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Engineer misleads Council

At the Special Meeting of the Elk Grove City Council on November 28, 2018, which was a community workshop on cell antenna policy, engineer William Hammett, whom the City had hired for $3,000 for this event (which AT&T paid for) made a presentation on the health effects of exposure to electromagnetic radiation (EMR).
The contract between the City and Hammett required him to do this.

This video shows his presentation, full of misrepresentations.

BPELSG November 2019 A from Mark Graham on Vimeo.

At the September 26, 2018 meeting the City Council decided to hold this community workshop and directed the staff to hire a consultant to advise it, someone who was “neutral”, “unbiased”, and “an expert in the field.”

A licensed professional engineer in the State of California must comply with the California Business and Professions Code, in particular section 6775, which prohibits
” (b) Any deceit, misrepresentation, or fraud in his or her practice. “,
” (c) Any negligence or incompetence in his or her practice. “
” (g) A violation in the course of the practice of professional engineering of a rule or regulation of unprofessional conduct adopted by the board. “; and
” (h) A violation of any provision of this chapter or any other law relating to or involving the practice of professional engineering. “

A licensed professional engineer must also comply with California’s Code of Professional Conduct – Professional Engineering, including section 475 (c)(7), ” A licensee shall only express professional opinions that have a basis in fact or experience or accepted engineering principles. ” and (C)(11), “A licensee shall not misrepresent data and/or its relative significance in any professional engineering report.”

A licensed professional engineer must also comply with the National Society of Professional Engineers’ (NSPE) Code of Ethics for Engineers, in particular part II Rules of Practice, sections 3a, 3c and 4c.

One can file a complaint with the California Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors and Geologists

The key exchange is from 22:10 to 25:25 in my video. It is the key exchange in this whole question and answer session. It is a question from Council Member Darren Suen and Hammett’s answer.

Times shown below are on the City’s video, which is the full length of the community workshop meeting.

(40:36 on the City’s video)

Council Member Darren Suen: Okay. And so the reason I ask is because I’m hoping you can paint a picture for us in terms of, that when the FCC examined these rules and they updated it in 2005 and 2018, what data are they basing that off of, that they don’t feel that there needs to be anything different? How do they address, we’ve heard a lot of concerns from folks, many that are here tonight, about how they feel being exposed to some of this and I was wondering, how are those concerns addressed during these testimonies at Congress?

Hammett: The FCC did not do the research. They’ve adopted standards set by other institutions. This is the IEEE standard, the 2005 version. And it is C95.1. It can be researched and read. And it’s interesting: half of this document is just the bibliography, just the database of all the different studies that go into this [fanning the pages].And it’s based on studies that have been peer-reviewed. That means a researcher publishes his data and lets other people take a look at it and see if they can draw the same conclusions from the data, or studies that are replicated: that is a researcher in one institution might find a causal relationship but there are extraneous factors they can’t control for. So another researcher in another institution would have to find that same causal relationship trying to replicate those results before it’s starting to have scientific merit.

And if you remember cold fusion – oh, it’s a great discovery. You can go online and read about all sorts of things, but the studies that have scientific merit are ones where the researchers put all the data out for other people to review and then, replicate it.

So that’s what the standard-setting bodies are basing this on. They’re finding, and you read from, actually, it’s a fascinating read, the front half is their analysis of all the papers. It’s an interesting read.

(42:39 on the City’s video)

As to all the different effects you might hear, they analyze the likelihood of those. What they find is that there’s no measurable risk at exposure levels equal to the standard or below.

It’s not like a little bit. There’s no measurable risk. That is what they found. No confirmed reports of adverse impact on people at these levels.

(43:01 on the City’s video)

Council Member Darren Suen: So at least the majority of these scientific studies show that, and then the standards are based upon somebody examined all these different independent studies, if you will, that show that same thing?

Hammett: That’s correct.

Council Member Darren Suen: Okay.

Hammett: And I don’t think it’s a majority because they don’t, the science doesn’t work on the basis of, well, “most of the time”. This is intended to be a safety standard for all time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, continuous exposure.

I’ll be up on a rooftop with people and taking measurements and [inaudible] “How long can I stay here?” I say, “You can camp here.”. I mean, It’s not a issue because you’re so far below the threshold of effects that it’s just, it’s not that there’s a little bit of risk. There’s no measurable risk. There’s non-ionizing. The magnitude is low. No impact.

(43:50 on the City’s video)

Council Member Darren Suen: Okay. Thank you.