The Clock Is Ticking

Worcesterites face down dangers of imposed smart meter pilot

National Grid’s sanctioned experiment with the residents of Worcester recently passed the one-year mark. This, as the utility’s two-year “smart meter” pilot program — renamed Smart Energy Solutions — entered its second year January 1st.

Much to the chagrin of a growing number of Americans, smart meters have been mounted on 45% of U.S. homes over the last several years. Bad enough that Worcester residents are being exposed to the demonstrated downsides of these RF (radio frequency)-emitting devices. There’s also concern that the ill-advised Worcester pilot will be used to justify installing these wireless digital devices on buildings across the state once the pilot ends. This has brought a lot of eyes and ears to the “heart of the Commonwealth” on this contentious and multi-faceted issue.

So what’s all the fuss?

1. Choice. For one thing, despite protestations to the contrary, the utility’s auto-enrollment approach to the pilot has meant that some folks aren’t even aware they have one of these digital devices attached to their homes. And if you live in an apartment building, the risk is multiplied by banks of wireless meters, which raises one aspect of choice: How much of a choice do you have if you aren’t aware of what a smart meter is, does, or what the downsides are, let alone whether you have one or not?

2. Safety. Fires and explosions attributed to smart meters have been documented in various parts of the country.

3. EHS. National Grid offers an opt-out option. That said, even if you opt out of a smart meter, as with a Worcester friend, Pam, who lives next door to a smart meter pilot home, you’re still continually subjected to the radiation these devices pulse in microbursts, 24/7, 365 days a year. Except in Pam’s case, it’s adding insult to injury because she’s one of the growing number of individuals diagnosed as electromagnetically hypersensitive (EHS). EHS individuals are considered the “canaries in the coal mine” since their more dramatic and immediate sensitivity is a precursor to what many scientists warn the rest of us will be facing in less time than we would like to imagine.

4. Connecting the dots. Many who are not EHS are already experiencing annoying, though perhaps less disturbing, symptoms like memory loss, insomnia, digestive disturbance, tinnitus (ringing in ears) and headaches. Though they may not yet have connected the dots, there is a connection between EMF/RF exposure and their health symptoms.

In my friend, Pam’s case, the effects are significantly debilitating. That means her symptoms not only keep her from frequenting most public places but she’s been forced to pursue various protective (and expensive) measures in her home to create, at least to some degree, a relatively safe haven.

Pam often considers moving, but faces the dilemma of where to go, since given the escalating ubiquity of wireless and supporting infrastructure, the prospects of finding a safe location are rapidly shifting and diminishing. It’s no wonder a desperate EHS individual featured in the French documentary Microwaves, Science and Lies, declared the condition she shares with thousands, “a nightmare you don’t wake up from.”

5. Cybersecurity vulnerability. Smart meters are considered the cornerstone of the smart grid as it’s currently configured. Apparently not one to mince words, when speaking about security and the smart grid, former CIA director, James Woolsey (1993 to 1995) in a 2011 interview cautioned, “The so called ‘smart grid’ that is as vulnerable as what we’ve got, is not smart at all. It’s a really, really stupid grid.”

6. Cost. When the Worcester smart meter pilot was a mere glint in National Grid’s eye, former Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley rejected the proposed program saying it “… was not well designed and should not be approved.” Coakley’s bottom line reference called it “too large and too expensive.” But the DPU (Department of Public Utilities) went ahead and approved it anyway. We can expect, as has been seen in applications elsewhere and as some Worcester residents have already claimed, that expanded costs will be passed on to the customer.

7. By bye Barbie. On the subject of dollars, it’s no secret that the profit-incentive is driving manufacturers to cultivate and feed the addictive hunger of over-the-top demands for various wireless devices. And everyone wants a piece of the action.

While wearable technology is being touted as all the rage, what are the downsides healthwise? Then there’s Hello, Barbie! Do we really need a wifi-connected doll that converses with our children? Finally, on the face of it, it was an example of clever repurposing, but whose brilliant idea was it anyway, to convert New York City phone booths into wifi “hot spots”?

8. Science on health. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)/World Health Organization (WHO) in 2011 classified radio frequency electromagnetic fields (EMF) as a class 2B carcinogen, “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” the same classification given to lead, DDT and chloroform.

In May 2015, a core of 200+ international scientists issued an appeal to the United Nations, UN Member States and WHO. The demand was for measures protecting humans and wildlife from electromagnetic fields and wireless technology with the warning that “The time to deal with the harmful biological and health effects is long overdue.”

Indeed, all of life, including flora, is at risk. The esteemed core backed its call by their 2,000 peer-reviewed papers on the “biological or health effects of non-ionizing radiation, part of the EMF spectrum … used for wireless communications.”

9. Protect the children. Next time you’re tempted to marvel at the fact that your favorite three-year-old knows her way around your laptop or iPad better than you do, consider this: potential parents, pregnant women and children have been shown to be among the most vulnerable populations. Not to mention that those with pre-existing conditions are also high on the especially at-risk list.

France last year passed a nine-point piece of legislation, which, among other things, outlaws the use of wireless devices in nursery schools; in schools serving older children, wireless devices must be turned off when not in use.

10. Exposure limits. So the good news is that we have some examples of protective exposure limits, which we in the U.S. would do well to follow. Europe and some countries/continents are more advanced in their approach to this multi-faceted issue and some have set guidelines and regulations that are responsive to the health warnings issued by experts internationally over the years.

11. Nothing new. While concerns about smart meters and other wireless devices are not new — particularly among scientists not beholden to industry — those concerns are escalating as the dangers increase in step with the proliferation of wireless and the “smart grid” as conceived in its short-sighted incarnation with its expanding supportive infrastructure.

12. A truly smart grid vs. greenwashing. Smart meters are part of a push for a smart grid, which many experts claim is not at all smart and others, not at all green. To be clear, there is no argument: We need a smart grid. The question is what constitutes a wise, fully explored and examined, long-term plan for using our resources in safe and authentically sustainable ways?

There is more than enough credible evidence showing harm, just as there was in the “tobacco wars” and in the face of doubt methodically cast by deniers on the question of climate change. See the book/film Merchants of Doubt by science historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway:

13. Precaution in the face of controversy and denial. There’s no question that this is a controversial subject. Profits are at stake. An entrenched mode justifying decisions failing to take real life consequences into consideration is prominently in play. The resulting momentum has blinded many decision makers into holding fast to a rationale that perpetuates damaging circumstances.

At the same time, our own denial is part of the picture. We’re talking about an invisible element: human-made EMF/RF. Therefore, enter the temptation to dismiss substantiated facts in the face of the bugaboo we perceive threatens our love affair with wireless accommodation.

Those concerned about the proliferation of wireless come from all points along the political spectrum. They are not advocating taking your cell phone and computer away. That said, there are measures you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones until we reach the tipping point required to restore balance, to live from a place of awareness and responsible action, to incorporate technology into our lives in a safe and healthy way. I trust that we have the capacity to embrace that path.

Some agree that the smartest course we can take, at least at this juncture, is to call for a moratorium on the smart meter initiative while honoring the precautionary principle, one definition of which states: “If an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is not harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking an action.” In the case of the smart meter pilot in Worcester, that would be National Grid.

For more information see: and

You may choose to input your address on the site to determine the locations of antennas and towers close to your home or place of business.

Reiki Master Leslie Saffer, M.A.T, is a Worcester resident who has worked in energy medicine involving the natural electromagnetic field. A writer and musician, she is involved in a growing international movement to promote public awareness about hazards posed by the accelerating use of smart meters and other wireless devices. Email

Bluetooth Radiation: A Personal Warning

by Wendy Marks, M.Ed.

When an acquaintance showed me his fitness tracker, I thought it was a cool toy. Two weeks later at a conference, a natural health doctor talked about hers in a positive way, saying it was a great help in her physical fitness training and she enjoyed it very much. It made me think that I should try one of those since I could always use a little cheerleading, so I bought one.

Once it arrived, I read the instructions and was ready to go. The instructions noted that most women wear the device hooked to their bra, pointing at their heart, so I attached it there. I hooked up the Bluetooth with my iPad and was having a great time. It counted calories, monitored my steps, told me how much water I should drink; it was fun! I put it on my wrist at night to monitor my sleep. The only time it was off my body was if I was in the shower or pool.

A couple of months later I started noticing mood changes. I became depressed, cranky, and generally lethargic, when normally I am none of those things. When I found myself sitting and looking at the pool, one day, thinking, “I don’t want to swim,” I woke up. I love to swim. I live for summer. I noticed a heaviness in my heart and that I was getting sadder each day.

Being a person of a scientific bent of mind I started experimenting with variables. I stopped all my supplements and no change. I monitored everything I ate to see if there was anything missing from my diet. When I had exhausted everything I could think of, I remembered my fitness tracker was new so I decided to take that off and see what happens. Within three days I was feeling significantly better; within one week I was back to normal. Now curious, I started researching the effects of Bluetooth radiation.

Despite FDA approval of the use of fitness trackers, the two primary negative effects of Bluetooth radiation that jumped out at me from my Internet research were weight gain and suicidal feelings. Yikes! I read further and discovered that wearing a Bluetooth device in your ear is linked to brain cancer. It made me wonder what pointing it at my heart for three months might have done.

Although Bluetooth waves are apparently low level radio frequencies meant only for short-range connections, their danger lies in the cumulative effect of the device being worn all day. As an antidote, I treated myself homeopathically for Bluetooth radiation, did a detox, and turned off all the Bluetooth I had in my house. I hope my experience is valuable for others to think about before attaching themselves to Bluetooth devices. We just don’t know what the long term health risks will be.

Wendy Marks is a medical intuitive and healer in Needham, MA. Email