Archive for June, 2012

Smart Meters: A Risk to Public Health and the Environment

Smart People Against Stupid Meters

Smart meter technology has emerged as a major new pathway for human exposure to radiofrequency radiation, which the World Health Organization has classified a possible human carcinogen. A variety of health effects from exposure to microwaves is well known, though the regulatory approach varies dramatically from country to country.

Microwaves are the part of the radio frequency spectrum that cell phones, wifi and smart meters broadcast within. The technology that each of these varies, but radiofrequency radiation is a concern from all these sources. For most of us, radio frequencies, microwaves, etc. are challenging topics to understand. A good primer can be found here.

A group of concerned citizens in Madison, Wisconsin has been learning about smart meters and has challenged the City of Madison implementation of smart meter technology for its Water Utility. MEJO has been involved in providing technical and organizing assistance for this group, called “Stop Smart Meters Madison”.

MEJO has worked to share scientific studies with local decision makers, but has found a strange total denial of all health concerns. See more here.

MEJO has been helping citizens engage with local decision makers at the city council, city hall and committee level. Another oddly uniform fingers-in-the ears, “I-can’t-hear-you” response is described here.

While many cities across the country have worked with their citizens to provide opt out opportunities or have challenged smart meter technology implementation by electric and gas utilities, in Madison, Wisconsin, it’s the city that is fighting its own citizens on behalf of a water utility and global telecommunications corporations like Itron, Inc. Strange indeed.

UPDATE: On October 24, 2012, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission approved a smart meter opt out for Madison Water Utility customers, a resounding victory for smart people against stupid meters. (See an article here.)


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A better approach?


Instead of continuing to beg our environmental & public health agencies to monitor toxins in water and fish, which we’ve learned is a futile endeavor, we’ve decided to go catch some fish in southern Wisconsin lakes and streams–good sources of fresh, local food. And they’re free!

Yes, free food! But are they free of toxins? Unfortunately, no. How much mercury, other heavy metals, PCBs, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and other toxins will we ingest if we eat southern Wisconsin fish regularly? We don’t know. We don’t have the resources to find out, and apparently neither do our government agencies.

So we’re just going to take our chances. Free food is free food! In these hard economic times, beggars can’t be choosers.

Feel free to join us fishin’ anytime! See you out there on the Four Lakes reeling em’ in.

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