How Dangerous Is Your Smart Meter?
Smart sounds good, doesn’t it? We have smartphones that rarely leave our hands and smart meters on our homes sending data to our utility companies. We have smart speakers that are always listening, which can play music on command or place a delivery order for dinner. We are surrounded by brilliant technology that makes our lives easier.
These devices may be smart, however, how smart are we to use them? They communicate constantly through electromagnetic, or radiofrequency waves, that flow all around us. However, just like you want to drink clean water, breathe clean air, eat organic food and use clean body products, you’ll also want to secure a clean “electronic” environment too.
Let’s take a closer look at what a smart meter actually is and what the experts are saying. Then you can decide if you should be concerned about how it affects your health.
What is a Smart Meter?
We know about smartphones and other household conveniences, yet what is a smart meter, and should you be concerned about dangers related to a smart meter? Most of us use electricity provided by an electric co-op or utility, and we have a meter on our home that measures usage. Traditionally, this is an analog meter that’s read monthly or bimonthly by an employee of the utility company.
The smart meter, also called an Advanced Meter Installation (AMI), is a two-way device used by utility companies to measure energy usage in your home. It’s mounted on the outside of your home like a traditional meter and is more common in newer homes.
No one has to come to read your meter because the meter sends data about your usage to the electric company. It does this quite frequently. As often as every 15 minutes, in fact.
They use radiofrequency (RF) waves, a form of electromagnetic energy, to transmit energy consumption data to a central computer at the utility company. These RF waves move through space at the speed of light. The transmissions are sent using a method of communication based on either a cell phone, pager, satellite, radio, power line (PLC), WiFi or Internet (TCP/IP).
Utility companies first started using smart meters in Europe and now the practice has spread to the US. In fact, more than 43 million smart meters have been installed in homes and businesses in the US alone since 2012.1 This number is quickly rising thanks in large part to our government’s Smart Grid investment of $3.4 billion in 2009. By the end of this year, 132 million smart meters are expected to be installed in the US, which equates to an investment of almost $9 billion.2
Should You Be Concerned About Smart Meter Dangers?
Those of you who are familiar with my work as a functional medicine physician know that I always advocate that we can take back control of our health. This includes informing ourselves as best we can.
I want to ensure you are aware of the information available. This way you can make informed decisions regarding your home environment, as I have recently done. One fact that cannot be ignored is that smart meters emit electromagnetic radiation (EMR) in the form of radiofrequency (RF) radiation, which is a byproduct of radiofrequency waves. No one disclaims this.
RF radiation was classified in 2011 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), as “possibly carcinogenic (cancer-causing) to humans.” Furthermore, there is no data that shows RF radiation is safe. In fact, no one has conducted health studies on humans living in homes with smart meters. The World Health Organization is planning a formal assessment of the health effects from RF exposure, however, this report is not yet available.
People with smart meters in their homes have reported a sudden increase in dizziness, ear pain, memory problems, heart palpitations, anxiety, and sleep problems. We do know that exposure to large amounts of RF radiation as a result of accidents involving radar has caused severe burns. Whether in large or small amounts, RF radiation has adverse effects on your health.
The US safety limit for RF radiation is 1,000 micro-watts per meter squared. However, it’s not uncommon for some smart meters to produce up to 60 times this amount. That is equivalent to the output of 160 cell phones.3 And smart meters are continuously transmitting data and producing RF radiation in and around your home.
The amount of RF energy exposure depends on how far the smart meter mounted on a building is from the smart meter antenna. However, there are simple ways you can protect yourself and your family. I’ll explain these after I talk about something called dirty electricity, which you can definitely clean up in your household.
What is Dirty Electricity and How it is Related to Smart Meters?
Most of our electronics are powered by direct current (DC) at about 12 volts. However, our modern electrical circuits use alternating current (AC) at 120 or 240 volts. Our electronic devices have to convert the AC power to DC power. This conversion creates dirty electricity in the form of erratic electromagnetic interference (EMI) which is also a type of RF.
This dirty electricity travels through your home’s electrical system and radiates into the environment through outlets, power strips, and electronics, polluting your environment with “electropollution.”4 The smart meters compound this problem by contributing significantly to the levels of dirty electricity in a home.
This is due to the repeated spikes and surges of higher frequencies of electricity that run throughout every circuit of a home with a smart meter. Electropollution can travel through the air, contaminating every room in your house.5 However, the good news is that just as we would filter our air, we can filter out electropollution too.
What Do the Experts Say?
If you ask your utility company if a smart meter impacts your health, you’ll likely be told there is no health risk. We do not live in a perfect world, however, and the evidence shows quite the opposite.
More and more scientific evidence — not mere speculation — links dirty electricity to a vast array of physical, emotional, and cognitive health problems. More than 6,000 studies show the correlation of electromagnetic energy with biological effects, chronic conditions, and disease, according to the BioInitiative Working Group.6
There is also evidence that electropollution triggers an immune system response. That’s because the body thinks the electrical fields are foreign invaders similar to bacteria and viruses. As I’ve seen with thousands of patients in my functional medicine clinic, chronic inflammation leads to fatigue, cognitive problems, brain fog, irritability, anxiety, and memory loss. It is the root cause of autoimmune disease. In fact, chronic electrical exposure triggers symptoms which mirror those experienced in dozens of autoimmune diseases.7
According to David O. Carpenter, MD, exposure to radio frequency exposure at elevated levels for a long period of time increases the risk of cancer. It also damages the nervous system and causes sensitivity. It also has adverse effects on the reproductive system and other organ systems.8 In addition, it elevates the levels of peroxynitrite (a toxin made by your body), which is linked with over 60 chronic diseases.
According to the World Health Organization, tissue heating is the principal mechanism of interaction between radio frequency energy and the human body. Sam Milham, MD has spent nearly thirty years researching the impact of electric and magnetic fields (EMFs.) He links dirty electricity to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, suicide. He also connects it with neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis and Lou Gehrig’s disease.9
So far, Austria is the only country with a written suggestion for guidelines on the diagnosis and treatment of EMF-related health problems. Globally, we have not yet conclusively solved — or even adequately studied — this problem. However, you can take control of your own health by cleaning up the electropollution in your home. Let me tell you how.
What Can I Do about Electropollution?
You can easily do a few simple things that will clean up your environment and reduce your exposure. I can assure you they’re pretty quick and easy because I’ve done them myself.
Call your utility company to find out if you have a smart meter. Some states have an “opt out” program that will allow you to use a traditional meter for an additional fee each month. I recommend you have your smart meter removed if you have one and replaced with a traditional meter if you can. This is what I did.
If you cannot opt out of having a smart meter, install a lining or RF blocking paint inside your home. You can also install a smart meter guard, which is a cover you can place over your smart meter. It’s made of a conductive metal mesh screen that will block 90% to 95% of the RF radiation that normally emits from the smart meter. They are highly effective, not very expensive, and are very easy to install.
To eliminate much of the “dirty electricity” in your home, the easiest step is to unplug items you aren’t actively using. Simply turning items off isn’t always enough as many small appliances continue to draw power from the grid even when they’re not on. You can learn more in this article.
How Can I Make a Difference?
First, you can help mobilize citizens to make a difference in a few ways. Let others know that smart meters aren’t a must-have. They’re simply a way for utility companies to eliminate jobs and have a minute-by-minute picture of how you use their products. They’re not there for your health or your convenience!
As I mentioned in a previous article, you can tell your local, state, and federal representatives you don’t want this. It’s primarily the government, not individuals, who determine if smart meters are installed. States have Smart Grid Related Legislation.10 Find out what yours is, and take action.
Finally, encourage your neighbors to do the same. The fewer of these meters there are, the less electropollution they can make. Please feel free to share this article. You can take back your health and your environment!
- Dirty Electricity: Electrification and the Diseases of Civilization, Sam Milham, M. D.