Outgoing Maine CDC Director Continues Pattern of Selective Omission with RF Health Risks

Conspicuously absent is not only the call for caution,
but the call for choice amid scientific uncertainty

Dr. Dora Mills appeared on WCSH’s 207 Dec. 16 talking once again about how there is “no consistent or convincing evidence” to warrant health concerns over smart meters. Watch the segment.

Even though not one health or safety study has ever been done on smart meters.

The “no consistent or convincing evidence” that keeps cropping up everywhere from the Maine CDC smart meter review’s conclusions, to Dr. Mills’ appearance on 207, appears to come directly from an International Commission on Non-Ionizing Protection (ICNIRP) report, which is contained on page 33 of the Maine CDC smart meter health review:

“Results of epidemiological studies to date give no consistent or convincing evidence of a causal relation between RF exposure and any adverse health effect.”

Fair enough?

Not when you consider the full statement:

Results of epidemiological studies to date give no consistent or convincing evidence of a causal relation between RF exposure and any adverse health effect. On the other hand, these studies have too many deficiencies to rule out an association.”

We’re beginning to wonder why a state agency responsible for protecting human health is erring on the side of  selective omission.

Dr. Mills has also repeatedly referred to the World Health Organization (WHO) in attempting to assuage the public about smart meter health concerns. She referred to the WHO again on 207, implying that the WHO thinks we shouldn’t be concerned about smart meters. Nowhere does the WHO say anything about smart meters. The Maine CDC review makes reference to a three-year-old, 2007 WHO report on wireless technology, but fails to mention a more recent statement, from this year’s 2010 WHO Research Agenda:

“There are numerous new applications for the broadcast and reception of RF waves and the use of RF devices such as mobile phones is now ubiquitous. The attendant increase in public exposure to RF fields has made its effects on human health a topic of concern for scientists and the general public.” (WHO 2010 Research Agenda)

In fact, the Maine CDC smart meter review (not Dr. Mills’ conclusions, but the review itself, which consists of dozens and dozens of pages of reprinted website information from international agencies) contains at least 30 references to inconclusive science, incomplete data, the need for more research, the need for further study, lack of consensus, etc.

Restoring our faith in the medical community are actively practicing Maine physicians, who are troubled by the Maine CDC review. While the Maine CDC cites uncertain cell phone science as justification for installing smart meters, we respect and applaud concerned local doctors who believe the following:

“There is definitely cause for concern, especially given that no health studies have been conducted on smart meters, and there are reports of health effects in other parts of the country where the meters have been installed.”
—Magili Chapman Quinn, DO, Portland

“There is a growing body of good-quality evidence in peer-reviewed medical journals showing harmful health effects from EMF exposures…A cardinal rule of medicine is ‘First Do No Harm.’ Given the probability of harm in this case, I urge you to follow the Precautionary Principle – prove that a new technology is safe before implementing, rather than waiting until harmful effects build up to the point where they can be proven in the scientific community and then the public health community. Two examples of the latter approach are cigarette smoking and DDT.”
—Sean McCloy, MD, MPH, Portland

“I don’t believe we should install smart meters and wait for the science to conclusively show no risk, because by then it will be too late. We owe it to our children and future generations to make sure this technology will not be causing ill effects prior to installing it.”
—Karen Emery, MD, Maine Health Pediatrics, Falmouth

“With no scientific evidence that this equipment is safe, with no studies on short- or long-term health effects, I feel the burden should not be on families to prove harm by getting sick.”
—Amy Kustra Barksdale, MD, Portland

“Since the science is controversial and ongoing, I believe both sides need to be addressed and explored, including the body of science that indicates potential non-thermal health risks from non-ionizing RF radiation, since this is the area of concern with AMI…As no agency has mandated this equipment be wireless, I also urge consideration of safer alternatives to achieve the same goal of potential energy savings, without the health, safety or security risks.”
—Stephen Kirsch, MD, Maine Medical Partners

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time the outgoing head of the Maine CDC has been criticized for minimizing health risks by omitting key qualifiers that call for caution. An internationally-known PhD, MPH Epidemiologist was appalled enough by Dr. Mills’ behavior at last year’s cell phone warning label hearings, to include the following in her new book:

For the record (Dr. Mills) provided a highly selective reading of a pamphlet from the UK government, which she handed out… she read just one sentence: “The balance of current research evidence suggests that exposure to radio waves below levels set out in international guidelines do not cause health problems for the general population.”

But she did not read the next sentences:

“However, there is some evidence that changes in brain activity can occur below these guidelines, but it isn’t clear why. There are significant gap in our scientific knowledge. This has led a group of independent experts – commissioned by the Government… to recommend a ‘precautionary approach’ to the use of mobile phones until more research findings become available.”
—Disconnect (Penguin Group, 2010) by Epidemiologist Dr. Devra Davis, PhD, MPH

The above excerpt, by the way, is featured on the author’s website under the heading: “Maine’s Chief Doctor Shows Pattern of Ignoring Radiation Warnings to Protect Industry.”

This might be a good place to point out that CMP’s hired guns (the same “consulting” firm that provided the tobacco and asbestos industries with studies showing their products don’t cause cancer) came to the same health conclusions about smart meters as did the Maine CDC.

We want to give Dr. Mills the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps she didn’t read the whole brochure before quoting it at last years cell phone hearings.

Perhaps she only had time to read the first part of the ICNIRP statement, about no consistent or convincing evidence of health effects.  Perhaps she missed the next sentence, saying health effects couldn’t be ruled out.

Perhaps she didn’t know a more recent WHO statement had been issued, calling RF radiation a topic of concern.

She did, in fact, admit on 207 that there is scientific uncertainty surrounding this type of technology, and that there will be uncertainty for years to come.

She also said on 207 and in her smart meter review that she’s not weighing in on whether people should have a choice about allowing a smart meter on their private home.

We believe the time has come for her to weigh in.

In the face of uncertainty, iIf scientists across the world don’t agree on whether RF radiation is safe, Mainers certainly can’t be expected to agree. In the case of untested, radiation-emitting devices, we believe the call for choice is just as important as the call for caution. We hope the new administration, with its emphasis on personal freedoms, will choose a new Maine CDC Director who respects and proactively advocates for our right to make choices based on our own personal beliefs about what is and is not safe for our families.

It’s not too late for the outgoing director to do the same.


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