BOSTON, Oct. 2, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Amid conflicting information being provided to the public by NStar, National Grid and most municipal electric and gas companies, residents across Massachusetts are growing more concerned about the continued installation of microwave radio transmitting digital meters in their communities. Part of the Smart Grid, these new electric meters, similar to the new water and gas meters that are being deployed, communicate over strong wireless networks and rely on added wireless antennae and transmitters in local areas, increasing the ambient radiation levels in communities and residential neighborhoods. The meters, sometimes referred to as "smart meters" depending on their radio transmitter(s), use ongoing pulsed radio frequencies to relay information to utility employees in trucks or to fixed receiver boxes. Part of a brand new wireless system, these devices replace the previous digital (and analog meters) that were rolled out as early as 2001. In some cases, older digital models are being upgraded with new stronger radio transmitters, most without customer knowledge or notification.
Dangerous Health Consequences
Increasing bodies of evidence show harmful health effects to many residents of the exposure to the pulsed radiation these wireless, frequency hopping meters use to transmit customer usage back to the utility companies. In several states, many residents have reported feeling ill and several have been forced to leave their homes.
"Patients are reporting to physicians the development of symptoms and adverse health effects after new wireless digital meters are installed on their homes," says Dr. Amy Dean, President Elect of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine. This nationally recognized physician's group has issued 3 warnings to regulators about these meters sometimes referred to as 'Smart Meters' due to their ability to communicate usage at least once per day back to the utility companies remotely and their easy & invisible upgradability to two way communicating devices.
More and more people are complaining of constant ringing in the ears, headaches, agitation, heart palpitations, lethargy and disrupted sleep, all symptoms of chronic exposure to radio frequency, after wireless utility meters have been installed. "Immediate action is necessary to protect the public's health. Our research shows that chronic RF and EMF exposure can be very harmful," continued Dr. Dean. Indeed one researcher found that the level of ambient microwave radiation levels in homes with these meter s installed were magnified by 100,000 times.* The World Health Organization has also classified this type of radiation as "possibly cancer causing" upgrading it from the previous "non cancer causing" status. The meters have also caused a spate of fires on homes throughout the US leading to investigations and legal battles.
The Mesh Network + Smart Meters = A Net of Radiation Around Neighborhoods and Communities
The meters are part of the Smart Grid program and regardless of the spotty presence of meter readers in vehicles, they rely on dense networks of distributed wireless cellular and Wi-Fi antennae and sometimes collection meters on utility poles to communicate data & to "ping" each other to maintain a live connection. In some configurations, meters "talk" to each other frequently as information passes through them to the energy companies' substations or headquarters. This type of "mesh network" envelops neighborhoods and residents in ongoing radiation. Coupled with the actual meter location on resident's homes – often less than 5 feet from a kitchen table or on a bedroom wall - the network is making numerous residents around the country and the world ill. Some experts say the number is now in the thousands.
Initially, customers were told the meters only signaled a few times a day for less than 45 seconds. But admissions by utility companies in the last year show that meters can be transmitting & signaling between 9600 and 190,000 times a day, keeping the connection live and performing maintenance. Many signal every 8 – 15 seconds, emitting radiation into the home each time. Sometimes additional antennae are added to the meters for increased strength without customer knowledge, and radiation they emit reflects and is amplified when it hits metal or concrete surfaces, greatly magnifying the intensity. They cannot be turned off and have been known to interfere with wireless security systems, pace makers, insulin pumps, cordless phones and other wireless devices in the home. They have also caused several fires in Pennsylvania, Chicago and California.
Local Utility Companies Give Vague & Inconsistent Answers on the New Meters
Heavily disconcerting to local residents is the fact that the utility companies – NStar in particular – are not giving consistent answers about their meter program, evidently trying to stave off opposition to anything "Smart" given the push back in other states. Trying to render this new meter program as harmless, the utilities are misleading the public about the very real dangers of a grid which uses a dense fabric of wireless radio frequency technology.
At any given time, a resident can be told by NStar Customer Service and their Meter Program management team that "We don't have those meters"; "Only California has those meters"; "We have an 'AMR' (Automated Meter Reading' System) not an 'AMI' (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) system"; "Our meters aren't like that"; "We have many different programs and meters out there changing all the time"; "We don't have true smart meters." Regardless of these statements, ALL of these meters use wireless/microwave technology and are signaling and emitting radiation around the clock.
Numerous New Wireless Meters Appearing All Over State
Numerous new meters by vendors such as GE, Itron, Centron (an Itron brand) have suddenly appeared all over the state without customer knowledge. Many with FCC ID registration numbers on them, indicating a wirelessly transmitting radio is inside usually made by Silver Spring Networks, a company that faced a giant recall of smart water meters a couple of years ago by failing to recertify their meters for UL safety. As well is the sudden presence of collection meters in neighborhoods and numerous new wireless antennae and transformers on utility poles, all in line with infrastructure for the smart meter and smart energy programs.
Similarly, National Grid is using falsehoods to gain access to and upgrade resident gas meters to wireless smart meters by claiming the existence of legal requirements to change meters every few years.
As with the smart water meters that were installed in some towns, all of these residential meters are intended to provide the utility companies with updated customer usage so that they can raise rates during peak hours and in some cased interrupt service, something they refer to as "load management". However studies quoted in Smart Grid News indicate that less than 1% of residents are enamored with these solutions or have any interest in watching their usage and are more concerned with health impacts, safety, and privacy issues. Given the immense Federal stimulus money that most utility companies – Bay state companies included – received in 2009 – they are now trying other means to force residents to accept the meters.
Dirty Electricity and RF on the Power Lines Coming Into Homes Also Harmful
Another health hazard of the digital meter deployment is the transmission of high frequency signals (900 MHz and above) over the existing power lines which exists in parts of the network and can be heard by some residents who describe it as a very low hum which never stops. Such radio frequency "leaking" off the lines goes into the air outside as well as inside the home. The meters also frequently switch the incoming electrical current, a well-known biological hazard as it creates electrical transients, known as dirty electricity. All of these components create an extremely unhealthy environment in which people live, work, play and sleep. Dr. William J. Rea, a former thoracic surgeon and a long time researcher on the effects of EMFs on the human body, says, "Technological advances must be assessed for harmful effects in order to protect society from the ravages of end-stage disease like cancer, heart disease, brain dysfunction, respiratory distress, and fibromyalgia. EMF and wireless technology are the latest innovations to challenge the physician whose goal is to help patients and prevent disease."
- Peter Sierck, Baubiologist, Industrial Hygienist and Principal of Environmental Testing & Technology, Inc.
SOURCE American Academy of Environmental Medicine