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Smart Meters - They’re Smart, But Are They Safe?

November 8, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO - PG&E's Smart Meters may be smart, but some Californians say they're making them sick. Nearly two dozen communities have placed moratoriums on the wireless utility meters, and more than 2,000 health-related complaints have been received by the California Public Utilities Commission.

Elizabeth Kelley, founder of the Electromagnetic Safety Alliance, says the wireless meters are invasive and involuntary, so people should be able to opt-out of the program.

"Because we don't know yet what the health risks are from these low-powered frequencies that are eventually going to be traveling through our home night and day emitting pulse radio frequency radiation, this is causing considerable concern."

Kelley says especially for people who suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS). PG&E contends its meters comply with federal safety standards and are well within what you would find with normal household appliances.

Kelley says more research should have been done before the devices were put in people's homes.

"There are no specific studies on Smart Meters, but there are comparable studies on very low power non-ionizing radiation exposure conditions, namely cellular antennas, which show there can be harm under certain exposure conditions."

Olle Johansson is a professor in the department of neuroscience at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. He's collaborating with leading international scientists on a proposal recommending global governments adopt new, more stringent, exposure guidelines for wireless technologies.

"We have looked upon the current literature in the science field and it's obvious that the current guidelines for public exposure are definitely obsolete and need to be replaced by biologically based guidelines, taking into account various forms of health effects."

In July, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to require warning labels on cell phones and education on risks at the point of sale.

A program on wireless hazards Wednesday at the San Francisco Library will feature leading activists addressing concerns about Smart Meters, cell phones and cell towers, followed by a screening of the documentary, "Full Signal." A Nov. 18 program at the Commonwealth Club will include leading international scientists addressing health issues related to a variety of wireless technologies.

More information is available at http://electromagnetichealth.org.

Lori Abbott, Public News Service - CA