Biological Impacts

of Smart Meters

Multiple Smart Meters outside Crescent St. low-income apartments, Worcester

     While the use of cordless phones, cell phones, baby monitors and other wireless devices is voluntary and intermittent, the presence and proximity of smart meters to living beings is not.  Moreover, the radio frequency radiation of SMs is of higher intensity than that of other wireless devices.  Most consumer electronics are not only FCC Part 15 type-accepted, all of them must be UL approved.

     Health effects from wirelessly implemented smart meters include:


"dizziness, insomnia, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and heart palpitations.  Adverse health effects you might not notice include:  genotoxicity and single- and double strand DNA damage, neurotoxicity in humans and animals, carcinogenicity in humans, serious impacts on human and animal

sperm morphology and dysfunction, effects on offspring behavior, creation of reactive oxygen

species, immune dysfunction, cognitive processing effects, stress protein synthesis in the brain,

altered brain development, sleep and memory disturbances, ADHD, abnormal behavior, and brain tumors.  These occur even at levels of exposure that are thousands of times less than the radiation emitted by smart meters." [175] 

    Telemetry associated with the Smart Grid & Smart Meters is not under your control nor does it transmit only occasionally.  Smart meters ongoingly transmit in short bursts 24/7.  Depending on one's position in the neighborhood mesh network the meter(s) around you may be relaying the readings of dozens of families for blocks around, making your exposure much greater than if your home or workplace were at the outer perimeter of your neighborhood data collection area.  Smart Meter data in Worcester is sent to National Grid over WiMax repeaters.  These use frequencies similar to WiFi but are much stronger being intended for point-to-point links of much greater distance than WiFi.  These could be problematic if schools, hospitals, apartments, offices or other high density buildings are in the line-of-fire of any of these repeaters.  More about WiMAX under AMI.
     National Grid's Smart Meters transceive in the 902-928 Mhz Industrial/Scientific/Medical (ISM) band 
(centered at 915 MHz just above UHF-TV and standard cell phone bands) to relay data to neighborhood collectors that send their combined data (via WiMax channels (2.5-2.7 Ghz) on to a larger collector tower (or node).  SMs also use Wi-Fi (2.45 Ghz) for Home Area Networking (HAN) to communicate with tablets, smart phones and other smart appliances.  Their wattage is not enough to "cook" you; their levels are non-thermal.  But seemingly miniscule amounts of power can have biological effects on plant & animal tissues that are made up largely of water.  Physiological and neurobehavioral effects on human subjects are documented under Microwaves.
​     Even if you don’t have a Smart Meter, you may be affected by RF because of how the wireless devices function:  If one or more of your neighbors has a SM, the RF field(s) the meters emit - and the microwave power broadcast by neighborhood repeaters is enough to manifest symptoms.  
While Smart Meters transmit extremely short data bursts including

only a serial number and a reading, the intensity of their pulses is ten times stronger than the carrier waves from traditional wireless devices like wireless microphones and analog

cordless phones. [176]  (So individual meters have a farther range than other wireless

household devices.  Much farther than the circles in the above diagram suggest.  Also, the

microwave power broadcast by neighborhood repeaters is enough to manifest symptoms.

     National Grid's Smart Meters use WiFi channels (~2.45 Ghz) to interact with
customers' devices and their smart appliances in a Home Area Network, or HAN.  Smart Meters also transceive in the 902-928 Mhz ISM (Industrial, Scientific & Medical applications band that also includes industrial microwave ovens, medical diathermy machines, "900 Mhz" analog cordless phones and STLs (studio-transmitter links) to communicate with other Smart Meters and with neighborhood repeaters in a Neighborhood Area Network (NAN).  The specific implementation used by National Grid in its Worcester Pilot of 15,000 customers is known as a Zigbee Mesh network that ensures reliability by using multiple paths to reach your neighborhood repeater.

     These 900 Mhz frequencies are just above those used by most cell phones.  Five of the world's foremost researchers wrote the North Carolina Utilities Commission that:


      Smart meters and cell phones occupy similar frequency bands of the electromagnetic spectrum, meaning that cell phone research can apply to smart meter RFR. Smart meter RFR consists of frequent, very intense but very brief pulses throughout the day.  Because smart meter exposure over a 24 hour period can be very prolonged (pulses can average 9,600 times a day), and because there is building evidence that the sharp, high intensity pulses are particularly harmful, the cell phone study findings are applicable when discussing adverse health impacts from smart meters.  [177]

     National Grid responded to Worcester City Council's inquiry about safety of smart meters with positive reassurance there were no health effects from the meters' RF transmissions. [178]  Dr. Peter Valberg represented National Grid at a Mass DPU hearing in 2014 [178a] testifying that SM transmissions total about 45 seconds a day - far less than the exposure one gets from 15 minutes on a cell phone.  There is nothing he said that anyone can disagree with but his testimony misleads by omission:  Smart Meters emit very short but relatively powerful data bursts 24/7.  While the total power output is very low the microwave energy penetrates the body as it does food in a microwave.  It is of insufficient power to heat the flesh yet it wields the nonthermal effects enumerated in Microwaves:  It inhibits melatonin production in the pineal gland during sleep; (piezoelectric acoustic effects can also occur); it can cause excess calcium to enter cells and also break down the blood brain barrier.  To compare these emissions to 15 minutes of cell phone use is like asserting that a xenon camera flash strobed in your bedroom every other minute should not disturb sleep for its total output over 24 hours is less that that from 15 minutes of sunlight.



     Not only are the meters' individual range farther than any FCC Part 15 device but they are used in tandem with other nearby meters in a mesh network to make overall communications more robust.  This solidifies reliability of communications by relaying readings between meters to and from your neighborhood collection point.  The communication is also two-way:  They receive and convey instructions from National Grid for powering down nonessential appliances (primarily air conditioners) during peak demand periods, for example.  If your neighbors have SMs, the RF fields the meters emit - and the microwave power broadcast by neighborhood repeaters is enough to manifest physiological and neurological symptoms in living things.

Smart Meter "Mesh Network".  RF data traffic increases closer to the "Neighborhood Collector".

     Not only your usage but that of your neighbors is or may be relayed on 900 Mhz channels through your meter to your neighborhood's pole-mounted repeater.  Such 

neighborhood repeaters beam the combined data (via WiMax channels (2.5-2.7 Ghz)) on to one of eleven taller collector towers, usually at substations, on an ongoing basis. Smart meter wattage is not enough to "cook" you but it s TEN TIMES STRONGER than that in FCC Part 15 wireless devices like WiFi routers and cordless phones.  That means seemingly miniscule amounts of power can have biological effects on plant & animal tissues that are made up largely of water.
    Exposure to high levels of continually pulsed RFR (Radio Frequency Radiation) from smart meters is not only distressing to living physiology, it can interfere with electronics including medical implants.  A Parkinson's sufferer had an Activa electrical stimulator

implanted for Parkinsonian tremor.  The "patient had been feeling dizzy and was losing balance when walking after an electric meter was installed the previous day." [180]













Smart meter radiation inside of child's room on second floor 

     The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) uses criteria 30 years out of date to decide if RF exposure is safe.  If it does not heat you up, it's safe, they say.  But do the multiple bursts of near-microwave energy have non-thermal effects?

     Effects of RF pulses on human physiology and neurobehavioral observations have been collected in surveys. [182]  This pulsed characteristic of the transmissions is known to be harmful (read about that under Dirty Electricity).  An electrical engineer has specified "Common Mode" filters for some one million Itron AMI meters for which he was responsible:  "A “Common Mode” filter attenuates high frequency currents. A common mode filter in this case would look like two coils wrapped around an iron or iron ferrite core either in the shape of a donut or a small cookie bar. This filter is not present in the current circuit design and if it was there the switching circuit which converts 240 Volts AC to 5-10 volts DC would be prevented from sending EMI oscillations back onto the 240 Volt AC wires entering the home." [183a]

Effects from close proximity to Wireless Smart Meters 

     A Florida man has filed against his utility.  After a smart meter was installed in 2014 he began to experience "[S]leepless nights, violent headaches, respiratory problems and frequent sneezing, low frequen[c]y humming and buzzing noises that produced shrill ear ringing . . . distraction concerning household functions, skin rashes, frequent power outages that created inconveniences and clock re-settings, lack of concentration, confusion and memory loss, insomnia, and inability to return to sleep, dry skin . . . and violent ear ringing that exacerbated his tinnitus condition."[185]  He paid $95 to replace it with an analog on plus $13/month for the privilege of opting out.  His case against Orlando Utilities Commission ("OUC") maintains these charges are discriminatory because EHS is a disability and “reasonable accommodations or modifications” should be made. [185a]  

     The Santa Cruz, Calif., County Board of Supervisors has declared “smart” (wireless) electric and water meters to be “health hazards, safety and consumer fraud risks.” [186] The Board also said PG&E (Pacific Gas & Electric) is subjecting residents to “privacy, security, health, accuracy and consumer fraud risks of the unproven Smart Meter technology.” and that because “There is a current and immediate threat to public peace, health, or safety",  a moratorium [186a] on further installations must be imposed in order to preserve and protect said public interests.  The American Academy of Environmental Medicine called for immediate caution regarding Smart Meter installation. [187]

     Dr. Ronald M. Powell summarized two studies, one from US, one from Australia, in a five page report with graphs showing people getting ill after having a Smart Meter on or near their home. [188]  California court documents describe SMs as pulsing 10,000 to 190,000 times a day, 24/7, with a power of 1 watt, making SMs the most powerful transmitters to be found in a typical home environment.  And, “While some of the biological effects of RF exposure can be reversed by reducing exposure, a quick examination of the lists of biological effects … will indicate that many of these effects are not reversible.”[188a] 

Smart Meters Radiation Exposure Up to 160 Times More Than Cell Phones
by radiation expert, Daniel Hirsch

"Smart Meters" & EMR: The Health Crisis Of Our Time - Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt
A Worcesterite with Parkinson's reports having frequent shaking lately and wonders if that might be related to the recent installation of multiple smart meters outside her living room wall.
Hear a physician speak about how smart meters impact Parkinson's.



174   The microwave syndrome-further aspects of a Spanish study. Biological Effects of EMFs,

          Kos Greece, October 2004, by Oberfeld, G. et al. 2004.


@   ALARA = As Low As Reasonably Achievable.  This is a radiation safety principle for minimizing radiation doses and releases of radioactive materials by employing all reasonable methods.  ALARA is not only a sound safety principle, but is a regulatory requirement for all radiation safety programs.

12     Radiation Safety and ALARA, North Carolina State University



176   The Health Argument for Replacing Wireless Smart Meters with a Safe Metering
          Technology in Maryland
 by Ronald M. Powell, Ph.D., May 18, 2014, page 2

177   letter to North Carolina Utilities Commission, David Carpenter, MD,

          Dr. Lennart Hardell, MD, PhD, Dr. Magda Havas, BSc, PhD, Dr. Martha Herbert, MD, PhD,

          Dr. Sam Milham, MD, MPH, August 2, 2016


178   National Grid - Smart Energy Solutions Program (Smart Grid) - Guide to Safety & Security
          Referred To Public Service and Transportation Committee, 07-16-13

178a Peter Valberg Testimony to MassDPU (20 min.)



181   Smart meter radiation inside of child's room on second floor (2012 in California)

182   Radiofrequency (RF) Radiation Power Density Levels for Smart Meters, Various Biological

          Effects, and Exposure Guidelines;  Introducing a “Smart” Meter Wireless Radiation

          Comparison Chart 

183    Health Impacts of Radio Frequency Exposure From Smart Meters, April 2011 -

           - Final Report, California Council on Science and Technology


183a  EcoDwell Going Beyond Green, Nov., 2016

184    Characterization of Radiofrequency Emissions From Two Models of Wireless Smart

          Meters, 2011 TECHNICAL REPORT, R. Kavet, EPRI Project Manager, EPRI Power and

          Research Institute, Final Report, December 2011

184a An Evaluation of Radio Frequency Fields Produced by Smart Meters Deployed in Vermont,

          Richard Tell Associates, Inc., January 14, 2013


         HUGH DYER, and WAYNE R. ZIMMERMAN, Defendants.  Case No: 6:14-cv-1975-Orl-40KRS 


          Bloomberg BNA,  Sep 10, 2015

186   Calif. Health Dept. Calls Wi-Fi Utility Meters a Health Hazard, O'Dwyers, By Jack O'Dwyer,

          Feb. 29, 2016



187   The American Academy of Environmental Medicine Calls for Immediate Caution regarding

          Smart Meter Installation, Press Advisory April 12, 2012


188   Symptoms after Exposure to Smart Meter Radiation, Ronald M. Powell, Ph.D., 3/12/2015

  (5 pages)  

188a  The Health Argument for Replacing Wireless Smart Meters with a Safe Metering Technology

           in Maryland, Ronald M. Powell, Ph.D., May 1, 2014

           Ronald M. Powell, Ph.D., enumerates health effects of RF from Smart Meters, WiFi, cordless

           & cell phones and other wireless devices; recommendations of attorneys general from

           other states.

   (9 pages)

188b  Other Documents on Wireless Technology and Health by Ronald M. Powell, Ph.D.

           (scroll down to bottom for updated list)



190    Smart Meters—not so Smart  by Amy Worthington, January 19, 2015








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