In the moments before an independent consulting firm was set
to present its findings on the accuracy of Pacific Gas &
Electric Co. smart meters, presenters lined up at a
microphone to voice their 3-minutes-or-fewer opinions to the
California Public Utilities Commission about the
But rather than rail against the reportedly higher
electricity bills that had prompted the CPUC to commission
the report, presenter after presenter talked instead about
In PG&E's case, smart meters use 1-watt radios to transmit
energy data over wireless networks. Those radios emit low
levels of radio waves and some studies have linked radio
waves, like those that transmit cell phone communications,
with illnesses including cancer while some studies have not
found a connection between low levels of radio waves and
illnesses. To be clear, the long term health effects of
waves from smart meters specifically have not been studied,
as far as I know.
At the CPUC meeting however, several women approached the
microphone to say that they had suffered serious symptoms
and illnesses including ringing in the ears, nausea,
fatigue, and worse after their smart meters were installed.
One woman said she would soon be forced to move from her
home since, even though she had her electricity turned off,
her neighbors' smart meters were making her sick. Another
woman said her husband was dying of cancer that was
connected to the radio waves from cellular phones and that
she had documentation to prove it.
Doctors and a UCSF researcher questioned the health effects
of the meters and said they had studied cases where the
meters made some "electrically-sensitive" people sick. One
woman said there are 120,000 "electrically sensitive" people
in California alone.
All were concerned that putting smart meters in nearly every
home in the state would amplify these problems for the
afflicted. Most called directly for a moratorium on smart
meters until any possible health affects can be thoroughly
studied. And a petition to enact such a moratorium has been
filed with the California Public Utilities Commission.
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