Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Crazy people who are 'electro-sensitive'

The Sebastopol City Council decided, amazingly enough, not to oppose a wireless technology and voted _not_ to oppose PG&E's smart meters.

A person who I greatly respect, a person who helped me a great deal during a hard time, wrote a letter to the editor of the Sonoma West paper in which he was against the council's actions. It was titled 'Cowardly Council.'

This is a recapitulation of the previous decision in which the council voted to reject free WiFi offered by Sonic.net because of 'electro-sensitivity.'

Rather than remain silent, I wrote my own letter to the editor.

Read on...or simply accept that I think the opponents to WiFi are dangerous cranks.



Thank you to the Sebastopol City Council for their stand on  PG&E's Smart Meters.  It
is the first rational thing they he done with respect to Technology.

There is no evidence that the meters cause harm, but there is a great deal of evidence
that Meter Reading is a dangerous, and low paid job which includes an elevated
risk of injury and death.

There is also substantial evidence that one of the best ways to lower energy consumption
is through increased real-time tracking of energy use.  When people drive a Prius they
drive differently because they are given real time information about how their moment
to moment choices impact their overall fuel usage.

When people have real time information about their electricity use they are able to make
choices which lower both peak and total electric consumption.

So I will go on record as being one of the people making the 'fatuous' request for Smart Meters.

I respect Will Riggan a great deal.  He is a kind and empathetic person, and by all accounts he is
a skilled and talented Psychotherapist.  But his argument that we must protect a 'besieged
minority of electro-sensitive people' is not supported by the evidence.

He asserts that 'there is no question that numerous people are electro-sensitive.'  But at the
most generous interpretation 'electromagnetic hypersensitivity' is a highly speculative diagnosis
which is not recognized by the medical or scientific communities. 

A number of provocation trials have been conducted in which claimed sufferers have been
unable to distinguish between exposure to real and sham electromagnetic fields.  And over
half of these people also report 'multiple chemical sensitivity,' which is another sham ailment.

Will refers to his work as a mental health professional, and reports that there is 'anxiety and fear'
being reported by people in response to these meters.  I am sure that there is anxiety and fear
among the meter opponents in his practice.  

These are people who are specifically suffering from a mental disorder, not from a physical ailment.

With respect, as a medical professional it is Will's job to help to alleviate the anxiety and fear of people
with irrational psychosomatic disorders.  Not to buy into their delusional systems and attack a
technology which we know will save lives and will save energy.

We should not cripple our society, endanger low paid meter readers, and waste energy
in order to pander to a small number of mentally ill people.

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