Letter to the editor: Is wireless the new lead paint?

Graphic by Emma Talkoff.

Graphic by Emma Talkoff.

By Lisa Miller

Graphic by Emma Talkoff.

Dear Tam News,

I have been suffering from migraine headaches that began shortly after a wireless utility “SmartMeter” was installed on my home in the fall of 2010 by PG&E. I saw many doctors, had many tests, tried medications, and kept a headache journal examining every variable in my life to try to find the source. After almost a year, I found I had no headaches when in environments free of wireless routers, cell phones, SmartMeters, etc. It seems the SmartMeter installed on my home triggered this electrosensitivity. I have a significant amount of metal in my spine from a back fusion surgery and it has been posited by doctors and electromagnetic field specialists this is likely the reason for my headache response to wireless radiofrequency (RF) microwave radiation.

Though the hardware makes me unique, I believe it has given me the opportunity to serve as one of the canaries in the coalmine that is our community. Although I am being immediately affected, I am very concerned about how everyone, especially children being born into this radiated world, are being impacted. For most, the effects of unchecked exposure may not manifest for a long time.

In the 1900s it was discovered that lead-based paint is highly toxic yet it was nevertheless widely used until it was finally banned in 1976. The health of countless individuals suffered due to the continued use of lead paint until its ban.

On May 31, 2011, the WHO/IARC (World Health Organization, International Agency for Research on Cancer) officially classified electromagnetic fields from non-ionizing, radiation emitting devices as a Class 2 B Carcinogen. This means it “may cause cancer in humans.” Simply put, wireless radiation joins a list of other more commonly known Class 2 B carcinogens including but not limited to: lead, dioxin, DDT, chloroform, ethyl benzene and HIV, to name a few. Because we love our wireless devices and because the wireless industry is worth billions, this news has been about as popular as a fly in the punch bowl at a party.

Cell phones, computers, iPads, cordless home phones, and many other gadgets that operate wirelessly are not only widely accepted, but have become an integral part of our lives. Use of these devices may come at a hidden cost. All of these devices emit non-thermal, non-ionizing radiofrequency (RF) microwave radiation.

The good news is that safe Internet access is readily available through hard wired means. Just disable your wireless and plug back in. I ask us all to consider what price we may be paying for the convenience of the wireless technologies we use. Please ask yourself: do you really need to have your cell phone on all the time? Do you need to hold it up against your head? Is it away from you or off when you are sleeping? When we are clustered in large groups like in schools, movie theatres, etc. the RF is concentrated. If we all power down when in large groups our exposure could significantly reduce. Do you really want to use your laptop wirelessly and sitting directly on your lap? Cell phone radiation can penetrate approximately two inches into the human body. Where do you keep your phone during class? If the phone is sending or receiving data, it is radiating RF. I ask wireless users to consider your own exposure and, for your own sake to reduce it. It took almost a century for public policy to catch up to the science known about lead paint. For the wellbeing of us all, let’s not wait for the science to be popularized or for public policy to be in place. Take action for yourself and those around you now.

With a few simple changes, exposure can be significantly reduced. To learn more about this topic, I recommend the book “Zapped” by New York Times bestselling author, Ann Louise Gittleman.


Lisa Miller

Automotive Technology Teacher