means:

Group  2B: The  agent  is  possibly  carcinogenic  to  humans.

This  category  is  used  for  agents  for  which  there  is  limited  evidence  of  carcinogenicity  in  humans  and  less  than  sufficient  evidence  of  carcinogenicity  in  experimental  animals. It  may  also  be  used  when  there  is  inadequate  evidence  of  carcinogenicity  in  humans  but  there  is  sufficient  evidence  of  carcinoenicity  in  experimental  animals. In  some  instances,  an  agent  for  which  there  is  inadequate  evidence  of  carcinogenicity  in  humans  and  less  than  sufficient  evidence  of  carcinogenicty  in  experimental  animals  together  with  supporting  evidence  from  mechanistic  and  other  relevant  data  may  be  placed  in  this  group. An  agent  may  be  classified  in  this  category  solely  on  the  basis  of  strong  evidence  from  mechanistic  and  other  relevant  data.

By “limited evidence,” the WHO means:

Limited  evidence  of  carcinogenicity:  A  positive association  has  been  observed  between  exposure  to  the  agent  and  cancer  for  which  a  causal  interpretation  is  considered  by  the  Working  Group  to  be  credible,  but  chance,  bias  or  confounding  could  not  be  ruled  out  with  reasonable  confidence.

By “inadequate evidence of carcinogenicity,” the WHO means:

Inadequate  evidence  of  carcinogenicity’:  The  available  studies  are  of  insufficient  quality,  consistency  or  statistical  power  to  permit  a  conclusion  regarding  the  presence  or  absence  of  a  causal  association  between  exposure  and  cancer,  or  no  data  on  cancer  in  humans  are  available.

There is one word that sums up this situation — inconclusive. The WHO is saying they don’t know one way or the other. It is just silly for anyone to confuse this conclusion with an actual health warning.

Remember that this study applies only to cell phones, which are more powerful than Wi-Fi signals and held next to the head. Smart meters are not even close to being the same thing.

Like all forms of radiated energy, such as sound, light, radio waves and the much more dangerous types such as X-rays and gamma rays, the intensity is reduced by 75 per cent with every doubling of distance from the source.

What this means is that the frequency, power and distance from the source of an emission has to be taken into account. For example, radio waves, even those in the microwave range of frequencies, should not be confused with the much more dangerous ionizing nuclear radiation from nuclear weapons and power plants.

Power output is the other major factor. It is a fact that Wi-Fi sources literally do not have enough power to break the chemical bonds of the human body and thereby cause damage.

In other words, all of this fear-mongering over the Wi-Fi communication aspect of these meters is unfounded hysteria, plain and simple.

Over 30 peer reviewed studies of Wi-Fi have been done. Twenty-six of them reached negative conclusions (no evidence of harm), three were inconclusive and one was deemed to be invalid due to the poor methods employed.

Of course, a person can find any number of websites, each citing their favourite “experts” to contradict all of this. But it is in the peer-reviewed scientific literature that the facts of the matter are to be found and the facts do not support even the slightest cause for alarm.

So, by all means oppose Hydro’s arrogant and bumbling rollout of this program, but leave health claims out of it.

Scott Goodman,

Courtenay

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