In recent years there have been increasing reports that “smart meters” – the digitized electric meters that are designed to send usage figures to power companies wirelessly – are causing a range of health issues among a growing portion of the population where such devices are in use.
In fact, notes the EMF Safety Network, a growing number of people from around the world are beginning to report health problems they believe are related to an increased amount of wireless radiation from various devices, including smart meters.
“Utilities claim smart meters are safe, and compare them to cell phones. However, cell phones, cell towers, wi-fi and other wireless devices can also affect your health,” the organization states on its website. “Reducing your EMF exposure can benefit your overall health and wellness.”
The group also notes that the World Health Organization has classified radiation as a 2B carcinogen, and based that declaration on studies that have linked cell phone radiation to brain tumors.
Vast list of symptoms
As noted by Cancer.org, here is how the devices work:
“Smart meters talk to their central systems using RF transmissions, based on a cell phone, pager, satellite, radio, power line (PLC), Wi-Fi or Internet (TCP/IP) communication method. Internet and cell phone applications have become the preferred options because of their flexibility and ease of deployment.”
Cancer.org notes further that smart meters are typically installed outside homes and places of business to measure electricity, water and gas usage. How much RF energy people are exposed to depends on how far they are from the antenna that transmits the signal.
The power and frequency of the RF signal emitted from smart meters are similar to those of a typical cellular phone, cordless phone or residential Wi-Fi router. These meters typically send and receive short messages about 1 percent of the time.
Cancer.org notes that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) named RF radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” based on findings of at least one study that examined a link between it and a particular type of brain tumor.
In addition, the EMF Safety Network has identified the following symptoms as possibly linked to RF radiation, based on a survey the group did in 2011:
–Sleep problems (insomnia, difficulty falling asleep, night waking, nightmares)
–Stress, agitation, anxiety, irritability
–Headaches, sharp pain or pressure in the head
–Ringing in the ears, ear pain, high pitched ringing
–Concentration, memory or learning problems
–Fatigue, muscle or physical weakness
–Disorientation, dizziness, or balance problems
–Eye problems, including eye pain, pressure in the eyes
–Cardiac symptoms, heart palpitations, heart arrhythmias, chest pain
–Leg cramps, or neuropathy
–Arthritis, body pain, sharp, stabbing pains
–Nausea, flu-like symptoms
–Sinus problems, nose bleeds
–Respiratory problems, cough, asthma
–Skin rashes, facial flushing
–Endocrine disorders, thyroid problems, diabetes
–High blood pressure
–Changes in menstrual cycle
–Hyperactivity or changes in children’s behavior
–Recurrence of cancer
Do symptoms qualify as a ‘disability?’
Many are skeptical that smart meters cause cancer or any of the problems listed in the EMF Safety Network survey, but the activist organization Stop Smart Meters, which opposes their use, says some people “have or develop symptoms of physical distress in the presence of electro-magnetic or radio-frequency fields (or both).”
“There are many symptoms associated with this type of sensitivity, and the main key in determining whether EMF fields are the cause of the problem is seeing what happens when you lessen or avoid exposure,” the group says on its website.
The group also noted that it has been unable to ascertain from the federal government whether or not the condition falls under the Americans With Disabilities Act.