A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

2011 Short Takes

January 12, 2011

Smart meters are fast becoming the #1 RF health issue in the U.S., outstripping concerns over cell phones and towers —especially in California. Three new reports detail radiation exposures from the meters and the possible consequences. Yesterday, the California Council on Science and Technology issued Health Impacts of RF from Smart Meters (requested by two members of the state legislature). The CCST concludes that "there is no clear evidence" of a health risk. Sage Associates, a consulting firm based in Santa Barbara, sharply disagrees. Its report, Assessment of RF Microwave Radiation Emissions from Smart Meters, released on January 1, finds that, in some cases, people may be exposed in excess of the FCC's safety limits. And third is An Investigation of RF Fields Associated with the Itron Smart Meter by Richard Tell Associates and commissioned by EPRI, the industry research group. EPRI technical publications are usually quite pricey (rarely less than $5,000 a pop), but in this case, perhaps to reassure an anxious public, it is allowing open access to Tell's report. EPRI is also distributing an eight-page pamphlet, RF Exposure Levels from Smart Meters.

January 10, 2011

The French government has launched a new Web site to tell the public how to best use mobile phones and reduce possible health risks. The National Institute of Prevention and Health Education (known by its acronym, INPES) posted eight pieces of advice: Protect children... Use a hands-free kit... Favor text messages... Keep the phone away from electronic implants... Don't use the phone in areas with bad reception... Move the phone away right after dialing... Avoid using the phone when moving at high speeds... and... Learn about a phone's SAR. Beginning in April, SAR information must be available wherever phones are sold. Not everyone is satisfied. Robin des Toits (Robin of the Roofs), a wireless activist group, says that INPES did not go far enough. It bemoans the absence of warnings for pregnant women, teenagers and tweens