Expert Forum on Wireless Risks to be held

Expert Forum on Wireless Risks:

Cell Phones and Wireless Technologies: Should Safety Guidelines be Strengthened to Protect Adults, Children and Vulnerable Populations – and Should Parents, Teachers & Schools Restrict Technology Overuse Among Children?”

1-450x300WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified Radiofrequency Radiation emitted by cell phones and wireless devices as a Group 2B ‘Possible Carcinogen’ in 2011. This upcoming program will review the science showing risk, mechanisms of action, new genetic questions, and whether the IARC warning should be upgraded to ‘Probable Carcinogen’ –or even ‘Carcinogen’. There will be a special focus on risks to children, and the role overuse of wireless technologies may be playing in attention, functional and relational difficulties, as well as on risk to the elderly, where cognitive decline may be misconstrued as dementia, permitting people to progress without help. Experts on different facets of risk will assure a very dynamic forum.

This forum is Co-sponsored by the Commonwealth Club’s Health & Medicine, Science & Technology and Environment & Natural Resources Member-Led Forums, and is organized by and Environmental Heath Trust in association with Citizens for Health, California Brain Tumor Association and American Academy of Environmental Medicine.

Organized and moderated by Camilla Rees and Lloyd Morgan, the conference will be held at:

Commonwealth Club of California
555 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Monday, June 22, 2015,
11:30-3:30 p.m.
For more information or to register, head over to

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Indiana regulators reject Duke Energy’s $1.9B plan to install ‘smart’ meters

Take Back Your Power reports that Indiana “State regulators have rejected a proposal from Duke Energy to raise customers’ rates.  The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission said in a ruling on May 8th that the company didn’t provide enough details for its $1.9 billion, seven-year plan. The proposal would have put Duke Energy’s Indiana customers on smart grid technology and have installed privacy invading digital smart meters in every home, tracking detailed energy consumption and transmitting that data using potentially harmful radiofrequency emissions.”

While this is great news, Duke Energy has said they will eventually refile.

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Dangerous gas continues to leak from Lumber Liquidators flooring

You may remember our post from March 8th about formaldehyde off-gassing from Lumber Liquidators flooring. The company offered to send out free air sampling kits to concerned customers, but there was some controversy as to whether the kits gave accurate results.

The local ABC News affiliate in Clearwater Florida has aired an excellent investigative piece featuring Will Spates, BBEC, following up on the story. There have been some interesting developments, including a lawsuit brought against the company who provided the air quality test kits. Well worth watching.

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Department of Energy misses the boat in December 2014 report

Future-Grid-CoverTimothy Schoechle, PhD, Senior Research Fellow with the National Institute for Science, Law & Public Policy has released a review of a report prepared by GridWise Alliance and U.S. Department of Energy (DoE), Office of Electricity.

The report, titled “The Future of the Grid – Evolving to Meet America’s Needs” was released in December of 2014, and not surprisingly “misses or avoids what are perhaps the most significant factors emerging today—the dramatic growth of rooftop solar PV and distributed generation and storage—with profound implications for the industry’s future, even according to its own internal reports.”

Schoechle points out clearly that the U.S. DoE proceeded under an industry-driven vision, and an obsolete paradigm of how to serve U.S. energy needs. It’s well worth downloading and reading. Check it out here.

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International Scientists Call for Strengthened Wireless Standards

Screen Shot 05-11-15 at 04.09 PMA group of 190 international scientists have appealed to the United Nations and the WHO to strengthen their stances on the risks of wireless technology.Some of the names involved will be familiar to building biologists, including Martin Blank, PhD, of Columbia University and Joel Moskowitz, PhD, of University of California, Berkeley.

View a video by Dr. Blank here.

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Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Round-up!

The Chicago Tribune recently ran an article entitled Homeowners Breathe Easier as Contractors Embrace Livable Remodeling. One relevant and heartening paragraph reads:

Homeowners’ awareness of indoor air quality (IAQ) has heightened in recent years, especially when someone in their home has asthma, allergies, heart disease or another serious long-term condition. Almost one in four homeowners expressed concern about indoor air in a recently released study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. The survey indicated that managing indoor air quality and dust was one of the top “Health Home” issues.

However, as most Building Biologists know, many are still in the dark about the potential hazards of poor indoor air quality. This is neatly summarized in the headline Americans Wrongly Assume Indoor Air is Less Polluted than Outdoor Air. The interesting article from Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration News recounts a troubling industry survey that shows that fully 50% of Americans surveyed are unaware that the opposite is true, thus putting themselves and their families at greater risk.

Finally, building materials behemoth Lumber Liquidators, responding to customer concerns that they are selling Chinese-made laminate flooring with high levels of formaldehyde, posted the following on their website:

Recently some questions have been raised about our laminate products. Let me make one thing very clear – our laminate products, all of our products, are 100% safe.

These attacks are driven by a small group of short-selling investors who are working together for the sole purpose of making money by lowering our stock price. They are using any means to try and scare our customers with inaccurate allegations. Their motives and methods are wrong and we will fight these false attacks on all fronts.

To reassure our customers, we are providing indoor air quality testing at no cost to qualifying customers as the fastest, most effective way to measure the total level of formaldehyde in the home. The testing is being administered and the results produced by an independent, accredited lab. The customer is in control of the process, with clear instructions on the test and its results. We will conduct an in-depth evaluation of air quality and potential formaldehyde sources for any customer whose results are inconclusive or above established thresholds. Our customer care team will work with our valued customers throughout the process.

While this seems like a great first response, two lawsuits were subsequently launched charging the testing program is a sham. One expert testified “Lumber Liquidators’ testing program is “the cheapest possible way to test,” “cannot be considered valid” and “will likely provide some consumers with poor data that give them a false sense of security.”

Check out the rundown here (

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Berkeley considers cell phone “Right to Know” legislation

On May 12, Berkeley City Council will consider a “right to know” ordinance regarding safe distances and cell phones. The idea is to require retailers to hand consumers a city prepared document advising them to never carry the phone in on mode next to their bodies such as in a bra or pocket. It will also direct them to read the FCC required language in the manual or on the phone, and will mention that children are more vulnerable.

According to Ellen Marks, Executive Director of the California Brain Tumor Association, in an editorial on the Berkeleyside news website, “The wireless industry has blocked this information at point of sale across the U.S. by threatening lawsuits when a similar ordinance is considered. It sued San Francisco, which was forced to repeal its cellphone right to know law which passed the Board of Supervisors unanimously.”

Ms. Marks goes on to explain in an email to supporters that “Constitutional law professor Lawrence Lessig helped us draft this legislation and will be in Berkeley to discuss it with
the City Council at the May 12 meeting. He will also defend Berkeley pro bono against a CTIA lawsuit. Lessig is putting together a team and has promised to defend this in any city or state when they adopt this legislation.”

If you are interested in weighing in on this debate, you may email the council directly at

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Mainstream TV Show Features Character with EHS

Great news, right?

Not so fast …

The Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul features a recurring character with electrohypersensitivity (EHS). This is the first time a character in a mainstream television show has suffered from this illness, which offers a unique opportunity to educate those who are still unaware of the dangers of wireless and other electromagnetic technologies. Unfortunately, it appears as if many mainstream media outlets have used this occasion as an opportunity to cherry-pick only those studies supporting industry assertions that there is no causal relationship between EMF exposure and some individuals’ well-being.

The National Law Review: “Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) is a purported [our emphasis] condition in which people believe that many common health conditions are caused by their everyday exposure to electronic devices that emit electromagnetic fields (EMF).”

They go on to describe a recent ruling by the Court of Appeals for the State of New Mexico that held that “there is no cognizable nuisance or tort claim for the alleged physical harm caused by your neighbor’s use of cell phones, dimmer switches, or wifi.” (Firstenberg v. Monribot),

The Guardian: A headline and sub-headline from an article in February:

“Better Call Saul: is electromagnetic hypersensitivity a real health risk?

The Breaking Bad spin-off features a character who is afraid of mobile phone signals. As two scientists explain, it’s a psychological ailment – but you wouldn’t know that from browsing media reports”

Physics Today: “While it’s not explicitly named in the show, it appears that Chuck is lumbered with EHS (electro-hypersensitivity) or ES (electrosensitivity) as some sufferers call it. By hyping the condition to hype the show, the publicist joined others in the media who spread misinformation about imaginary dangers from non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation.”


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Smart meters explode, homes go dark







You may have missed this bit of news. On Monday, March 30th, hundreds of “smart meters” exploded in Stockton, California when an automobile hit a utility pole. Of particular note is that when a smart meter fails, the home owner is left without power. Thus 5800  customers were stuck in the dark while the utility company scrambled to fix the problem.

Other points of interest:

  • These plastic meters are not Underwriter Labs (UL) approved.
  • The new meters appear to be more susceptible to fires than old, analog meters.
  • Some cities and provinces have been removing smart meters en masse due to their propensity to catch fire. has an excellent article on the recent Stockton accident which puts this into a greater context and offers suggestions on how to address these issues in your communities. Highly recommended for reading and sharing!

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The Wireless Empire Strikes Back

Fallout from The New York Times‘ heavy-handed response to one of their own writer’s gentle questioning of the safety of wearable wireless tech continues. In a blog post at, safe technology advocate Jeromy Johnson recounts the controversy, and points out potential collusion by the mainstream media and possible conflicts of interest in the newspaper’s response. It’s well worth the read.

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