Lenox, MA: A Less Protective Wireless Bylaw Amendment Is Up for Community Vote on Dec 8, 2022

Debate intensifies as opponents insist on actual public safety

Adapted from an article by Clarence Fanto, Nov 16, 2022 | Original The Berkshire Eagle article here.

LENOX — It’s down to the wire for the town’s efforts to gain voter approval of a new telecommunications bylaw that seeks to improve cell reception in underserved areas. An opposition group has been speaking out at Planning Board and Select Board meetings, voicing opinions about health hazards of radio-frequency emissions from cell installations.

A recent consultant’s study found widespread spotty cell reception in much of Lenox, including downtown, the southeast section and the village of Lenox Dale, among other areas. The residents have entered data that shows otherwise.

The Planning Board has been wrapping up details of a telecommunications zoning bylaw for action by voters at a special town meeting Dec. 8. A two-thirds supermajority is required for approval. A legally required public hearing is scheduled for 6 p.m. Nov. 29 in person at Town Hall or via Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/8240922020

On Thursday, Lenox Citizens for Safe Cell Siting will hold its own session at Town Hall and via Zoom to hear speakers “explain what rights Lenox should retain to ensure that our new bylaw will protect the beauty of our town, our health and our property values,” according to a statement from the organizers.

A leading opponent, Courtney Gilardi of East Street in Lenox and a former resident of southeast Pittsfield, summed up the group’s opposition at a recent Select Board meeting. Gilardi has been among residents of the Pittsfield neighborhood involved in extended litigation against the city over a Verizon cell tower off South Street, but within the residential area.

She stated that her home, and those of several neighbors, “have been rendered uninhabitable due to radio-frequency emissions” from the adjacent cell facility less than 500 feet from her house on Alma Street.

Gilardi urged town leaders to postpone action on a new wireless zoning bylaw. “All I want is to go home and be safe in my home,” she told Select Board members, “and all I want is to prevent what happened in Pittsfield from happening again in Lenox.”

Gilardi called for “a strong wireless zoning bylaw” including a “substantial setback for our schools or a school exclusion zone” and “protection for our health, safety and property values.”

She asserted that “nobody is against better connectivity” but objected to towers 250 feet or less from residential properties. “Take your time and do this right,” she said. A review by outside legal counsel is needed, Gilardi added, “so everyone in Lenox is connected and protected.”

Guest speakers at Thursday’s forum organized by opponents include:

  • Kent Chamberlin, emeritus professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of New Hampshire’s College of Engineering and Physical Science. He served on the New Hampshire State Commission that researched health and environmental impacts of wireless communication.
  • Theodora Scarato, executive director of Environmental Health Trust, a nonprofit that focuses on wireless radiation.
  • Scott McCollough, described as a telecommunications attorney.
  • Andrew Molnar, a citizen involved in rewriting a wireless zoning bylaw for Ithaca, N.Y.

The session will be hosted by Jonathan Mirin of Hilltown Health, a grassroots environmental group based in Huntington, serving communities west of Greenfield. The one-hour presentation, following by a half-hour Q&A session, with questions to be submitted in advance, begins at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Town Hall Auditorium, 6 Walker St.

Questions can be submitted via email to hello@safecell01240.com.

According to the citizens’ group, the following issues will be discussed:

  • Adverse Health effects from electromagnetic RF microwave radiation exposures from cell towers/antennas at levels hundreds of thousands of times lower than the unprotective FCC RF microwave exposure guideline
  • What the FCC’s 1996 Telecommunications Act tells municipalities that they can and can’t do; and – Examples of protective wireless zoning bylaws that are already in place.

A similar forum was held in October 2020, when the Lenox Housing Authority was considering an application for a low-power cell antenna to be installed within the chimney of the Curtis subsidized housing complex in the center of downtown. The proposed project was sidelined after Curtis residents and opposition groups entered evidence of harms from RF microwave radiation exposures at public meetings.

How the FCC Protects Wireless Carriers and Ignores Public Safety

Adapted from an article by By Peter Elkind | Original ProPublica article (https://www.propublica.org/article/fcc-5g-wireless-safety-cellphones-risk).

The wireless industry is rolling out millions of new wireless antennas/transmitters amid 11,000 pages (27 volumes) of scientific evidence that was accepted by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals and served as the basis for how the U.S. Courts of Appeals, D.C. Circuit ruled on Friday the 13th, 2021 in Case 20-1025, Environmental Health Trust, et al. v FCC — the day the Wireless world irrevocably changed.

The US Courts of Appeals, DC Circuit ruled in Case 20-1025, Environmental Health Trust, et al. v FCC — a lawsuit that challenged the legality of the FCC’s attempted de facto rule-making, a sneaky maneuver that tried to extend its current RF microwave radiation exposure guidelines to frequencies above 6,000 MHz, without any reasoned decision-making. The judges caught the FCC and remanded FCC Order 19-126 back to the FCC, invalidating the Order.

The DC Circuit judges ruled the following in Case 20-1025:

“. . . we grant the petitions in part and remand to the Commission to provide a reasoned explanation for its determination that its guidelines adequately protect against harmful effects of exposure to radio-frequency [microwave] radiation. It must, in particular,

  • (i) provide a reasoned explanation for its decision to retain its testing procedures for determining whether cell phones and other portable electronic devices comply with its guidelines,
  • (ii) address the impacts of RF radiation on children, the health implications of long-term exposure to RF radiation, the ubiquity of wireless devices, and other technological developments that have occurred since the Commission last updated its guidelines, and
  • (iii) address the impacts of RF radiation on the environment.”

Here are the links to 11,000+ pages of peer-reviewed, scientific evidence that Environmental Health Trust and Children’s Health Defense and others plaintiffs placed in the FCC’s public record: Vol-1, Vol-2, Vol-3, Vol-4, Vol-5, Vol-6, Vol-7, Vol-8, Vol-9, Vol-10, Vol-11, Vol-12, Vol-13, Vol-14, Vol-15, Vol-16, Vol-17, Vol-18, Vol-19, Vol-20, Vol-21, Vol-22, Vol-23, Vol-24, Vol-25, Vol-26 and Vol-27.

In short, the scientific evidence and the courts have established that the FCC RF microwave radiation exposure guideline is not protective of people or the environment. So how can Federal regulators continue to say there’s nothing to worry about and how could they ignore the court’s 2021 mandate and continue to rely on the scam of a RF microwave radiation exposure guideline that considers only the rate of exposure, not the total exposure over time?

The evidence of adverse health effects started rolling in within weeks of the activation of a new cellphone tower in August 2020 in Pittsfield, an old factory town in Massachusetts’ Berkshire Mountains. Seventeen residents reported headaches, dizziness, insomnia or confusion. A few children had to sleep with “vomit buckets” by their beds.

Like many people, Bobbie Orsi had never paid close attention to questions about the evidence of health effects of RF microwave radiation from Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (WTF) antennas. She mostly viewed it as an issue that had long ago been put to rest. But after becoming the chair of Pittsfield’s Board of Health as the evidence was presented by those injured, Orsi, a 66-year-old registered nurse who had spent much of her career in public health, decided to educate herself.

She combed through a stack of research studies. She watched webinars. She grilled a dozen scientists and doctors. Over several months, Orsi went from curious to convinced. She concluded that

  • RF microwave radiation exposure from Verizon’s 115-foot 4G tower were to blame for the problems in Pittsfield
  • The established evidence concludes significant adverse biological effects and harms from RF microwave radiation from Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (WTF) antennas at RF Microwave radiation power levels that are hundreds of thousands of times, if not millions of times lower than the non-sensical FCC RF microwave radiation exposure guideline
  • Everything from effects re: fertility and fetal development, DNA damage, to associations with cancer — has been downplayed in the U.S.

Orsi and the Pittsfield board decided to try to do something about Verizon’s tower and they quickly discovered that they would get no help from federal regulators. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which has responsibility for protecting Americans from RF microwave radiation hazards generated by wireless transmitters, has repeatedly sided with the telecom industry in denying the possibility of virtually any human harm.

Worse, from Orsi’s perspective, federal law and FCC rules are so aligned with the industry that only the most astute state and local governments comprehend that they are NOT barred from taking action to block Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (WTFs) of any size or any “G” to protect the health of their residents.

Orsi, her colleagues and her attorneys identified a legal opening: They argued that the FCC’s exclusive oversight role applied only to approving cell tower sites, not to adverse health effects triggered after a Wireless Telecommunications Facility (WTF) was built and its operations were initiated. Under the 1996 Telecommunications Act, local governments are full participants in the cooperative federalism scheme that the US Supreme Court affirmed in 2005 (in Palos Verdes vs Abrams) and therefore, it is very clear that the regulation of the operations of Wireless Telecommunications Facilities (WTFs) was never preempted from local zoning authority.

In April, the Pittsfield Health Board issued an emergency cease-and-desist order directing Verizon to shut down the tower as a “public nuisance” and “cause of sickness” that “renders dwellings unfit for human habitation.” (Several families had abandoned their homes.) The order was the first of its kind in the country.

But, almost as quickly as the battle began, it ended. On May 10, Verizon sued the city in federal court. The company contended that the Pittsfield residents’ medical complaints were bogus, completely side-stepping the facts no one needs to establish medical claims in court under the Americans with Disabilities Act, to which all Wireless Carriers are subject. Those negatively impacted merely need to show that the operations of a WTF near their homes results in a significant impairment of one or more life activities, as established in the language of the 1996-TCA itself:

Relevant Citations of 1996-TCA

(b) MANUFACTURING– A manufacturer of telecommunications equipment or customer premises equipment shall ensure that the equipment is designed, developed, and fabricated to be accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, if readily achievable.

(c) TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES– A provider of telecommunications service shall ensure that the service is accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, if readily achievable.

(d) COMPATIBILITY– Whenever the requirements of subsections (b) and (c) are not readily achievable, such a manufacturer or provider shall ensure that the equipment or service is compatible with existing peripheral devices or specialized customer premises equipment commonly used by individuals with disabilities to achieve access, if readily achievable.

(e) GUIDELINES– Within 18 months after the date of enactment of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board shall develop guidelines for accessibility of telecommunications equipment and customer premises equipment in conjunction with the Commission. The Board shall review and update the guidelines periodically.

(a) PURPOSE- It is the purpose of this section–

  •       (B) public telecommunications network interconnectivity, and interconnectivity of devices with such networks used to provide telecommunications service; and
    • (2) to ensure the ability of users and information providers to seamlessly and transparently transmit and receive information between and across telecommunications networks.

(b) COMMISSION FUNCTIONS- In carrying out the purposes of this section, the Commission–

      • (1) shall establish procedures for Commission oversight of coordinated network planning by telecommunications carriers and other providers of telecommunications service for the effective and efficient interconnection of public telecommunications networks used to provide telecommunications service; and

      • (2) may participate, in a manner consistent with its authority and practice prior to the date of enactment of this section, in the development by appropriate industry standards-setting organizations of public telecommunications network interconnectivity standards that promote access to —

      •       (A) public telecommunications networks used to provide telecommunications service;

      • (B) network capabilities and services by individuals with disabilities; and

(1) NO IMPLIED EFFECT– This Act and the amendments made by this Act shall not be construed to modify, impair, or supersede Federal, State, or local law unless expressly so provided in such Act or amendments.

In any case, Verizon argued, the cease-and-desist order was barred because federal law gave the FCC the sole power to regulate wireless-radiation.

Caving to the Wireless industry saber-rattling propaganda that a David-and-Goliath battle would be prohibitively costly, Pittsfield’s City Council refused to fund the fight. A month later, the Board of Health withdrew its cease-and-desist order.

The build-out of a new generation of wireless networks, densified 4G and 5G, is amping up the stakes of this conflict for localities across America. The industry repeatedly says that it will require an estimated 800,000 to 1,000,000 new WTFs, including both towers and densely spaced “small wireless facilities” transmitters mounted on rooftops and street poles. That means more than tripling the current number of WTFs, and many of them will be unnecessarily and dangerously placed far too close to residences.

The FCC has held firm to its position that there’s no problem. In a statement for this article, a spokesperson said the agency “takes safety issues very seriously” but declined to make officials available for on-the-record interviews. The FCC is an improbable organization to serve the role of protecting humans. It specializes in technical issues that make the communications system function, not in health and safety. Indeed, it has no expertise in these matters.

Edwin Mantiply dealt with cellphone-radiation issues before retiring from the agency four years ago. He said:

“At the FCC, they feel like this is really not their problem. It’s not their job to do this kind of thing. They might have a token biologist or two, but that’s not their job. [The FCC] doesn’t really want to deal with uncertainty, ”

The result, Mantiply said, was that in situations where the science isn’t black and white — and it isn’t when it comes to cellphones — the agency tended to listen to the telecom industry, which vehemently insists that cellphones are safe. In the view of Mantiply, there’s more than enough evidence about RF microwave radiation harms from wireless infrastructure antennas — and some of the strongest evidence comes from the federal government itself.

In 2018, a massive, nearly-two-decade study by the National Toxicology Program (NTP), part of the National Institutes of Health, found “clear evidence” that cellphone radiation caused cancer in lab animals.

“We’re really in the middle of a paradigm shift,” said Linda Birnbaum, who was director of the NTP until 2019. It’s no longer right to assume cellphones are safe, she said. “Protective policy is needed today. We really don’t need more science to know that we should be reducing exposures.”

The FCC rejected the need for any such action when it reviewed its standards on cellphone radiation in 2019. The agency decided it would continue to rely on exposure limits it established in 1996, when Motorola’s StarTAC flip phone was considered cutting edge. The way the FCC went about reexamining its standards so dismayed a federal appeals court that, in 2021, it excoriated the agency for what it called a “cursory analysis.” The court accused it of “brushing off” evidence of established harms from RF microwave radiation exposures and failing to explain its reasoning.

The agency’s “silence,” the court said, left unclear whether the FCC even “considered any of the evidence in the record.” The appeals court ordered the agency to revisit the adequacy of its safeguards.

All this has left Orsi frustrated. Petite and intense, she has been through these sorts of fights before. Years ago, with the eventual support of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), she helped push General Electric to clean up the toxic chemicals it had dumped in Pittsfield.

Orsi said:

“The Board of Health has a mandate to protect the citizens of Pittsfield . . . If a company can come in and do something to make people sick, and the Board of Health has no authority to act, that’s ludicrous.”

To see how completely the U.S. telecom industry has prevailed in the rhetorical war [propaganda, plain and simple] over cellphone safety so far, consider this example. In February 2019, near the end of a hearing largely devoted to extolling the wonders of 5G technology, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., asked representatives of two wireless industry trade groups what sort of research the industry was funding on the biological effects of densified 4G/5G, which remains largely untested.

“There are no industry-backed studies, to my knowledge, right now,” replied Brad Gillen of the CTIA (originally called the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association). “I’m not aware of any,” replied Steve Berry of the Competitive Carriers Association. Wireless companies maintain that cellphones and base stations operating within the FCC’s exposure limits pose no proven risk, yet the evidence proves otherwise . . . yet the evidence proves otherwise (see the links to the 11,000 pages, referenced above).

A CTIA spokesperson wrote in a statement, “The consensus of the international scientific community is that radiofrequency energy from wireless devices and networks, including 5G, has not been shown to cause health problems.” . . . yet the evidence proves otherwise (see the links to the 11,000 pages, referenced above).

In a September 2021 meeting with Pittsfield’s Board of Health, for example, Verizon’s chief expert was a University of Pittsburgh theoretical physics professor named Eric Swanson. He testified that wireless radiation is far too weak to cause cancer or any of the problems the Pittsfield residents were reporting. He suggested they have psychological problems. Fears of radio-frequency radiation, Swanson alleged in the videotaped meeting, are based entirely on “fringe opinion,” backed only by cherry-picked evidence. Swanson said he’d spotted one such study on “an Alex Jones website” and voiced exasperation:

“This is the kind of stuff I have to deal with.” Concerns about wireless radiation, he said, are at odds with the overwhelming scientific consensus. “All international bodies,” he said, “declare cellphones to be safe.” The FCC has been similarly scornful.

In a June 2020 Washington Post op-ed, Thomas Johnson, general counsel for the agency during the administration of President Donald Trump, wrote:

“Conjectures about 5G’s effect on human health are long on panic and short on science.”

Johnson has since decamped to a law firm that represents telecom companies. (Johnson declined requests for comment.)

“It’s a slog at the moment to convince people this isn’t just crazy stuff,” said Louis Slesin, an MIT-trained environmental policy Ph.D. and the editor of Microwave News, an industry newsletter that has chronicled the wireless-radiation debate for four decades. But a growing body of international research establishes biological harms from RF microwave radiation exposurefs — many of them unrelated to cancer.

Henry Lai, an emeritus professor of bioengineering at the University of Washington, has compiled a database of 1,123 peer-reviewed studies published since 1990 investigating biological effects from wireless-radiation exposure. Some 77% have found “significant” effects, according to Lai. By contrast, an earlier review by Lai found that 72% of industry-sponsored studies reported no biological effects.

One branch of research has studied radiation impacts on test animals, mostly rats and mice, but also guinea pigs, rabbits and cows. Another has examined epidemiological patterns, looking for health effects on human groups, such as heavy long-term cellphone users or people living near cellphone towers. Studies have found impacts on fertility, fetal development, DNA, memory function and the nervous system, as well as an association with an array of cancers.

Several investigations reported a significantly increased risk of brain tumors, called gliomas, among the heaviest cellphone users. And the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the World Health Organization, in 2011 classified wireless radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”

In 2009, Ashok Agarwal, director of research at the Cleveland Clinic’s American Center for Reproductive Medicine, found that exposing human semen to cellphone radiation for an hour caused a “significant decrease” in sperm motility and viability, impairing male fertility. He advises patients to avoid carrying phones in their pants pockets.

Epidemiological studies show a rise in behavioral disorders among children whose mothers were heavy cellphone users while pregnant, while lab research found hyperactivity and reduced memory in mice exposed in the womb to cellphone radiation.

“The evidence is really, really strong now that there is a causal relationship between cellphone radiation exposure and behavior issues in children,” said Dr. Hugh Taylor, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Yale School of Medicine and past president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

The period of fetal brain development is a “very vulnerable time,” he said.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has written that the FCC’s safeguards “do not account for the unique vulnerability and use patterns specific to pregnant women and children.”

It urged the agency to adopt measures “protective of children,” warning that their thinner skulls leave them “disproportionately impacted” by cellphone radiation, and called for better consumer disclosure about exposure risks.

Though both the FCC and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) websites dismiss the existence of any special health risk to children . . . the evidence proves otherwise (see the links to the 11,000 pages, referenced above).

And the agencies don’t counsel people to limit their exposure. Instead, they list safety steps, while insisting they’re really not necessary. The FCC’s “Wireless Devices and Health Concerns” page, for example, notes that “some parties” recommend safety measures, “even though no scientific evidence currently establishes a definitive link between wireless device use and cancer or other illnesses.”

It then states, in bold: “The FCC does not endorse the need for these practices.” Only then does it list “some simple steps that you can take to reduce your exposure” to radio-frequency energy from cellphones. Efforts in the U.S. to promote awareness of wireless-radiation problems have sparked fierce industry resistance.

In 2014, the CDC added this modest language to its website: “Along with many organizations worldwide, we recommend caution in cellphone use.” An influential industry consultant emailed the CDC within days, as a public-records request later revealed, complaining that “changes are truly needed” in the CDC’s language.

The agency quickly softened its warning, which now says: “Some organizations recommend caution in cellphone use.”

The industry’s main trade group, CTIA, has beaten back local consumer-disclosure measures. For example, in 2015, CTIA sued Berkeley, California, after its City Council passed an ordinance requiring retailers to post a safety notice warning customers that carrying a cellphone tucked in a pocket or bra might expose them to excessive radiation. A five-year legal battle, including a trip to the U.S. Supreme Court, ensued. It ended after the FCC weighed in, saying the ordinance interfered with its exclusive authority by “over-warning” consumers and frightening them “into believing that RF emissions from FCC-certified cellphones are unsafe.” With that, the judge ruled against the city.

“The industry doesn’t want you to pay any attention to that stuff because that just creates anxiety among users,” said Joel Moskowitz, director of the Center for Family and Community Health at the University of California-Berkeley, who advised the city in its fight. “They want you to think these devices are perfectly safe.” . . but evidence proves otherwise (see the links to the 11,000 pages, referenced above).

By contrast, more than 20 foreign governments have adopted more protective measures.

      • France requires new phones to be sold with headsets and written guidance on limiting radiation exposures; it also bans phones marketed to small children and ads aimed at anyone younger than 14.

      • Greece and Switzerland routinely monitor radio-frequency radiation levels throughout the country. Britain, Canada, Finland, Germany, Italy, India and South Korea urge citizens to limit both their own exposure and cellphone use by children.

      • The European Environment Agency does too, noting: “There is sufficient evidence of risk to advise people, especially children, not to place the handset against their heads.”

When the FCC’s rules on radio-frequency emissions from phones and transmitters were adopted 26 years ago, just 1 in 6 Americans owned cellphones, which they typically used for short periods. Today, 97% of adults own a cellphone, and they use the device for an average of five hours a day. More than half of children under 12 own a smartphone.

Then and now, the FCC’s rules targeted just one health hazard: the possibility that wireless radiation can cause immediate “thermal” damage, by overheating skin the way a microwave oven heats food. Most experts agree that risk is nonexistent under any but the most unusual circumstances.

Meanwhile, the FCC doesn’t even consider “biological” impacts: the possibility that wireless exposure, even at levels well below the FCC limits, can cause an array of human health problems, as well as harm to animals and the environment. The FCC’s approach matches the industry’s long-standing position: that wireless radiation is simply too weak to cause any non-heating damage.

Of course, the wireless industry has every incentive to take this position. Going back to the 1990s, the industry has recognized the financial peril posed by health effects caused by RF microwave radiation, and it has pressed the public and government to reject them altogether.

In 1994, for example, Motorola swung into action when it learned of troubling research by Lai and a University of Washington colleague, Narendra Singh, who found that two hours of exposure to modest levels of wireless radiation-damaged DNA in the brains of lab rats. Such changes can lead to cancerous tumors.

Motorola’s then-PR chief described a strategy to discredit the findings in a pair of memos that were later leaked to Microwave News. Motorola’s approach would serve as a template for the industry’s response to troublesome research over the three decades that followed.

The researchers’ methodology would be challenged for raising “too many uncertainties” to justify any conclusions. The scientists’ credibility would be questioned and their findings dismissed as irrelevant.

Finally, friendly academics, “willing and able to reassure the public on these matters,” would be recruited to rebut the findings. (At the time, Motorola defended its conduct as the “essence of sound science and corporate responsibility” and affirmed that there was “a sound scientific basis for public confidence in the safety of cellular telephones.”)

Doubters in the government would be neutralized too. As the FCC moved toward adopting wireless-radiation limits in 1996, EPA officials, whose experts had conducted the most extensive government research on wireless-radiation risk, affirmed their problems of biological harm from RF microwave radiation exposure in a presentation to the FCC.

They urged the FCC to follow a two-stage strategy: to meet a looming congressional deadline by first setting interim limits covering known thermal effects; then to commission a group of experts to study biological risks and develop permanent exposure guidelines. But the FCC never pursued “Phase 2.” Instead, just months later, Congress completed a multiyear defunding of the EPA’s wireless-radiation group, sidelining the agency from researching the issue.

At the EPA, a lone radio-frequency radiation expert named Norbert Hankin remained, periodically rankling the wireless industry by publicly rebutting “the generalization by many that the [FCC] guidelines protect human beings from harm by any or all mechanisms.”

Going forward, the FCC, which has no in-house health or medical expertise of its own, would increasingly rely on the FDA and industry-influenced technical organizations. (The FDA itself has collaborated with the CTIA, the wireless industry trade group, to study cellphone safety. That research found “no association” between exposure to “cell phones and adverse health effects.”)

Still, there was enough awareness among government scientists from multiple agencies that, in 1999, the FDA asked the NTP to “assess the risk to human health.”

The NTP conducts detailed lab studies, typically on rodents, to evaluate environmental hazards. Its findings, widely regarded as the gold standard for toxicology work, routinely prompt federal public-health actions. The FDA requested that the NTP conduct its own animal experiments, which were “crucial” to assess cancer risk because of the long delay between human exposure to a carcinogen and a tumor diagnosis. As an FDA memo put it, “There is currently insufficient scientific basis for concluding either that wireless communication technologies are safe or that they pose a risk to millions of users.”

The NTP study was the biggest the agency had ever conducted and lasted over a decade. It used an unusually large number of rats and mice — some 3,000 — and involved both setting up a lab in Chicago and designing and constructing special radiation-exposure chambers for the rodents in Switzerland.

The final report was released in November 2018. The results were dramatic.

      • The study found “clear evidence” of rare cancerous heart tumors, called schwannomas, in male rats; “some evidence” of tumors in their brains and adrenal glands; and signs of DNA damage.

      • The percentage that developed tumors was small, but, as the study’s authors noted earlier, “Given the extremely large number of people who use wireless communication devices, even a very small increase in the incidence of disease resulting from exposure” could have “broad implications for public health.”

The federal government’s scientists had spoken. But the parts of the government charged with following the science and protecting people responded (in the case of the FCC) by publicly ignoring the results or (in the case of the FDA) pooh-poohing them. The study changed nothing, said Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, director of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, and the chief official advising the FCC on wireless issues, in a statement at the time of the study’s release.

Shuren disputed several key findings and asserted that the study “was not designed to test the safety of cellphone use in humans,” even though his own agency had commissioned it specifically for that reason. He added: “We believe the existing safety limits for cellphones remain acceptable for protecting the public health.” (An FDA spokesperson said Shuren declined to comment.)

The NTP findings, combined with similar results that year from the Ramazzini research institute in Italy and other studies, demanded a strong response, according to three long-time former government experts who spoke to ProPublica.

“It should have been the game-changer,” added Moskowitz, the Berkeley public-health researcher.

The former government officials believe the NTP findings should have led to a detailed statistical risk assessment by federal health agencies, spelling out the possible incidence of cancer in the general population; development of stricter FCC limits to address biological risks; prominent user warnings detailing simple steps people should take to minimize their exposure; and dramatically increased research funding. None of that happened.

“Their conclusion was, ‘Oh, there was nothing going on,’” said Birnbaum, the NTP’s then-director and a toxicologist. “Many of us found that very hard to believe.”

Today Birnbaum, who retired in 2019 after 40 years with government health agencies, is tempered in her assessment of the evidence.

“Do I see a smoking gun? . . . Do I see smoke? Absolutely. There’s enough data now to say that things can happen.”

Birnbaum said the NTP results should have triggered a consumer advisory akin to “the black-box warning on a drug, to say this has been associated to possibly cause cancer.”

Even as the NTP study was happening, the FCC in 2013 had been prodded by a Government Accountability Office report to review its radio-frequency exposure limit, unchanged since 1996.

“We recognize that a great deal of scientific research has been completed in recent years and new research is currently underway, warranting a comprehensive examination,” the FCC wrote, in opening its inquiry. Over the six years that followed, 1,200 comments poured into the FCC’s docket, including scores of studies (and a briefing on the NTP findings); appeals for stronger protections signed by hundreds of international scientists; and 170 personal accounts of “electro-sensitivity” radiation sickness, similar to the complaints in Pittsfield, resulting from neighborhood cell towers.

An Interior Department letter voiced awareness of the adverse impacts of radiation from towers on migrating birds, noting that the FCC’s limits “continue to be based on thermal heating, a criterion now nearly 30 years out of date and inapplicable today.”

The FCC was overwhelmed by the flood of comments, according to Mantiply, the agency official most involved in radio-frequency issues during this period. “We didn’t have the resources to even read all the comments,” he told ProPublica. Mantiply thought higher-ups were ignoring the issue.

“There was really nothing being done on it,” he said. “The inquiry was just on a back burner, and the back burner was turned off.”

So Mantiply, a soft-spoken physical scientist, decided to take action. In 2017, as the FCC’s review of its wireless standards entered its fourth year, he said, he and three colleagues proposed hiring an outside consulting firm to conduct an environmental assessment, a detailed formal examination, of the submissions on the radiation safety limits.

But their boss, Julius Knapp, the head of the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology, summarily rejected the proposal, according to Mantiply.

“He said, ‘No, we’re not going to do that.’ He let us know in no uncertain terms. He just rejected it in a single meeting.”

(Knapp, who is now retired, declined to comment on the record. FCC officials, through a spokesperson, declined requests to discuss the matter. Former FCC engineer Walter Johnston, one of the colleagues Mantiply identified as backing his proposal, said he didn’t remember it ever being presented as a “formal recommendation.”)

Mantiply’s proposal came at a time when the Trump White House and FCC commissioners were aggressively promoting 5G. FCC leadership was “not really thrilled with us pushing these inquiries,” Mantiply said. “They just felt like it’d get a lot of attention, that it would be in The Washington Post.”

On his final day at the FCC in August 2018, as he was retiring after 42 years in government, Mantiply raised the issue with FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel during a brief courtesy visit.

Mantiply told Rosenworcel.

“Don’t dismiss all this stuff because you’re hearing from industry, and they’re dismissing it. There’s uncertainty, and we don’t know what’s going on. It’s a very, very difficult problem.”

Rosenworcel, he said, listened politely. Fifteen months later, the FCC voted unanimously to shut down its review after six years. There was no need to change anything, the commissioners concluded. After examining the record, the FCC declared in a written order, it had seen no evidence that the science underlying its standards was “outdated or insufficient to protect human safety.”The U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, disagreed.

Responding to a pair of lawsuits filed by the Environmental Health Trust and other advocacy groups, the court ruled in August 2021 that the FCC had failed to meet “even the low threshold of reasoned analysis” in finding that its limits “adequately protect against the harmful effects of exposure to radiofrequency radiation unrelated to cancer.”

It was a striking rebuke, given the judiciary’s practice of offering agency decisions a high degree of deference, especially on technical matters.

The court wrote that it was scornful of the FCC’s heavy reliance on three “conclusory” statements from the FDA about safety. In oral argument, one judge also challenged the FCC’s claim that an interagency working group was closely monitoring the adverse effects of RF microwave radiation exposure on the FCC’s behalf; in fact, the group hadn’t met since 2018.

The FCC’s actions, the court wrote, waved off any acknowledgement of the protections for children and ignored “substantive evidence of environmental harms.”

And the FCC had said nothing about the impacts of the many technological changes, including 5G, that had taken place since 1996. “Ultimately,” the court wrote, “the Commission’s order remains bereft of any explanation as to why, in light of the studies in the record, its guidelines remain adequate.”

With that, the court sent the issue back to the FCC, for either a fresh review of its 26-year-old standard or better explanations to justify it. In the 15 months since, the FCC, now led by Rosenworcel, who was elevated by President Joe Biden, has taken no formal action.

In its statement to ProPublica, the FCC said it is exploring “next steps” with its “federal partners.” However, the FDA, the FCC’s chief partner on health matters, said in its own statement that it is not currently working with the FCC on any response to the court ruling. There’s been no visible sign of any preliminary FCC steps, according to four lawyers and representatives of the environmental groups that brought the court challenge.

In the past few years, with the appearance of more neighborhood cell towers and transmitters, pressure has begun to rise on this issue beyond environmental groups, longtime advocates and officials in liberal jurisdictions. In November 2020, a bipartisan state commission in New Hampshire charged with investigating Densified 4G/5G issued a detailed report concluding that wireless radiation “poses a significant threat to human health and the environment.”

Among its recommendations: that all new cell towers be at least 1,640 feet (500 meters) from any residence, school or business.

And in April, Mark Gordon, the Republican governor of Wyoming, wrote to Rosenworcel, urging the agency to reexamine its radiation limits based on “current scientific research” to make sure “the health and safety of our citizens is prioritized.”

In Pittsfield, Orsi and her colleagues on the board have grown resigned to their inability to take action against Verizon. Reactions have varied around town. One group of affected neighbors is waging its own separate legal battle with the company.

“It’s very natural for the FCC to listen to the industry,” said Mantiply, the former agency staffer. “That’s their audience and who they deal with most of the time.”

But, he added, “They’re answering to industry more than anything.”

US Congress Is Moving Forward On Classified 6G Wireless

By Zero5G.com, Oct 27, 2022 | Congressional Record Source

Congress is moving forward on classified 6G wireless communications systems, even though microwave irradiating infrastructures (3G/4G/5G and now 6G) are vigorously opposed by communities around the nation and worldwide, due to their hazardous pollution emissions continuously contaminating the environment, and the built-in, unwarranted surveillance this technologhy enables.

The federal government 6G push is led by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). These agencies are members of the UN International Telecommunications Union (UN ITU).

According to microwave weapons expert Barrie Trower, 5G and wireless radiation constitutes weaponry.

More and more communities are putting the brakes on these harmful antenna systems.

A recent study by The International Commission on the Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Fields (ICBE-EMF), entitled “Scientific evidence invalidates health assumptions underlying the FCC and ICNIRP exposure limit determinations for radiofrequency radiation: implications for 5G,” confirmed that FCC and ICNIRP guidelines, set in the 1990’s are not protective of human health or the environment.

According to the NTIA, the UN ITU sets the global standard for 5G. The UN ITU is focused on implementation of Agenda 2030. LINK

**RELATED: The International Telecommunication Union: The Most Important UN Agency You Have Never Heard Of

Link To Congressional Record

Lenox, MA Wireless Bylaw Update

By Clarence Fanto, Eagle correspondent Oct 10, 2022 | Original The Berkshire Eagle article here.

Lenox Cell Tower
The 120-foot cell tower behind Lenox Fit on Route 7/20 is the only full-strength cellular antenna in Lenox.

The 120-foot cell tower behind Lenox Fit on Route 7/20 is the only full-strength cellular antenna in Lenox.

LENOX, MA — For more than 10 years, residents, visitors and first responders have suffered from marginal cellphone signals in much of the town. Now, armed with evidence from a consultant who confirmed the widespread, spotty reception, town planners are pushing to put the finishing touches on their draft of a wireless communications zoning bylaw.

The aim is to protect the town’s scenic and historic character while meeting the needs for modern wireless facilities. The proposal seeks to abide by local, state and federal regulations while minimizing environmental and visual impacts by setting up standards for locations and installations, with a strong preference for placing any new facilities on existing structures.

MA State Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli, D-Lenox, said on Monday:

“Lenox has to do something, purely from a public safety standpoint and a business standpoint. I think the town is being left behind. If you’re trying to be in business in the center of the business district, it’s near impossible.”

Downtown cell service in the busy town is marginal to poor. Pignatelli noted that he has had dropped calls while at the post office. Pignatelli cited complaints from police officers who can’t make urgent cellphone calls and from residents who can’t call 911 in an emergency.

Another reason for investments in broadband and cellular service: The arrival of residents during the pandemic who can work remotely, he pointed out.

Limits on antenna heights and 300- or 500-foot buffers from residential properties are among the key issues to be settled as the bylaw is set to be fine-tuned at a hybrid Planning Board meeting Tuesday evening at 6 in Town Hall. A final decision is not likely until a follow-up meeting on Oct. 18.

The goal is to have a bylaw proposal ready for debate and a decision by voters during a special town meeting set for Nov. 17. A two-thirds majority would be needed for approval.

The problem may be potential pushback from some opponents of cell installations who claim health hazards from antennas in their neighborhoods, as in a section of south Pittsfield where a legal battle continues over a Verizon tower in a residential neighborhood. A proposed low-power antenna in the chimney of the state-owned Curtis subsidized housing complex in the heart of the Lenox business district went nowhere last year after some apartment residents, many of them elderly, voiced opposition. Several activists attended meetings on the proposal.

As one town official commented informally, “Everybody wants a better signal, but nobody wants a tower near them.” And in Lenox, most potential antenna locations are in or adjacent to residential areas.

Based on a “drive test” technical study conducted in May by consultant David Maxson of Isotrope LLC, who traveled about 100 miles of local roads, much of the town has “marginal” or “poor” service, especially downtown, along portions of Route 7 & 20 and in the Southeast section, including Lenox Dale.

The town’s single existing cell tower, at 90 Pittsfield Road (Rt 7 & 20), less than two miles north of downtown, has all three carriers on it — Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile. But the “drive test” measured poor or marginal signals more than 80 percent of the time, with Verizon the worst performer, with only about 10 percent of reception areas ranked as excellent or good, meeting design-standard goals.

With only one tower, Maxson, the consultant, wrote in his report, “the town is primarily served from cell sites outside the town. The two most likely areas of potential wireless facility development are the center of town and the southeast portion of town between Housatonic Street and the Lee line,” including Lenox Dale.

The Planning Board’s draft bylaw emphasizes location preferences:

  • New facilities on existing structures unless it can be demonstrated that shorter, less visible towers or facilities may be preferable.
  • Locations along denser commercial and industrial corridors.
  • New towers as far from residential areas as possible so that their height does not “loom over” neighbors.
  • New towers at sites that “do not pierce valuable scenic and historic views, although towers that ‘blend into’ hillside forests in an aesthetically unobtrusive way may achieve the purposes.”
  • Municipal locations or other public sites that fit in with the bylaw’s other requirements.

The draft bylaw includes, as the top priority, choices including concealed installation at an existing wireless location, attachment to an existing tower without a substantial change, or a small wireless facility. The lowest priorities include substantial modification to an existing base station or tower, a new camouflaged or concealed tower or, at the bottom of the list, a “naked” new tower.

Applications for any new towers would require a mailed notification to all property owners within at least 300 feet, or possibly 600 feet, of the proposed site. The draft bylaw suggests the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals would consider administrative approvals, special permits or variances, depending on the nature of a wireless facility application.

“Lenox is in the enviable position to be pro-active and identify where it wants something and guide how this infrastructure will look,” Land Use Director and Town Planner Gwen Miller said Monday.

Woman Files ADA Grievance with the City of Long Beach

. . . a grievance over an application for a so-called “small” Wireless Telecommunications Facility (sWTF) to be installed in front of her home

Adapted from an article by Daniel Pineda, Oct 7, 2022 | Original Beachcomber article here.

On Sept. 7, Moira Hahn, a resident of Long Beach, filed a complaint with the Long Beach Citywide Accessibility Coordinator, stating that the city had misused the protections of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). Hahn is a 66-year-old, disabled, retired college professor, who has been medically diagnosed to have Electromagnetic Magnetic Sensitivity (EMS): a medical condition caused by exposure to electromagnetic fields.

Hahn told the Beachcomber:

“Electromagnetic sensitivity causes me regular migraine headaches, cluster headaches and ear pain when I’m exposed to Wi-Fi or other sources of electromagnetic radiation, including prolonged proximity to transmitting cell towers. I recently experienced insomnia, heart palpitations and jitters, when we had to stay at a hotel with a Wi-Fi access point near our bed. I could not sleep. It felt like I was having a heart attack all night.”

Hahn’s grievances with the city began when the Long Beach City Council approved for the telecommunications company, AT&T, to replace a light post near Hahn’s home with one that would include a new cell tower; something that would cause continuous injury to Hahn, and potentially others with EMS.

In response, Hahn, as well as her husband Mark Hotchkiss, went to the Long Beach Department of Public Works, this past March, to appeal the approval of the new cell tower. Hahn talked to the Beachcomber about the appeal she made to the Department of Public Works, as well as shared letters containing some of the arguments made in said appeal.

One of the arguments she made was that Long Beach’s decision to add the new AT&T cell tower was in violation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), in which “the city failed to consider cumulative impacts of the one thousand pending cell tower installations, as CEQA requires cumulative impacts to be taken into consideration.”

Hahn also argued that the city had avoided an environmental review, by calling the new cell towers “streetlights,” another violation in the CEQA. Hahn said.

“They claim that over 1,000 cell towers being installed are substantially the same as the streetlights they replace. That is not true. Cell towers produce negative environmental impacts not limited to health, safety and flammability, that the original streetlights do not.”

Hahn’s appeal also included a letter from her physician, Dr. Richard Wexler, which included details on how symptoms of EMS can cause serious migraines for Hahn and were even the reason she had to retire from teaching.

Dr. Wexler wrote:

“Certain people are more sensitive to wireless radiation than others and those electromagnetic sensitive people often experience an exacerbation of their underlying medical problems when they are exposed to continuous doses of wireless radiation. “In my medical opinion, if a wireless telecommunications facility is located in close proximity to Ms. Hahn’s house and transmits wireless radiation continuously – even at levels within the existing FCC guidelines – Ms. Hahn may be physically harmed by the wireless radiation.”

Hahn had hoped her arguments to the Department of Public Works would be more than enough for their appeal to be accepted. However, the city clerk notified the appellants in April, that her appeal was denied.

The final conclusion made by Administrative Hearing Officer Larry Minsky stated:

“Hence, while issues of cumulative harm caused or potentially caused to appellants and the community appear to be a real danger, for the reasons noted supra such matters do not and cannot serve, in this instance, as a viable argument to overturn the City’s approval of the AT&T’s Permit application.”

To Moira Hahn, this was not the outcome she was looking for. However, the story doesn’t end there.

According to a letter written by Hahn’s attorney, Kathryn Pettit, the city also stated their interpretation of the ADA, in which it would only acknowledge individuals with disabilities requiring wheelchairs; something Pettit describes as discriminatory to those with other disabilities that fall under the protection of the ADA, like EMS, which has been a recognized condition that leads to impairment of one or more life functions by the Federal Access Board.

Pettit said in the memorandum.

“Yet the city did not even attempt to comply with the ADA because it argues it is ‘preempted’ from doing so. The city explicitly stated at the hearing that it did not consider Ms. Hahn’s disability in approving the Wireless Telecommunication Facility (WTF) permit.”

Hahn also believes that the city’s interpretation of the ADA is highly unreasonable, as it excludes all disabilities that don’t require the use of a wheelchair and is not consistent with legal precedent from the April, 2019 California Supreme Court ruling T-Mobile v San Franciso that states:

From p. 8-9 of the 2019 CA Supreme Court ruling in T-Mobile v San Franciso:

. . . the City has inherent local police power to determine the appropriate uses of land within its jurisdiction. That power includes the authority to establish aesthetic conditions for land use . . . We also disagree with plaintiffs’ contention that section 7901’s incommode clause limits their right to construct [telephone] lines only if the installed lines and equipment would obstruct the path of travel. Contrary to plaintiffs’ argument, the incommode clause need not be read so narrowly.

As the Court of Appeal noted, the word “ ‘incommode’ ” means “ ‘to give inconvenience or distress to: disturb.’ ” (T-Mobile West, supra, 3 Cal.App.5th at p. 351, citing Merriam-Webster Online Dict., available at http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/incommode [as of April 3, 2019].)8 The Court of Appeal also quoted the definition of “incommode” from the 1828 version of Webster’s Dictionary. Under that definition, “incommode” means “ ‘[t]o give inconvenience to; to give trouble to; to disturb or molest in the quiet enjoyment of something, or in the facility of acquisition.’ ” (T-Mobile West, supra, 3 Cal.App.5th at p. 351, citing Webster’s Dict. 1828—online ed., available at http://www.webstersdictionary1828.com/Dictionary/incommod [as of April 3, 2019].)

For our purposes, it is sufficient to state that the meaning of incommode has not changed meaningfully since section 7901’s enactment. Obstructing the path of travel is one way that telephone lines could disturb or give inconvenience to public road use. But travel is not the sole use of public roads; other uses may be incommoded beyond the obstruction of travel. (T-Mobile West, at pp. 355-356.) For example, lines or equipment might

  • generate noise,
  • cause negative health consequences, or
  • create safety concerns.

All these impacts could disturb public road use, or disturb its quiet enjoyment.

Hahn said about this:

“The city’s interpretation of the ADA is illogical and wrong. It is not just unfair to me, but to all Long Beach residents with legitimate disabilities not requiring the use of a wheelchair, including the sight-iimpaired, hearing-impaired, the neurologically-impaired and those with cancer.”

According to ruling in similar recent case in the District of Columbia Circuit, the judges wrote:

“a regulation can no more preempt a federal statute than a federal statute could preempt a provision in the Constitution.”

In other words, a city cannot rely on a chapter of its local zoning code to preempt something like the ADA. And yet, that seems to be what is happening here in Long Beach.

Moira Hahn and her husband are not giving up. The two have an opportunity to present their appeal once more, at a Long Beach City Council meeting on Oct. 18. To add insult to injury, according to an email written by Moira Hahn and shared with Beachcomber, Daniel Ramirez of the Long Beach Department of Public Works submitted an invoice to Hahn, stating that she must pay a $400 fee, to have their hearing with the City Council not be canceled, something that Hahn questions.

Hahn told the Beachcomber she could find no statute or ordinance in the city that supports this fee. She’s is demanding that the fee be waived.

[Note: During the writing of this article, Hahn had informed the Beachcomber, that she’s been notified that the $400 fee would be refunded to her by the City, according to an email she received from Daniel Ramirez].

Hahn hopes that, during the council meeting in October, the city will follow all CEQA regulations, as well follow the of the all ADA regulations and ADA federal laws because the City is required to do by their own city code. Hahn said:

“We hope that the city will follow CEQA, which also requires the City to address the project’s impacts on cumulative impacts of such a large planned installation of 1,000+ additional cell towers in Long Beach. The City has an obligation to follow the ADA, without limiting its responsibility to only the disabled requiring wheelchair access, as they were instructed to do in the 2019 ruling in T-Mobile v San Francisco.”

The ADA defines a disability as “a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such an individual; a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment.” For more information about the ADA, you can visit the official website at ADA.gov.

California SB.866 is DEAD, but Four Other Bad Bills Deserve a Gov. Newsom Veto

August 31, 2022 Update: On the last day of the legislative session, we are thrilled to share with you that SB 866 is DEAD! Senator Wiener’s bill that would have allowed minors to consent to vaccines, Earlier today he put out a statement saying that he did not have the votes and was putting the bill in the Inactive file, see the statement below:


The CA legislature is at the end of a two year session, so if this bill were to come back next year it would have to go through the full legislative process again, but for now we can take a moment and celebrate what has been accomplished this legislative session! 4 out of the 7 bills introduced by the CA Legislative Vaccine Work Group (spearheaded by Senator Pan) died, and others have been heavily amended.

These bills were an overreach and an infringement on constitutional and parental rights, as well as bodily autonomy. The other three bills, SB 1479 (School COVID testing bill), AB 2098 (COVID Physician misinformation bill) and AB 1797 (Vaccine Immunization Registry requirement), are headed to the Governor’s desk, along with SB 1419 (Minor medical records). While A Voice for Choice Advocacy’s Legislative team and lobbyists reach out to the Governor’s office, Governor Newsom also needs to hear from you.

So this week, please send a postcard and call Governor Newsom. TAKE ACTION THIS WEEK… 1) SEND A POSTCARD TO GOVERNOR NEWSOM: https://avoiceforchoiceadvocacy.org/avfca-governor-postcard-campaign/

We have 3000+ postcards on the way to Governor Newsom already, but we want that to be 10,000. It is super easy, quick and doesn’t cost you a penny. You can see how easy here: https://www.instagram.com/p/ChuuaywJJaa/ Go to: https://avoiceforchoiceadvocacy.org/avfca-governor-postcard-campaign/

Complete the form, including uploading an image for the front of your postcard (if desired) and a message for the back of your postcard Repeat for any other family members (children included) who want the Governor to Veto these bills

2) CALL GOVERNOR NEWSOM: Call Governor Newsom’s office and leave a message (916) 445-2841 Sample Script: “I am a CA resident. I am calling to ask the you to VETO AB 1797, Assembly Weber’s Immunization Registry bill, AB 2098, Assembly Member Low’s COVID misinformation/disinformation bill, SB 1479, Senator Pan’s School COVID testing bill And SB 1419, Senator Becker’s medical privacy bill when they are voted on on the Assembly Floor.”

3) SHARE! SHARE! SHARE! GET YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY TO CALL AND SEND POSTCARDS:Please share this email with friends and family, as well as on social media so we can get as many people as possible to call and send postcards. If every person gets just 10 other people to take action we would have tens of thousands of postcards. We can’t do this without you! In Solidarity,Stand for Health Freedom.

CDC Admits to Botched COVID Response, Announces Insufficient Overhaul

Critics Say Plan Doesn’t Address ‘Unholy Alliance’ With Big Pharma

Adapted from an Aug 18, 2022 article by Suzanne Burdick, Ph.D. | The original The Defender™ article is here.

The Centers for Disease Control Wednesday announced a “drastic” overhaul of the agency after admitting to failures in its management of the [alleged] COVID-19 pandemic. But some critics said the plan isn’t adequate and suggested replacing the agency with a public health model that operates independently from Big Pharma.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Wednesday announced a “drastic” overhaul of the agency aimed at modernizing it and rescuing its reputation after widespread criticism of its COVID-19 response and, more recently, the monkeypox outbreak.

“For 75 years, CDC and public health have been preparing for COVID-19, and in our big moment, our performance did not reliably meet expectations,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in an email to the agency’s 11,000-person staff.

Walensky said the overhaul will focus on making the agency more nimble and responsive to needs that arise in health emergencies. The CDC in a statement said it has never in its 75-year history “had to make decisions so quickly, based on limited and evolving science,” and that the agency’s traditional scientific and communication processes were “not adequate to effectively respond to a crisis the size and scope of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

According to CBS News, Walensky’s proposed internal changes include:

  • Expand the CDC staff focused on public health emergencies.
  • Require officials to stay in those jobs for at least six months.
  • Establish an office of intergovernmental affairs to facilitate partnerships with other agencies.
  • Create a health equity office.
  • Increase use of preprint scientific reports for issuing public health guidance, rather than waiting for research to be reviewed by peers and published by the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In a summary provided to The Hill, the CDC said it is considering restructuring its website and producing “plain language guidance” because its “guidance documents are confusing and overwhelming; the website is not easy to navigate.”

To implement the internal reforms, Walensky appointed Mary Wakefield, who served as acting deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) during the Obama administration, to lead the effort. She also proposed external changes that will require congressional action, such as requiring states to report their disease outbreak data to the CDC.

“My goal is a new, public health action-oriented culture at CDC that emphasizes accountability, collaboration, communication, and timeliness,” Walensky said.

However, plans about how the CDC will be held accountable — and by whom — remain unclear as of yet.

Did an ‘external’ review of the CDC prompt overhaul plans?

Walensky’s announcement — which CDC leaders called a “reset” — came as no surprise since she took over the agency at the beginning of President Biden’s term with promises of a “reinvigorated US response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bloomberg reported.

In April, she initiated a review to evaluate the CDC’s structure, systems and processes, commissioning Jim Macrae, a senior HHS official, to lead the review.

  • From mid-April to early June, Macrae interviewed 120 CDC staffers and individuals outside the agency, a senior CDC official on Wednesday told The Washington Post.
  • CDC Chief of Staff Sherri Berger also conducted a review during this time, according to Politico.
  • Walensky so far has received only an “oral briefing” on Macrae’s findings.

However, Walensky worked “over the last few months” with a “small group of internal and external advisers” to “evaluate the review’s findings and plan the overhaul.”

As of Wednesday, a full report of the review’s findings had not been released to the public.

However, according to a CDC statement provided to Politico, the reviews concluded that the “traditional scientific and communication processes were not adequate to effectively respond to a crisis the size and scope of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The CDC’s [insufficient] ‘reset’ lowers standards of evidence used to make regulatory decisions

Critics of the CDC plan questioned whether the overhaul will effectively address the governmental agency’s problems.

“The CDC, frankly, hasn’t been transparent or accountable,” Dr. Daniel Pollock, an epidemiologist who worked at the agency for 37 years before retiring in November, in part due to frustrations with its pandemic response, told Bloomberg.

  • Pollock, who led the CDC unit responsible for national surveillance of healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial use from 2004-2021, wasn’t consulted as part of the review and said he was “not expecting that it’s going to change things.
  • Jason Schwartz, a health policy researcher at the Yale School of Public Health, pointed out that the federal failings go beyond the CDC because the White House and other agencies were heavily involved. Schwartz told the New York Post he thinks the CDC’s reorganization is a positive step but “I hope it’s not the end of the story.”
  • James Lyons-Weiler, Ph.D., research scientist and author, said the changes are just an escalation of the deeper problem of governmental agencies colluding with pharmaceutical companies to lower scientific testing standards.

Commenting on the CDC’s plan to restructure its communications office and websites to make the agency’s guidance for the public clearer, Lyons-Weiler wrote on Substack:

“We’ve been hearing this for decades. ‘If only our messaging was clearer.’

No. Try ‘Make our messaging more independent of Pharma’s agendas, reduce the role of considerations of profitability, and try to make sure that what we see actually reflects empirical reality.”

Lyons-Weiler, president and CEO of the Institute for Pure and Applied Knowledge, an advocacy group that pushes for accuracy and integrity in science and for biomedical researchers to put people’s health before profits, also said:

“Among the changes is lowering the standards of the level of evidence used to make regulatory decisions. Sigh. Please tell your Senators about #PLANB. THAT [original emphasis] is a #Reset.”

Plan B refers to “Plan B Public Health Infrastructure and Operations Oversight Reform for America,” a document Lyons-Weiler authored that outlines a complete “public health infrastructure and operations oversight reform” for the U.S. The document, Lyons-Weiler said, provides “a blueprint for a bona fide public health infrastructure based on independence of freedom from corporatism.”

According to Lyons-Weiler, the CDC claims to work for the “greater good” when, in fact, it serves for-profit corporate interests.

As he stated in “Plan B”:

“Since the US CDC was founded, an unholy alliance has infiltrated public health in the US — euphemistically referred to as ‘industry/government partnerships’ and ‘Not-for-Profit’ government entities — the wicked marriage has infused profit motives into US government agencies charged with regulating medical and pharmaceutical industries.

Those involved view themselves as agents working toward a ‘greater good’ — notwithstanding, the trappings of perverse incentives and presumed moral dictates, agencies designed by past generations to protect the US population from harm from corporatist tendencies have been completely captured and subverted.”

Rather than overhauling the CDC, which — as Schwartz noted, would fail to address the problems in the other federal agencies — Lyons-Weiler argued that a new public health system needs to be adopted that is decentralized and depoliticized.

As he wrote in “Plan B”:

‘In our mission to return objectivity to science and to the media, we are reminded of the wisdom of Buckminster Fuller: ‘You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

Electromagnetic Sensitivity and Wireless Radiation

From August, 2022 . . .

Part One: Electromagnetic Sensitivity: EMS and Wireless Radiation

Part Two: Electromagnetic Sensitivity: EMS and Wireless Radiation

From November, 2019 . . .

August 5, 2022

Hi, Scott.

I listened to and featured yours and Susan Foster’s two-part interview on Green Street radio here:

In part one of the interview, you both discussed the problems with so-called “Smart meters”

Apparently, SoundCloud does not allow one to scrub through the audio unless you set up an account, so I can’t give you the exact time code, but about half-way through Susan Foster said something like the Electro-mechanical electric meter — a metal and glass, analog meter with no internal electronics — “had a fuse” and such a fuse protects the occupants in the home from an electrical spike on the electrical distribution lines (she cited an incident in Stockton, CA).

That sounded wrong to me. I then called PG&E and was called back by a PG&E Engineer and we talked things over for about 30 minutes.

There are now an array of meters made available to PG&E Customers, that fall into three categories:

A. Digital SmartMeter™ with (flammable) internal electronics and plastic cover, RF microwave radiation emitting antennas and a switched mode power supply

B. Digital Time-of-Use Meter with (flammable) internal electronics and plastic cover, and a switched mode power supply, but no RF microwave radiation emitting antennas

C. Electro-mechanical meter: a metal and glass, analog meter that has dials and no internal electronics or switched mode power supply

He confirmed to me that C does not have a fuse and is not grounded. The spike (if it gets past the cut out at the pole) goes through the meter to the electrical panel and then is hopefully grounded. C is built with non-flammable materials and is tougher, as it can withstand an electrical spike on the electrical distribution lines better than A or B, which are made from flammable materials.

Many times people are given B, when they really should get C, as both A and B contribute a good deal of conducted emissions/dirty electricity.

You may want to better inform Susan Foster and Doug & Patti at Greenstreet so opt out customers successfully request and get the correct meter, C – Electro-mechanical meter.

Pacific Gas & Electric Meter Choices

Adapted from this PG&E web page here:

With PG&E, you can choose the type of meter that you want for your home. You can choose a between

  • Digital SmartMeter™ with internal electronics, RF microwave radiation emitting antennas and a switched mode power supply or
  • Electro-mechanical meter: a metal and glass, analog meter that has dials and no internal electronics or switched mode power supply. The following table compares both meters.

PLEASE NOTE: The electro-mechanical, analog meter comes with a monthly fee. The monthly fee ends after 36 consecutive months. Fees are set by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

FeatureSo-Called SmartMeter™Electro-mechanical meter
Emits RF Micowave radiation 24/7 YesNo
Includes Switched Mode Power SupplyYesNo
Collects usage data to sell to third partiesYesNo
Energy alertsYesNo
View your daily energy alertsYesNo
Outage detectionYesNo
Setup chargeFree$75 or less
Monthly chargeFree$10 or less
  • Per PG&E testimony, PG&E’s Digital SmartMeter™ sends between 10,000 and 190,000 RF Microwave transmissions per day from your home; each transmission is designed to travels nearly two miles.
  • A switched mode power supply converts AC to DC (for the internal electronics) and does not filter out the resulting conducted emissions/electrical waste which is dumped onto your electric lines, creating Dirty Electricity and a turning one’s plastic Romex wiring into a 24/7 emitter of 100 kHz+ RF microwave radiation. Learn more here.

If you qualify for financial assistance, the setup charge for an analog meter is $10 and the monthly charge is $5. Learn about financial assistance requirements.

Link to Helping Customers Save Energy & Money.

You Can Opt Out of SmartMeter™ Use

You can opt out of SmartMeter™ participation with one of the following methods:

  • Link to SmartMeter™ Opt-Out Form.
  • Link to Office Locations by Area (PDF, 221 KB). Find your local PG&E office.
  • Submit a request in-person at your local PG&E office.
  • Call the PG&E SmartMeter™ line at 1-866-743-0263.

CPUC Rules for SmartMeter™ Opt-Out Fees

If you opt out, your monthly fees and meter readings are affected in the following ways.

  • Your monthly charges are discontinued after 36 consecutive months.
  • Your meter readings take place every other month, starting in 2015.

The CPUC decision on opt-out rules was issued in December 2014.

  • Read the CPUC decision. Link to CPUC Decision 14-12-078 December 18, 2014 (PDF, 980 KB)
  • Read the tariff and rate changes related to the decision by the CPUC. Link to SUBJECT: Implementation of SmartMeter™ Opt Out Phase 2 Decision 14-12-078: Revise the SmartMeter™ Opt-Out Program Balancing Accounts, Electric and Gas Rate Schedules E-SOP and G-SOP, and Electric and Gas Rule 9 (PDF, 1.49 MB)PDF.

Legal Action by WTF Opponents Names Pittsfield Mayor, Linda Tyer

By Meg Britton-Mehlisch, July 29, 2020 | The Berkshire Eagle article here.

Note: WTF = ‘Wireless Telecommunications Facility’, aka ‘Cell Tower’

An aerial view of the 115-foot monopole Wireless Telecommunications Facility (WTF) that Verizon Wireless erected in a south Pittsfield neighborhood in 2020.

PITTSFIELD — A group of residents filed legal action Thursday asking the Berkshire Superior Court to review whether the Board of Health improperly ended its opposition to a cell tower in south Pittsfield.

The residents claim the board dropped a cease-and-desist order against Verizon Wireless due to what they allege was an illegal and unethical handling of the situation by Mayor Linda Tyer and City Solicitor Stephen Pagnotta.

Scott McCollough, one of the attorneys representing residents, said in an interview.

“We are really just trying to get the outside interference of the Mayor and the City Solicitor, who has conflicts of interest … out of the way and let the board exercise its independent authority to do what it thinks is the best. The goal here is to let the board make that decision with the resources that it needs, including independent counsel, a lawyer that can give them fair and objective advice and does not have a conflict.”

The residents are making use of a Massachusetts state law that allows the court to review the administrative decisions of other bodies, like the Board of Health, and “correct errors in proceedings which are not according to the course of the common law.” The law gives the residents 60 days to challenge the Board of Health’s actions — a window that was quickly closing.

To make the challenge, residents had to name as a defendant the Board of Health, a body they view as their advocate through this process.

The filing says:

[the the board is named ] “because it is their coerced action rescinding the Emergency Order that has harmed the Plaintiffs by continuing the nuisance, adverse health consequences and the ongoing constructive eviction of some of the Plaintiffs . . . Plaintiffs emphasize, however, that in many respects the Board is as much a victim as the Plaintiffs.”

Plaintiffs in the action are Courtney Gilardi, Charlie Herzig, Judy Herzig, Mark Markham, Angelika Markham and Elaine Ireland.