Christian from EMF Academy has written the most comprehensive article on smart meters available anywhere on the internet.
In this article, Christian covers a wide variety of topics such as smart meter RF radiation, how to tell if you have a smart meter, scientific studies done on smart meters, how to opt out of smart meters, as well as what smart meter guard he recommends.
In 2017 I wrote a guide to protecting yourself from smart meters, that I felt was pretty comprehensive at the time. Amazingly, there have been so many advances in the world of smart meters, that it’s time I finally wrote a definitive guide to everything we know about smart meter radiation.
With 5G already being implemented in some test markets, and smart meters being forced on more and more homeowners, there has never been a better time to gain a complete understanding of exactly what smart meters are, what kind of radiation they emit, how much, and how we can protect ourselves.
I am going to try to leave nothing out, so this will be a fairly long guide. If you’d like to read this later, read it on the go, or print it out, you can download the PDF at the end of the article!
Let’s start by talking briefly about what exactly smart meters are, and then we’ll talk about the radiation they emit.
What Is A Smart Meter?
So, I remember when I was younger, and once a month someone would walk through the gate of our back fence, and they would walk up to our electricity meter to jot down our usage for the month.
For a very long time, this is how all utilities were billed, they would have to send someone physically out to your home to read the meter for your electricity, gas, or water.
These were analog meters, meaning they simply measured the flow of a utility into your home, but had no wireless capabilities whatsoever, and therefore emitted to radio frequency radiation whatsoever.
However, as technology advanced, utility companies saw a huge opportunity to reduce costs by installing meters that would not only meter your utility usage but would also remotely send that information to their servers. This virtually eliminated the need to employ people to read these meters.
So, first we had simple analog meters, and then came what are known as AMR meters.
AMR Meters (Automatic Meter Reading)
These were the first of the so-called “smart meters.” Simply meaning that they were able to remotely transmit data. AMR meters, which are still widely used, only transmit information one way. Typically, this is done by constantly emitting data via RF radiation, so that when a utility vehicle drives by, the reading can be picked up and logged.
As far as “smart meter” radiation goes, these are really not much better than the next type we’ll talk about, because in order for the vehicles to obtain readings, these meters need to be transmitting every few seconds. With every transmission comes a large burst of EMF radiation.
AMI Meters (Advanced Metering Interface)
When you hear the term “smart meter” this is usually what people are actually talking about, even if they don’t know it. These meters are the most common meter being installed in developed countries today, replacing thousands of analog meters every single day.
The reason that utility companies are using AMI meters is because it gives them significantly more control.
First of all, these smart meters are still capable of transmitting the data back to the utility headquarters. However, instead of needing to rely on a vehicle driving by to relay the information, they use existing networks and infrastructure to constantly send usage data all the way back to the utility companies servers, regardless of their location.
However, more than that is the fact that AMI meters also receive data and controls from the utility companies. This allows them to do things such as update the firmware on the device.
Another important point to make is that old fashioned analog meters simply recorded the flow of utilities into the home, and that is all the information they had.
However, modern smart meters can also get detailed information about how that utility is being used. So, they can determine what times of day you are using the most electricity, or specifically what types of devices are using that electricity, etc. Many people feel this is an unnecessary invasion of privacy.
The problem is, that these “smart meters” are practically being forced on customers without their consent and without providing adequate information about the health and privacy risks they pose. Smart meters greatly benefit the utility companies, but provide almost benefit to the consumer, and certainly not enough to outweigh the potential risks.
Alright, now that we have a bit better understanding of what a “smart meter” is, let’s talk a little bit about what we mean when we say “smart meter radiation.”
Smart Meter Radiation – An Introduction
So, when you hear the term “smart meter radiation,” they are actually just referring to radio frequency radiation (a type of EMF) from a smart meter. So, this is not some type of new or unique EMF radiation, they are just referring to the source.
However, the reason that you’ll hear this term, is because smart meters are becoming such a ubiquitous issue, that almost everyone in developed countries like the United States, Canada, and most of Europe, is having to deal with them.
Typically, smart meters are installed on the side of your home, replacing your current analog meter. Smart meters emit a large amount of radio frequency radiation every few seconds in all directions. So, if the smart meter is installed on the wall opposite a bedroom, there is likely to be a high amount of EMF radiation penetrating into that room.
First of all, RF radiation is a type of non-ionizing radiation, meaning it does not have enough energy to remove charged particles. However, this does not mean it is not harmful. In fact, more and more studies are showing that just because non-ionizing radiation has no thermal effect or ionizing effect, does not mean it doesn’t cause long-term health effects.
In fact, the World Health Organization has specifically listed non-ionizing radiation from things like cell-phones, WiFi routers, and smart meters as “possible carcinogens,” meaning they could increase cancer risks.
Even the American Cancer Society, who like many health institutes shy’s away from saying much about the harms of EMF radiation, said this in their article about smart meters:
“RF radiation is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” This is based on the finding of a possible link in at least one study between cell phone use and a specific type of brain tumor. Because RF radiation is a possible carcinogen, and smart meters give off RF radiation, it is possible that smart meters could increase cancer risk.”
The concern is not only that RF radiation from smart meters can cause all sorts of biological harm, but also the close proximity in which these smart meters are being installed in relation to living spaces.
Vini Khurana, an associate professor of Neurosurgery had this to say:
“A wireless smart meter produces radiofrequency microwave radiation with two antennas in approximately the same frequency range (900 MHz to 2.4 GHz) as a typical cell tower. But, depending on how close it is to occupied space within a home, a smart meter can cause much higher RF exposures than cell towers commonly do. If a smart meter is located on a common wall with a bedroom or kitchen rather than a garage wall, for example, the RF exposure can be the same as being within 200 to 600 feet distance of a cell tower with multiple carriers. With both cell towers and smart meters, the entire body is immersed by microwaves that go out in all directions, which increases the risk of overexposure to many sensitive organs such as the eyes and testicles. With a cell phone, people are exposed to microwaves primarily in the head and neck (unless using speaker mode), and only when the device is turned on or in standby mode.”
Smart Meter Radiation – Reasons To Be Concerned
Now, I’ve written many articles in the Knowledge section of EMF Academy about the dangers of EMF radiation, which encompasses Radio Frequency, Magnetic Field, and Electric Field radiation. However, since, I already have content on these subjects, I’m going to keep this section focused solely on the radiation that Smart Meters emit, which is non-ionizing radio frequency radiation.
One of the primary problems with smart meters, is that many people don’t even know that they have them. They may have had an analog meter for many years, and without even knowing it, the utility company switched it out for a smart meter.
So, now someone is being exposed to large amounts of RF radiation without really knowing it. Dr. David Carpenter, a respected researcher, Harvard trained physician, and former head of the New York State Department of public health, along with Magda Davis of the Environmental Health trust and other doctors wrote a letter to the Chair of the North Carolina Utilities Commission.
The letter is worth reading in its entirety because it does a good job summarizing many of the issues people have with smart meter radiation. However, instead, I want to show you just the conclusions that Carpenter chose to highlight:
• Smart meters operate with much more frequent pulses than do cell phones, increasing the potential for adverse health impacts.
• Smart meter pulses can average 9,600 times a day, and up to 190,000 signals a day. Cell phones only pulse when they are on.
• Cell phone RFR is concentrated, affecting the head or the area where the phone stored, whereas smart meter RFR affects the entire body.
• An individual can choose whether or not to use a cell phone and for what period of time. When smart meters are placed on a home the occupants have no option but to be continuously exposed to RFR.
Take a quick look at the following video, where Dr. Carpenter responds to utility companies assurances that smart meters are safe:
So you may be asking yourself at this point if smart meter radiation can be even more dangerous than cell phone radiation.
In 2011 a researcher by the name of Daniel Hirsch wrote a response to a Report by the California Council on Science and Technology, titled “Health Impacts of Radio Frequency from Smart Meters”
Hirsch found that the cumulative exposure of a smart meter is more than 160 greater than that of a cellphone. Now to be fair, he measured exposure at 3 feet, but look at the chart below to get an idea of just how dangerous AMI smart meters are to public health.
That should give you a fairly good idea of the potential danger of smart meters.
Ok, now let’s talk about some of the specific studies showing the health effects of smart meter radiation.
Smart Meter Radiation Studies
Although smart meters are relatively new, especially in context with how long it can take for adverse health effects of electromagnetic fields to present themselves, there have in fact been studies specifically related to smart meters.
So, although there are many, I want to quickly highlight some of the important ones. Thanks to EMFAnalysis for finding many of these.
1. Victoria Australia Smart Meter Study
In 2014, a study was published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine. The study was fairly simple. In 2006, the government of Victoria Australia mandated the rollout of smart meters. This forced RF radiation on all of the residents. Years later, well over 100 people had reported adverse health effects including:
- Cognitive Disturbances
- and Dizziness
The study examined 92 residents and their reported symptoms and found that these symptoms were almost certainly the result of the radiation from the smart meter installations. None of the people reporting these symptoms had previously identified themselves as having electrohypersensitivity (EHS).
2. Smart Meter Health Effects Survey and Report
The next study I want to talk about was conducted by Dr. Richard Conrad and Ed Friedman. It involved surveying people with smart meters using an extensive questionnaire and then evaluating that data. They received data from hundreds of people who were exposed to smart meter radiation.
The report is extremely long, and hard to make your way through because it is packed with so much data.
However, here are a few important points that you should take from this:
- Nearly 98% of respondents were very sure or fairly sure their new or worsened symptoms correlated to smart meter exposure.
- The number of people identifying themselves as having electrical sensitivity more than doubled after smart meter radiation exposure.
Now, there are nearly endless studies showing the adverse health affects of radio frequency radiation that are not specifically on smart meters. However, since we know that these devices emit such a large amount of this radiation, we can use the findings to help us better understand why smart meters are so dangerous.
I wanted to specifically point out a few of the studies that were done just on the radiation emitted from smart meters.
Alright, now that we’ve talked about what smart meters are, why they are dangerous, and the studies that show it, let’s spend some time talking about what we can do about it.
How To Protect Against Smart Meter Radiation
I’m going to break this up into a few different sections because there are a few ways you can approach this. There are many things you can do to reduce your exposure if you already have a smart meter, there are products you can use to block smart meter radiation, and there are ways you may be able to opt out of your smart meter.
I think it’s important to talk about each one, in order of what I think you should do.
If you have a few minutes, watch this video. It shows what an enormous difference opting out of your smart meter (or protecting yourself from it) can make on the electrosmog in your home.
However, the first thing you need to do is figure out if you smart meter installed already.
How To Know If You Have A Smart Meter
Probably the best way to know for sure if you have a smart meter is by getting a quality EMF meter that reads Radio Frequency radiation (be sure it does, not all EMF meters detect this). Personally, I use the TriField TF2 (read my review) and absolutely love it.
If this is the EMF meter that you have, simply flip the black switch all the way to the right where it says “Radio Frequency.” Remember to not look at the large number in the center, but instead the peak number in the upper left corner. The reason for this is that RF is sent in packets, and is not transmitted all the time.
If you are seeing large spikes in radio frequency on your EMF meter at distinct intervals, you have a Smart Meter installed.