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ARE SMART METERS A HEALTH HAZARD

ARE SMART METERS A HEALTH HAZARD ?

ARE SMART METERS A HEALTH HAZARD ?

The day smart meter transmissions were enabled in her neighbourhood, Maria collapsed.

It was only later that she discovered what had caused her to suddenly develop an erratic and life threatening heart arrhythmia.

Her astute GP told her to go out of the area, away from smart meters. Within hours of doing this she gradually began to feel better. She spent a month away from her home, being cared for by her family before she could return.

The inside walls of her home have now been painted with protective shielding paint. The windows are covered with radiofrequency (RF) reflecting curtains. All wireless devices are now turned off. Although she has made her home a “safe haven” she still becomes symptomatic out in public places.

Recalling that time is still traumatic for her, as she says she thought she was going to die.

“Since the completion of the rollout of smart meters in my area, I have been very, very sick. I have continuous palpitations, chest pain, a weird taste in my mouth, loss of appetite, lethargy, dizziness, faint attacks, an inability to concentrate and chronic insomnia.”

“I'm not able to function, I can't work, I can't look after my family.”

”My symptoms disappear when I'm in an area without smart meters.”

Maria is a medical doctor, specialising in women's healthand iscurrently unable to work.

Background – What is a Wireless Smart Meter

A wireless smart meteris an electronic meter that measures household electricity usage and relies on wireless technology, through the use of pulsed microwaves, to send meter data back to the power utility.

These meters give the power companies the ability to remotely collect data and to control our power usage. They can disconnect and reconnect our power supply from afar for their own purposes and charge different prices for electricity depending on the time of day it is used.

Since the rollout of smart meters in Victoria began, there has been much controversy over their privacy and security, billing errors and simply the fact that there was no public consultation and no customer choice.

By far the most concerning issue however is the growing cost to human health and the environment.

In Victoria, and elsewhere in the world, people are becoming sick after wireless smart meters are being connected to their electrical system, even people who were not hypersensitive.” (stopsmartmeters.com.au )

The most common symptoms reported are insomnia, tinnitus, headache, fatigue, dizziness, agitation, nausea, memory problems, visual disturbances, palpitations, nose bleeds, and prickly skin sensations.

Despite a growing body of anecdotal evidence and an overwhelming amount of credible scientific based evidence from noted doctors, scientists, epidemiologists, and neurologists from around the world, that indicates proven negative biological effects on living tissue from radiofrequencies, which are emitted from smart meters, government authorities in Australia continue to ignore the warnings.

“We have evidence...that exposure to radiofrequency radiation...increases the risk of cancer, causes damage to the nervous system, causes electro sensitivity and has adverse effects on reproductive systems.”  Dr David Carpenter, Director of the Institute of Health and Environment, University of Albany, New York.

The World Health Authority (WHO) has classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as a possible human carcinogen (Group 2B), based on an increased risk of glioma, a malignant type of brain cancer associated with wireless phone use ( IARC-International Agency for Research on Cancer 2011). These arethe same frequency deployed by smart meters.

The Seletun Scientific Panel, comprising international experts on the biological effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) state that “new biologically based public exposure standards, taking into account long term as well as non-thermal exposures, are urgently needed to protect public health world wide” ( Seletun Scientific Statement, page 1). The statement recommends standards that are approximately 50,000 to 60,000 times lower than the current International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) standard on which Australia bases its standard.

Therein lies the problem. Using their “current prescribed exposure limits” based on the standard set by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) , Victoria's Department of Primary Industry (DPI) conclude that “compliance with the ARPANSA limits (whichmirror those of ICNIRP) would deem the installation of smart meters safe with respect to radiofrequencies.”

Unfortunately, the limits adopted appear to fail to take into account sensitive populations, people with metal and medical implants, the elderly, the frail, pregnant women and children.

“There are no current, relevant public safety standards for pulsed RF involving chronic exposure of the public” says Dr Poki Namkung, former Public Health Officer, County of Santa Cruz, California, in her report Health Risks Associated with Smart Meters. “Exposure is additive and consumers may have already increased their exposure to RF radiation through voluntary use of wireless devices ..It would be impossible to know how close a consumer might be to their limit, making safety an uncertainty with the installation of smart meters.”   

Even more alarming are the effects smart meters can have on children.

 Dr Devra Davis, epidemiologist and founding director of the Toxicology and Environmental Studies Board at the US National Academy of Science says “...children's heads can absorb double or more of the radiofrequency energy of adults' heads.” 

ARPANSA have also recently produced a fact sheet with advice for parents on how to reduce their children's exposure to electromagnetic radiation (EMR) from mobile phones and other wireless devices, stating “this technology is so new it's impossible to be completely sure there isn't some risk. This is particularly true for children where there is little research evidence.” Notably, neither ARPANSA nor the DPI has given any advice on how to reduce exposure to smart meter emissions, especially from meters that are installed near bedrooms.

The BioInitiative Report of 2012 concludes that, based on 1800 new studies, there is “reinforced scientific evidence of risk from chronic exposure to low-intensity EMF and to wireless technologies (electromagnetic fields including microwave radiation).

“Public fears about wireless smart meters are well founded” says Dr David Carpenter in his article

“Smart Meters: Correcting the Gross Misinformation”. These public fears are backed by worried medical authorities who are seeing a growing number of citizens developing electromagnetic sensitivity (EMS), especially since, for many of them, these symptoms developed dramatically after the installation of a smart meter.