Call for study on health effects of PG&E’s smart meters


Jared Huffman,
Member, California
San Rafael, CA. U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — August 10, 2010 – A call has been made by California Assembly member Jared Huffman to the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) to establish whether Federal Communications Commission (FCC) standards for Pacific Gas & Electric Company’s (PG&E) smart meters are sufficiently protective of public health.

In particular the study should take into account current exposure levels to radio frequency and electromagnetic fields, and further should assess whether additional technology specific standards are needed for smart meters and other devices that are commonly found in and around homes, to ensure adequate protection from adverse health effects.

According to Huffman in a statement, the letter is in response to numerous concerns and questions raised by individuals residing in his district, as well as the Marin County Board of Supervisors, City of Sebastopol, City of Fairfax, and Marin Association of Realtors, relating to potential negative health effects from PG&E’s smart meters.

The letter is addressed to Karl Pistel, chair, and Susan Hackwood, executive director, of the California Council on Science and Technology.

On the question of health effects of radiation from the smart meters, Huffman said in the letter that PG&E and CPUC maintain that electromagnetic fields emitted from the smart meters and the radio frequency power associated with the wireless radios fall within the FCC regulations, pointing out that smart meters emit fewer radio frequencies than the amount allowable for cellular telephones, microwave ovens, and wireless internet services.

However, critics claim, among other things, that FCC standards are not sufficiently protective of public health and do not take into account the cumulative effect of radiation exposure from a growing number of sources and devices, including continuous exposure from some sources.

In the letter Huffman states that an independent, science-based study by the California Council on Science and Technology would help policy makers and the general public resolve the debate over whether smart meters present a significant risk of adverse health effects.

“It is in everyone’s interest to bring credible, independent science to this question,” Huffman said. “If the FCC standards are deemed adequate, then the smart meter program can move forward with greater public confidence in the safety of the devices. If the standards are inadequate, we need to know that so that we can get to work on better standards.”

Currently independent testing of the accuracy of PG&E’s smart meters is being undertaken by the Structure Group, but health effects are not part of those analyses.