Group questions health impact of smart meters
here is a growing concern among critics of the Glasgow Electric Plant Board’s new rate structure that the smart meters the utility uses to remotely monitor energy use in customers’ homes might be hazardous to their health, though there is doubt in the scientific community that such a link exists.
On the Facebook page for Glasgow Citizens Against the New EPB Rate Structure, a Change.org petition titled “Stand up Kentuckians! We can’t allow these meters to be deployed” is making the rounds.
The petition itself doesn’t explicitly cite any perceived smart meter-related health concerns but includes a video in which Dietrich Klinghardt, lead clinician at the Sophia Health Institute in Washington, explains what he sees as a health risk that comes with smart meters.
In the video, Klinghardt asserts there is a correlation between exposure to radio frequencies emitted by such devices as cellphones and smart meters and the development of autism in newborns, as well as other neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Karla Norman, a founding member of Glasgow Citizens, signed the petition, citing concerns with health and accurate reporting.
Some people in the community she’s spoken to said they’ve experienced physical pain and sleep disruptions since the smart meters were installed in 2015.
“They’re causing headaches, they’re causing sleep disturbances. It’s like having a microwave going 24/7,” she said.
She did, however, say public health concerns weren’t her sole motivation for signing the petition.
The new smart meters bear a digital tracker that shows how much electricity has been used, which she thinks might not be as accurate as the previous analog meters.
“With them, at least, you could see your monthly use,” she said.
Quackwatch, a website founded and run by retired psychiatrist and co-founder of the National Council Against Health Fraud that investigates fraudulent, unproven and unsafe medical practices, described neural therapy, a pseudoscientific medical treatment which Klinghardt is the “leading promoter” of in the United States, as medical quackery.
EPB Superintendent Billy Ray said there’s no reputable scientific study or investigation he knows of that suggests a connection between radio frequency and neurological issues. “Just like anything produced in the United States, a smart meter can’t get a stamp of approval unless it meets stringent requirements regarding public safety,” he said.
The radio frequency the smart meters emit, which is needed to relay information about how much electricity households are using and when they’re using them, is less than that produced by cell phones and baby monitors, Ray said.
“It’s just another wi-fi device,” he said.
In 2011, the California Council on Scientific Technology conducted a study on the safety of smart meter radio frequency and found that smart meters produce less radio frequency exposure than other household devices like cell phones and microwaves.
One of the study’s key findings was that “to date, scientific studies have not identified or confirmed negative health effects from potential non-thermal impacts of RF emissions such as those produced by existing common household electronic devices and smart meters.”
— Follow Daily News reporter Jackson French on Twitter @Jackson_French or visit bgdailynews.com.