Health Risks Posed by Smartmeters


What are Smartmeters?

Smartmeters are the new utility consumption measurement devices for electricity, water, and gas that are being installed across the nation, at residences and other buildings. There would be a separate meter for each type of utility and they are installed by the companies and governments that provide the utilities.


Most people are unaware that their meter has been switched or is in the process of being switched from an analogue meter to a digital “smart” meter. If your home or building already had a meter, it was probably an analogue meter (used for decades), but the the replacement meter is likely a digital meter—a “smart” meter.


What type of meter do you have?

There are different types of smartmeters; some are called AMI, AMR and PLC. To learn more about the different types of meters,  we recommend Dr. Ronald Powell’s paper “Ranking Electricity Meters for Risk to Health, Privacy, and Cyber Security.”

Some Facts About Smartmeters

Smart Meters emit radio-frequency radiation (RFR).

Most smartmeter are designed to emit radio-frequency radiation (RFR). This is a concern because RFR is a biologically-active electromagnetic exposure that is absorbed into our bodies.  Many smartmeter systems generate RFR to wirelessly communicate with other smartmeters and to the utility provider and each of these wireless communication networks increase the overall density of manmade pulsed RFR radiation outdoors and indoors, throughout a neighborhood.


The radiation generated by smartmeters is the same type as generated by your cell phone- radiofrequency radiation.

Peer reviewed science has found increased cancer, immune system damage, and headaches after exposures to radiofrequency radiation. Dr. David Carpenter’s letter “Correcting the Gross Misinformation” addresses the biological health effects of smartmeters.


Bees, birds and insects are exposed to higher density of RFR.

The pulsed RFR emitted by smartmeters and other wireless telecommunications poses risks to pollinators and wildlife. Published research has found negative impacts to bees, plants, andwildlife.  For example, a review of 113 studies from original peer-reviewed publications found RF-EMF had a significant effect on birds, insects, other vertebrates, other organisms and plants in 70% of the studies. Development and reproduction of birds and insects are the most strongly affected endpoints. Read more.


Most smartmeters emit very strong pulses of RFR twenty four hours a day.

Contrary to claims made by utility providers that the exposure is “low,” many smartmeters continuously emit RFR in millisecond blasts. These short bursts of radiation can be very powerful.  

Please see “Assessment of Radiofrequency Microwave Radiation Emissions from Smart Meters” by Sage Associates. This research uses computer modeling that has found potential violations of current FCC public safety standards for smart meters and/or collector meters in the manner installed and operated in California are predicted in this Report. Download this entire report as a PDF file  


Smartmeter systems intentionally create a “mesh” wireless communications network which is RFR emissions.

Many smartmeters work differently than cell phones. Cell phones communicate by continuous two-way exchange of RFR emissions between the phone and a cell tower, whereas, smartmeters can communicate with each other in a wireless “mesh network.” Every meter in the mesh network wirelessly “chats” by RFR emissions connecting it to every other meter within its mesh network (the size of the network can be all meters within one or two miles).


The data wirelessly riding on your meter’s RFR emissions is collected by the utility provider’s centralized hub antennas—these may be mounted on utility poles called Data Collector Units or be specially-programmed collector meters or other transceivers spaced throughout a community. Collector meters usually have more powerful emissions because they are communicating with the other meters in the network. Read more about mesh networks.


Smartmeter radiation is neither “low” nor “safe”.

Utility companies claim that the RFR emitted by wireless smartmeters and their networks meet government FCC limits. However, 20-year-old FCC limits (based on 30-year-old science) are not protective of human health and are hundreds of thousands of times too high to protect humans and wildlife from biological effects.


Peer reviewed published studies show the adverse biological effects of pulsed electromagnetic radiation, such as RFR, on the body at emissions levels far below FCC limits. You can find many of these studies at the BioInitiative Report,, and Environmental Health Trust.


“When it comes to non-thermal effects of RF, which is the most relevant effect for public concerns, FCC guidelines are irrelevant and can not be used for any claims of SmartMeter safety unless we are addressing heat damage.”—Dr. De Kun Li, a Kaiser research scientist who has published research on electromagnetic radiation and provided expert testimony on health concerns related to smartmeters and the inadequacy of FCC limits here.


Smartmeters can increase the “dirty” electricity on the electrical and metal plumbing systems throughout your home.

Digital meters operate by a built-in switched mode power supply, which generates what is commonly known as “dirty electricity” and referred to by electricians and electrical engineers as “voltage transients,” “voltage harmonics,” “line noise,” and “power quality issues.” This is a concern because dirty electricity is also a biologically-active, penetrating, electromagnetic physical agent. This dirty electricity then travels throughout your home via the electrical wiring and metal pipes.


People are reporting symptoms after smartmeters are installed at their residences.

Reported symptoms include sleep disturbances, rashes, hyperactivity, changes in children’s behavior, high blood pressure, endocrine problems, thyroid problems, facial flushing, nausea, flu-like symptoms, body pain, leg cramps, cardiac symptoms, heart palpitations, heart arrhythmias, dizziness, fatigue, physical weakness, difficulty concentrating, memory loss, learning problems, ringing in the ears, headaches, and more. People report these symptoms immediately or shortly after smartmeters are installed and activated in their communities. Learn more about electrical sensitivity and microwave sickness.


How do I get a smartmeter off my house?

First, take a glance at your meter and see if you have a smartmeter or an analogue meter. Some people take a photo of the meter from a distance away from the meter so that instead they can look more closely at the photo. If your meter does not look like a digital meter, that is not a guarantee that it is not smart; contact your utility provider and ask (experienced citizens recommend that you do not explain why you are asking, simply ask and ask for the model name/number of your meter. If you do not have a smartmeter, find out if smartmeters are coming to your neighborhood by contacting a local smartmeter advocacy group or your utility provider. If you are not sure whether or not your meter is smart, if you have its model name/number, usually a local smartmeter advocacy group can tell you.


If you do have a smartmeter and you are in the United States, you can contact your utility provider and tell them you want your meter replaced with an analogue meter. Also send a letter via postal mail to your utility provider. Sometimes the provider’s representative who answers the phone is not aware of this issue. We recommend locating the smartmeter advocacy group in your state working on this issue for full information on what you can do in your state and how you can best address this issue. To find the local smartmeter advocacy group in your area go to the EMF Safety Network webpage on global smartmeter groups or StopSmartmeters local group directory.


The need for consumer choice.

People should have a right to choose whether or not they want a smartmeter at their home. Yet in many communities residents are told they have no choice and cannot refuse a meter. Or if residents are given an “opt out” they are required to pay monthly fees (in addition to the utility consumption charges) to keep the analogue meter. If you do not have any type of meter at your home (for example, some residents pay a flat fee for water) or have other questions about your options, you can find the local smartmeter advocacy group in your area at the EMF Safety Network webpage on global smartmeter groups or StopSmartmeters local group directory.


People are taking action in the US and worldwide so that citizens have consumer choice in regards to their utility meters, and there are groups formed in every area. Learn more at the resources below this post.


Communities and individuals have been successful in halting the smartmeter rollout in their area and getting analogue meters.


After community awareness was raised, some cities have enacted moratoriums on smartmeters. For example, the Santa Cruz Health Department issued a report and the city has a Moratorium on smartmeters.


Some individuals were initially told they must pay to “opt out” but were successful in getting these opt-out fees dropped after litigation. For example, you can read about Josh Hart’s successful legal battle here.


Dr. Ronald Powell’s Resources on Smartmeters

Ranking Electricity Meters for Risk to Health, Privacy, and Cyber Security

Symptoms after Exposure to Smart Meter Radiation  

Symptoms Resulting from Exposure to Radiofrequency/Microwave Radiation from Smart Meters

The Health Argument for Replacing Wireless Smart Meters with a Safe Metering Technology in Maryland

A Ratepayer’s View of Maryland’s Bill of Rights for the Maryland Electric Power Companies that

Implement Wireless Metering Systems

You May Want to Ask Your Electric Power Company about Wireless Smart Meters

FCC Maximum Permissible Exposure Limits for Electromagnetic Radiation, as Applicable to Smart Meters


Additional Resources

Dr. David Carpenter’s letter “Correcting the Gross Misinformation”  

Stop Smart Meters

Smart Meter Education Network,

Michigan Stop Smart Meters

My Smart Meter Does What?

Maryland Smart Meter Awareness

“Assessment of Radiofrequency Microwave Radiation Emissions from Smart Meters” by Sage Associates, Santa Barbara, CA, USA

Dr. De Kun Li Testimony on Smartmeters and the lack of public health protection from FCC limits


Health Department Resources on Smartmeters

Santa Cruz Health Department Moratorium on Smartmeters.


Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and science from Environmental Health Trust. We email our subscribers with a newsletter just once a month and never share your email with anyone.

Thank you for signing up for our newsletter!