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A smart meter is an electronic data recording device that your energy utility puts on your house or business to monitor and record data about your energy utilization. Smart meters can either receive signals from the controlling station, or they can send data about your energy usage. Normally, the smart meter is used only for sending the data to a central collection station for processing. In practice, each house will have separate smart meters on each energy supply, such as electricity, water and gas, so there may be several smart meters per household.
The smart meter program was initiated by the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 which funded the Smart Grid Program.
The grand theory behind all this technology is that by recording detailed data about the energy use in every house in the community, the energy company can make much more accurate predictions about immediate and future energy needs. The program has amounted to a "done deal" without any public input or public discussion about merits, need, scope, health consequences or provision for accommodations for people who need to avoid electromagnetic radiation (EMR) exposure.
The transmitting smart meters send their data with radio signals. Other smart meters can send the data over land lines, such as leased telephone lines. Or there is a low power type of transmitting smart meter that transmits the data only to a few hundred feet away, such as a truck in the street. Or the data can be collected manually by a person with meter reader. There are apparently no requirements for public disclosure about just what data is recorded. Is it only the total energy used, or do such private details as living patterns, get recorded and transmitted? There must be comprehensive and open public disclosure of all data collected and all uses made of it.
There appears to be no consistent public data about the technical characteristics of the meters, such as transmit frequency, power levels, modulation, how often data is transmitted, etc. A few technical publications do list some values, but they may be unique to where the magazine was published. There must be full public disclosure about all the technical characteristics of all smart meters available as printed material, on company web sites, and stamped onto a metal plate on every meter.
But with this data, it amounts to only echoing the usual "conforms to FCC standards" which have been criticised in some 1,000 scientific papers.
For example, it has been reported in one technical magazine that the transmitting smart meters transmit on a frequency of 915 Mhz. This amounts to a wavelength of about 12 inches. EMR heating effects are worst at multiples of the wavelength when impedance mismatches can create standing waves which can magnify the effects. The length of the metal in some medical metal implants, such as leg braces, or neural stimulators such as used in people with Parkinson's disease, is about 12 inches, so there are concerns about injuries from heating if the person is too close to a meter.
The transmitting smart meters are reported to transmit their data in the undocumented 901 to 928 Mhz frequency band. Undocumented means that the FCC exercises very little control over how the band is used. Thus there may be severe interference from other users of these frequencies which may cause the smart meters to switch to other operating modes, such as using higher transmitting power to reach the collecting antenna.
There is no agreement or public documentation about how often the transmitting smart meter send their information. Some accounts mention once an hour. Others claim information is sent as often as once every six seconds! The faster the meter sends its information increases the EMR exposure to people nearby. There must be open public disclosure about how often the meters send their information.
There is a hierarchy of smart meter devices. The simple smart meters being installed on most houses collects only for the house it is installed on and transmits it to the collecting station. The collecting smart meter collects data for the house it is installed on plus it collects data from surrounding smart meters on houses that are too far for them to communicate with the collecting station. The result is that the collecting smart meters expose the people in the house to much more radiation than the simple smart meters.
Future plans for this system include device usage power transmitters located on every major power load in your house, such as dishwasher, furnace, etc. These power transmitters report the power used by each of those loads to the smart meter on the house, which in turn sends a supposedly more accurate report to the collecting station. In practice, the power transmitters add to the EMR radiation all the house occupants are exposed to.
The Smart Grid program has been severely criticized by security analysts who claim that the grid would be very easy to hack into, possibly compromising any personal data that has been collected, or issuing commands to cause problems for homes or an entire city
This means that there is a capability for someone to remotely break into your house and shut down your power, to tell if you are out of town, to change your bills, possibly commit identity theft. This can be very dangerous for people with disabilities, or children who need 24 hour electrical power for supporting health issues.
There must be public assurance that the physical security of the system consoles that issue commands to the smart meter for your house are managed in a totally safe and secure manner at all times. How are employees vetted for stability, security? Are they bonded? There must be full open and public disclosure about this area
There appears to be no justification for installing a smart meter on every house, i.e., 100% saturation, of every house in the country. Since the energy companies are dealing with a large homogenous population of energy loads, statistical methods can be used to establish trends. Advertising companies obtain amazing accuracy by sampling only a small percentage of a target population. If reasonably accurate statistics could be obtained with less than 100% saturation, people with any concern whatsoever about the meters should not be required to have them present on their house.
How much electrical power does a smart meter consume with its 24/7 operation? There appears to be no public disclosure of this data. An estimate, based on the typical idle power used by many consumer devices, suggests that installing a smart meter on every house in the country will increase the total national electrical energy needs by at least one percent. The smart meter program is supposed to save nonrenewable electrical energy by increased accuracy in managing the national electrical grid. Will that increased accuracy really recoup the additional power used by the meters? Nobody seems to know. There must be a full public discussion and disclosure about this issue.Return to the top of this page
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine has issued a formal statement to the California Public Utilities Commission on smart meters. This is a good letter for everyone, and especially people contesting smart meters, to put into their monthly payments to their local utility.
In addition to health problems to everyone that are directly caused by long-term EMR, there is a health condition, called Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS), that affects some three to seven percent of the population. There is no medical diagnostic code for it in America, but it is recognized as a disability in Sweden and Canada, and legislation is pending before the Belgian and Italian parliaments to recognize it as a disability. A person with EHS can be immediately and severely affected by any EMR exposure with symptoms that include dermal changes, acute numbness and tingling, dermatitis, flushing, headaches, arrhythmia, muscular weakness, tinnitus, malaise, gastric problems, heart problems, nausea, visual disturbances, severe neurological, respiratory, sleep problems, speech problems, and numerous other specific physiological symptoms. Some people with EHS can tolerate being near any operating computer for only a very short time. In extreme, some people black out if someone turns on a cell phone near them. [EI Wellspring] Both the transmitting and the manually read smart meters contain a powerful computer system, as well as transmitting EMR, that can cause serious EHS health problems.
EHS has been validated in very meticulous medical research that observes such issues as using a Faraday cage facility, requiring the support staff to have absolutely no electronic devices on their body. The presence of a pager or an electronic wristwatch, or especially a computer, in the testing area can ruin such testing, for example. A URL to one such evaluation is the following -
The paper reported the conclusion - "EMF sensitivity exists and can be elicited under environmentally controlled conditions."
The above clinic reports they have patients so sensitive to EMR they are affected by radio noise from the sun during solar flares.
A complication in EHS testing is that many people with EHS also suffer from some degree of multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS). As such, the support staff must accomodate MCS concerns such as being absolutely free of odors, such as petro-based perfumes, fabric softeners, tobacco smoke, pesticides, in addition to avoiding EMR contamination. Studies have said that some 20 ... 50 percent of people with MCS also suffer from ehs.
Sadly, EHS has been the target of "confusion science" testing that ignores such rigorousneses as mentioned above and draws conclusions such as "the symptoms of EHS cannot be reliably demonstrated." A researcher doing a meta-analysis on EHS who does not understand the need for extreme rigorousness concludes that there is no scientific agreement. The World Health Organization has a "fact sheet" that repeats such claims and makes statements, without documentation or citations, that have been disproven repeatedly by careful scientific research.
The Indoor Environmental Quality office in the National Institutes of Building Sciences recognizes that any chemical and electromagnetic exposures are a significant problem for some people, and is drafting regulations to permit such people access to the amenities of our society.
The smart meters are a serious health aggravation for people with EHS who are finding that these meters are being installed on their homes, often without their knowledge nor permission. RMEHA has had two members seriously injured by smart meter installations on their homes.
EhS is recognized by the Americans with Disabilities Act, the U.S. Access Board; and numerous commissions. People with medical cause, such as EHS, or various metal implants, to avoid any and all electromagnetic radiation exposure must be provided accommodation that fully supports that need. The Sage report. mentioned below, estimates that as many as 20 million Americans need such accommodation. And that accommodation must be provided at no expense to them.
For many personal accounts (and often anonymous for fear of retaliation?) of health problems people have experienced from smart meter installations, see the following page -Return to the top of this page
The claimed complete safety of the radiation from the transmitting smart meters is justified by saying "they conform to federal and international standards." However, those safety standards were based on the subjective assumption that only physical heating of the flesh of a 185 pound healthy soldier for a short exposure time is all that causes any harm, and they ignore a vast amount of scientific research that says low-level, especially long-term, EMR exposure is a serious hazard to many people, and especially to infants and young people of reproductive age, at exposure levels considerably below the level where physical heating effects are observed. Research from China has reported "significant" neurological effects at exposure levels some 100 to 1,000 times lower that what is claimed to be safe. Children in Russia are seriously restricted in their use of cell phones. Cell phone antenna towers are forbidden near schools in France. The Indian Supreme Court has recognized EMR as a "Health Hazard". The guidelines for exposure to EMR are obsolete and must be revised to include realistic science-based information. [Electromagnetic Health]
It is accepted in other countries that children and infants are more vulnerable to EMR exposure than adults. See the following account by a well- regarded European organization to urge that no wireless devices be used in schools:
Note that the weakened health puts people with many of the multi-system illnesses in the same boat.
In 1999, the National Toxicology Program office in the Department of Health and Human Services recognized EMR exposure as a "possible human carcinogen" and announced it was mounting a research program that would develop a science based basis for regulating EMR exposure in our society. As of mid-2014, apparently nothing has been accomplished.
In 1999, the Radiofrequency Interagency Working Group recognized that existing safety limits for pulsed RF exposure are "not protective of public health" and promised a complete review. As of mid-2014, apparently nothing has been accomplished.
See the following for a detailed technical evaluation of the radiation from smart meters being used in California is "Smart Meter RF Radiation Assessment" by Cindy Sage and Associates.
This report evaluates the radiation people are exposed to by a smart meter in typical household applications, such as a person in a kitchen 28 inches from the meter, and a baby's crib 11 inches from the meter. There were several "FCC Regulations Violated" for the kitchen scenario, especially if the kitchen has many reflective metallic surfaces, such as as refrigerators in a restaurant galley kitchen. There were many "FCC Regulations Violated" for the baby's crib scenario, even if the bedroom does not many reflective surfaces. Keep in mind that "FCC Regulations Violated" signifies a heating of the body tissue by perhaps as much as one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit).
Ask your doctor if it is safe to heat a baby's brain by one degree Celsius! Or how she would recognize damage that may have been caused by such an exposure.Return to the top of this page
Another serious problem is section 704, the so-called "Bliley Amendment," in the Federal Communications Act of 1996 which reads as follows -
SEC. 704. FACILITIES SITING; RADIO FREQUENCY EMISSION STANDARDS.
(iv) No State or local government or instrumentality thereof may regulate the placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless service facilities on the basis of the environmental effects of radio frequency emissions to the extent that such facilities comply with the Commission's regulations concerning such emissions.
In other words, environmental concerns - and people are part of the real environment - may not be considered when deciding where to place an antenna. The smart meters program can amount to having a continuous, 24 hours a day, transmitting antenna on the house wall, possibly outside a bedroom. This amendment is an incredible anti-public health provision that has no place in the laws of our society. [Magda Havas]Return to the top of this page
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads in part as follows -
"... nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation."
Legal decisions have ruled that in order for the government to seize property, the public need not actually use the property, but rather the property must be used to promote the public's interest or welfare.
Prohibiting people from making full use of their private property by installing a smart meter on the house that transmits so much EMR that they are forced to avoid certain rooms or even vacate the property amounts to seizing the property for public use, i.e., the Smart Grid program.Return to the top of this page
The question comes up whether the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) applies to people with health conditions that require they avoid EMR exposure.
The ADA says very explicitly that proprietors of places of public accommodation shall not discriminate against disabled individuals.
Here are excerpts from the ADA regarding the definition of a disability -
The term "disability" means, with respect to an individual -
(A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual;
(B) a record of such an impairment; or
(C) being regarded as having such an impairment (as described in paragraph (3) (below).
(2) Major Life Activities -
(A) In general -
For purposes of paragraph (1), major life activities include, but are not limited to, caring for oneself, performing manual tasks, seeing, hearing, eating, sleeping, walking, standing, lifting, bending, speaking, breathing, learning, reading, concentrating, thinking, communicating, and working.
(B) Major bodily functions -
For purposes of paragraph (1), a major life activity also includes the operation of a major bodily function, including but not limited to, functions of the immune system, normal cell growth, digestive, bowel, bladder, neurological, brain, respiratory, circulatory, endocrine, and reproductive functions.
(3) Regarded as having such an impairment -
For purposes of paragraph (1)(C):
(A) An individual meets the requirement of "being regarded as having such an impairment" if the individual establishes that he or she has been subjected to an action prohibited under this chapter because of an actual or perceived physical or mental impairment whether or not the impairment limits or is perceived to limit a major life activity.
(B) Paragraph (1)(C) shall not apply to impairments that are transitory and minor. A transitory impairment is an impairment with an actual or expected duration of 6 months or less.
(4) Rules of construction regarding the definition of disability
The definition of "disability" in paragraph (1) shall be construed in accordance with the following:
(A) The definition of disability in this chapter shall be construed in favor of broad coverage of individuals under this chapter, to the maximum extent permitted by the terms of this chapter.
(B) The term "substantially limits" shall be interpreted consistently with the findings and purposes of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008.
(C) An impairment that substantially limits one major life activity need not limit other major life activities in order to be considered a disability.
(D) An impairment that is episodic or in remission is a disability if it would substantially limit a major life activity when active.
(i) The determination of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity shall be made without regard to the ameliorative effects of mitigating measures such as
(I) medication, medical supplies, equipment, or appliances, low-vision devices (which do not include ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses), prosthetics including limbs and devices, hearing aids and cochlear implants or other implantable hearing devices, mobility devices, or oxygen therapy equipment and supplies;
(II) use of assistive technology;
(III) reasonable accommodations or auxiliary aids or services; or
(IV) learned behavioral or adaptive neurological modifications.
(ii) The ameliorative effects of the mitigating measures of ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses shall be considered in determining whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity.
(iii) As used in this subparagraph -
(I) the term "ordinary eyeglasses or contact lenses" means lenses that are intended to fully correct visual acuity or eliminate refractive error; and
(II) the term "low-vision devices" means devices that magnify, enhance, or otherwise augment a visual image.
In other words, a written statement from your board-certified doctor who has had extensive experience with your type of health condition, and follows the ADA guidelines on diagnosing disability *should* qualify you as having a disability protected by the ADA.
People with any form of EMR hypersensitivity, such as EHS, are immediately at risk of being immediately and possibly severely injured by the radiation from typical smart meters.
People who have medical implants, particularly metal implants, may be more sensitive to injury by EMR exposures, such as from a typical smart meter.
Patients with deep-brain stimulators (such as used by Parkinson's disease patients) have reported adverse health effects such as the unit being reprogrammed or the electronic controller shut-down when exposed to EMR comparable to radiated from a typical smart meter.
One medical implants manufacturer, Medtronics, has even issued a warning for Parkinson's implant patients to limit EMR exposure to less than 0.1 W/Kg SAR (or sixteen times lower than the limit for the general public) for MRI exposures.
The ADA must be fully respected and implemented to protect EMR vulnerable people in our society.Return to the top of this page
What you can do to protect yourself and your family -
We have several very serious and wide-ranging public health issues here. Scientific research going back to the 1950's in Russia, and the 1970's in the rest of the world, has repeatedly established that low level electromagnetic radiation (EMR) is potentially a serious long term health problem for everyone, and it can be a severe direct and immediate injurant for people with health conditions, such as Electromagnetic HyperSensitivity, that are affected by EMR. The existing federal and international standards are inadequate and obsolete. Far wiser and far safer ways of using electromagnetic radiation throughout our society must be developed. [Bioinitiative Report]
The Bliley amendment to the National Telecommunication Act must be revised to establish that human health and environmental health are given full precedence over any other considerations in deciding where to emplace an antenna.
There appears to be no federal, state, nor local law that explicitly requires a smart meter be installed on every home. In California, as of early June 2011, 32 cities, 9 counties, and 1 tribe, representing about 2.2 million people, have approved or are considering smart meter moratoriums of some kind until the many very troubling health issues are resolved.
There is no public justification that a smart meter is required on every home. The accuracy of the information to effectively manage the Smart Grid would probably not be affected if large numbers of people prefer to opt out on having a meter installed on their home for whatever reason.
There is apparently no independent, peer reviewed, scientific research that says EMR exposure, at the levels emitted from smart meters, is safe for the entire population on a long-term basis. Instead, scientific research consistently agrees that low-level, especially long-term, EMR exposure is a significant concern for everybody, and especially for children and infants. The Russian Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection recommends "ultimate urgency to defend children's health from the influence of EMF" exposure. The British Royal Society in London reports that the risk for children is some five times higher than for an adult.
But, in America, it is illegal, because of the Bliley amendment, to consider environmental (and people are part of the environment) concerns when deciding where to place an antenna, such as a smart meter. Parents should locate bedroom and play areas for their children as far away as possible from any smart meter installation. Keep in mind that the antennas on smart meters are probably omni-directional, which means they transmit equally in all directions. Plus most house walls, especially wooden, are transparent to electromagnetic radiation.
A big caution - Never get near an operating smart meter. The radiation from the transmitting units exceeds the FCC exposure limits for healthy people if you get closer than six inches. This radiation exposure exceeds the Bioinitiative Report exposure guidelines if you get closer than 40 inches. Keep in mind that the eyes (and breasts, ovaries, and testes) are much more vulnerable to EM radiation damage than other tissues in your body.
If you already have has a smart meter installed on your house, you may wish to have it removed. Unfortunately, there are reports of utility companies outright refusing to remove installed meters or moving the meter to a pole just a few feet from the house and then charging a huge relocation fee. Keep in mind that the Bliley amendment forbids any consideration of health concerns in deciding where to place an antenna; the utility company is under no obligation to respect your health based request. Investigate carefully before you commit to anything. Any decision about what would be safe for you should be a decision between you and hour health care advisor, not some utility company employee.
If you have not had a smart meter installed, now is the time to act. A web search with the search string "smart meter opt-out" is now returning citations that list several utilities companies that apparently do allow you to refuse to have a meter installed on your home. But again, investigate all the details before committing to anything.
Do - educate your doctor about this problem. An excellent paper is "A Basic Summary of the Neurological Effects of Radiofrequency Sickness" available at the Electrical Pollution website -
Do - ask your doctor(s) to ensure that their medical facilities do not allow any smart meters to be installed on their buildings so you have access to medical support.
Do - put a sign on your house, near the power entrances, explicitly stating "DO NOT INSTALL A SMART METER ON THIS HOUSE."
A preformatted "Do Not Install" sign is available from The Utility Reform Network -
Do - educate your neighbors. Such as with a yard sign stating that your home is a smart meter free zone, and encourage them to do the same. One such sign is available at the above Turn website.
Do - notify your energy providers, in writing, listing your account number(s) and service address, that you request that no smart meters be installed on your property. Provide a copy of a statement from your board-certified doctor(s) that you have medical cause to be totally free from electromagnetic radiation exposure. If possible, include a copy of your state Governor's Proclamation recognizing Electromsagnetic Hypersensitivity.
Do - file a complaint with your Public Utilities Commission (PUC). But with the following considerations - the PUC is legally required to enforce existing law and regulations. They cannot change that law. But they can maintain an Evidence of Harm database that should be available to your legislators. So, if you have been injured by a smart meter installation, and especially if you incurred medical expenses, definitely do file a complaint, including documentation by your board certified doctor, with your PUC.
Do - file a complaint with the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Do - file a complaint with the Food and Drug Administration.
Do - file a complaint with the Federal Communication Commission.
Do - file a complaint with your state congresspeople about your concerns. They are constitutionally responsible for ensuring that you live in a safe and healthy community and also ensuring that the federal government respects States' rights, such as establishing no smart meter installations. Request the following -
Do - file a complaint with your federal congresspeople about your concerns. They are responsible for ensuring that the federal government fully respects the U. S. Constitution and that you live in a safe and healthy community. Request the following -
Do - file a complaint with the Americans with Disabilities Act office -
Do - file a complaint with the President.
Do - send copies of your complaints to the EMR Policy Institute.
Here are some smart meter specifications.
As reported by an editor at Electronic Products magazine.Return to the top of this page
Here are some of the symptoms, both short term and long term, of injuries that can be caused by electromagnetic radiation exposure -
Here are sources of more information about the health effects on EMR exposure.
Here are links to reviews of several books about the health effects of electromagnetic radiation exposure. Some of these reviews are in other pages in this web site; use the Alt-left arrow keys or Back Arrow tab to return here.
The following are other books that address many more aspects of this area -
Here is a list of web sites that cover many aspects of the smart meter problem, EHS, and electromagnetic pollution in general. More will be added as they are discovered.
Please be aware that the full URL is often given, but given the transient nature of the web - data bases get reorganized or old pages do get moved around or removed - you may get a dead link. This is especially apt to be the case for the extended URLs, where the base address is followed by a question mark and a series of fields delimited by ampersands and equal signs. In that case, go to the Location Bar in your browser and remove one or more subdirectories until you get to the base address or home page of the site and load the home page. This may get you a new link to the information or a contact email address to request access to the information. Another problem becoming more and more a nuisance is that some URL's are too long for legacy internet code or even per Internet specifications! Again, the best course of action is to go to the home page and try to search for the information. (And fill out their Reader Response Form that they are loosing readers because of their poor coding practices!)Return to the top of this page
Here are links to several search engines in case you wish to do more research from this page -Return to the top of this page