Since we announced the plan to upgrade our meter technology, members have inquired about potential health effects related to radio frequency (RF) emissions from the new meters.
The upgraded meters, manufactured by Honeywell (formerly Elster), will use the public 900 MHz spectrum to send signals back to Connexus Energy.
In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) establishes the requirements for use of the RF spectrum and acceptable exposure limits for the public. Honeywell meters comply with and exceed these requirements, as well as international requirements set by global bodies. Typical RF exposure from Honeywell meters is well below the most conservative limits. There are two reasons for this: infrequent signal transmission and distance from the source.
RF exposure is based on the transmitter’s power and your distance from the source. In general, doubling your distance cuts the “power density” by a factor of four. That’s a major reason why radio waves from the Honeywell meter, at a distance of ten feet, are only about one one-thousandth as much as a typical cell phone.
One concern is that long-term use of devices like cell phones might have unexpected health effects, even if daily exposure is low. The World Health Organization (WHO) advises: “A large number of studies have been performed over the last two decades to assess whether mobile phones pose a potential health risk. To date, no adverse health effects have been established for mobile phone use.”
Cell phones are typically held against your head when in use, while Honeywell meters are on the exterior of your house or building.
Should you be concerned about long-term exposure to smart meters if scientists haven’t established health problems from cell phone use? Consider that Honeywell meters emit a one-watt signal for no more than four to five seconds every four to six hours a day. When compared to a cell phone, it would take more than one thousand years of exposure to the meter’s radio waves to equal that of one month of typical cell phone use.
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