Citizen Science And EMF/RF: When Home is Where the Hurt Is (or the Hospital, or Work, or School, or Everywhere)

By Patricia Burke

There is a building in a nearby town that is on the market again. The building sits adjacent to a church that houses a nursery school and a second-hand clothing shop.

Every two to three years, another business in that small building next to the church falters.  Is it because of an economic issue, or is there another explanation hidden from view?

In another nearby town, two different practitioners are treating a couple – he has restless leg syndrome, and she has breast cancer. Are their conditions related?

Love Canal Launches Environmental Activism

A few decades ago, according to the Center for Health and Environmental Justice,

Lois Gibbs was raising her family in Love Canal, near Niagara Falls in upstate New York, in 1978 when she discovered that her home and those of her neighbors were sitting next to 20,000 tons of toxic chemicals.

That shocking discovery spurred Lois to lead her community in a three-year struggle to protect their families from the hazardous waste buried in their backyards. By trial and error, Lois and her neighbors developed the strategies and methods to educate and organize the community, assess the impacts of toxic wastes on their health, and challenge corporate and government policies on the dumping of hazardous materials. Her leadership led to the relocation of 833 Love Canal households.

“Completed in 1979, the study found increases among residents in miscarriages, still births, crib deaths, nervous breakdowns, hyperactivity, epilepsy and urinary tract disorders. Miscarriages were found to have increased 300%, for example, and most occurred in women who lived in the historically wet areas. From 1974 to 1978, 56% of the children in the Love Canal neighborhood were born with a birth defect, including three ears, double row of teeth, and mental retardation. There were almost three times as many defects in historically wet areas.”

Every step a government agency took to address the damage done from toxic chemicals at Love Canal, from the health studies to evacuation, was done for political reasons. None of the decisions were initiated based on scientific evidence. LCHA truly believes that if it had not been for the large, strong citizen organization, families would still be living at Love Canal with the health authorities saying there were no health problems.

The canal families didn’t know that they were being exposed to poisonous chemicals, nor were they aware that chemical wastes were being dumped in our rivers, soil, and air. Love Canal awoke a community to the unpleasantness and unfortunate realization of how toxic wastes affect out lives, and destroy our environment. Residents at Love Canal always believed that the government would automatically protect them. They were wrong; in some cases dead wrong.[1]

Love Canal still oozes, and the lawsuits continue. [2]

The Chemical Assault on the Planet is Being Succeeded by Assault by Frequencies of Microwave Radiation and Electromagnetic Pollution Powering Telecommunications, And Citizen Science is Emerging Again – Do You hear What I Hear?

When utilities began installing wireless utility meters in California in 2009 with economic stimulus funding from the Obama administration, citizens in California and elsewhere began to experience and to report harm. [3], [4], [5]

Although the initial focus of inquiry was the wireless frequencies traveling through the airwaves, the issue of “dirty electricity” has now emerged as another risk factor.  The electric grid is acting an antenna or unintentional radiator for high frequency transients that are polluting living environments. [6]

Dr. Sam Milham is an epidemiologist and the author of Dirty Electricity.

He researches power quality issues resulting from the smart grid.

In his testimony before the Arizona Corporation Commission, Dr. Milham explained,

“Dirty electricity” or “dirty power” are terms coined by the electric utilities to describe effects of microwave exposures are well known.  All transmitters, including the microwave transmitters in smart meters, operate on direct current (DC).  The APS smart meters contain a switching mode power supply (SMPS) which changes the utility 60 Hz alternating current to DC. …

The APS “smart” meters are electronic devices which replaced the old electromechanical analog meters used to measure electric power consumption for billing purposes.  The smart meters have circuitry to measure power consumption and a microwave transmitter to send this information to the utility.  The health effects of microwave exposures are well known.  All transmitters, including the microwave transmitters in smart meters, operate on direct current (DC).  The APS smart meters contain a switching mode power supply (SMPS) which changes the utility 60 Hz alternating current to DC. …

Because it is at the front end of a building’s wiring, the dirty electricity from the smart meter’s SMPS has a gateway into that building’s wiring, and also into the earth via the house ground.  The house wiring acts as an antenna and the fields capacitively couple to the body through the air within 6 to 8 feet of the house wiring or extension cords plugged into the outlets. …

I believe that our evolutionary balance, developed over the millennia, has been severely disturbed and disrupted by man-made EMFs.  I believe that man-made EMFs, especially dirty electricity, are chronic stressors and are responsible for many of the disease patterns of electrified populations. …

It is my professional opinion that smart meters are a public health hazard.”

SOURCE:  Pre-Filed Testimony by Samuel Milham, M.D., M.P.H on behalf of Warren Woodward, April 3, 2017; available at

Rather than investigating reports of adverse health effects due to the installation of both wireless and polluting power line PLC telecommunication on homes and businesses, thus far the response from the industry and its economic partners has been denial, lack of accommodation, misrepresentation of costs and benefits, and increasing investment in infrastructure that increases risks and costs, including social costs.

Public Utility Commissions across the country have received testimony and reports of harm, but have rejected the notion that the technologies are harmful.

Enter an Emerging Wave of Citizen Activism and Citizen Science

Necessitated by lack of pre-market safety testing and outdated irrelevant health exposure guidelines, attention to the emergence of reports of health damage by everyday citizens is crucial if society is to provide responsible stewardship for the earth, its resources, and its inhabitants.

For an example of emerging citizen awareness and citizen science, see this 3-minute video resulting from installation of a nearby cell tower:

Resident shows us the dangerous radiation levels at his house

The Randburg Sun met with a concerned Randpark Ridge resident who purchased expensive radiation monitoring equipment, following health concerns raised from a newly erected cell phone tower in the area.

In Tennessee, like Lois Gibbs in Love Canal, citizens created a map of carnage, including miscarriages, that they associated with the installation of wireless infrastructure.

Source: Courtesy Ken Mack

In the documentary film Resonance, Beings of Frequency, a woman who is being treated for breast cancer becomes alarmed when she runs into many of her neighbors at the cancer treatment center, leading the neighborhood to question the safety of a nearby cell tower.

RESONANCE – BEINGS OF FREQUENCY from james russell on Vimeo.

In Maryland, Brian Dobbs explains how he has investigated the dirty electricity levels in his children’s schools.

  • Harmful Wireless Radiation Detected At Mayo Elementary School Parents should be aware of this modern-day environmental toxin their children are exposed to every day.[7]
  • Dirty Electricity At Mayo Elementary School Harmful wireless radiation takes an unusual form.[8]

Brian Dobbs explains:

What Causes Dirty Electricity?

North American power lines supply electricity in the form of alternating current (AC) at the rate of 60 oscillations per second (hertz). For the purposes of this article, pure 60 Hz AC electricity can be considered ‘clean.’

Analog electronics are able to use this AC power ‘as-is’, thus preserving the integrity of the 60 Hz AC electricity. Examples of analog electronics are…

  • Incandescent Light Bulb
  • CRT Television
  • Tape Recorder
  • Rotary Telephone

Digital electronics, however, require direct current (DC) to operate and therefore must convert AC to DC using what’s known as a rectifier. An AC adapter (a.k.a. as wall warts or power bricks) is the best known example of a rectifier.

Digital electronics use electricity intermittently, turning the electricity ‘on’ and ‘off’ thousands of times per second, otherwise known as switched-mode power supply (SMPS).

The AC to DC conversion process combined with the inherent nature of SMPS interrupts the natural flow of the 60 Hz AC electricity by creating voltage spikes and high frequency voltage transients.

These spikes and transients are commonly referred to as Dirty Electricity.

60 hertz falls in the ‘Extremely Low Frequency’ range of the electromagnetic spectrum. Dirty Electricity refers to all of the other frequencies that ‘piggy-back’ on top the clean 60 Hz AC fundamental frequency, most of which fall into the radio wave part of the electromagnetic spectrum.[9]

Brain Dobbs’ investigative articles are recommended for all parents, teachers, and school personnel not because these schools are an anomaly, but because increasing levels of dirty electricity and microwave radiation are being introduced in schools nationwide due to energy efficient lighting, laptops and chrome books and industrial Wi-Fi systems. At the same time, children’s health indicators are plummeting.

Who Decides What Makes a Cancer Cluster?

Parents in the Chicago area created a map of more than a dozen children diagnosed with cancer or a rare brain tumor in the Mount Greenwood community. Four lived within in few blocks of each other, went to the same elementary school, and died between 2015 and 2017.

Source: NBC Chicago

The illnesses and deaths in Mount Greenwood were not deemed “a cluster.”

For The Birds

It is not just human health that is alarming engaged citizens.

In Greece, Diana Kordas has chronicled with impact of wireless technology on birds and trees in her paper:  “Birds and Trees of Northern Greece: Population Declines since the Advent of 4G Wireless An Observational Study.”

Executive Summary:

Full Report:

Living History of Corporate Carnage

Alongside the emergence of citizen science regarding the growing risks associated with the unexamined use of wireless technologies and utility grid power line communication, society is grappling with the knowledge that a number of industries have withheld data and denied evidence of harm for decades.

In the closing weeks of 2018, for example, reports of industry deception and lack of appropriate regulatory response include

  • Johnson and Johnson: Report says it knew for decades that its baby powder contained asbestos[10]
  • Coal industry, An Epidemic Is Killing Thousands Of Coal Miners, Regulators Could Have Stopped It ‘A Gross And Frank Example Of Regulatory Failure [11]
  • Did Dow Chemical Fake Safety Studies on Brain-Damaging Chlorpyrifos?[12]
  • And of course Monsanto: Monsanto ordered to pay $289m damages in Roundup cancer trial[13]

The Solution: The Necessary Evolution in Scrutiny of the “Science”

There are three ways in which we must reorient our inquiry concerning scientific integrity in order to prevent another chapter of preventable harm caused by inadequate regulatory response:

1 – In hearings for smart meters and the 5G telecommunication across the country, reports of harm and calls for caution have been dismissed with the refrain that the evidence is not peer-reviewed research, is not scientifically accepted, is not robust, or is not sufficient or statistically significant. These are the weapons of tobacco scientists.

The burden of reasonable proof that these products are safe belongs on the industry before the product is brought to market and not on the citizens after the fact.

Intense scrutiny of ‘science’ is being demanded by politicians, regulators, the media, the industries, and their regulators.

Scrutiny is being demanded from the wrong parties by the wrong parties at the wrong time for the wrong reasons.

Politicians who reframe the debate and who enable this misdirection of inquiry are not public servants, they are in the pockets of the industries. Money and resources are being wasted for initiatives that are unsafe and well as ineffective, particularly around climate concerns.

2 – The assumption that a certain toxin will create the same pattern of injury or disease in each individual is an outdated and inapplicable strategy from the infectious disease model. It is a tool in the hands of an abusive industry supported by corrupt science and corrupted scientists.

This has been amplified by the profit-driven drug industry’s quest to develop the most lucrative use of drugs.  Regarding health outcomes, the question is not whether a symptom is “statistically significant.” Every reported symptom is significant.

The infectious disease statistical cause-and-effect model was not an adequate or relevant tool for inquiry when we only looked at lung cancer in smokers, and it is not relevant for radio frequency exposure and power quality issues when we only look at brain tumors in cellphone users, while erecting towers in neighborhoods and schoolyards and as neurological illnesses are skyrocketing. [14]

3 – Scrutiny of the science and the actions of corporations that suppressed evidence of harm decades after the fact is far more useful when we can apply our analytical skills to current challenges, in order to PREVENT history from repeating itself.

The electrical engineering community applied the inverse square rule to dismiss reports of harm due to smart meter installations, claiming that the exposure dropped in proportion to the square of the distance from the source, that the exposures were too low or weak to have an impact.  But they have only considered whether or not the frequencies are capable of creating a heating, or thermal effect. Again, the wrong paradigm is in effect.

The integrity of the science diminishes in direct proportion to the economic ambition of the source.

Will the Light Return? Or Will We Continue Down the Path of Increasing darkness from High Intensity LEDs, Unfiltered Solar Systems, And “Energy Efficient” Devices That Pollute the Living Environment?

In the corrupt Worcester National Grid smart meter pilot program, one of the unanticipated, unaddressed, and disregarded scenarios associated with reported harm was a home with an antique tin ceiling.

The radio frequencies apparently bounced off the metal surface, causing hotspots, including frequencies riding on the coils of a box spring and mattress.  Pam Steinberg noted to an unresponsive city leadership, “Radiation without representation is tyranny.

Let’s be clear, some people are begging for their lives.

On Dec. 21 on an evolved planet somewhere, citizens will be engaged in contemplation, meditation, practices of gratitude, and reverence for Natural Law in observance of the Winter Solstice dance of darkness and light, followed by the Full Moon on Dec. 22.

On Dec. 21, AT&T will be activating its 5G telecommunications network in 12 cities, [15] on the basis of absolutely no scientific scrutiny regarding health, without the consent of citizens, and with no humility or respect for the natural native RF/EMF environment’s role in sustaining life.

The network will allow the “watchers” to watch the watched, in order to gamble in the commodities market. Many citizens will not be able to afford the products that will be sold in what is described as the “5G ecosystem.”

This is a form of class warfare.

In the meantime, here In the United States, a tobacco scientist who also testifies for the coal industry and the asbestos industry is testifying before another state utility board, denying harm from wireless smart utility meters. [16]

Let’s be clear, again, some people are begging for their lives.

Citizen science, or tobacco science, or no science at all?

Darkness, or light?

To learn more about how to create a healthy built environment, see:

25 Guiding Principles of Building BiologyBuilding biology is about creating healthy, beautiful, and sustainable buildings in ecologically sound and socially connected communities. In the selection of materials and the design of living environments, ecological, economic, and social aspects are considered.


It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society. – Jiddu Krishnamurti











[10] Johnson & Johnson tumbles after report says it knew for decades that its baby powder contained asbestos


J&J moves to limit impact of Reuters report on asbestos in Baby Powder

[11] Coal Dust An Epidemic Is Killing Thousands Of Coal Miners. Regulators Could Have Stopped It ‘A Gross And Frank Example Of Regulatory Failure’ In 1974, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommended an exposure limit for silica dust that would be twice as tough as the existing limit for coal miners and other workers. Federal regulators did not respond until the 1990s.






Patricia Burke works with activists across the country and internationally calling for new biologically-based microwave radio frequency exposure limits. She is based in Massachusetts and can be reached at [email protected].

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