There is a petition that has been submitted by Devvy Kidd and John Kidd that takes on Texas smart meters because of the health hazards of RF and EMF radiation that come from these devices.
Many people with elderly heart conditions, aging body tissue, and differences in body fluids compared to younger more healthy individuals feel that they are being sacrificed for the sake of technology. Even people not so frail feel scared by the potential high levels of RF radiation that is being emitted from Texas Smart Meters. Most states did little research on these radiation dangers and what research that was done was later found to be originally created by the industry that would profit from these new meters. You would think a little more thought would have gone into it before mandating almost all Texans get one installed. Geniuses made microwaves safe before they went on store shelves and even then people had a choice to buy it or not.
For those that have been worried by the health hazards associated with Texas smart meters it has really become a mini-Fukushima for those concerned about radiation dangers. The idea that radiation from radio frequency and electromagnetic field energy is sending in daily waves of small X-Ray level radiation bodily exposure is a very frightening prospect. You can’t compare RF radiation to X-ray radiation as they are two totally different things. RF radiation is non-ionizing radiation and does not come with the cancer risks associated with X-ray radiation. There may still be dangers especially at higher dosages but lets not get ahead of ourselves and make the comparison with X-ray radiation as it just isn’t the same thing.
For those looking at this petition from the outside it seems a little much ado about nothing. We know most of us these days have microwave ovens in our houses and yet the smart meter is very small and on the outside of a home. Both of these devices emit RF radiation but there are some differences. For instance, the microwave is regulated by the FDA to allow for only a very small amount of RF radiation to come out of the device for the entire life-cycle of the microwave oven. The FDA has no regulation or criteria for how much RF radiation can be emitted from a smart meter. When looking at my Texas smart meter I could not find any shield or device preventing the release of unwanted amounts of RF radiation into the home and surrounding area.
Comparing Safety Levels of Microwave Ovens and Texas Smart Meters
So lets compare the two to start off with to see how a microwave oven’s danger compares with a Texas smart meter’s possible dangers. A microwave uses non-ionizing radiation which does not have the cancer risks associated with it as do X-rays. This radiation is however still harmful to some low degree and so there are rules about how much radiation leakage can occur in a microwaves life-cycle. Only 5 milliwatts of microwave radiation per square centimeter at approximately 2 inches from the surface of the oven is allowed by the United States Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health. Doing a search on the FDA’s radioactive emitting product search database for “Smart Meters” it came back with nothing. It turns out that Smart Meters also produce the same type of non-ionizing radiation known as RF radiation. This radiation is much much safer than X-ray radiation but it is still potentially dangerous and so precautions are recommended and followed by many product manufacturers with the regulation of the FDA behind it.
The potential health impacts of smart meters. The California state legislatures asked for an independent review of the safety of smart meters to be conducted in order to have an unbiased report to look at that was an independent science based study. The California state legislatures were hearing from PG&E that there was nothing to worry about so they wanted to get confirmation on this from a clear scientific review that had no ties with PG&E or any company that would benefit by the sell of smart meter technology. California Council on Science and Technology did not go forward with an independent review but instead reproduced the same claims that the Electric Power Research Institute had made. The problem with this is that the same group PG&E used for their report (Richard Tell Associates) was in charge of producing the report for the Electric Power Research Institute as well. There was a table in the EPRI report used by the California council comparing the RF radiation doses from a smart meter, a cell phone, and a microwave oven. The issue with the table and report is that they were comparing apples and oranges.
They looked at whole body exposure from a smart meter and compared it to the dose of an ear from a cell phone. Rather than comparing the whole body dose of a cell phone and comparing that with the whole body dose from a smart meter they did it much differently with resulted in a significant skewing of results. Richard Tell Associates assumed a 100% duty cycle for the smart meter and a 1% duty cycle for a smart phone because you only uses the cell phone for less than an hour during a day on average. They never corrected for the enormous comparative difference in usage of 45 minute total cell phone exposure next to the continuous use a smart meter would be on for. They did not look at cumulative exposure which would make sense because the smart meter is usually attached to your house near a major room and running 24 x 7. So in the study they assumed 99% of the time the cell phone was not producing radiation but 100% of the time the smart meter would be which is a good assumption and correct for the most part but cumulative exposure was completely left out of the study. They did adjust the smart meter number to 50% exposure as a reasonable adjustment but even still this doesn’t come close to solving the problems with the study. When you correct the two major blunders in the study, the whole body and the cumulative aspect of it rather than a cell phone being 100 times more exposure than a smart meter a smart meter shows to be 100 times more cumulative exposure than a cell phone.
Corrected Graph Using Daniel Hirsch’s findings in the EPRI Graph
These inaccuracies were exposed by Daniel Hirsch who teaches Nuclear Policy at the University of Santa Cruz. He spoke to the California legislature and asked for them to revise the numbers based on these new findings regarding whole body exposure and cumulative exposure.
What is the Smart Meter Risk to the Public?
At the moment no one really knows what the risks could be even with these corrected findings on radiation exposure from smart meters. The health risks from RF radiation are uncertain but consider that your microwave oven also uses non-ionizing radiation just as the smart meter does. The United States Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health regulates the RF radiation of a microwave and I believe they should do so for the smart meter. A spray on coating and shield backing may be all the retrofits that are necessary to offer the same protection you currently receive against RF radiation exposure as you get from your microwave oven. The health dangers could be found to be harmless but it could just as easily be found to be extremely severe. The main issue is that currently knowing nothing about the long term health risks of smart meter RF radiation exposure the government is conducting a very large experiment on millions of the population. A big part of this experiment is completely involuntary as most Texans don’t remember ever being asked if they are okay with the new smart meters being installed on their homes and paying that extra $5 a month for the luxury of continuous 24 x 7 RF radiation exposure.
Like many of us I choose to still use my cell phone although I use a hands free set and keep that thing as far from my head as I can. When I live in my Tyler Texas home I had no choice on if I would use a smart meter but yet I have one permanently attached on my outside kitchen wall.
Consider that tens of millions of people have smart meters on their homes with potentially 100 times greater cumulative full body exposure from RF radiation than they get from their smart phone. In several years we may find this has led to a sharp increase in cancers but it could also mean we find that it actually produced no cancers and is perfectly safe. Regardless I am still paranoid about smart phone cancer risks and this is only a 45 minute per day exposure risk.
What do I recommend? I would like to keep my smart meter but I would like a retrofit similar to what already comes on my microwave oven. I want to be able to in case or spray on something to my smart meter that keeps RF radiation exposure to 5 milliwatts of microwave radiation per square centimeter at approximately 2 inches from the surface of the smart meter. If a cheap $30 microwave can meet those requirements I don’t see why we can’t easily make that happen for a smart meter. A word of warning about assuming the risks are not great when it comes to non-ionizing radiation: It took years to understand that with ionizing radiation that comes from disasters like Fukashima there is a latent long term danger from cumulative long term exposure that always results in terminal cancer. We do not yet understand what these latent long term cumulative dangers are for non-ionizing radiation that come from devices like the smart meter which is an always on device. There is always a low ball estimate of risks from governments in order to get the mass public to not worry and accept new policy. If you think the smart meter experiment is a big gamble in Texas consider that China will install over 300 million smart meters by the end of 2015. If there is a cancer risk with smart meters it looks like we will all go down with it at the rapid rate these things are being installed. These risk estimates always go up over time after the public has already accepted the magic device. Go ahead and do what you need to do to protect yourself from exposure by buying an after market product that can assist with this. The good news is that a retrofit is likely very inexpensive and easy to install to block out the radiation although it may require a little sweat.