Among the many new wifi devices being sold as technological marvels, smart meters add a new wrinkle for energy consumers. These wireless devices are designed to monitor electricity consumption regularly, communicating with the utility for monitoring and billing purposes. But advocates for public awareness of the dangers of radiofrequency radiation (RF) are asking us to think twice before installing them for our homes.
Daniel Hirsch, Energy and Public Policy specialist at UC Santa Cruz, notes that PG&E, the California electric company that is promoting the devices as safe and efficient, has skewed research presented to the California legislature.
Hirsch warns: “At the moment it is uncertain what the health effects of RF are…. If tens of millions of people have smart meters in their homes, and if radiation from those smart meters is 100 times higher than that of a cell phone, which is what the real data seems to suggest, then we may, decades from now, discover that we have produced a number of cancers through latent, cumulative exposure.” See Hirsch interviewed on YouTube here.
Independent environmental consultants, SAGE Reports, conclude: “In addition to exceeding FCC public safety limits under some conditions of installation and operation, smart meters can produce excessively elevated RF exposures, depending on where they are installed. With respect to absolute RF exposure levels predicted for occupied space within dwellings, or outside areas like patios, gardens and walk-ways, RF levels are predicted to be substantially elevated within a few feet to within a few tens of feet from the meter(s).” Read the whole report here.
According to the 2012 Bioinitiative Report, “There may be no lower limit at which exposures do not affect us. Until we know if there is a lower limit below which bioeffects and adverse health impacts do not occur, it is unwise from a public health perspective to continue “business-as-usual” deploying new technologies that increase ELF and RF exposures, particularly involuntary exposures.” Read the whole report here.
In addition to getting informed and getting involved to prevent increased RF pollution, there are ways to protect your home and body from exposure. While long term effects remain uncertain, the old saying still rings true: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.