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The Truth About Smart Meters

Industry says…

Cell Phones Emit More Radiation than Smart Meters

Industry Says: Smart Meters only emit X seconds/minutes per day (whatever figure is given to prove how little it is) and emit far less radiation than a cell phone.

The Truth: Although this statement may reflect the transmission of data about any specific home, Smart Meters continuously emit hundreds of thousands of millisecond  long, “chirps” and “chatter” to stay in touch with other meters in the neighborhood and the local data collection point even when not transmitting data about any specific home.

Update: also see article about PEPCO’s Smart Meters are shown to send out thousands of pulses per day; not just 6 times per day as stated in their literature

Smart Meter Radiation Exposure Chart Graph

Comparison of Radio-Frequency Levels to the Whole Body from Various Sources in μW/cm2 over time [corrected for assumed duty cycle and whole body exposure extrapolated from assumed cell phone dose at ear].

According to Dr. Dan Hirsch, radiation scientist from the University of California, Santa Cruz, the whole body exposure from smart meters is 100 times that of a cell phone. Moreover, unlike cell phones, Smart Meters cannot be turned off. They must operate continuously, as explained above.


Smart Meters are Safer than Cell Phones

Industry Says: Some utilities are deploying meter reading systems that use commercial wireless providers to gather data. These meters have the same radio components as cell phones which consumers raise to their heads every day.

The Truth: Cell phone exposures are already showing a doubling of risk for malignant brain tumors at only 10 years and longer ipsilateral use in adults, and a five-fold increased risk for young people. Surely, a comparison of Smart Meter emissions to cell phones is not reassuring. And, the combined exposures are even more likely to be harmful to health.

We're already exposed to EMF so what's the big deal?

Industry Says: An examination of a majority of smart meters being deployed today will show these devices use extremely low frequencies associated with unlicensed devices, on the equivalent magnitude as the devices that provide WiFi connectivity in the home. Millions of laptop computers are used in homes every day that transmit at levels similar to Smart Meters and the transmitters from these devices are always “on”.

The Truth: Exactly. The public already has significant exposures to radio frequency microwave radiation from other sources. In April 2012, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine concluded that “significant harmful biological effects occur from non-thermal RF exposure showing causality”.

By adding mandatory, wireless Smart Meters, the cumulative exposure may place people over the existing FCC limits (which are already inadequate and hundreds of time higher than allowable exposure standards in some other countries).

The growing number of reported health issues are too great to ignore. A mandatory, global deployment of Smart Meters and the requisite mesh grid is a huge health gamble with very little research into its health effects.

Low Level Non Ionizing Radiation is not a health threat

Industry Says: There is no demonstrated long term impact on humans of low level non ionizing radiation.

The Truth: This assertion is not supported by the science. It ignores decades of published scientific work that delineate bio effects and adverse health effects from long-term, low-intensity ELF (extremely low frequency) RF (radio frequency) exposures.

Only Ionizing Radiation has Adverse Effects on People

Industry Says: Ionizing energy, beginning with the ultraviolet component of sunlight, has been demonstrated to have long term impact, but the frequencies associated with Smart Meters are hundreds of orders of magnitude below that of sunlight. Therefore, those who express concern about the safety of Smart Meters are misrepresenting the facts.

The Truth: Making the assertion that only ionizing radiation has adverse effects on human beings shows either an intention to mislead, or a gross ignorance of the scientific literature and controversy over the inadequacy of existing FCC and ICNIRP public safety limits for non-ionizing radiation. Further, it ignores scientific evidence that anyone in a position of leadership should take into account before issuing industry-position articles and policies.

The Smart Grid components are significantly lower than FCC Guidelines

Industry Says: The components used in the Smart Grid deployment are significantly below the MPE (maximum permissible exposure) and FCC limits for MPE of the general population are already at least 50 times lower than levels that can cause tissue heating.

The Truth: This statement justifies Smart Meter exposures on the basis of antiquated and inadequate FCC public safety limits. Tissue heating is of no relevance. Health effects from chronic, low-intensity exposure to Smart Meters in the manner installed and operated in millions of residences would be due to non- thermal (low-intensity) exposures that are chronic – not acute exposures that are short term. This also ignores the evidence that FCC MPEs for localized exposure (peak exposure) are in all probability being violated since there is no adequate way to mandate safe separation distances for the public.

In the past scientists and engineers developed exposure standards for electromagnetic radiation based on what we now believe are faulty assumptions. Specifically that the right way to measure how much non-ionizing radiation humans can tolerate without harm is to measure only the heating of tissue or induced currents in the body. In the last few decades, it has been established beyond any reasonable doubt that bio effects and some adverse health effects occur at far lower levels of RF and ELF exposure where no heating occurs at all. Some effects are shown to occur at several hundred thousand times below the existing public safety limits.

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