Letters: Smart meters produce adverse effects

Chronic exposure to radio frequency can be harmful to some individuals

I would like to share some observations from the field. As an EMF consultant, I take measurements of radio-frequency exposure levels in homes. If a wireless smart meter is attached to the exterior of a bedroom wall, peak RF exposure levels across the bed may range anywhere from 0.01 to 0.15 µW/cm2. This peak level is even lower than the average level of 2 µW/cm2 (at 20 cm in front of smart meter).

So what is the problem?At such close range to a wireless smart meter, all of a sudden, some people cannot sleep, some people develop constant headaches, and others feel dizzy. How can that be when the wireless smart meters comply with Health Canada’s limit of 600 µW/cm2? Safety Code 6 protects from acute effects, but not from chronic effects of low-level exposures.

A review on cell towers from 2009 found that adverse health effects from chronic exposures can be observed as low as 0.05 to 0.1 µW/cm2, exactly the levels found in bedrooms behind smart meters. In contrast to cell towers, the total transmission time of smart meter signals is usually no more than a few minutes per day. That does not sound like much, but the signals are being emitted every 1 to 10 minutes right now. In its latest guidelines, the EMF Working Group of the Austrian Medical Association recommends to keep peak levels of radio-frequency radiation in bedrooms below 0.001 µW/cm2, preferably below 0.0001 µW/cm2.

There is always a magnetic field associated with electric meters, whether they are analog or smart. For a good night’s sleep, keep a minimum of six feet from an electric meter. If it is a wireless smart meter, keep a minimum of 12 feet; better yet, move it away from the main residence.

We need a smarter grid for a sustainable energy future, but the wireless transmission of data is not the only option out there to accomplish this. People should at least be given a choice as to whether a wireless transmitter is attached to their home or not.

Katharina Gustavs

East Sooke