I was pleased CitiPower and Powercor corporate affairs manager Hugo Armstrong endorsed the importance of seeking accurate information, in his letter, published in the Mail-Times on August 6.
I refer Mr Armstrong to page 13 of his organisation’s publication titled, ‘Everything you should know about smart meters’.
The opening paragraph of the Health and Safety section states that ‘ARPANSA is the Australian Government Agency that sets safety standards for the two kinds of electromagnetic fields (EMF) associated with your electricity supply and smart meter’.
The publication goes on to say that ‘One kind is the extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic field caused by the current in your power lines’.
The document subsequently assures us that independent testing found that ‘both EMF exposures from smart meters were a tiny fraction of the safe levels set by ARPANSA’.
This sounds very reassuring.
There is, however, one slight problem which I would like to bring to the attention of Mr Armstrong: there are no standards in Australia for ELF electromagnetic fields.
We did indeed have interim guidelines set in 1989 by the NHMRC, but this document was rescinded in accordance with its policy of reviewing documents published more than 10 years ago.
The ‘independent testing’ by EMC Technologies in respect of radio frequency fields from smart meters – which at this end of the electromagnetic spectrum are specifically microwaves – unfortunately also suffered from systemic faults.
A sample size of only 16 sites was used to assess the safety of a system which potentially might affect more than five million Victorians.
The study also failed to address the problems of additive and cumulative exposure to radiation as a consequence of exposing Victorians to mandatory irradiation from wireless smart meters.
The World Health Organisation classified radio frequency EMF as a Group 2B possible carcinogen on 31 May 2011.
There are also a large number of scientific studies which indicate that exposure to EMF has the potential for other adverse effects.
These include cellular DNA damage, disruptions to cellular functions, and disruption of tissue structures.
ARPANSA standards for radio frequencies allow CitiPower and Powercor customers to be exposed to about 4600 times more radiation than do the precautionary limits of a country such as Austria.
However, ARPANSA standards also state that people should not be unnecessarily exposed to radiation, even if falling within their standards, providing this can be achieved at reasonable expense.
One must ask why CitiPower and Powercor Australia chose a wireless system for their smart meters.
Surely it would have made more sense to piggy-back onto NBN fibre-optic cabling, thereby eliminating all microwave radiation as well as arguably providing a more cost-effective long-term solution?
Janobai Smith Stop Smart Meters Australia