Saturday, February 13, 2010

Smart Meter Health Article in Connection

PG&E Wireless Smart Meters Pose A Serious Health Threat

What are Smart Meters?

They are wireless transmitting utility meters which PG&E is installing to replace all existing gas and electric meters in homes and businesses. Using electromagnetic radiation (RF), these meters will transmit your usage information as often as every 4.5 seconds to once an hour (depending on the meter and if it’s a relay point), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You will be billed for usage according to tiered rates relative to peak hours.

Health and safety issues

They will emit radio frequency radiation 24/7. This will be radiating from the meters on your own house and from your neighbors. Some meters reportedly have a range of 2 miles, so you will be experiencing the radiation from all those meters. Meters may also function as relay antennas for the neighborhood. Plus there will be a cellular antenna or cell tower somewhere in the vicinity to which these signals relay which will be radiating round the clock. In addition, wireless components are planned for all appliances to which the meters will “talk”, surrounding you with their RF wherever you work or live.

Why is this a problem? The FCC safety standards do not cover this type of exposure; they only cover brief, one-time exposures. And they do not cover any biological impacts from this radiation; they only cover heating or thermal impacts.[1] There is extensive and growing scientific literature on biological impacts from exposure levels far below our safety standards, ranging from DNA damage, blood-brain barrier disruption, increased cancer and tumor risk, lowered sperm counts, immune system disturbances, insomnia, cellular stress responses, cognitive problems, links to sudden hive collapse in bees, and much, much more. [2] Children are especially vulnerable.[3] Furthermore, exposure doesn’t have to be strong; weak fields cause calcium ions to detach from cell membranes causing them to leak, a disastrous situation.[4]

At night, while we sleep, is when our bodies do their healing and recuperative work. Our Smart Meters will be going 24 hours a day. There will be no time away from this exposure for our bodies to recover.

In addition, these meters can put high frequencies onto your household or building wiring as well as back out onto the electrical grid, creating what’s known as “dirty” electricity. This is a very serious problem which is being linked to health problems such as multiple sclerosis, dysregulation of blood sugar levels, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, asthma, ADHD, sleep problems, and more. [5]

Then there is the growing problem of electrohypersensitivity, recognized by the World Health Organization in 2004. Estimates are that up to 1/3 of the population is now sensitive to artificial electromagnetic radiation, and this causes health problems ranging from nausea, ringing in the ears, headaches, sleep disturbances, skin disorders (e.g. rashes), to chronic respiratory infections, arrhythmias, uncontrolled blood sugar, and seizures. This has forced some hypersensitives out of their homes and neighborhoods – a new class of refugee, and some have committed suicide.

PG&E’s transmitting meters will dramatically increase the electromagnetic smog we all have to live in.

There are other issues:

Privacy With the wireless components planned for all appliances in a home or office, you and your utility company will be able to monitor your appliance usage – exactly how often and how long you use each appliance – and remotely access those appliances. Do we really need that information or that access? Apparently, the utility companies do. Removing the components will void the appliance warranty.

Hackable? Though PG&E assures us these are encrypted and secure, there are concerns that these components will be vulnerable to hacking and even to stray RF or microwave emissions; for instance, someone driving by your house makes a cell phone call, and inadvertently turns on your oven, or adds another zero to your billing.

Reliability A number of these meters have reportedly blown up or burned up in Bakersfield.

Will they save you money? Many Bakersfield bills skyrocketed. They are having so many problems there that public hearings have been held, a lawsuit filed, and State Senator and Majority Leader Dean Florez has called for an investigation and a moratorium on deployment.

Will they save energy? No. All the system does is monitor when you use appliances compared with energy rates, so you can use the same amount of energy at a different time with lower rates. The energy isn’t more efficiently used. And you have access to that information now, without all the bells, whistles (smoke, mirrors), and headaches. Similar to carbon offsets or carbon trading, this doesn’t cut back anything. These meters are not green.

Opting out

One customer in Wisconsin was told she had three options: take the meters as planned, allow them to be installed somewhere else on the property, or get disconnected from the utility. Hmmm.

What you can do

“The objectives of the Smart Grid Program can be accomplished without transmitting meters and without using other technology such as high frequency communication over power lines, which are also harmful to human health.” Catherine Kleiber,

These meters will continue to be installed unless the public takes action!

Contact your state legislators, the CPUC, and your utility company to express your concerns, and/or to say you want to opt out.

The Sebastopol-based EMF Safety Network ( has a petition for Sonoma County and is calling for a full scientific review of potential health risks with public hearings, and a deployment moratorium until that is done. Incidentally, their deployment date was originally May 2010, but it was moved up to February after they started the petition. A coincidence?

Learn all you can about the public health risks posed by transmitting smart meters. and (Smart Meter information is under “Action Alert”) have a great deal of information, including research articles, resource materials, links to advocacy organizations, and suggestions for action, including who to contact.

Spread the word to your friends and neighbors, and link to and on your Facebook or MySpace page, if you have one. Local petitions are another tool.

The Utility Reform Network (TURN) and State Senator Florez have called for a moratorium on installing the meters over billing and reliability issues. TURN also has a petition on their website Health concerns

need to be added to their focus.

Deployment schedule:

You can find out when your city is due to get these meters at The website may not be accurate. Santa Cruz County is not due to start getting these meters until July, yet someone in Soquel had one installed on January 15. PG&E should notify you first before they install them.

Additional information:

Layna Berman’s recent KPFA show on the “Not So Smart Grid” --


EPA letter regarding inadequacy of federal standards

[2]These are just a few of the many research articles and overviews that are available.

Cell Phones and Brain Tumours – Literature Review in Surgical Neurology

Mobile Telecommunications and Health: Summary of ECOLOG study for T-Mobile, 2000

The BioInitiative Report Website

National Institute for Science, Law, and Public Policy: Wireless Technologies Cause Harm to Children and Adults, Legislators and Journalists Are Told

Bees, Birds and Mankind – Destroying Nature by Electrosmog, Ulrich Warnke. Kompetenz Initiative

Freiburger Appeal

[3] cancer-fivefold-937005.html

Lennart Hardell: Mobile phone use 'raises children's risk of brain cancer fivefold'

Appeal of the Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection:

“Children and Mobile Phones: The Health of the Following Generations is in Danger”


The Biological Effects of Weak Electromagnetic Fields by Andrew Goldsworthy


Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity: Biological Effects of Dirty Electricity with Emphasis on Diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis

Prevention Magazine: Is Dirty Electricity Making You Sick?

Sam Milham, Lloyd Morgan: Teachers’ Cancer Cluster, La Quinta Middle School

Nina Beety has been studying the health and environmental impacts of electromagnetic radiation for several years. She lives in Monterey and can be reached by email at nbeety (at) netzero (dot) net.

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