Thursday, January 13, 2011

Smart Meter ... or Electromagnetic Death Pod?

Posted By on Thu, Jan 13, 2011 at 3:33 PM

Will PG&E's SmartMeters make you sick? Critics of the devices -- which are currently being installed throughout the state -- say they're hazardous because they emit electromagnetic frequencies (EMF) and radio frequencies (RF) in sufficient quantities, they claim, to cause nausea, headaches, dizziness ... even brain tumors. Last week, citing such fears, the Marin County Board of Supervisors made it a crime to install the meters in some parts of the county.

But a report issued Tuesday by the California Council on Science and Technology finds little to no basis for those worries. The project team, which was chaired by HSU President Rollin Richmond, found that "Wireless smart meters, when installed and properly maintained, result in much smaller levels of radio frequency exposure than many household electronic devices ... ." (See the graph below.)

click to enlarge smart.jpg


Nonetheless, the report allows that there are still unanswered questions about the long-term impacts of non-thermal RF emissions (p. 14). (Guidelines from the Federal Communications Commission address only thermal effects of RF.) Again, "There is currently no conclusive scientific evidence" that such emissions are harmful, the report states, but it suggests that more research might be "prudent."

The CCST is accepting public comments on the report through Jan. 31.

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Ryan Burns

Ryan Burns

Ryan Burns worked for the Journal from 2008 to 2013, covering a diverse mix of North Coast subjects, from education, politics and marijuana to human suspension, sex parties and amateur fight contests. He won awards for investigative reporting, feature stories and news coverage.

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