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Smart Meters & Are They A Help Or A Health Hazard? | Amoils.com

Added December 30, 2011, Under: Headaches & Migraines, Health, Technology

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Since their introduction in many parts of the USA in the past couple of years, smart meters using wireless technology have sparked much debate.  The main concern being that continual exposure to the radiation generated by this technology could cause harm to our health in much the same way as the continued use of mobile phones. More than 8 million smart meters have already been installed by electric utilities in the USA with nearly 60 million expected to be in place by 2020.

The benefits according to the Governor of California’s site

  • Allows for faster outage detection and restoration of service by a utility when an outage occurs and therefore, less disruption to a customer’s home or business.
  • Provides customers with greater control over their electricity use when coupled with time-based rates, increasing the range of different pricing plans available to customers and giving them more choice in managing their electricity consumption and bills.
  • Smart meters enable a utility to measure a customer’s electricity usage in hourly increments.
  • If a customer elects to participate in time-based rates offered by the utility, they have the opportunity to lower their electricity demand during “peak” periods (the peak period for most utilities are summer afternoons) and potentially save money on their monthly electric bill.
  • Allows customers to make informed decisions by providing highly detailed information about electricity usage and costs.  Armed with a better understanding of their energy use, consumers can make informed decisions on how to optimize their electricity consumption and reduce their bills.
  • Customers with smart meters today can access their prior day’s electricity usage through their utility’s website.
  • In the near future, by installing an in-home display device that communicates wirelessly with a Smart Meter, a customer could monitor their electricity usage and costs in real-time.  It may also be possible for a customer to receive automatic alerts (via emails or text messages) to notify them of when the electricity consumption exceeds a pre-determined threshold.
  • Helps the environment by reducing the need to build power plants, or avoiding the use of older, less efficient power plants as customers lower their electric demand.
  • When the utilities avoid the use of “peaker” plants to meet high demand, the environment benefits because peaker plants typically have higher greenhouse gas and other air emissions.
  • Increases privacy because electricity usage information can be relayed automatically to the utility for billing purposes without on-site visits by a utility to check the meter. This also results in lower operational costs for the utility.
  • Smart Meters are the first step toward creating a Smart Grid in California. Source here.

But here is another side to the story – the disadvantages of a smart meter

  • There are security and privacy concerns: a top cyber security firm recently tested 5 different brands of smart meters for vulnerabilities, and found that they all could be EASILY hacked into, allowing someone to remotely shut down your power, inflate your bills, tell if you’re out-of-town, commit identity theft, or even bring down the whole electricity grid.
  • There also are safety issues: like known cases of a smart meter failing and starting a fire, or exploding. Also, in a recent official filing, the Pacific Gas and Electric Company confirmed that its smart meters can damage customers’ sensitive electronics. And the new meter is effectively a remote control device in charge of your house or business, allowing PG&E the option of unilaterally rationing or cutting power to a property when the corporation deems it useful for their purpose.
  • These wireless meters put our health at risk: this kind of microwave pulsing works differently than more-continuous cell phone radiation, and it’s much more dangerous. Many scientific studies have verified that this type particularly affects the brain, nervous system and hormones, disrupting the functioning of many body systems and causing very serious leakage of our blood-brain barrier, and that low-power broadcasts (such as from these meters) are even more damaging than higher-power ones. Typical acute symptoms include migraine headaches, insomnia, exhaustion, forgetfulness and confusion, tinnitus, tingling, nausea and vomiting, constant thirst, heart palpitations and increased blood pressure, limbic system disturbances such as severe depression – and a general reduction from prior levels of functionality. For some, the nervous and endocrine systems go into hyper-arousal (as with severe stress), ultimately leading to the collapse known as “burnout”. Careful scientific research has proven that cumulative exposure to this type of radiation also causes more and more DNA breaks, which—if experienced frequently enough—have the potential to be a factor in ultimately causing cancer. Our risk of developing serious symptoms (often referred to as “electrical sensitivity”) increases the longer our chronic exposure to this radiation continues—and, with the smart meter system fully in place, there will be no place to escape it night or day. Children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with pre-existing health problems are particularly vulnerable.  Source here

There is resistance

It would seem that Californians are not accepting smart meters as easily as the utility companies would like with nearly 2 dozen communities having placed moratoriums on them and more than 2000 health related complaints having been received by the California Public Utilities Commission.

Elizabeth Kelley, founder of the Electromagnetic Safety Alliance, says the wireless meters are invasive and involuntary, so people should be able to opt-out of the program. “Because we don’t know yet what the health risks are from these low-powered frequencies that are eventually going to be traveling through our home night and day emitting pulse radio frequency radiation, this is causing considerable concern.”

Elizabeth Kelley goes on to say that there is concern especially for people who suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS). PG&E contends its meters comply with federal safety standards and are well within what you would find with normal household appliances. Kelley says more research should have been done before the devices were put in people’s homes. “There are no specific studies on Smart Meters, but there are comparable studies on very low power non-ionizing radiation exposure conditions, namely cellular antennas, which show there can be harm under certain exposure conditions.”

There are basically 3 types of EMR that could be endangering us daily

  • MICROWAVES which are electromagnetic waves of extremely high frequency passing through organic material, exiting their molecules and producing heat.  Microwaves are sensitive to electrical charge. When you look at the door of your microwave oven you will see a metal mesh (Faraday cage), this mesh is connected to earth so possesses a slight charge which deflects these waves and prevents their escape from within the caged device.

  • RADIO WAVES which are electromagnetic waves of radio frequency (RF) produced by transmitters, televisions, computers and of course smart meters.  Radio waves are also sensitive to electrical charge.

  • X RADIATION (X-rays) electromagnetic radiation of wavelength shorter than light able to penetrate solids and ionize gases.  As X-rays are able to penetrate dense solids so lead (a heavy metal of very high atomic weight) is used as a shield. Imagine a box of tennis balls, as the lead atoms are so large, X-rays cannot physically move around or through them compared to a box of golf balls which because of their smaller diameter will allow some X-rays to pass through.

What about protection from the hazards?

One way to protect yourself from a smart meter would be a shield of stainless steel fly mesh all around your smart meter which would prevent the overwhelming proportion of RF waves escaping (but also preventing the meters from being read accurately) which would have to be properly earthed to work.

But this may well sound too complicated and involved for the majority of us to utilize. You might be interested in finding out how you can avoid the installation of a smart meter on your property or if you already have one, how to reverse the situation.  You can find out more here.

Meanwhile, the jury is still out on whether smart meters are a help or a health hazard. Only time will tell.

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