RF exposure is everywhere


If you use a cell phone, “opting-out” of a PUD meter that uses radio frequency (RF) for meter readings will not reduce your exposure to low-energy, non-ionizing radiation.

Many devices in your home, including cell phones, WiFi routers, leaky microwave ovens, and Bluetooth devices expose you to similar radiation. Your exposure to RF is determined by the power of the device, your distance from it, and how long you are near it. Distance is particularly important because the amount of energy decreases with the square of the distance from the device. For example, your brain receives about 200 times more RF when you hold your cell phone to your ear than when you hold it at arm’s length.

Let’s compare your brain’s RF exposure from cell phones and from the PUD’s RF-equipped meters. Both devices have similar radiated power. A cell phone at your ear is about 2 inches from the brain. You are unlikely to be closer to your electrical meter than 8 feet. If both devices are at the same power, the intensity of the RF at your brain from the cell phone is about 2000 times greater than from the meter.

How long are the two devices radiating? Modern RF meters broadcast about 1% of each day (14 minutes). But, unless it is powered off, a cell phone is always radiating and many people use their cell phones for several hours every day. To reduce RF exposure from your cell phone to the same level as from a meter, you would have to limit your average cell phone usage to 1.4 minutes a day if holding the phone at arm’s length, or less than a second if holding it at your ear.

Thomas Engel
Port Townsend


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Tom Thiersch

The letter was signed by a member of the PUD Citizen Advisory Board (CAB). He should have, by PUD policy, identified himself as such and also stated that the letter was his personal view, not that of the CAB.

Resolution 2018-015:

"When expressing their views regarding District business in any venue, CAB

members shall make it clear that such views are personal and not those of the

CAB or the District."

Thursday, January 23
David Thielk

I don't think that the letter writer was expressing his views. He was providing a scientific comparison. Not a viewpoint; a reality.

Unfortunately, we have reached a point in our culture in which everything is "personal view points" and we no longer believe in "reality." The current political climate seems to be encouraging this outlook. If you don't know what I mean, listen to Pompeo's interview with Mary Louise Kelly. It is the quintessential example of a political figure who tries to create a reality through bullying, shouting, and stamping his feet.

Tom Engle, on the other hand, left his view point out, and responded with an accurate analysis. The reader, Tom, you or anyone, can still insist that they do not want to be exposed to the additional radiation, or that they don't keep their cellphone on very much, so that the analysis does not apply to them. But the analysis is accurate.

Monday, January 27
ana wolpin

David, from his first sentence on, Tom's letter is pure opinion and easily contested. Claiming that opting out of a radiating meter will not reduce your RF exposure if you use a cell phone, is like saying that one poison won’t affect you if another poison is present, too. Simply nonsense and not at all scientific. As any tech enthusiast whose health hit a tipping point following a smart meter installation will tell you, these exposures are additive and cumulative. (See this TED Talk by a former Silicon-valley engineer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0NEaPTu9oI)

Further, Tom makes the assumption that a person’s cell phone is on all the time, and he compares that to a meter that only broadcasts 1% of the time. This, too, is a spurious argument. For one thing, people concerned about exposure to EMFs keep their cell phones off unless needed, while a meter cannot be turned off unless a person foregoes PUD electrical service. For another, the amount a meter broadcasts is just a fraction of the EMF puzzle.

No mention is made by Tom or others who defend this tech of the meter’s non-stop PULSING, which scientists/researchers now understand is likely a more significant danger than the periodic broadcasts he does the math on. The most recent meters used by our PUD pulse RFs every 3-4 SECONDS, night and day, for a total of 20-000-30,000 pulses in a 24 hour period.

The ways EMFs affect living organisms are myriad and complex. The distance you hold a cell phone from your brain is the tip of the iceberg. As PhD/Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences Martin Pall describes in the paper linked below, whole body impacts from EMFs include attacks on our nervous systems, hormonal systems, and DNA; production of oxidative stress; lowering of fertility; and cardiac effects. The complexity of living systems makes Tom's analysis incomplete and simplistic, typical of the denial by those who are enamored with this tech.


Wednesday, January 29
Annette Huenke

“Not a viewpoint; a reality.” Really?

Our meter was replaced with a digital RF meter (2-way capable) in 2014. We own very sensitive RF-measuring devices which demonstrate the meter pulses every 3-4 seconds. Mr. Engel continually pretends data broadcasts are the only activity of ‘modern rf meters,’ unwilling to acknowledge that they pulse rf every few seconds of every day. Whether or not they’re transmitting data, the pulses emit radio frequencies that impact biological systems; human animals aren’t the only ones affected.

Regarding the claim that the meters will generally transmit data once every four hours, the County of Santa Cruz Health Services Agency made this statement: "It has been aptly demonstrated by computer modeling and real measurement of existing meters that Smart Meters emit frequencies almost continuously, day and night, seven days a week. Furthermore, it is not possible to program them to NOT operate at 100% of a duty cycle, that is to say, continuously." PG&E publicly stated in all its materials that its meters transmit only 6 times a day. When the court ordered it to submit data on the actual number of transmissions, the utility had to admit that its smart meters emitted electromagnetic radiation pulses 9,600 to 190,000 times per day.

By the way, if you’re one of those whose brain is two inches from your ears, you may want to have your head examined. Sounds like some serious atrophy going on there.

Friday, January 31
David Thielk

@ana Hmmmm . . . .peacekeeperblog is not the place I would go to look for the science on this issue. The keeper of that website is quite an interesting character; one who seems rooted in ideology and conspiracy, with a tendency to bend and mis use science to support his beliefs.



I personally am not "enamored" of the technology, and do not support having "smart meters' on my house. You made the wrong assumption. You assumed, like Tom Thiersch did about Tom Engle, that I was expressing a viewpoint on the adoption of smart meters in Jefferson County. I was not. My point was that Tom offered a rather solid explanation of the relative dose of EMF radiation for a typical person who also has a cell phone, rather than his own viewpoint. Nothing more. Regarding Tom Engel's analysis, I think he did articulate his assumptions. So, if they don't apply to someone in particular, such as someone who keeps his/her cellphone off most of the time, then the analysis might not apply. But that was clearly articulated.

But my lack of interest in smart meters has nothing to do with speculated health effects published on websites that also share theories on UFO's, 9/11 conspiracy theories, and so forth. Or, statements by self proclaimed experts on EMF who sign up to preach about their own health conversion at a community forum (TEDx is not refereed, nor is it screened for scientific accuracy, sorry). No, my lack of interest in smart meters is not about the science of meters at all. But unlike you and Annette, I don't feel compelled to mis use information derived in the empirical world to support a belief system I may have.

Why is it that those who don't accept human caused climate breakdown, those who can't accept that there are some benefits of vaccination programs, and those that preach the fear of EMF almost always refer to individuals or websites that rooted in conspiracy theories. Oh, I think I know the answer to that question. It is an other conspiracy theory.

Monday, February 3
ana wolpin

Thank you, David, for responding. Glad to hear that you are not enamored with this tech—it’s easy to be seduced by the connectivity and convenience.

I would hope that folks don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater—you dismissed my link to Martin Pall’s work because of the website that hosted it, and to Jeromy Johnson’s TED Talk because it’s a TEDx presentation. I doubt that Pall shares many of the web host’s views—his exhaustive research and analysis is recognized by scientists worldwide. And Johnson is a formidable educator with one of the best sites on EMFs on the web, emfanalysis.com.

Johnson is a great example of someone who was able to use all kinds of wireless devices until a smart meter tipped him over the edge. He’s one of many thousands of people who disproves the statement that EMFs from meters are negligible if you use a cell phone. He does not have a website “rooted in conspiracy theories” and does not promote a “belief system”. He brings real-world experience rooted in science—tens of thousands of studies that industry has been trying to deflect and disprove since Navy research was buried in the 1970s. I linked his TED talk, which has over a million views, because people often prefer watching/listening to people than to reading. But if TEDx isn’t your cup of tea, you can read his personal story on his website: https://www.emfanalysis.com/about/

My argument with your previous post still holds. You say, "My point was that Tom offered a rather solid explanation of the relative dose of EMF radiation for a typical person who also has a cell phone.” No, he did not. He did not factor in a huge factor in what these meters transmit—the pulsing. He uses the industry argument that one need only calculate broadcasts. That ignores the majority of a meter’s RF impacts.

Monday, February 3
David Thielk

Sources and context are everything. Being able to verify information is important. Understanding when scientific information is being used well, and when it is being mis used, are really important. The internet is filled with click bait. So, publishing a link to a document that is hosted by a junk website is a mistake. In doing so, you directed me and perhaps countless others to take an action that affects the web traffic algorithms and contribute to the spread of misinformation. The very fact that this article was hosted by a junk website makes it highly suscpect. Why would s website that is pumping out do much junk want include anything of value? In my opinion, you would be advised to learn more about how travelling to junk websites is contributing to the miseducation of citizens, and thus the breakdown of democracy. I know that statement sounds dramatic, but there is significant amount of solid and verifiable research on this topic. And further, the article you referenced did not offer me any thing that makes Tom Engel's analysis incorrect. I did not read it in it's entirety but I did not see it analyzing the relative exposure of cell phones to smart meters. Engel's statement was really limited to the relative exposure of the meters and cell phones.

Neither did Engel say that there was no harm involved in exposure. For many people, this issue is become an ideological one, and they assume it is for everyone else. Thus, they spend their research time engaged in conformational bias behaviors and expect everyone else to be doing the same thing. Please consider re reading Engel's statement and then your response.

As to the other one, Johnson, I did read his personal statement. The first thing I do when someone sends me a link that is supposedly scientific is try to determine what the credentials are for the supposed expert. Johnson is much more a spiritualist than he is a scientist. By far. Like so many people on the internet, he may have content knowledge but has not demonstrated in even the mildest way how to apply scientific research to the real world. I am not saying he is wrong. His tedx talk is speculative, circumstantial and does not establish any causal relationship between smart meters and health. And, his personal story is an anecdote that I personally would never consider using for public policy advocacy.

If you and others truly are concerned about using science to establish health impactsbof rf energy, you have a ways to go. And I strongly encourage you to learn more about science, science methodology and all that is involved in using scientific content to draw conclusions. It might also be helpful to gain and understanding of various kinds of experimental design and inferencing.

Basically, you can find anything and everything on the internet. But understanding science and using it well is not so common.

Tuesday, February 4
ana wolpin

I agree that we all have a tendency toward confirmation bias and suggest that you are doing just that. To say that Jeromy Johnson "is much more a spiritualist than he is a scientist” is simply a head scratcher.

Johnson writes and speaks specifically for the lay person, not the scientist, to make information more accessible to average folks. If that makes him a “spiritualist”, we are never going to find common ground here. He’s an engineer who has amassed a wealth of scientific research under his “Research" tab, and his "Smart Meter Health Effects" page includes both peer-reviewed, published studies and thousands of anecdotal accounts of smart meters causing physical harm to humans. On that page, he notes "the erratic, high intensity pulses that wireless smart meters create. Some meters pulse up to 190,000 times per day (essentially constant pulsing).” We have measured some of the meters JPUD is using here and they pulse 20,000-30,000 times/per day.

My reference to Martin Pall’s paper was also in respect to the pulsing that Tom Engel—like industry—omits in their claims of safety. Annette gave a good example of PG&E’s disinformation regarding emissions, saying their meters only transmitted 6 times per day. A court order forced the admission that they actually emitted 9,600 to 190,000 electromagnetic radiation pulses per day. Pall’s paper, which includes 139 citations of published studies, explains that "communication devices put out polarized EMFs that carry information via pulsations. BOTH THE PULSATIONS AND THE POLARIZATION MAKE THESE EMFS MUCH MORE BIOLOGICALLY ACTIVE.” (my emphasis) This increased biological activity because of the pulsing is what creates severe adverse health effects (headaches, insomnia, fatigue, heart problems, etc) immediately for some people from smart meters, versus long-term impacts from cell phones (cancer, reduced fertility, etc). It is apples and oranges; these devices are acting on our biology in different ways.

I could provide many more sources from respected scientists describing this phenomena, but I sense I am wasting my time because of your own confirmation bias. To summarize, Tom’s analysis is flawed, and his opening sentence—"If you use a cell phone, 'opting-out' of a PUD meter that uses radio frequency (RF) for meter readings will not reduce your exposure to low-energy, non-ionizing radiation”—is preposterous.

Tuesday, February 4
Annette Huenke

Let’s talk about ‘science,' shall we?

"The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.” — Dr. Richard Horton, then-editor of the journal Lancet. [https://www.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS0140-6736(15)60696-1.pdf]

"Journal editors have expended much time and effort in teasing out how to handle authors' and reviewers' competing interests. They need now to concentrate on their own and those of their employers, lest we reach the dismal scenario described by Marcia Angell: “it is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.” [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2964337/]

“…we’re not doing research at all,” Lai says. With government funding all but nonexistent, the bulk of scientific research is funded by private industry. “The mechanism is funding,” Lai says. “You don’t bite the hand that feeds you. The pressure is very impressive.” [https://www.seattlemag.com/article/uw-scientist-henry-lai-makes-waves-cell-phone-industry]

"There’s a lot of safety science that’s needed, and without the good science we can’t have good communication. So, although I’m talking about all these other contextual issues and communication issues, it absolutely needs the science as the backbone, you can’t repurpose the same old science to make it sound better if you don’t have the science that’s relevant to the new problem. So, we need much more investment in safety science.” Dr. Heidi Larson, MA PhD Anthropologist, Director of The Vaccine Confidence Project [https://childrenshealthdefense.org/video/caught-on-camera-w-h-o-scientists-question-safety-of-vaccines/]

There’s science, and there’s scientism — the latter being a deeply held faith, despite the evidence, that rigorous, uncorrupted research has been undertaken in the quest for sound scientific theories upon which to build sound public policy.

Industry capture of governments, regulatory agencies, media and institutions of 'higher learning' is global, and nearly complete. Defunding, deplatforming and censorship rule the day, and where those machinations take place — should you be curious enough — look behind them to discern what it is that the powers-that-shouldn't-be don't want you to see and hear.

Tuesday, February 4
David Thielk

Annette, I can't tell you how many people have quoted the same articles, and the same mantra (dogma?) about science to me. Mostly by people who are completely against all vaccines. Can you recognize the difference between an opinion and a scientific study? Simply saying that "perhaps of all science is untrue" does not make it untrue. Further, as I point out below, science and scientific method does not have as its purpose to generate facts and to prove things. When people talk about science in this way, it demonstrates an appalling lack of understanding of what science can actually do. I suggest a review of Karl Popper.

Turns out, that many people have deeply held beliefs about lots of things, and when science doesn't support their beliefs, instead of analyzing those beliefs, they write off all of science by citing the article in the Lancet. Unfortunately, many people fall victim to this ideology (often used to justify the complete ban of all vaccines, for example). Science and science methodology is not perfect; no one said that it was. And science never assumes that one study makes a fact. In fact, science can never "prove" anything. The safety of emf for example can never be "proven" by science. And, I make no such claim. But, in general, the observational studies have not demonstrated harmful effects of smart meters. And, due to ethical limitations, there is little in the way of experimental studies. And, if you care, it is impossible to make strong inferences regarding cause and effect from observational studies. So, there is a long way to go before harmful effects are established from smart meters.

I would suggest a review of Karl Popper's theories on science, as well as a short course on statistics. Also, regarding Jeromy Johnson, he is cited frequently on ideological websites, often spiritual based. Nowhere does he indicate that he has ever designed or implemented a scientific study of his own. And I would suggest that he cites numerous articles which I don't think he understands the statistics and methodology.

One last thought - why is it that so many of those who don't like to engage in reading scientific literature take great pleasure in posting quotes from a variety of sources, often taken out of context?

Tuesday, February 11