Cindy Sage of Sage Associates, a professional environmental consultant who released a study showing that ‘smart’ meters likely exceed already high FCC limits on human exposure to microwaves, was confirmed in her estimates, says the EMF Safety Network, who compared study findings with a utility report produced under orders from the California Public Utilities Commission administrative judge overseeing smart meter opt-out proceedings.
Sage is a featured speaker at the November 10 Southern California Smart Meter Community Forum in Glendale.
In talks with general audiences, Sage has said:
“Some smart meters will produce RF as high as living directly in the zone 200′ to 600′ away from a major cell tower.”
“Installing millions of RF transmitters in peoples’ homes when we already have substantial scientific evidence about the risks of chronic, low-level RF is a risk not worth taking. Especially without any discussion, or disclosure to the public about trade-offs made without their knowledge or consent.”
“Comparing wireless meters to other wireless devices that are voluntary, and which many people choose not to use is not a fair comparison to government-mandated meters that expose people in their homes 24 hours a day.”
“The costs for having guessed wrong is likely to have enormous economic and public health consequences for Californians for decades to come.”
Sage’s comprehensive computer modeling report on smart meters was released in January of this year. Excerpts are below:
“The installation of wireless ‘smart meters’ in California can produce significantly high levels of radiofrequency radiation (RF) depending on many factors (location of meter(s) in relation to occupied or usable space, duty cycle or frequency of RF transmissions, reflection and re-radiation of RF, multiple meters at one location, collector meters, etc).
Power transmitters that will relay information from appliances inside buildings with wireless smart meters produce high, localized RF pulses. Any appliance that contains a power transmitter (for example, dishwashers, washers, dryers, ranges and ovens, convection ovens, microwave ovens, flash water heaters, refrigerators, etc) will create another ‘layer of RF signals’ that may cumulatively increase RF exposures from the smart meter(s).
It should be emphasized that no single assertion of compliance can adequately cover the vast number of site-specific conditions in which smart meters are installed. These site-specific conditions determine public exposures and thus whether they meet FCC compliance criteria.
…FCC compliance violations are likely to occur under widespread conditions of installation and operation of smart meters and collector meters in California. Violations of FCC safety limits for uncontrolled public access are identified at distances within 6” of the meter. Exposure to the face is possible at this distance, in violation of the time-weighted average safety limits (Tables 10-11). FCC violations are predicted to occur at 60% reflection and 100% reflection factors*, both used in FCC OET 65 formulas for such calculations for time-weighted average limits. Peak power limits are not violated at the 6” distance (looking at the meter) but can be at 3” from the meter, if it is touched.
This report has also assessed the potential for FCC violations based on two examples of RF exposures in a typical residence. RF levels have been calculated at distances of 11” (to represent a nursery or bedroom with a crib or bed against a wall opposite one or more meters); and at 28” (to represent a kitchen work space with one or more meters installed on the kitchen wall).
FCC compliance violations are identified at 11” in a nursery or bedroom setting using Equation 10* of the FCC OET 65 regulations (Tables 12-13). These violations are predicted to occur where there are multiple smart meters, or one collector meter, or one collector meter mounted together with several smart meters.
FCC compliance violations are not predicted at 28” in the kitchen work space for 60% or for 100% reflection calculations. Violations of FCC public safety limits are predicted for higher reflection factors of 1000% and 2000%, which are not a part of FCC OET 65 formulas, but are included here to allow for situations where site-specific conditions (highly reflective environments, for example, galley-type kitchens with many highly reflective stainless steel or other metallic surfaces) may be warranted (see Methodology Section).
In addition to exceeding FCC public safety limits under some conditions of installation and operation, smart meters can produce excessively elevated RF exposures, depending on where they are installed. With respect to absolute RF exposure levels predicted for occupied space within dwellings, or outside areas like patios, gardens and walk-ways, RF levels are predicted to be substantially elevated within a few feet to within a few tens of feet from the meter(s).
For example, one smart meter at 11” from occupied space produces somewhere between 1.4 and 140 microwatts per centimeter squared (uW/cm2) depending on the duty cycle modeled (Table 12). Since FCC OET 65 specifies that continuous exposure be assumed where the public cannot be excluded (such as is applicable to one’s home), this calculation produces an RF level of 140 uW/cm2 at 11” using the FCCs lowest reflection factor of 60%. Using the FCC’s reflection factor of 100%, the figures rise to 2.2 uW/cm2 – 218 uW/cm2, where the continuous exposure calculation is 218 uW/cm2 (Table 12). These are very significantly elevated RF exposures in comparison to typical individual exposures in daily life.
Multiple smart meters in the nursery/bedroom example at 11” are predicted to generate RF levels from about 5 to 481 uW/cm2 at the lowest (60%) reflection factor; and 7.5 to 751 uW/cm2 using the FCCs 100% reflection factor (Table 13). Such levels are far above typical public exposures.
RF levels at 28” in the kitchen work space are also predicted to be significantly elevated with one or more smart meters (or a collector meter alone or in combination with multiple smart meters). At 28” distance, RF levels are predicted in the kitchen example to be as high as 21 uW/cm2 from a single meter and as high as 54.5 uW/cm2 with multiple smart meters using the lower of the FCCs reflection factor of 60% (Table 14).
Using the FCCs higher reflection factor of 100%, the RF levels are predicted to be as high as 33.8 uW/cm2 for a single meter and as high as 85.8 uW/cm2 for multiple smart meters (Table 14). For a single collector meter, the range is 60.9 to 95.2 uW/cm2 (at 60% and 100% reflection factors, respectively) (from Table 15).
Table 16 illustrates predicted violations of peak power limit (4000 uW/cm2) at 3” from the surface of a meter. FCC violations of peak power limit are predicted to occur for a single collector meter at both 60% and 100% reflection factors. This situation might occur if someone touches a smart meter or stands directly in front.
Uncertainty About Actual RF Levels
Consumers may also have already increased their exposures to radiofrequency radiation in the home through the voluntary use of wireless devices (cell and cordless phones), PDAs like BlackBerry and iPhones, wireless routers for wireless internet access, wireless home security systems, wireless baby surveillance (baby monitors), and other emerging wireless applications.
Neither the FCC, the CPUC, the utility nor the consumer know what portion of the allowable public safety limit is already being used up or pre-empted by RF from other sources already present in the particular location a smart meter may be installed and operated.
Consumers, for whatever personal reason, choice or necessity who have already eliminated all possible wireless exposures from their property and lives, may now face excessively high RF exposures in their homes from smart meters.