However, the precise strength of the powerful “peak pulses” emitted by SmartMeters remains unclear. PG&E refuses to disclose that information, stating only that its calculations are in accordance with FCC specifications.
But how the utility calculates the pulses has become an issue of debate. PG&E’s calculations are time-averaged, or stretched out over all the time the meter’s not pulsing, making the average significantly lower than the peak. In addition, independent testers can accurately measure how many times a meter pulses, but without military-grade — and cost-prohibitive — equipment, it’s difficult to measure the intensity of the strongest bursts.
Furthermore, because SmartMeters pulse and most other radio-frequency emitters remain low and constant like a cellphone, it’s still unclear how they might affect human health. Although the World Health Organization maintains there are no consistent studies showing adverse health affects from radio-frequency exposure, there is plenty of research that suggest long-term exposure is linked to cancer and other diseases.
In short, PG&E’s rapid deployment of SmartMeters appears to be something of a leap of faith, a “trust us” moment — not unlike the promises made over the years by plastics manufacturers who claimed the chemicals they used were safe, too.
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