Sarasota Herald-Tribune Caught Censoring Expert’s “Smart” Meter Warnings

With regard to credible and informative coverage of the problems and hazards associated with so-called “smart” meters, Sarasotans have been poorly served by the corporate media. The Herald-Tribune’s editors appear to go out of their way to block critical facts from their readership. A recent example is an article published on 11/24/12 on the Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s website, titled “Some fear ill effects from new FPL meters.” The article was a shortened version of Susan Salisbury’s article, published 14 days earlier by The Palm Beach Post.

The Herald-Tribune article was really hacked over from the original, but Herald-Tribune readers would never know, unless they visited the Palm Beach Post site to read the original.

The Palm Beach Post article comprised 1142 words. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune article, only 775 words. Interestingly, the section completely omitted by the Herald-Tribune included an interview with Dr. David Carpenter, Harvard-educated and founder of the University at Albany School of Public Health, in which he is asked about his recent letter, titled “Smart Meters: Correcting the Gross Misinformation,” which describes RF/microwave hazards from cumulative exposure to “smart” meters.

We invite our readers to compare the two versions. To save time, the text immediately following in RED is the text OMITTED by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune but included in the Palm Beach Post story.

We ask CHASM readers: Why did the Sarasota Herald-Tribune so blatantly censor an important part of the journalist’s original story? Does it have anything to do with the fact that FP&L is a major advertiser for the paper, a buyer of frequent full-page ads, etc.?

Also, in reading both versions of the article, please note the usual ‘fear’ framing by the corporate media/public relations agents, which is always keen to divert public attention AWAY from substantive (and often certifiably-criminal) matters and to instead focus largely on emotional arguments and “concerns.” The classic survey of the science of media manipulation (and a must read)  is “Toxic Sludge is Good for You! Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry,” by Stauber and Rampton.

This media criticism is published under Fair Use.

More soon on Dr. David Carpenter.

— CHASM

[1] THE TEXT OMITTED BY THE SARASOTA HERALD-TRIBUNE:


A group of 54 experts from 20 countries created a stir in June when they signed a letter published in the Canadian magazine La Maison du 21e siecle saying that smart meters are worrisome. It can be read at: http://maisonsaine.ca/smart-meters-correcting-the-gross-misinformation/

Entitled “Smart Meters: Correcting the Gross Misinformation”, the lengthy letter written by Dr. David Carpenter, Harvard-educated and founder of the University at Albany School of Public Health, states in part:

“Wireless smart meters typically produce… millisecond-long RF bursts on average 9,600 times a day with a maximum of 190,000 daily transmissions… People in proximity to a smart meter are at risk of significantly greater aggregate of RF/microwave exposure than with a cell phone, not to mention the cumulative exposure received by people living near multiple meters mounted together, pole-mounted routers or utility collector meters using a third antenna to relay RF signals from 500 to 5,000 homes.”

We asked Carpenter two questions: does electromagnetic hypersensitivity really exist, and are smart meters causing people to have symptoms?

“I think it is a real thing,” Carpenter said. “There are so many people who suffer from it.”

“When we wrote the letter, we tried not to overstate the case because the evidence isn’t really there. The indirect evidence is there,” Carpenter said.

Carpenter cited the example of a Michigan couple, who owns two homes, one with a smart meter and one without one. The wife became ill at the residence with the smart meter, but not at the other house. The symptoms disappeared when the smart meter was removed.

“The problem is that these reports are anecdotal and not scientifically done. The symptoms are so non-specific, usually a headache or fatigue,” Carpenter said.

The studies about electromagnetic hypersensitivity involved cell phones, not smart meters. Independent studies not funded by the utility industry are needed, he said.

“There are no studies on smart meters and health effects. It would be difficult to do that. That is one of the reasons so many people are skeptical of this. I have publicly expressed skepticism a couple of years ago. I have changed my view. I have found too many people who are not crazy and have symptoms,” Carpenter said.

[2] SARASOTA HERALD-TRIBUNE’S CENSORED VERSION: 775 WORDS

Some fear ill effects from new FPL meters
http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20121124/ARCHIVES/211241039/-1/todayspaper?p=3&tc=pg

By SUSAN SALISBURY The Palm Beach Post
Published: Saturday, November 24, 2012 at 1:00 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, November 23, 2012 at 9:22 p.m.

WEST PALM BEACH – Earlier this year, Elke Lawrence wondered why her usually healthy 6-year-old son Alexander had been sick so much.

Then the West Palm Beach resident heard some people in a health food store talking about smart meters and about how hard a time they were having getting Florida Power & Light Co. to remove the newly installed meters.

The meters transmit and receive data remotely as electricity is used and are considered essential to modernizing the electric grid. They replace old-style analog meters and end the need for meter readers.

“I went home and spent the next few weeks researching this. I was shocked to hear that this was going on all around the country. California was on the forefront and millions of people have refused the new smart meters due to health and privacy issues,” Lawrence said.

She found out that in late 2011 FPL had installed 45 smart meters at Flagler Yacht Club and Towers, the condominium complex where she lives.

“I had 45 meters right outside my door, which happens to be across from my son’s bedroom,” Lawrence said.

In June, Lawrence moved her son into another bedroom away from the meters, and he hasn’t been sick since. There’s no way to prove a connection between the illnesses and the meters, but she’s not taking any chances.

“I don’t want my son to be the guinea pig. I want to err on the side of caution and have one less thing to worry about,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence and others who reside at the condo complex have asked neighbors to have their meters replaced with the older versions. So far, FPL has removed 13 meters.

As FPL nears completion of its smart meter installations, a fraction of its customers are among consumers across the country and around the world who are questioning whether the radio frequency (RF) waves the devices emit are harmful.

On Oct. 4, more than 35 demonstrations against smart meters took place throughout the U.S. and Canada, according to the national Campaign to Stop Smart Meters and Wireless Radiation Protection Coalition.

FPL has installed nearly 4.1 million meters throughout its 35-county territory and has activated 3.3 million of them, said FPL spokeswoman Elaine Hinsdale. About 19,000 of FPL’s 4.6 million customers, fewer than a half of 1 percent, have refused the meters.

Whether radio waves transmitted by smart meters, cell phones, cordless phones and baby monitors cause health problems is being debated.

In one camp are those who believe the meters cause symptoms such as headaches, tingling, tinnitus, extreme fatigue, sleep difficulties, nausea and heart palpitations. They say they have electromagnetic hypersensitivity.

Those who say smart meters are safe include the utility industry, many medical professionals and groups such as the World Health Organization, Health Canada, and the California Council on Science and Technology.

“There’s a lot of misinformation on the Internet and being circulated, so we want to assure our customers that FPL’s smart meters (and the radio frequency exposure) comply fully with Federal Communications Commission health and safety standards,” Hinsdale said.

A recent letter from the FCC to Florida Sen. Bill Nelson said: “The FCC has set limits on the maximum permissible exposure for emissions at RF-emitting devices.

The smart meters being installed by FPL operate at levels that are hundreds of times lower than the FCC limit.”

FPL’s meters only transmit data in short bursts, just a few seconds each, Hinsdale said.

“Our meters are inactive as much as 99 percent of the time, so they give off a fraction of RF emissions compared to cell phones or other common household devices. No credible study has ever showed that an RF-emitting device operating within the limits set by the FCC has caused adverse health effects,” Hinsdale said.

Harvard-educated Dr. Peter A. Valberg, a principal for environmental health for Gradient Corp. of Cambridge, Mass., said, “You would have to be exposed to the RF from a smart meter for 375 years to get a dose equivalent to that of one year of 15-minutes-per-day cell phone use.

“Their weak signals resemble those of many other ordinary devices we use every day, including not just our cell phones and wireless handsets, but also baby monitors, microwave ovens, laptop computers, and WiFi routers. The fact that we can receive a multitude of radio and TV stations inside our homes illustrates another common source of RF for everyone,” Valberg said.

For now, FPL is allowing customers to put smart meter installation on hold.
Eventually, those who want to keep the old mechanical devices could be charged an additional fee as is being done in states such as California, Maine and Vermont.

[3] THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE: 1142 WORDS

Smart meters’ possible health effects concern some
http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/business/todays-topic-smart-meterssmart-meters-possible-hea/nSyjQ/

By Susan Salisbury
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Earlier this year, Elke Lawrence wondered why her usually healthy 6-year-old son Alexander had been sick so much.

Then the West Palm Beach resident heard some people in a health food store talking about smart meters and about how hard a time they were having getting Florida Power & Light Co. to remove the newly installed meters.

The meters transmit and receive data remotely as electricity is used and are considered essential to modernizing the electric grid. They replace old-style analog meters and end the need for meter readers.

“I went home and spent the next few weeks researching this. I was shocked to hear that this was going on all around the country. California was on the forefront and millions of people have refused the new smart meters due to health and privacy issues,” Lawrence said.

She found out that in late 2011 FPL had installed 45 smart meters at Flagler Yacht Club and Towers, the condominium complex where she lives.

“I had 45 meters right outside my door, which happens to be across from my son’s bedroom,” Lawrence said.

In June Lawrence moved her son into another bedroom away from the meters, and he hasn’t been sick since. There’s no way to prove a connection between the illnesses and the meters, but she’s not taking any chances.

“I don’t want my son to be the guinea pig. I want to err on the side of caution and have one less thing to worry about,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence and others who reside at the condo complex have asked neighbors to have their meters replaced with the older versions. So far, FPL has removed 13 meters.

As FPL nears completion of its smart meter installations, a fraction of its customers are among consumers across the country and around the world who are questioning whether the radio frequency (RF) waves the devices emit are harmful.

On Oct. 4, more than 35 demonstrations against smart meters were held throughout the U.S. and Canada, according to the national Campaign to Stop Smart Meters and Wireless Radiation Protection Coalition.

FPL has installed nearly 4.1 million meters throughout its 35-county territory and has activated 3.3 million of them, said FPL spokeswoman Elaine Hinsdale. About 19,000 of FPL’s 4.6 million customers, fewer than a half of 1 percent, have refused the meters.

Whether radio waves transmitted by smart meters, cell phones, cordless phones and baby monitors cause health problems is being debated.

In one camp are those who believe the meters cause symptoms such as headaches, tingling, tinnitus, extreme fatigue, sleep difficulties, nausea and heart palpitations. They say they have electromagnetic hypersensitivity.

Those who say smart meters are safe include the utility industry, many medical professionals and groups such as the World Health Organization, Health Canada, and the California Council on Science and Technology.

“There’s a lot of misinformation on the Internet and being circulated, so we want to assure our customers that FPL’s smart meters (and the radio frequency exposure) comply fully with Federal Communications Commission health and safety standards,” Hinsdale said.

A recent letter from the FCC to Florida Sen. Bill Nelson said: “The FCC has set limits on the maximum permissible exposure for emissions at RF-emitting devices. The smart meters being installed by FPL operate at levels that are hundreds of times lower than the FCC limit.”

FPL’s meters only transmit data in short bursts, just a few seconds each, Hinsdale said.

“Our meters are inactive as much as 99 percent of the time, so they give off a fraction of RF emissions compared to cell phones or other common household devices. No credible study has ever showed that an RF-emitting device operating within the limits set by the FCC has caused adverse health effects,” Hinsdale said.

Harvard-educated Dr. Peter A. Valberg, a principal for environmental health for Gradient Corp. of Cambridge, Mass., said, “You would have to be exposed to the RF from a smart meter for 375 years to get a dose equivalent to that of one year of 15-minutes-per-day cell phone use.

“Their weak signals resemble those of many other ordinary devices we use every day, including not just our cell phones and wireless handsets, but also baby monitors, microwave ovens, laptop computers, and WiFi routers. The fact that we can receive a multitude of radio and TV stations inside our homes illustrates another common source of RF for everyone,” Valberg said.

A group of 54 experts from 20 countries created a stir in June when they signed a letter published in the Canadian magazine La Maison du 21e siecle saying that smart meters are worrisome. It can be read at: http://maisonsaine.ca/smart-meters-correcting-the-gross-misinformation/

Entitled “Smart Meters: Correcting the Gross Misinformation”, the lengthy letter written by Dr. David Carpenter, Harvard-educated and founder of the University at Albany School of Public Health, states in part:

“Wireless smart meters typically produce… millisecond-long RF bursts on average 9,600 times a day with a maximum of 190,000 daily transmissions… People in proximity to a smart meter are at risk of significantly greater aggregate of RF/microwave exposure than with a cell phone, not to mention the cumulative exposure received by people living near multiple meters mounted together, pole-mounted routers or utility collector meters using a third antenna to relay RF signals from 500 to 5,000 homes.”

We asked Carpenter two questions: does electromagnetic hypersensitivity really exist, and are smart meters causing people to have symptoms?

“I think it is a real thing,” Carpenter said. “There are so many people who suffer from it.”

“When we wrote the letter, we tried not to overstate the case because the evidence isn’t really there. The indirect evidence is there,” Carpenter said.

Carpenter cited the example of a Michigan couple, who owns two homes, one with a smart meter and one without one. The wife became ill at the residence with the smart meter, but not at the other house. The symptoms disappeared when the smart meter was removed.

“The problem is that these reports are anecdotal and not scientifically done. The symptoms are so non-specific, usually a headache or fatigue,” Carpenter said.

The studies about electromagnetic hypersensitivity involved cell phones, not smart meters. Independent studies not funded by the utility industry are needed, he said.

“There are no studies on smart meters and health effects. It would be difficult to do that. That is one of the reasons so many people are skeptical of this. I have publicly expressed skepticism a couple of years ago. I have changed my view. I have found too many people who are not crazy and have symptoms,” Carpenter said.

For now, FPL is allowing customers to put smart meter installation on hold, and eventually those who want to keep the old mechanical devices could be charged an additional fee as is being done in states such as California, Maine and Vermont.

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One Response to Sarasota Herald-Tribune Caught Censoring Expert’s “Smart” Meter Warnings

  1. James H. Humphrey says:

    There are several issues here: The first of course is the EMF radiation and the electric co. all say, the meter only radiates a fraction of the day and less radiation than a cell phone. For one meter maybe, I’m not agreeing but, multiply that by thousands, make that millions of meters. When you go to bed at night and your head is 10ft away, you are getting blasted for 8hrs straight! Next, if you are in an apartment or other multiply housing unit and you are on the meter end, how many meters 10 to 20 or ? and you are getting blasted for 8 hrs for all of them. How many houses in your subdivision, you are getting blasted by everyone and on weekends – 24 hrs a day. Driving to work or where ever you go down the community streets, you are still getting blasted. The entire neighborhood is alive with electro magnatic radiation 24 X 7. Are the power companies telling you this? It does not stop there, at work, how many of you are working in close proxmity to the meters – actually what is a ‘safe’ distance? How about the relay units, how powerful are those? Where are they located, in a residential area? What is the on air time for them, one would think continuously as the units must relay for hundreds of meters, what is the safe distance from them, do you work close to one of them or do you live close to one of them? Other issues are of concern, how many drivers have lost their jobs? Nationwide – must be a pretty good impact, locally – just another person on the unemployed list, not a big impact except to each family. Naturally the electric co. says on salary, less fuel, fewer trucks, less maintanance (fewer jobs again), smaller insurance premiums, of course with fewer employees – no matching socail security payments, smaller health insurance premiums, etc., etc., etc., It is a win win for the electric co. but for the general public, I don’t think so. There are other issues but I have no idea how wide spread they are, I have heard of meter fires, incorrect billing and I do not know how reliable they are, how often do these units fail. I also do not believe that the data collected really improves outage information, you tell me that they do not know when a grid is out or what the consumption is! Sure, they ride around looking at the transformers to see if a fuze link is blown, ok, put a smart meter on every transformer, you’ll know when it is blown, don’t put it on my house, I still have a telephone! If they want a “Smart Meter”, let it come on ONCE a month and forward my reading, AND THAT IS IT! Would accomplish the same job and save the same amount of money. All that other information is BS, pure and simple.

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