SCE’s SmartConnect website is urging consumers to go ‘read the fine print’ on the face of their new wireless meters once an hour to see what kind of energy use they’ve had. No one could make this up. It is unbelievable.
In order to get any benefit whatsoever for this multi-billion dollar SCE investment of ratepayer money in this new technology, the consumer is being told to go put your face to the meter and read the electrical use information that changes once an hour, telling you how much electricity you’ve just used. Despite the excessively high pulsed RF that continues to be produced from the meter, as you are looking at it, searching for the data, SCE says you must take on this additional risk to your eyes and your health.
Today new information from Southern California Edison SmartConnect’s website gives instructions to consumers on how to read electric usage at the meter.
SCE SmartConnect advice to homeowners is as follows:
At a Glance: Reading a Smart Meter
Your energy usage appears on one of the smart meter’s five-second rotating digital displays. Wait for the screen where “001” appears in the upper-left corner. Each time you use a kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity, the display will increase by one. This screen shows a cumulative number, much like a car odometer, so you can calculate your current month’s usage by subtracting the previous total.
The print size of the digital display lettering is about three-sixteenths of an inch high, and there is a rotation of three types of information that prolongs the necessary reading time. People will be required to come very close to the face of this wireless radiation device in order to read anything about kilowatt hour usage. The close distance at which consumers will have to stand to read the very small print on wireless meter displays will place them within a few inches of transmitting antennas. They may also use their hands to shield their eyes from glare, so the hands may even come in contact with the meter face.
The FCC Grants of Authorization require a separation distance of 8″ or 20 centimeters. What about near-sighted people? What about people who shield the glare with their hands in front of their faces, or touch the meter? We are supposed to STAY AWAY from RF transmitting devices, not stare at them. Does this advice directly invalidate the FCC compliance statements and testing requirements to be ‘safe’?
The sensitivity of the eye to radiofrequency radiation is well established. SCE is putting consumers at risk with this advice. Wearing wire-rimmed glasses can intensify the radiofrequency exposure for the eyes.
Since the entire purpose of wireless utility meters is to provide consumers with timely information in order to reduce electric usage, this advice directly encourages people to place themselves at risk for damage to the eyes, and possibly for the face, neck and hands.
For those with multiple meters, standing with the body against other meters while trying to read information will cause more radiofrequency radiation exposure for more of the body (for example, in multifamily living units where there can be eight or twelve meters in a bank).
A report by Sage Associates (2011) documents radiofrequency radiation from wireless utility meters, and provides evidence from the industry which underscores the vulnerability of some human body parts and tissues, in particular the susceptibility of the eyes and testes to non-uniform and potentially harmful heating from radiofrequency radiation.
From the Report Conclusions
Eyes and Testes – Safety standards for peak exposure limits to radiofrequency have not been developed to take into account the particular sensitivity of the eyes, testes and other ball shaped organs. There are no peak power limits defined for the eyes and testes, and it is not unreasonable to imagine situations where either of these organs comes into close contact with smart meters and/or collector meters, particularly where they are installed in multiples (on walls of multi-family dwellings that are accessible as common areas).
What can be determined from the relevant standards (FCC and ANSI/IEEE and certain IEEE committee documents is that the eye and testes are potentially much more vulnerable to damage, but that there is no scientific basis on which to develop a new, more protective safety limit. What is certain is that the peak power limit of 4000 uW/cm2 exceeds what is safe (Appendix C).
In summary, no positive assertion of safety can be made by the FCC, nor relied upon by the CPUC, with respect to pulsed RF when exposures are chronic and occur in the general population. Indiscriminate exposure to environmentally ubiquitous pulsed RF from the rollout of millions of new RF sources (smart meters) will mean far greater general population exposures, and potential health consequences. Uncertainties about the existing RF environment (how much RF exposure already exists), what kind of interior reflective environments exist (reflection factor), how interior space is utilized near walls), and other characteristics of residents (age, medical condition, medical implants, relative health, reliance on critical care equipment that may be subject to electronic interference, etc) and unrestrained access to areas of property where meter is located all argue for caution.
Other Sources of Information on sensitivity of the eyes and testes. In the most recent proposed revisions of RF safety standards, the IEEE SC4 committee (2001) deliberated at length over the problem of peak power limits and non-uniform RF exposure with respect to the eye and testes. The quotes below come from committee drafts submitted in response to questions from the committee moderator.
ANSI/IEEE standards adopted in 1992 (C95.1-1992) and 1999 revisions June 2001 SC-4 Committee Minutes. These committee discussions are informative on the issue of particular organ sensitivity to RF, and unanswered questions and differences of opinion on the subject among members. They discussed vulnerable organs (eyes, testes) and metallic implants that can intensify localized RF exposures within the body and its tissues (see also discussion on metallic implants). Question 20: Are there specific tissues or points within the body that have particularly high susceptibilities to local heating due to thermal properties in the immediate vicinity of the tissue? Committee minutes include the following discussion on the particular sensitivities of ‘ball shaped’ organs including the eyes and testes.
“Eye balls are commonly regarded as the critical organ”
“In the range of a few GHz (gigahertz), reasonances may occur in ball shaped eyes and testes. They are also electrically and thermally partly insulated from other tissues. Additionally these organs or some of their parts (lens) are thermally a little bit more vulnerable than other tissues.”
“(m)odeling has noted that rapid changes in dialectrics such as cerebral spinal fluid in the ventricles of the brain and surrounding brain tissue lead to high calculated SARs. Secondly, exposure of the eye to microwave radiation can lead to increased temperature that is sufficient to damage tissues. The temperature rise will, of course, depend on the intensity of the irradiation, how well the energy is coupled into tissues, and how well the deposited energy is removed by normal mechanisms such as conduction and blood flow. Microwaves at the lower frequencies will be deposited deeper in the eye, while at higher frequencies they will be absorbed near the front surface of the eye. The eye does not efficiently remove heat deposited internally by microwave exposure. The main avenue of heat removal is conduction and blood flow through the retina and choroid. The lens has been thought to be the most vulnerable tissue since it has no blood flow. Other than conduction through the sclera and convection from the surface of the cornea, heat removal is poor compared to other body tissues. Because the lens is avasular it has been thought to be particularly sensitive to thermal effects of microwave exposure. These facts have led many investigators to postulate that the poor heat dissipation from within the eye of humans and other animals may lead to heat buildup and subsequent thermal damage.”
“Eyes do not have good blood circulation and testes have lower than body temperature.”
“These organs are not well-perfused, hence have been singled out for the exclusion.”
“Are the above numbers valid for all parts of the body in all exposure conditions over the time averaging period of the exposure? They (the basic limits) were derived in the manner you describe in body reasonance conditions i.e. coherent exposure over the whole body length of a human. Could the limit values of SAR be increased for partial body exposure? Yes, but we do not have the data to make this decision. In the near field of a source, clearly the limit value will depend on frequency (depth of penetration), organ blood supply and tolerance of that organism to sustain a certain rate of temperature increase during the time averaging period and the environmental conditions. If you have to deal with possible pathologies of organs then matters become even more complicated, because you are dealing not only with heat physiology, but also with general pathology, whose books are much thicker than those on physiology.