The Smart Meter Issue

Scientists worldwide are butting heads over whether non-ionizing radiation causes cancer and other diseases. Each side accuses the other of propagating junk science. According to a Washington D.C. court, the issue is an established controversy.

So debating the science in our own backyard only serves to sidestep the facts about CMP’s smart meters, which emit non-ionizing radiation and are coming to your neighborhood.

Since I’m not a scientist, here are the facts:

  • These meters have never been tested for safety.
  • There are no federal health or safety standards for chronic exposure to non-ionizing radiation. The only standards that exist protect an adult male from death by electrocution.
  • The meters are an overlapping mesh network, where each home’s meter transmits to others in the area, and to new cell antennas that will be installed on utility poles to receive and boost the signals. The networks are set up to cover wide areas with pulsing signals, not just for individual homes to receive transmissions from their own meters. These cumulative transmission levels have not been tested for safety.
  • Other states and municipalities have rejected or halted smart meter installation due to not only health concerns, but concerns about overbilling, privacy, electronic interference, and electrical fires.
  • Safer technology is available to hard-wire these meters, or to carry the signals through phone lines. New Mexico’s Health Department mandated that a local water utility use wired connections between monitoring stations, instead of wireless, based on the precautionary principle.
  • Other states currently offer or are considering offering opt-out waivers to people who choose not to exposed their families to this layered radiation. Mainers do not have a choice.

Now for my opinion. CMP and the Public Utilities Commission have a chance and a responsibility to halt the wireless portion of this project; to move beyond scientific disagreements and to protect the public from even the risk of harm.

In the absence of any scientific studies on smart meters, in light of the fact that FCC standards to not cover the potential health effects of chronic exposure to non-ionizing radiation, in light of the fact that people in other states have reported everything from insomnia to muscle spasms to heart palpitations upon installation of smart meters, the precautionary principle is crucial.

Increasing numbers of people report sentitivity to wireless signals. Children, the elderly, people with chronic illness and impaired immune function are most at risk. The involuntary nature of the smart meter installation means that people who need to avoid wireless exposure for health reasons will literally lose their home as a safe haven.

The current controversy over the health effects of this type of radiation dictates the need to err on the side of caution until these meters and the cumulative nature of our exposure can be proven safe. Especially since children, with their thinner skulls and developing organs and systems, are more vulnerable to radiation.

A CMP spokesman said signals from smart meters are “neither strong nor cancer causing.” The World Health Organization and the National Toxicology program are investigating whether non-ionizing radiation causes cancer. As for the strength of the signals, “powerful” is the word used by the company that makes the meters.

CMP is hiring a consultant to look at scientific data. There are no scientific data on smart meters. And a company hiring a consultant, whose findings will undoubtedly be in that companys favor, is the wrong way to gain consumer confidence.

We can’t wait for irrefutable evidence of harm. Governments tend to wait for this irrefutable evidence. But as a parent concerned about my child’s health, the chance of a risk is enough for me. The doubt dictates the need to err on the side of caution. Because proof of harm beyond a reasonable doubt could come too late.

Elisa Boxer-Cook
Environmental Safety  Advocate

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