CHELAN – From the moment Chelan County PUD presented a proposal on the replacement of the current, older analog meters with the advanced two-way meters, there was been voiced concern on the adverse health effects that these meters may present within the community. The Lake Chelan Mirror sat down with three of those voices for a detailed look at the concern.
Chelan citizens Robin Casal, Suzan Keller and Laura Folsom, with Smart Meter Awareness Group of Chelan County, presented a folder, filled with some research from reputable sources and other pieces the group felt solidified the health concerns associated with the increase in Radio Frequencies (RF) that the installation of the two-way meters would present. “When we started doing our research,” began Laura Folsom, “is the health effects on the human body, and they (Chelan County PUD) have taken a study that was done back in 1998, which was actually done on an older study, that was done by the military on a healthy, young adult male that determined that such amount of RF was safe for the human body.” That study is the study that has been used on their basis for the safeness of the RF, she continued. “Most of us weren’t in this type of frequency back in 1998,” Folsom added, “we didn’t hardly have cell phones and things like that … they say this one machine is safe, but don’t really say (how safe it is) when you add them all (the electronics) together.”
The RF levels of the advanced meters have been placed as a Class 2B with the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the group explained, stating that it is a potential carcinogenic. This classification of potential carcinogens has also been placed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2011, which happens to be the location of the study from the 1998 RF safeness as well. “Consider the accumulation (of RF) that we got going,” supplied Suzan Keller, “when you’re exposed to 24/7 emissions, they build up, and our immune systems work to keep us healthy, and they do a good job until they start to get compromised … what’s they’re not considering is the continual bombardment on our immune systems, especially if you have children or an already compromised immune system … we feel that that study (in 1998) has nothing to do with today’s world.” Robin Casal stated that the input was provided that the advanced meter is safer than cell phones, “what I’d like to ask the community,” started Casal, “are they willing to give up their cell phones to have a smart meter? Because it is the accumulation, like sugar. We can have some sugar but over time it builds up and after a while you’re going to develop that diabetes if you’re having those 10 cokes a day … we’re asking not to be guinea pigs.”
The other concern, the group stated, are with the placement of the “hubs” that will be placed every quarter mile and constantly receiving the information from the advanced smart meters. Fire hazards are yet another concern, as one group member, who currently has a one-way meter in place, reported that the one-way meter surged through appliances and fried them. “No one is responsible,” explained Keller, “the insurance companies have started to put caveats on policies saying that they will not be responsible for any damage from these (smart meters) … when you come down to the insurance company won’t cover it, the PUD won’t cover it, the manufacturer of the device won’t cover it … guess who (will have to).”
Opting out options are unclear at this time, explained the group. “You will have to pay more,” said Keller, “they say because they will have to send a meter reader to your house, but their punishing anyone, basically, that doesn’t go along with the program.” The group stated that they would rather see an opt-in process for the smart meters, as opposed to the opt-out. “An opt in means you would have to sign and say ‘yes, I would like a smart meter,” explained Casal, “and waive liability … but this would allow people to have them, but hopefully also allow it to educate them.”
The Smart Meter Awareness Group of Chelan County began a petition throughout Chelan County, hoping to stop the implementation of the smart meters. Approximately 300 of the 500 signatures on the petition belong to Chelan residents, explained Casal. “Ninety percent of the people did not know what they were, and that they were being implemented,” the group explained, “and when they found out, they were appalled.” An online petition is also available at www.change.org, simply search Chelan County PUD, click the link “I’m opposed to smart meters.”
Asking the City of Chelan, as a whole, to opt out of the placement of the advanced meters.
“Our group, Smart Meter Awareness, is we just want people to be aware,” explained Casal, “of what they’re making a commitment too.”
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