Mr. Norris, I hear that the new smart meters, which are being placed on our homes to monitor our utility usage, are bad for our health. Do you know anything about these? – “Confused in California”
Smart meters are being installed stealthily by water, gas and electric utility companies on houses and buildings across the country. Despite that, the majority of the public still doesn’t know about their potential health risks.
From the moment smart meters began to be installed, a rash of serious health complaints in each community have followed – to date, largely going unheeded by officials. These aren’t hysteria or hype, but bona fide national health concerns about what is being emitted from smart meters and their cumulative effects on electrosmog in our homes.
Last week, I defined “electrosmog” and gave you a broad explanation of how our world is being bombarded by it. In short, electrosmog is pollution through electromagnetic energy. It is being produced by this vast post-Edison world, in which electromagnetic fields and flows have inundated the space around us. I ended the article not only recommending a dozen ways to reduce electrosmog in your life, but also saying that in Part 2, I would explain one of the newest and most pervasive emitters of electrosmog.
The smart meter is that example. It is basically a digital device that records electrical energy, water or natural gas used by a consumer and then transmits that information back to a utility company. It replaces the analog dial meter and therefore eliminates the need for a utility worker to read and record the data.
Utility companies pitch it as a regulation aid for consumers, but many are questioning the real value of that benefit, especially in light of the meter’s potential health risks. While utility companies promise rewards for customers who shift energy use to off-peak periods, health experts are saying there are no savings when your health is in jeopardy.
Of course, utility companies are downplaying the possible health risks. For example, Pacific Gas and Electric Co. explains on its website that its SmartMeter is “a small 1-watt radio that … transmits relatively weak radio signals [which resemble] those of many other products most people use every day, like cell phones, baby monitors and microwave ovens.”
PG&E cites a January report from the California Council on Science and Technology, which stated that no additional standards are needed to protect the public from smart meters.
But the company fails to note that in April, in the final version of the same report, the CCST concluded: “Not enough is currently known about potential non-thermal impacts of radio frequency emissions to identify or recommend additional standards for such impacts. … It is not scientifically confirmed whether or what the non-thermal effects on living organisms, and potentially, human health might be.”
The individual radiation levels of smart meters are not the only issue that warrants our attention; the cumulative level of all the electromagnetic-radiation-emitting devices within our proximity is important.
As the CCST report concluded, “Concerns about human health impacts of RF emissions from smart meters should be considered in this broader context,” especially because each one includes a second transmitter that will be initiated sometime for further monitoring.
Utility companies claim that radio frequency emissions from a smart meter are comparable to those from a microwave oven, but they fail to disclose that smart meters are, according to the CCST, “a relay among other smart meters and utility access points”; hence, unlike microwaves, they can be transmitting information and emitting RF waves 24 hours a day.
And experts have shown there are adverse effects to long-term exposure to RF emissions. For example, Dr. David Carpenter, who was the head of the New York State Department of Health for 18 years, administered a program studying the effects of electromagnetic fields. Carpenter, who is now the director of the Institute for Health and the Environment, recently rebutted utility companies’ claims that smart meters have no negative health effects by explaining, “We have evidence from a whole variety of other sources of radio frequency exposure that demonstrates convincingly and consistently that exposure to radio frequency radiation at elevated levels for long periods of time increases the risk of cancer, increases the damage to the nervous system, causes electro-sensitivity (and) has adverse reproductive effects and a variety of other effects on different organ systems.”
Smart meters pose not only an American health problem but also a global one. Since 2000, millions have been installed in Italy, Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand and beyond. And since 2005 in the U.S., there has been an onslaught of smart meters. Millions have been fastened to the sides of our homes and businesses from sea to shining sea. If the wave of meters has not infiltrated your neighborhood yet, consider this article a fair warning for attachments coming soon to your home.
The way I see it, we as consumers have a choice. Will we believe countless specialists who are saying smart meters are, at the very least, unnecessary health risks and contributors to overall electrosmog, or will we believe public utility companies and the feds, which have divested interests in the installation of smart meters and say they are harmless to our health and are being mandated by law to save us money?