Smart Meter Dangers - Should You Be Concerned?
Everyone is connected online nowadays since the invention of wireless technology. Many smart devices have been invented and smart meters have become more common in the recent years. By early 2021, approximately 75% of US households have smart meters to send data to electricity companies. Other than smart meters we other “smart” devices at home like smartphones, smart TV, smart fridge and even a smart home which typically can be controlled via a phone or tablet.
We can all agree that smart technology makes our lives more connected, convenient, and fun but all these wireless devices produce radiofrequency (RF) radiation which can affect our bodies. The big question is how dangerous a smart meter can get considering its constant use of RF radiation and does it pose any health danger or radiation issues? Smart meters communicate through radiofrequency (RF) and electromagnetic field (EMF) waves. All these have a potential health risk to our health.
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of World Health Organization (WHO) has classified radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields (EMF) as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B), based on an increased risk for glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer, associated with wireless phone use. Research shows that there are some health dangers associated with the installation of smart meters in our homes. You can avoid these associated risks and live a healthy lifestyle by reducing EMF radiation exposure.
Many studies have found harmful effects from electromagnetic fields radiation such as:
- reduced immunity
- reduced sperm activity – potentially affecting fertility
- DNA fragmentation
- effects on the nervous system
- changes to heart-rate variability
- changes to brain activity and brainwave patterns
- brain tumour
What is Radiation?
Radiation is the transmission of energy in the form of waves or particle through space or other medium. One example of radiation is the sunshine. We all love a bit of sunshine. Although sunshine is a natural source of radiation, we still need to limit our exposure. Sunlight transmits Ultraviolet (UV) and it is known that overexposure to UV radiation can cause a range of diseases. More info (World Health Organization – UV).
What is EMF?
Electromagnetic Field (EMF) radiation is everywhere. For example, the earth has a static magnetic field that regulates our body cycle and helps living creatures to navigate their environments. Another example is the human body, it is a bioelectrical system. We can say that people emit electric and magnetic fields as we can record this using magnetoencephalograms (MEG) and electroencephalograms (EEG).
The nature EMF or background EMF is 0.000 0001 µW/m 2. However, the artificial EMF which comes from electricity and wireless technology including smart meters has increased by 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 times in the past 50 years. In other words, we are continually exposed to man-made EMF and these poses health risks in various forms.
Learn more about radiation and EMF.
Here Are What Smart Meters Do and Their Effects on Our Health
Just like smartphones, a smart meter is also a household convenience that measures our utility usage at home. These meters record the monthly bills of a household. Many people call it advanced meter installation. Many companies use it to track and measure energy usage in many households. It's usually installed outside, and it sends RF signal frequently like every fifteen minutes or so. Smart meters provide a digital link between electric companies and their customers by opening the door to new and expanded services.
More Smart Meter More RF Radiation
Electricity companies are using smart meter data to provide customer solutions, to enhance grid resiliency and operations and to support electric company planning, rate design and distributed energy resource integration. Smart meters were invented in Europe, and now it's been adopted in many countries. In the US, it is estimated that more than 220 million smart meter deployments are projected by the end of 2021. That is a lot of RF radiation in our environment.
What Are the Dangers of Installing Smart Meters?
There have not been any studies made available specifically on the potentially health issues caused by smart meters. However, to balance that there has been increasing evidence of the damaging effects of RF radiation which is used by smart meters. Some health risks were mentioned above. A recent scientific review (2021) states that “EMF Exposure, even in the low dose range, may well lead to changes in cellular oxidative balance. The production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), potentially leading to cellular or systemic oxidative stress, was frequently found to be influenced by EMF exposure in animals and cells” – Manmade Electromagnetic Fields and Oxidative Stress.
A smart meter emits EMR electromagnetic radiation and the RF energy exposure is usually determined by the distance from where the smart meter is mounted to yourself or the living area. The challenge is power companies often say that the RF signal from the smart meter is very low and within the safety guidelines. There is a couple of issues with this broad statement. First, what is the safety guideline? Typically, the most adopted guideline is ICNIRP which allows up to 10,000,000 µW/m 2 and this is based on non-heating effect. As long the RF energy does not heat your limbs it is “OK”. There is no consideration for any other potential physiological effects. So of course, the smart meter is low power only 1 % of the limit or approximately 100,000 µW/m 2.
The problem is when these levels compared to the building biology standard, the gap could not be more obvious, the building biology standard for RF limit is 10 µW/m 2. This is about 1,000,000 time less that what is adopted by the industry. The building biology standard’s goal is to identify, locate and assess potential sources of risk by considering all subcategories in a holistic manner and implementing the best possible diagnostic tools available with analytic expertise in order to create indoor living environments that are as exposure-free and as natural as practicable.
How to Deal with EMF Radiation and Electropollution
Smart meter is one of the main causes of electromagnetic field radiation around our house. The first step is to find the location of our smart meter and consider the living spaces utilised next to the smart meter. If the smart meter is placed next to the garage, the RF exposure is likely to be minimum from any other living space. However, if the smart meter is placed behind the walls or your bedroom then it is highly likely that you are getting high level of RF radiation from the smart meter.
The best thing you can do is by calling the utility company and sign up for the opt-out program. You can opt for the traditional meter, although this involves more fees. The traditional one meter does not have RF capabilities.
If installing the traditional electrical meter is not an option, RF shielding would be another option. When installing RF shielding it is best to measure before and after to know for sure that we have done the right things. Calling an EMF specialist of building biologist would be advisable. Typically, a faraday cage for smart meters would be utilized. A faraday cage is very effective and very affordable which can be installed by yourself, but it is important to know the RF levels before and after installing such RF shielding materials.
Finally, should none of the above is an option, rearranging your furniture or repurposing the room next to the smart meter should be considered. The best way to do this is to get a portable EMF meter and measure how far does the RF energy from the smart meter travels. Mark the safe zone and repurpose the room and furniture accordingly. This was exactly what we did when we stayed at our previous house. Distance is our best friend when it comes to RF radiation.
For more tips on how to reduce EMF pollution in your house get this free PDF.
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