The American Cancer Society Claimed “Smart” Meters Could Increase Cancer Risk – In 2014

By Hope S. Good

So why are millions of “Smart” Meters still installed and why are there plans to install even more?

On September 10, 2014 the American Cancer Society posted a rather long and detailed statement on their website about Smart Meters and Cancer. The following information was included in the statement:

Because RF radiation is a possible carcinogen, and smart meters give off RF radiation, it is possible that smart meters could increase cancer risk.”

If you weren’t aware of this before now, you certainly aren’t alone.

Now that you are aware of the possibility of increased cancer risk from “Smart” Meters, does this change how you feel about utility companies installing them on the inside or outside of your home or anywhere else for that matter?

The American Cancer Society isn’t the only organization who has raised red flags on “Smart” meters.  At the same time, when reading the entire ACS statement, it’s not easy to understand exactly what they’re trying to tell us. Many seem to be confused including environmental groups, media sources, and utility companies. They often reference the ACS as stating there is no cancer risk associated with “Smart” Meters despite the fact that they included this information in their statement:

“…it is possible that smart meters could increase cancer risk.”

Maybe it’s best to examine the entire ACS statement and try to figure this out. We’ll start from the top and work our way down.

American Cancer Society: Smart Meters. What are smart meters?

To use (and be billed for) utilities such as electricity, natural gas, or water, the amount you use must be measured. This is generally done with a meter. In the past, the data from the meters had to be read by a person. More recently, meters that automatically send usage information back to the product supplier have been used. These are called smart meters.

Smart meters have been used for a number of years in some developed countries, especially in parts of Europe. In recent years, they have been installed in some areas of the United States as well.

Concerns have been raised about the safety of smart meters, mainly because they give off the same kinds of radiofrequency (RF) waves as cell phones and Wi-Fi devices.

ACS Red Flag #1: RF (short for RFR or radiofrequency) radiation from cell phones and Wi-Fi devices were classified as possible human carcinogens by the World Health Organization in 2011.

American Cancer Society: How do smart meters work?

Smart meters record the amount of the product (electricity, water, etc.) consumed over time. They differ from traditional utility meters in that they are electronic and can talk to a central computer system.

Smart meters talk to their central systems using RF transmissions, based on a cell phone, pager, satellite, radio, power line (PLC), Wi-Fi or Internet (TCP/IP) communication method. Internet and cell phone applications have become the preferred options because of their flexibility and ease of deployment.

ACS Red Flag #2:  “Smart” Meter technology operates by using RF transmissions which The World Health Organization classified as a possible carcinogen in 2011.  Recently scientists have found enough proof that RF should be classified as either a Class 2A (probable) or Class 1 (known) human carcinogen Class A carcinogen.

There have also been other studies conducted on RF exposure before and after 2014 that proved harm other than cancer risk.

American Cancer Society: How are people exposed?

Smart meters are typically installed outside the home, either in place of or as part of existing meters.

ACS Red Flag #3:  The ACS suggests that “Smart” Meters are “typically” installed outside the home without citing how they came to that conclusion. Many homes and building have utility meters installed inside of them – not outside of them. Where are your utility meters installed and how many do you have?

How much RF energy that people are exposed to from the smart meter depends on how far they are from the smart meter antenna and how the smart meter sends its signal.

ACS Red Flag #4:  Distance from one or more “Smart” Meters could be problematic for those who spend several hours at a time sitting or sleeping near one or more “Smart” Meters.  Multi-unit buildings have multiple utility meters.

ACS Red Flag #5:  The ACS seems to acknowledge that how the “Smart” Meter sends its signal could also affect the strength of the RF transmission and level of exposure.  However they neglect to provide more details and quickly move on.

The frequency and power of the RF waves given off by a smart meter are similar to that of a typical cell phone, cordless phone, or residential Wi-Fi router.

ACS Red Flag #6:  Again, the WHO classified RF radiation from cell phones, cordless phones, and WiFi routers as a possible human carcinogen in 2011.  Manuals for cell phones, cordless phones, and residential Wi-Fi routers include warnings about exposure.  Utility companies are not providing this information to customers when installing “Smart” Meters.

Smart meters typically send and receive short messages about 1% of the time.

ACS Red Flag #7: This statement does not reference the fact that “Smart” Meters also send many thousand microbursts of RF transmissions every day. This is sometimes referred to as “pulsing” In a California class action lawsuit, PG&E testimony revealed that “Smart” Meter pulsing happened: 9,000-190,000 times per day.

In a Maine class action lawsuit, CMP revealed this happened 7,000-170,000 transmissions/day.

Because the smart meter antenna usually is located outside the home, people are much farther away from the source of RF waves than some other possible sources of exposure to RF radiation, such as personal cell phones and cordless phones.

ACS Red Flag #8:  Here we go again. The first time they said that “Smart” Meters and their RF transmitting antennae are “typically” installed on the outside of homes. Now it’s that they are “usually” installed outside of homes. Where are your utility meters installed? 2 out of 3 of mine are installed inside my home. 

Also worth noting:  Evidence from New York also suggests RF transmissions can be conducted on home wiring and even radiate to metal objects from outlets.

So, outside or inside, RF transmissions from “Smart” Meters may surround you 24/7.

ACS Red Flag #9:  The ACS once again draws our attention away from “Smart” Meters and back to other possible sources of RF radiation such as personal cell phones and cordless phones. Virtually all other wireless devices offer the consumer a choice, whether or not to have the device on. Smart meters do not offer a choice.

The ACS also does not attempt to address either synergistic or cumulative impacts from 24/7 smart meter modulated pulse transmissions adding to an already sometimes high RF radiation environment.

American Cancer Society: “Meters to RF exposure from cell phones and cordless phones:

In addition, walls between the person and the smart meter’s antenna further reduce the amount of RF energy exposure.

ACS Red Flag #10:  The ACS repeating the same information over and over again doesn’t make it true. Many “Smart” Meters are installed inside homes and other buildings. And because RF radiation is conducted on wiring throughout buildings, walls don’t necessarily make much difference if any at all.

This means that the amount of RF radiation that someone would be exposed to from a smart meter is probably much lower than the amount that they would be exposed to from other sources.

ACS Red Flag #11:   The American Cancer Society repeating the same information over and over again doesn’t make it true.  The fact that they state that RF radiation exposure from a “Smart” Meter is “probably much lower” in this sentence also sounds like a legal maneuver.  It also reveals that they actually don’t know that RF exposure is “much lower” or not.  Besides that – they are not including the fact that most homes have more than one “Smart” Meter.

Does The American Cancer Society believe that people shouldn’t be concerned about RF exposure from “Smart” Meters because we don’t seem to be concerned about RF exposure from other sources?

American Cancer Society: Can smart meters cause cancer?

Smart meters give off RF radiation. RF radiation is low-energy radiation. RF radiation doesn’t have enough energy to remove charged particles such as electrons (ionize), and so is called non-ionizing radiation.

Non-ionizing radiation has enough energy to move atoms in a molecule around or cause them to vibrate, which can lead to heat but it can’t damage DNA directly.

ACS Red Flag #12: There is now US government research proving that non-ionizing RF radiation can damage DNA.

RF radiation is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”

ACS Red Flag #13: I don’t know anyone who thinks that possibly carcinogenic anything is desirable.  Do you?

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.

ACS Red Flag #14:  The American Cancer Society is acknowledging that science exists which justifies concerns about RF from “Smart” Meters.  However, they don’t acknowledge that The WHO 2011 classification is out of date, there has been additional science since then, and the classification is currently under review as are the 1996 very obsolete FCC exposure guidelines.

Because RF radiation is a possible carcinogen, and smart meters give off RF radiation, it is possible that smart meters could increase cancer risk.

ACS Red Flag #15:  BINGO. Was that so hard to say?

Still, it isn’t clear what risk, if any there might be from living in a home with a smart meter.

ACS Red Flag #16:  The ACS now begins finishing its legal disclaimer while still trying to appear to be an authority and without taking any responsibility.

American Cancer Society:  It would be nearly impossible to conduct a study to prove or disprove a link between living in a house with smart meters and cancer because people have so many sources of exposure to RF and the level of exposure from this source is so small.

ACS Red Flag #17: The ACS once again strays from the topic of RF exposure from “Smart” Meters discusses how we all have “so many sources of exposure to RF.”

They also state that the level of RF exposure from “Smart” Meters is “so small” when research shows that simply isn’t true.

Because, the amount of RF radiation you could be exposed to from a smart meter is much less than what you could be exposed to from a cell phone, it is very unlikely that living in a house with a smart meter increases risk of cancer.

ACS Red Flag #18: Now The American Cancer Society states that “it is very unlikely that living in a house with a smart meter increases risk of cancer.”

How is that possible when they also stated this?  “…it is possible that smart meters could increase cancer risk.”

Are you confused? Me too.  I bet you’re also wondering where ACS gets their funding now.

Besides that, utility company field data from Sacramento, CA show smart meter radiation levels can be higher than from cell phones.

American Cancer Society:  The World Health Organization has promised to conduct a formal assessment of the risks from RF exposure but this report is not yet available.

ACS Red Flag #19:  BINGO AGAIN. The ACS has now officially passed the buck to the World Health Organization.

It’s 2017. We’re all still waiting for that report from the World Health Organization. The American Cancer Society hasn’t updated their statement since September 24, 2014.  Utility companies keep installing more “Smart” Meters inside and outside of homes and buildings.  They also continue to raise our rates in the process.

Where are your utility meters installed?

Written by Hope S. Good with A LOT of help from her friends


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