Smart Meters – Are They Safe?

Many people across the country are concerned about Smart Meters. The following is a compilation of information that one of my patients sent to me.

You may not be aware of devices, Smart Meters, which the utility companies are planning to/may have already put on your house.

Smart Meters are not innocent little boxes…but rather  high radiation producing devices which are now mandatorily being put on our houses.

Below is a link to an online, opt out, Change.org petition which you can easily sign in minutes. Time is of the essence; an opt out hearing for Maryland is set for May 22, 2012.  The letter which follows the petition is really clear about the issues.  If you do not live in Maryland, you may know someone who does you could send it on to…Wherever you live, these meters are coming to you…

From: info@marylandsmartmeterawareness.org [mailto:mdmeters@live.com]

Sent: Friday, May 11, 2012 4:56 PM

Smart meters are on their way to your neighborhood and home.  If you would like to protect yourself and your family from the possible adverse health effects of long term chronic exposure to RF radiation as well as retain your right to privacy in your home, please sign this petition, send it to others and try to come to the Maryland Public Service Commission Opt Out Hearing on May 22nd at 10:00 am.

http://www.change.org/petitions/we-say-no-to-wireless-smart-meters-in-the-state-of-maryland#

An excellent letter which summarizes the issues with clarity, precision and supporting documentation:

May 7, 2012

Mr. Douglas R.M. Nazarian
Public Service Commission Chairman
William Donald Schaefer Tower
6th St. Paul Street, 16th Floor
Baltimore, Maryland  21202-6808

Re: Personal Request by State Senator Edward R. Reilly to Explain My Concerns Regarding Smart Meter Health, Safety, Privacy, Cybersecurity Risks, Accuracy, Reliability, and Costs; Desire for Opt Out and Restoration of Analog Meter     

-OR-

“Why I want my Old Analog Electric Meter Back”

Dear Commission Chairman Douglas R.M.Nazarian,

State Senator Edward Reilly personally requested that I relay my concerns to each member of the Public Service Commission regarding Smart Meters and my desire for the public to have the option to “Opt Out”.  He said that the Commissioners were sincere people who would read and seriously consider my opposition to Smart Meters despite my letter arriving well past the deadline.  I hope this is true and that I have not offended the Commission.

In the interest of brevity, I will state each concern followed by a synopsis and footnote which provides the source(s) that the information was drawn from. The source documents are not enclosed but can be found on-line or reproduced on request.

1.  At a distance of three feet, a Smart Meter can emit a cumulative whole body exposure that is 40 times that of a cell phone.  At one foot, a Smart Meter cumulative whole body exposure is 360 times that of a cell phone. Dr. Daniel Hirsch, Radiation Scientist, Nuclear Policy expert at the University of California, Santa Cruz (USC), CA.  Glen Chase, Professor of Systems Management specializing in Environmental Economics and Statistics, Faculty Alumni USC, Cal State Monterey Institute of Int’l Studies, Naval Post-Graduate School, in his Audio lecture April 26, 2012 which I participated in.

2.  Smart Meters transmit almost continuously, day and night, twenty four hours a day, not just every 4 hours as the public utilities claim.   Poki Stewart Namkung M.D., M.P.H Health Officer Public Health Division County of Santa Cruz, California; page 41 in his report dated Jan 24, 2012 to Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors.  He was asked to analyze the potential health risks of Smart Meters.

3a. Smart Meters induce formation of electromagnetic fields which can have both thermal and  non-thermal effects.  These can result in DNA damage, disruptions and alterations of the body’s cells, blood brain barrier leakage, disruption of immune function (autoimmune disease), and infertility. Olle Johansson, Associate Professor, Dept of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, in his report page 1, dated Jan 17, 2011, responding to the superficial study titled “Health Impacts of Radio Frequency from Smart Meters”, released by the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST).  This CCST report ignited a world wide firestorm of rebuttal from experts in this arena.

3b. There have been no independent authoritative studies on the health effects of Smart Meters.  For this reason, the utilities may correctly state there is “no proof of adverse health effects”.  But this does not constitute proof that they are safe.  The experts advocating Smart Meters choose to ignore the numerous independent studies showing the EMR (electromagnetic radiation) emitted by devices similar to Smart Meters, such as cell phones and Wi Fi devices, do have profound effects on biological systems.  Until Smart Meters are proven to be safe they should not be mandated for use.  Olle Johansson, Associate Professor, Dept of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, in his report page 3, dated Jan 17, 2011, responding to the superficial study titled “Health Impacts of Radio Frequency from Smart Meters”, released by the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST).

3c. Smart Meters are already making people sick.  Sleep disturbances, cardiac arrhythmias, vertigo, headaches, nausea, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), have all been reported following the installation of Smart Meters.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91rqhpcQKNg&feature=related

4. Smart Meters may meet FCC standards but this does not mean these standards ensure public health and safety.  “Today’s recommended values for wireless systems, the SAR- value, are just recommendations.  They are not safety levels.  Since scientists observe biological effects at levels as low as 20 microWatts/kg, is it then really safe to irradiate humans with 2 Watt/kg (i.e. 100,000 times stronger radiation!) which is the recommended safe level for us?”  Olle Johansson, Associate Professor, Dept of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden, in his report pages 3-4, dated Jan 17, 2011, responding to the superficial study titled “Health Impacts of Radio Frequency from Smart Meters”, released by the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST).

5.  Opt Out customers would receive BG&E’s current standard meter which is a digital meter.  This meter differs from a Smart Meter in that it lacks the two way communications feature of the Smart Meter.  However these radiate RF (radio frequency) just the same. The Analog meter is the only one which does not emit RF and that is what “Opt Outers” would prefer. BG&E Website comments page 11, dated April 6, 2012.

6a.  Smart Meters radiate RF signals from which the power company decodes the customer’s specific energy use profile.  These profiles can be so detailed that they constitute real time surveillance. The power company should only be entitled to know WHEN the customer uses the energy, (peak, off peak, and intermediate times) and not HOW.  In the case of California, the detailed information collected by the power company wasn’t even available to the customer.  The customer could only access his total energy use that was 18 to 48 hours old.  They would not be informed of the details on how their energy was being used and by which device, but the power company had the information.  Glen Chase, Professor of Systems Management specializing in Environmental Economics and Statistics. Faculty Alumni USC, Cal State Monterey Institute of Int’l Studies, Naval Post-Graduate School, in his Audio lecture April 26, 2012 which I participated in.

6b. Smart Meters can capture usage information on more than just major appliances.  They can collect usage (or non usage) data from medical devices using a smart chip (RFID Chip) and thereby send that information for recording by the utility.  Surprisingly, HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) does not forbid this activity.  HIPPA requires only that the health care provider and the insurance companies protect patient data from disclosure to third parties.  BG&E and other utilities could legally disclose this information to health insurance companies or other organizations.

7.  Smart Meter customer energy profiles become the property of the power company and they can be sold to interested third parties without the customer’s consent.  This actually happened April 26, 2012 when the CPUC (California Public Utilities Commission) not only gave PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric) permission to sell customers’ energy profiles to interested third parties, they ENCOURAGED it.  The customers had no say in the selling of their energy profiles. Glen Chase, Professor of Systems Management specializing in Environmental Economics and Statistics.  Faculty Alumni USC, Cal State Monterey Institute of Int’l Studies, Naval Post-Graduate School, in his Audio lecture April 26, 2012 which I participated in.

8.  Smart Meters are manufactured all over the world by several different companies and are of differing quality, safety and reliability.  A quick internet search of Smart Meter manufacturing sites revealed Reynosa, Mexico,  Andhra Pradesh, India, Inconee, South Carolina,  just to name a few. China was a favorite manufacturing site because they could produce Smart Meters for between $160 to $300, far lower than most of their competitors.  www.GreenTeleComlive.com

9.  Smart Meters are NOT certified by UL (Underwriters Laboratory).  Underwriters Laboratory confirmed in the case of California that Smart Meters were not safety tested.  The Capitola City Council discovered that Smart Meters installed by PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric) lacked the UL symbol on the meter. This means the meter was never certified as safe by UL.  The Capitola City Council confirmed the lack of certification by contacting Karl Moeller, senior engineer with UL who could not find the Smart Meters on-line certification on the www.UL.com “Online certification directory” site.  Mr. Moeller stated “In summary, I am unable to confirm these devices (Smart Meters) as being UL certified”.  Karl E. Moeller, Senior Customer Service Engineer II, HVAC, Appliances, and Lighting, Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., 1285 Walt Whitman Road, Melville, New York 11747

10. Smart Meters can spontaneously burst into flames setting fire to buildings.  Ninety (90) Smart Meters have already self immolated due to electrical shorts. Unknown, questionable manufacturing processes and poorly trained / poorly paid laborers have led to dangerous Smart Meter failures.  See link below to see video of Smart Meter fire.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ah3nNo89-NU&feature=related

11. Smart Meters are vulnerable to hacking.  Many meters and components are made outside the US.  Foreign or domestic “bad actors” will have access to Smart Meter components and will learn ways to exploit their weaknesses, just like any other electronic communications medium.  They could tap into the devices, install remotely activated malware, tamper with collected data, etc. “This could result in bringing down the Power Grid via the Smart Meters themselves.”  Ex-CIA Director and Navy Admiral James Woolsey criticized the Power Grid (aka Smart Grid) and highlighted its vulnerability to hacking, calling it “A stupid, stupid Grid”   http://www.energynow.com/video/2011/08/10/preview-mix-james-woolsey

12. Smart Meters will cost the consumer much more money than they will save in reduced energy expenditures.  When electric bills, taxes, and direct purchases are totaled, each household would pay $2,300 per Smart Meter. Consumer cost issues should be settled before any more Smart Meters are rolled out.  Currently these costs are being offloaded on to the ratepayer by the utility without the ratepayer’s consent.  Nationwide that will amount to $255 billion in additional costs. We will all be spending a lot of money to save a little electricity.  “Why Smart Meters May Be A Dumb Idea” an Investigative report by William J. Kelly Consumers Digest, Jan 2011 pages 2-3.

13. Smart Meters will eliminate employment of meter readers.  This was one job that the utilities could not off shore.  While it is true that the Smart Meter industry will generate jobs, most of these will be in foreign countries.  I would gladly pay extra for a meter reader as I do currently than to pay $2,300 for a Smart Meter and thereby subsidize a manufacturer in a foreign country.  See statement #8.

14. Many states have already allowed Opt Outs, and some have actually required Smart Meter removal. Opt Outs were approved in California 4/19/12 so Californians have the right to have Smart Meters removed.  In Michigan, Bill HB5411 requires utilities to allow customers to reject a Smart Meter and to remove a previously installed Smart Meter on request.  In Maine the Public Utilities Commission REQUIRED an Opt Out Program 5/2011.  Nevada PUC approved an Opt Out program 2/2012.  A Hawaii opt out program was granted 3/2012.  Vermont Opt Out was granted just 4 days ago on May 3, 2012.  And what did Maryland do?  Bill HB 878 to allow Opt Out was KILLED!

In my opinion, Smart Meters do not offer a single benefit to the utility customer and they portend multiple adverse effects. I believe Smart Meter programs are a poorly veiled scheme designed to: (1) capture customers private information via illegal electronic surveillance and then build revenue by selling the information to third parties, (2) enable utilities to offload all costs associated with Smart Meters implementation to the consumer, (3) enable utilities to charge exorbitant energy fees based on new Smart Meter energy use rules, (4) jettison the meter readers from their payrolls, and (5) carry out these things while exposing people in their homes to constant RF emissions in unprecedented amounts with potentially detrimental health effects.  And we are to have no choice??

Thank you for your time and attention to my Smart Meter concerns.

Sincerely,

A wireless smart grid may actually create the need for more power plants.

SmartMeters use energy to transmit

Smart meters cannot save any energy, store any energy, make any appliance more efficient or save the customers any money at all.
The power output of 10 million meters each putting out 1/4 watt of RF would be 2.50 million watts. A standard broadcast commercial radio station puts out 50,000 watts of power, and requires 75,000 watts of electrical power to achieve this.
Using that formula, it would require 3.75 million watts of electrical power to power the 10 million smart meters in PG&E territory alone, and all of that power is paid for by the customers who have the new meters in place. The new meters might be fairly accurate, but they do use energy and the customers have to pay for that energy. That is the reason for higher monthly bills.
And that is just to power the meters which are part of a mesh network repeating the data through other meters until the transfer the data at a hub end repeater and transmit all that data on higher powered carriers to the central computers. All of that infrastructure has been paid for the ratepayers and federal stimulus tax dollars, the corporation or their shareholders do not pay for any part of the new systems installed.
In a document written by PG&E that was posted on the CPUC website as a reason for the rate increases, PG&E claimed that the new radio meters could save energy. How so ?
I think that PG&E thinks that they have the citizens and the government “stupified”.
A standard power plant puts out 1 million watts, so with the addition of 10 million new meters and related infrastructure, we will probably need to build at least 2 if not more power plants just to power the meter project, and how about those electric cars?
That is another story, but we can be sure that if PG&E does get away with this meter scam, they will ask us to pay for more power plants (probably nuclear), or face rolling blackouts. And we know that PG&E knows that the meters need lots of energy, but they will never admit it.
http://emfsafetynetwork.org/?p=7730

Vermont Legislature Adopts Free Smart Meter Opt-Out!!

Last week the State Legislators of Vermont voted to allow utility customers a no fee Smart Meter opt-out!

http://www.leg.state.vt.us/database/status/summary.cfm?Bill=S.0214&Session=2012

Specifically, the bill says that customers must be allowed “to choose not to have a wireless smart meter installed, at no additional monthly or other charge”.

*From the proposed House of Representatives bill: Sec. 15. 30 V.S.A. § 2811 SMART METERS; CUSTOMER RIGHTS; REPORTS (b) Customer rights. Notwithstanding any law, order, or agreement to the contrary, an electric company may install a wireless smart meter on a customer’s premises, provided the company:  (1) provides prior written notice to the customer indicating that the meter will use radio or other wireless means for two-way communication between the meter and the company and informing the customer of his or her rights under subdivisions (2) and (3) of this subsection;

(2) allows a customer to choose not to have a wireless smart meter installed, at no additional monthly or other charge; and (3) allows a customer to require removal of a previously installed wireless smart meter for any reason and at an agreed-upon time, without incurring any charge for such removal.

Meanwhile, the Vermont Public Service Board who regulate the Vermont utilities had already approved delaying opt-out charges until April 2013.  The purpose of suspending the fees were to evaluate the real costs, instead of arbitrary numbers.

In California, the Public Utilities Commission approved arbitrary and punitive opt-out fees, and is forcing customers who do not want Smart Meters to agree to the charges- even though they’ve never evaluated the charges!  Seems like Vermont has a few smarter people in charge.

Matt Levin, Outreach and Development Director for Vermonters for a Clean Environment stated they were “pleased the Legislature made such a strong statement on this issue”, however he also expressed caution as the Public Service Board and utilities will continue to evaluate the costs associated with opting out in upcoming proceedings and he said, “our enthusiasm is tempered by the realities and struggles of past experiences”.

However, there will be NO fees charged for at least one year and the legislature has banned the fees altogether. For now, Vermonters have been provided with relief and a victory!   CONGRATULATIONS!

* will post FINAL text once it’s posted online.

From one of the Hawaii activists.

Who is Responsible?

I have had that question asked many times, “Who is responsible for this?” and exactly what is it you are against. When looking for answers, one must first look at the foundation of the question itself.

In the first question, in the spirit of Ho’oponopono, in it’s deepest revelations of responsibility, it is shown that ultimately you’re the responsible entity. Either through your actions or inactions, Ho’oponopono shines the pure light of unbiased and non-judgmental illumination on what is truly happening. You cannot be taken out of the picture, but the same goes for everyone else that is in this drama. It is by acknowledging your part, can you step forward to make change. And each ripple of change you make, affects others in ways that are incomprehensible in their reach. To place blame on others or circumstance is the choice of stagnation, to accept what is, and move forward is your key to all that you can be. It is from that vantage point of non-judgment that allows you to move in any direction, and allows others to change without ego’s involvement.

As to what I am against, that’s easy – smart meters and all that they represent. Not just the health issues, but all of its meanings down to the foundations of their very existence. Smart meters represent the hubris of the elite, the mindless grasp for more profits, the soulless sacrifice of not only the public’s health and well-being, but ultimately all future generations’ survival. It is the epitome of greed and might makes right, without thought to consequences. It is a supreme manifestation of this age of consumerism, as now the corporate mindset begins its feeding frenzy and devours itself by feeding off of its own supports. And yes, we the consumers are now to be placed upon the menu.

I am against smart meters and all that they represent. I will use all of the gifts that God has graced me with to stand up, in any way that I am called to. Without rancor or ill will toward anyone, with humility and the spiritual energy of service to all, I have already prevailed.

Welcome aboard, and fasten your seat belts, we’ve got quite a ride ahead.

Mark Naea, Kapaa, Kauai

 

Use of Potentially Harmful Chemicals Kept Secret Under Law

From WashingtonPost.com:

Use of Potentially Harmful Chemicals Kept Secret Under Law

By Lyndsey Layton
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, January 4, 2010; A01

Of the 84,000 chemicals in commercial use in the United States — from flame retardants in furniture to household cleaners — nearly 20 percent are secret, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, their names and physical properties guarded from consumers and virtually all public officials under a little-known federal provision.

The policy was designed 33 years ago to protect trade secrets in a highly competitive industry. But critics — including the Obama administration — say the secrecy has grown out of control, making it impossible for regulators to control potential dangers or for consumers to know which toxic substances they might be exposed to.

At a time of increasing public demand for more information about chemical exposure, pressure is building on lawmakers to make it more difficult for manufacturers to cloak their products in secrecy. Congress is set to rewrite chemical regulations this year for the first time in a generation.

Under the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act, manufacturers must report to the federal government new chemicals they intend to market. But the law exempts from public disclosure any information that could harm their bottom line.

Government officials, scientists and environmental groups say that manufacturers have exploited weaknesses in the law to claim secrecy for an ever-increasing number of chemicals. In the past several years, 95 percent of the notices for new chemicals sent to the government requested some secrecy, according to the Government Accountability Office. About 700 chemicals are introduced annually.

Some companies have successfully argued that the federal government should not only keep the names of their chemicals secret but also hide from public view the identities and addresses of the manufacturers.

“Even acknowledging what chemical is used or what is made at what facility could convey important information to competitors, and they can start to put the pieces together,” said Mike Walls, vice president of the American Chemistry Council.

Although a number of the roughly 17,000 secret chemicals may be harmless, manufacturers have reported in mandatory notices to the government that many pose a “substantial risk” to public health or the environment. In March, for example, more than half of the 65 “substantial risk” reports filed with the Environmental Protection Agency involved secret chemicals.

“You have thousands of chemicals that potentially present risks to health and the environment,” said Richard Wiles, senior vice president of the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization that documented the extent of the secret chemicals through public-records requests from the EPA. “It’s impossible to run an effective regulatory program when so many of these chemicals are secret.”

Of the secret chemicals, 151 are made in quantities of more than 1 million tons a year and 10 are used specifically in children’s products, according to the EPA.

The identities of the chemicals are known to a handful of EPA employees who are legally barred from sharing that information with other federal officials, state health and environmental regulators, foreign governments, emergency responders and the public.

Last year, a Colorado nurse fell seriously ill after treating a worker involved at a chemical spill at a gas-drilling site. The man, who later recovered, appeared at a Durango hospital complaining of dizziness and nausea. His work boots were damp; he reeked of chemicals, the nurse said.

Two days later, the nurse, Cathy Behr, was fighting for her life. Her liver was failing and her lungs were filling with fluid. Behr said her doctors diagnosed chemical poisoning and called the manufacturer, Weatherford International, to find out what she might have been exposed to.

Weatherford provided safety information, including hazards, for the chemical, known as ZetaFlow. But because ZetaFlow has confidential status, the information did not include all of its ingredients.

Mark Stanley, group vice president for Weatherford’s pumping and chemical services, said in a statement that the company made public all the information legally required.

“It is always in our company’s best interest to provide information to the best of our ability,” he said.

Behr said the full ingredient list should be released. “I’d really like to know what went wrong,” said Behr, 57, who recovered but said she still has respiratory problems. “As citizens in a democracy, we ought to know what’s happening around us.”

The White House and environmental groups want Congress to force manufacturers to prove that a substance should be kept confidential. They also want federal officials to be able to share confidential information with state regulators and health officials, who carry out much of the EPA’s work across the country.

Walls, of the American Chemistry Council, says manufacturers agree that federal officials should be able to share information with state regulators. Industry is also willing to discuss shifting the burden of proof for secrecy claims to the chemical makers, he said. The EPA must allow a claim unless it can prove within 90 days that disclosure would not harm business.

Meanwhile, the Obama administration is trying to reduce secrecy.

A week after he arrived at the agency in July, Steve Owens, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, ended confidentiality protection for 530 chemicals. In those cases, manufacturers had claimed secrecy for chemicals they had promoted by name on their Web sites or detailed in trade journals.

“People who were submitting information to the EPA saw that you can claim that virtually anything is confidential and get away with it,” Owens said.

The handful of EPA officials privy to the identity of the chemicals do not have other information that could help them assess the risk, said Lynn Goldman, a former EPA official and a pediatrician and epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

“Maybe they don’t know there’s been a water quality problem in New Jersey where the plant is located, or that the workers in the plant have had health problems,” she said. “It just makes sense that the more people who are looking at it, they’re better able to put one and one together and recognize problems.”

Independent researchers, who often provide data to policymakers and regulators, also have been unable to study the secret chemicals.

Duke University chemist Heather Stapleton, who researches flame retardants, tried for months to identify a substance she had found in dust samples taken from homes in Boston.

Then, while attending a scientific conference, she happened to see the structure of a chemical she recognized as her mystery compound.

The substance is a chemical in “Firemaster 550,” a product made by Chemtura Corp. for use in furniture and other products as a substitute for a flame retardant the company had quit making in 2004 because of health concerns.

Stapleton found that Firemaster 550 contains an ingredient similar in structure to a chemical — Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, or DEHP — that Congress banned last year from children’s products because it has been linked to reproductive problems and other health effects.

Chemtura, which claimed confidentiality for Firemaster 550, supplied the EPA with standard toxicity studies. The EPA has asked for additional data, which it is studying.

“My concern is we’re using chemicals and we have no idea what the long-term effects might be or whether or not they’re harmful,” said Susan Klosterhaus, an environmental scientist at the San Francisco Estuary Institute who has published a journal article on the substance with Stapleton.

Chemtura officials said in a written statement that even though Firemaster 550 contains an ingredient structurally similar to DEHP does not mean it poses similar health risks.

They said the company strongly supports keeping sensitive business information out of public view. “This is essential for ensuring the long-term competitiveness of U.S. industry,” the officials said in the statement.

Staff researcher Madonna Lebling contributed to this report.

Paper Fiber Dust Exposure Hazard to Postal Workers

This is from an environmental medicine conference that I attended at George Washington University on April 28, 2008.

Click here to listen to the audio:

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Click here to read related information from the Northwest Illinois Area Local American Postal Workers Union.

Click here to view comments that postal workers have posted on Oprah.com.