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Smart Meter Radiation RisksPosted by: Vidya, Editor Are Smart Meters health hazards? Smart Meter radiation emissions are both greater in volume and more frequent than power companies admit, according to more and more independent EMF specialists measuring them. And consumers are getting concerned.
What Are Smart Meters?Smart Meters are electric and gas meter reading devices being installed all over the US as a first step in creating a national smart grid. Designed to enhance energy efficiency and make widespread adoption of renewable energy easier, Smart Meters are radio transmitters that communicate data from homes and businesses to the gas and electric company through a matrix of radio signals. They allow people to measure and monitor their own energy consumption in order to reduce it.
Controversy about Smart MetersLarge groups of citizens are complaining that their Smart Meters are over-billing them. Public meetings are being held over the country to discuss this, and many cities have come out in favor of a smart Meter moratorium until the issue is resolved.
Smart Meters Health RisksBut now there are growing numbers of activists who are protesting against Smart Meters for another reason. They contend that the radio frequency (RF) Smart Meters emit is harmful to human health. People living with the meters are claiming mild to severe symptoms that are all over the board: Concentration and memory problems, dizziness, tinnitus, heart palpitations, headaches, sleep disruptions, nausea, anxiety and behavioral problems in children.
People are especially concerned about certain groups who are vulnerable to Smart Meter health risks, such as children (who absorb radiation at a greater rate than adults), electrosensitive people, people with pacemakers, and chronically ill people whose immune systems are compromised.
Unclear Answers about Smart Meter Radiation LevelsPower companies seem to be unable to give consistent, believable answers about either how frequently Smart Meter radiation is emitted—or what the peak power is of the radiation signal at certain distances. Some representative say the meters transmit RF six times a day; others, once an hour. Independent RF specialists have measured them every 45 seconds, or even twice in a minute.
As for peak power of Smart Meter radiation signals, there is even more confusion. Power companies maintain that the RF transmissions are well within FCC standards, that they transmit data for only a fraction of a second and are far weaker than other everyday radio frequency emitters, such as cell phones, cell towers and Wi-Fi.
Putting aside for a moment the debate over the safety of even these “everyday” RF emitters, there’s reason to doubt these assurances from power companies that Smart Meters are safer than these other devices. Independent environmental EMF consultants have found that peak pulses are far greater in intensity than the “average pulse” that many utility companies claim—sometimes up to 1000 times more powerful than a cell phone.(1) Because of the skewed and inaccurate way in which they figure the number of pulses per minutes, their figures of an “average” pulse is greatly reduced.
Indeed, assurances of utility companies are reminiscent of promises that have been made over the years by plastics and chemical manufacturers who initially claimed that what they were producing was safe.
Thermal and Non-Thermal Effects of Smart Meter RadiationBut aside from any of this, what’s important to understand is that the FCC safety standards are based only on thermal effects of radiation, meaning: How high can radiation go before the body tissues start cooking? Research has shown that the thermal effects of microwave radiation are not the only effects to be worried about. There are also non-thermal effects of RF that are very concerning.
One of the most informative reports written on the subject is the Bioinitiative Report of 2007. Authored by 15 scientists, researchers and health policy professionals, this report clearly documents evidence that numerous health problems are created by exposure to RF, including DNA breakage and cancer—and this, at levels far below the FCC standards. The report is recognized by the European Parliament, the European Environment Agency, and the Breast Cancer Fund, among others.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Toxicology Program have also studied the effects RF on human health. Their updated results are that, among other things, RF can significantly increase the risk of glioma, a deadly brain tumor.