Phil Alethes editorials

Unsafe, Unneeded, Undemocratic: The Ongoing Water Meter Installation

In Silver City, town officials refuse to release technical specifics even as they scurry around rodent-like, installing a new technology that is capable of spying on our water usage as well as inflicting health damages ranging from learning disabilities to cancer. More accurately, not Silver City town officials but a company aptly named RTS (RaTS?), working out of plain white vehicles, are unobtrusively installing new meters in our midst.

What are these harmful, microwave-emitting devices ¹ that are being planted among us?Town Manager Alex Brown has not revealed technical details of the new “smart” water meters. He has been willing only to mention the model name (Spectrum 30D) of the microwave-emitting devices.

A bit of sleuthing shows that these meters are very problematic indeed. These meters emit radiation in the 902-to-928 megahertz frequency range, pulsing like a strobe around the clock 24/7, emitting harmful radiation every 5 seconds, making a total of 17,280 times per day, 365 days a year. The output power is 30,000 microwatts.

What makes these meters particularly worrisome from the public health perspective are the negative health effects associated with the radiation they emit. The meters, which have never been tested for health effects, broadcast radio/microwave frequencies that have been shown to produce deleterious effects in living organisms and tissues even at extremely low powers.²

What is even more worrisome, the “spread spectrum” technology utilized by these meters creates pulsed, jagged signals that some believe can cause neurological damage ranging from cognitive impairment to autism to Parkinson’s disease.³

These pulsed signals are capable of altering basic life processes in the human organism (and in all living creatures 4), resulting in health damages on three tiers. Some hypersensitive individuals will manifest symptoms immediately—such as sleep disturbances, depression, and cognitive impairment—but everyone will be subject to ongoing disturbances that may, for a time, remain unnoticed.

On a second tier, persons with existing cancers and other conditions are especially vulnerable and should not be exposed to this radiation as it can interfere with chemotherapy and other ongoing treatments. On a third tier, long-term exposure to this radiation is thought to promote the incidence of new cancers and diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s in the affected population.5

Given the serious dangers involved, why have Town of Silver City officials recklessly charged ahead with these health-endangering meters? Especially disturbing was the callous attitude displayed by Mayor Morones, Town Manager Alex Brown, and Town Councilors Aiman-Smith, Bettison, Cano, and Ray, who arrogantly dismissed the testimony of dozens of persons who came forward to say they were made sick by this radiation.

These town officials were not open to reasonable discussion. Why did they willfully ignore the massive scientific evidence pointing to the harmful effects of the microwave frequencies deployed by the new “smart” water meters?

Town officials claimed to have researched the health effects, but they in fact relied exclusively on industry-funded studies that covered up the negative health effects. One councilwoman cited the Interphone Study to support her claim of “safe,” but this study has been thoroughly discredited since at least 2010. 6

Why are these radiation-spewing meters being imposed on us? They are unwanted, they are unnecessary, and they are being imposed undemocratically. Over 1,000 citizens put their signatures on petitions opposing the meters, but those 1,000 people were ignored.

Was there any rational basis for changing to the new meters in the first place? No. The new radiation-emitting meters will not help to save water. As Alex Brown has admitted, water loss through leakage in the system was successfully minimized well before any decision was made to go ahead with “smart” meters.

To add to the absurdity, we are not facing a water crisis. Water consumption has been declining in Silver City since the year 2000, dropping some 17% between 2000 and 2012. 7 Again, why are Town of Silver City officials planting these expensive health bombs in our midst ($4 million for an estimated 5,000 meters)?

The only remaining motive is MONEY. Town Manager Alex Brown has stated that increased revenues from the new meters will pay the $4 million price tag. He is convinced that the new radiation-emitting digital meters will measure more water and thus generate more revenue.

But why should we rate payers shoulder a $4 million burden for meters that endanger our health and are unnecessary? No less water will actually be used, but we will be paying more. The Town of Silver City is not a for-profit corporation for the purpose of maximizing earnings. We, the citizens who live here, ARE Silver City. It’s our city, and it’s our water. We should get to decide.

“Undemocratic” is the word to close with. Alex Brown, City Manager, proclaimed early on that opt-outs were not possible and that the meters were a “done thing.” He, along with the rest of Silver City officials, seems to have adopted a “we-know-better-than-you” attitude that tells us, from the top down, “Shut up and take it!” I, for one, reject this attitude and will continue to stand up for our fundamental right to genuinely participate in making decisions that will determine our future health and happiness.

Phil Alethes, PhD

1 In this article I use the term “microwave” to refer to the electromagnetic frequencies emitted by “smart” water meters. Sometimes these same frequencies are referred to as “radio” frequencies. This is because microwaves are a subset of radio waves, the microwave frequencies ranging from 300 MHz to 3 GHz, and the frequencies in the radio spectrum ranging from Extremely Low Frequencies (ELF) at 3–30 Hz to Tremendously High Frequencies (THF) at 300–3000 GHz.
2 For an overview of literature on the biological actions induced by the weak and hyperweak physico-chemical factors associated with low energy electromagnetic fields, see Vladimir N. Binhi, Magnetobiology: Underlying Physical Problems, 2002, 3. Binhi also speaks of the alarming buildup of electromagnetic pollution in our environment.
3 For neurological effects of pulsed microwaves see Baoming Wang and Henry Lai, “Acute Exposure to Pulsed 2450–MHz Microwaves Affects Water-Maze Performance of Rats,” Bioelectromagnetics 21:52–65 (2000); Henry Lai and Narendra P. Singh, “Melatonin and a spin-trap compound block radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation-induced DNA strand breaks in rat brain cells,” Bioelectromagnetics 18:446–454 (1997). In a 1997 paper ,“Neurological Effects of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Radiation Relating to Wireless Communication Technology,” Henry Lai wrote: “Pulsed RFR seemed to be more potent than continuous-wave RFR,” and “Interestingly, pulsed (400 pps) RFR produced more pronounced effects in the nervous system … than continuous-wave radiation of the same power density.” For an up-to-date overview of the literature on neurological effects, see Henry Lai, “Neurological Effects of Non-Ionizing Electromagnetic Fields” (a paper prepared for the BioIniative Working Group, March 2014).
4 For the adverse effects of microwaves on wildlife, see the articles posted at under “Assault on Nature.” Also interesting is
5 On DNA as a fractal antenna that picks up a wide range of EM frequencies, see Possible links to cancer, Alzheimer’s, leukemia, and autism are mentioned at 18:25–19:08.
6 On the Interphone Study, see Morgan, Kundi, Carlberg, “Re-evaluation of the Interphone Study: Application of a Correction Factor,” Bioelectromagnetics  (June 2010). See also On how the wireless industry controls the regulatory agencies, see Norm Alster’s report for the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, “Captured Agency: How the Federal Communications Commission is Dominated by the Industries it Presumably Regulates” (June 23, 2015). Also informative on the wireless industry’s corruption of the science is Devra Davis, Disconnect: The Truth about Cell Phone Radiation (2010).
7 On declining water consumption in Silver City, see Town of Silver City Water Conservation Plan (August 12, 2013), 11-12.

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