There are two basic health concerns with “smart” or “advanced” meters.
1) They use radiofrequency radiation in the microwave spectrum to transmit data about electricity use. (In NZ, according to the Electricity Authority the main frequencies used are the 900MHz or 1800 MHz bands.*)
2) “Smart meters” in use overseas have been shown to produce significant amounts of “dirty electricity” that is, high frequency spikes and harmonics. As this “dirty electricity” can travel through the wiring in a home or other building and radiate out up to two meters away from the walls, this can be a significant cause of electropollution in people’s living or working environment. (NB: “Smart meters” are not the only electrical devices that can produce “dirty electricity”; many other appliances do this including some computers, compact fluorescent light bulbs etc.).
Possible Health Effects of Microwave Radiation
1) Possible increase in cancer risk
Any increase in exposure to microwave radiation is a health concern given that the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) recently classed radiofrequency radiation (including microwave radiation) as a “possible human carcinogen” after studies showed a link between cell phone use and brain tumours. http://microwavenews.com/short-takes-archive/iarc-publishes-rf-cancer-review
(According to some scientists, the evidence for carcinogencity is now sufficiently strong that it may be more appropriate to consider RFR a probable carcinogen. (See the following link for details:t
In fact, given the research showing a link between cell phone use and brain tumours, many health-conscious people are taking steps to avoid using a cell phone unless essential. The proliferation of “smart meters” in the NZ community exposes everyone in the vicinity to increased levels of microwave radiation. (The range of the “low power” 900MHZ communications band is admitted to be “a few kilometers”.)
2) Possible adverse effects on the neurological development of children
A pilot study has shown that exposure to higher levels of microwave radiation may have an adverse effect on the development of the unborn child. The study found that high levels of microwave radiation where the mothers slept during pregnancy were associated with neurological problems (including autism spectrum disorders) in their children. The average microwave exposure during pregnancy of the mothers whose children had neurological problems was 20 x higher than that of the mothers whose children were developing normally.
You can see the doctor who conducted the study discussing the study (and associated health issues) at this link:
Content of this DVD:
0:21 Intro & Background
1:36 Modern illness: causes & types
6:05 Electromagnetic Frequency (EMF) fields
8:03 Scientific research findings
11:25 Solutions for reducing EMF exposure (1)
14:19 Solutions for autistic patients
15:43 Findings linking autism and EMF exposure
19:24 Solutions for reducing EMF exposure (2)
24:11 Smart meters: overview
26:48 Smart meters: observed health symptoms (1)
30:03 Smart meters: lab results (post-install)
32:36 Smart meters: solutions
34:19 Smart meters: observed health symptoms (2)
34:50 EMF: Largest cause of health problems today
38:22 Preventing a smart meter install
39:19 Strategy to overcome electro-sensitivity
Martha R Herbert, PhD, MD, a pediatric neurologist and neuroscientist on the faculty of Harvard Medical School has warned that Wifi should not be used in schools due to concerns that exposure to the pulsed microwave radiation used in Wifi may have adverse effect on children’s ability to learn. Dr Herbert has written a 60 page paper on how exposure to electromagnetic radiation may affect children’s development.
To read Dr Herbert’s letter to the Los Angeles Unified School District and to download her paper please visit the following link:
British scientist Andrew Goldsworthy, PhD has warned that “smart meters” may cause autism and may also increase cancer risk: Please see this link for a summary of the key points of his article http://stopsmartmeters.com.au/2013/10/23/all-victorians-at-risk-from-smart-meter-radiation-especially-children/
and this link for the entire article: http://www.foodsmatter.com/es/dect_smart_meters/articles/smart_meters_autism_2011_goldsworthy.pdf
Possible Health Effects of “Dirty Electricity”
1) Possible increase in cancer risk
Exposure to increased levels of “dirty electricity” (described by the study authors as ” high frequency voltage transients”) was associated with cancer in a study of teachers in a school. There were higher than expected rates of malignant melanoma, thyroid cancer and uterine cancer in teachers at the school. (See: http://electromagnetichealth.org/media-stories/ for more details.)
Other Health Effects Associated With “Smart Meters”
1) Increased symptoms for people who have electrosensitivity (also known as electrohypersensitivity or ES)
Some people are more sensitive to electromagentic radiation of all types and exposure to the microwave radiation and/or “dirty electricity” produced by “smart meters” may increase their symptoms to the point where they are unable to work or enjoy a normal quality of life.
(For more information on this condition, see
http://www.es-uk.info/info/recognising.asp and http://www.magdahavas.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/Austrian-EMF-Guidelines-2012.pdf and you can download a guideline for doctors here:
EMF Guideline OAK-AG 2012 03 03
2) Development of new symptoms after installation of “smart meters”
People have reported developing a variety of symptoms after installation of a “‘smart meter” in their homes – or in the neighbourhood in which they live. These include headaches, palpitations, ringing in the ears, fatigue and other symptoms. In some cases, these reactions can be disabling and prevent people from working or enjoying a normal life. For some examples of symptoms reported by people, please visit this link http://emfsafetynetwork.org/?page_id=2292 )
For the results of survey of people whose health has been adveresely affected from the radiofrequency radiation produced by a “smart meter”, please see this link:
Symptoms recently reported by a New Zealander may be read at this link: https://stopsmartmeters.org.nz/uncategorized/unpleasant-symptoms-after-smart-meter-installation/
Update: February 2015: A peer-reviewed article on adverse health effects from smart meters has now been published. Please see this link for details:
In terms of protecting your health, it is important to bear in mind that “smart meters” are just one of a number of modern technologies that have the potential to cause adverse health effects. A brief overview of some of the technologies that may pose health risks and how to reduce your exposure may be read at this link: http://www.naturalmedicine.net.nz/childrens-health-and-development/how-to-reduce-your-exposure-to-emr/
If you are interested in reading more about the health effects of EMR, the PDFs that you can download from the links below are well worth your time:
Issue 9 of The NZ Journal of Natural Medicine features a very good article about “smart meters” and health issues by Don Maisch, PhD. The issue may be bought from the online store at this link: http://www.naturalmedicine.net.nz/store/
After note: It is also important to realise that some of the major electricity companies in NZ are using the Vodafone cellular network to transmit data to/from the “smart meters” installed in/on people’s home and businesses. According to one company the “smart meter” needs to be positioned in an area in which a Vodafone cell phone shows its reception is three bars or higher. Proliferation of “smart meters” is likely to lead to an increase in the number of cellular phone towers, which are reported to have adverse effects on the health of nearby residents. See the website of Safer Wireless Technologies NZ http://www.banthetower.co.nz/ for information about the potential health effects of cell phone towers. (Links to some of the scientific research on this topic may be found on the Cell Phone Tower Health Effects page of their website.)
NB: If you are interested in the smart meter issue, please sign up for the email list at www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz. This link also includes a search facility to allow you to search the website for topics of interest.
* According to the PDF “Smart-Meter-FAQ-Aug11.pdf” downloadable from the website of the Electricity Authority:
“Signals from advanced meters use radio frequencies of various wavelengths. The two main transmission methods are:
“General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) – involving cellular transmission in the 900MHz or 1800MHz frequency bands. It is point-to-point communication, from the advanced meter to a cell phone tower. Transmission time will usually be less than a minute a day. However, as with all cell phones, there will be ‘heart-beat’ connection periods of very short duration at intervals throughout the day.
“Radio mesh – involving radio transmission in the 900MHz frequency band and can be considered point-to-many communication. Typically, these systems are relatively low-power and short-range (a few kilometres). Information is collected into concentration points called ‘data concentrators’ and relayed to back-office processes.