• Cynthia Vann

Smart Tips to Protect Yourself from Smart Meters

“The current recommended maximum exposure guidance level for man-made radio frequency radiation that is used worldwide is over a trillion times the natural level that we were exposed to less than a hundred years ago.”—Devra Davis, Disconnect 1

During the last two years, while maintaining a macrobiotic way of life, I began noticing many spontaneous symptoms. I was mystified—after years of eating grains and vegetables, I had no fruit or sugar habits or cravings. Yet recently, nosebleeds would occur about every month or two months in the middle of a conversation or exercise. In addition, I noticed more frequent canker sores. About a year ago, in one instance, 8 sores appeared at once. Such a thing had never happened in the past.

Then “eye lightning” was very weird and disturbing. A pinpoint flash of white light would appear in one eye or the other and expand into a horizontal V-shape obstructing my vision. Then, just as suddenly, it would disappear in a wave like fashion. Besides that, I was getting frequent finger rashes. My thumb would be covered in a spider pattern that would open into cracks and be raw and painful. I've always been a sound sleeper, and my diet ensured I remained so. But even slumber began to degrade. I would awaken in the middle of the night, often needing to take macrobiotic remedies, or do sleep-inducing yoga or other techniques.

These symptoms came on so gradually that I almost dismissed them. However, as I compile this list, I realize how many symptoms I was getting and how they seemed to come on more quickly and more often. Then I began feeling dizzy and unbalanced with labored breathing as I worked in the kitchen. Seeking relief, I read a book by Shirley MacLaine that recommended breathing into a paper bag to treat shortness of breath. I tried this and found I could breathe more deeply after 10 short breaths into a paper bag. I bought a 100-pack of paper bags and placed them everywhere I would sit, work, or watch TV and in the kitchen to use when I felt short of breath. These helped, but my heart palpitations continued to increase. I began to wonder if I needed to see a doctor or get a pacemaker. I could control the palpitations momentarily with deep breathing, but incidents arose two to three times daily and also in bed at night. My heart would sometimes pound spontaneously which made my head race with dire thoughts.

I never had dizzy spells before. Then I had one on a hike and feeling faint had to sit down. A few months later, I had a dizzy spell on a hike and blacked out for a few seconds. To my shock, I found myself on the ground with my nose bleeding and a broken thumb. Also, birds weren't coming to our birdbath by the kitchen window anymore. Could this be related to my troubles?

I was in a low level worried state, not really knowing where to go for answers when a meaningful coincidence helped me become aware of a possible cause. Once a month some friends and I discuss the Tao Te Ching, the classic on the way of heaven and earth by the ancient Chinese sage Lao Tzu. This day the verse we were studying was Chapter 12.

The five colors blind the eye

The five notes deafen the ear

The five tastes dull the tongue

Unbridled ambition will unbalance the mind

Striving for earthly goods produces unhealthy tension

Therefore the truly wise satisfy the inner self and ignore the external

They accept one and avoid the other

As the group studied this verse, our discussion turned to the excesses for each of the five sense organs. As we listed up examples, the one for ear puzzled me a bit. But I found an interesting article about a mysterious sound with no obvious source driving people batty around the globe.2 The subject of this constant low frequency hum led to discussion of another invisible problem.

Smart meters were mentioned as one source of consistent exposure to microwave radiation and its adverse consequences. Could this be the cause of my symptoms? A friend said she and two other friends had their smart meters removed from their apartment, and she used grounding equipment to protect herself from a bank of meters that remained near her rooms. The power company threatened a fee to remove my friends’ meters, but removed them without following through on their threat. The companies routinely reassure you that smart meters are no more dangerous than a cell phone.

My interest in learning about EMFs and their effects grew from this time forward. After removal of the smart meters in my home, all my symptoms disappeared. Although it took some weeks for my heart to calm down and stop palpitating, I am completely symptom-free today. A key reason why exposure to EMFs is such an unrecognized problem is that the symptoms are common to so many other conditions and differ from person to person. Even more alarming, most people simply have no idea what smart meters are or that they have been installed (usually without permission or notification by the power companies) in their residences or place of work.

What Is EMF?

An electromagnetic field or EMF, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “is a property of space caused by the motion of an electric charge. A stationary charge will produce only an electric field in the surrounding space. If the charge is moving, a magnetic field is also produced. An electric field can be produced also by a changing magnetic field. The mutual interaction of electric and magnetic fields produces an electromagnetic field, which is considered as having its own existence in space apart from the charges or currents (a stream of moving charges) with which it may be related. Under certain circumstances, this electromagnetic field can be described as a wave transporting electromagnetic energy.”

EMF refers to all electrically charged fields from Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) to Radio Frequencies (RF) that encompass everything from our own bodies to our gadgets, from plugged in electrical appliances to wireless technologies such as cellular, Wi-Fi, cordless phones, and Smart Meters.

The Yin and Yang of Electromagnetism

David Yarrow, a macrobiotic teacher, explained the dynamics of electromagnetism: “Electricity is linear time; charged particles in linear motion. However, magnetism is circular space; enclosing magnetic objects in donut-shaped fields, like loops of magnetic flux revealed by iron filings. Like yin and yang, magnetic and electrical fields interact to mutually create each other. Thus a wire with an electric current is enclosed in spirals of magnetism. The earth's magnetic flux loops in giant rings to encircle our planet pole to pole; in Earth's upper air, electrons travel through the plasma in corkscrew paths along these flux lines. This line-to-circle relationship is why energy always moves in spirals. The linear unraveling of circular motion is the sine wave—EM's universal signature. Electrons flowing in a wire generate a magnetic field around the wire. When current stops the magnetic field collapses. When current reverses, a magnetic field is created of opposite polarity. Thus alternating current generates a pulsating magnetic field. It is pulsating magnetism from power lines and gadgets which seems to interfere with cell functions.”3 With this explanation, you can see how pulsing microwaves can be so damaging and dangerous.

Scientist Magda Havas, PhD, observed, “The literature from the Eastern European countries including the former Soviet Union repeatedly report that pulsed radio frequency radiation is more harmful than continuous wave (CW) radiation at the same carrier frequencies. This may be due to the pulse carrying information to the cells and thus disrupting internal communication as suggested by Dr. Ross Adey when he said that ‘cells whisper to each other’ using electrochemical signals. Or it may be due to a higher ‘maximum’ exposure, which occurs with pulsed radiation that is underestimated when ‘averaging’ is used. Either way, there is little dispute that pulsed frequencies are more harmful and, as a result, some countries have more stringent guidelines for pulsed than for CW frequencies.”4

What Is a Smart Meter?

In An Electronic Silent Spring, Katie Singer describes the new gadgets that have silently infiltrated our home and communities: “Smart meters are transmitting, digital utility meters. A ‘smart’ meter tracks the use of electricity natural gas, or water. While SmartMeter is a trademarked, industry name that refers to one brand of meter, ‘smart’ meter (no upper case) is the generic term for all new digital meters. Most transmit signals in the microwave range. Some are not transmitting. Some transmitting meters are called ‘AMR’ (automated meter reading) meters. Typically, the meter's face will show a digital display of numbers (like a digital watch), not a dial with a clock-like face. Some meters with clock-like faces have a transmitting chip behind their face. AMI (advanced metering infrastructure) meters are yet another kind of transmitting meter. AMIs provide utility companies with two-way communication. Besides sending your utility company information about your usage, AMIs allow the company to turn off your power remotely or reprogram the meter to communicate with your appliances and your home wireless system. Around the US and the world, utility companies use government subsidies to replace traditional, analog meters on homes and businesses, supposedly because the ‘smart’ meters tracking abilities can encourage consumers to conserve energy. Because every household typically receives three utilities (electricity, gas, and water), and each utility requires a meter on each house, apartment, school, office, hospital, and public building, ‘smart’ meters might be the country's (and the world’s) largest deployment of transmitting antennas. ‘Smart’ meters emit pulsed signals or microbursts in the microwave range. All creatures within range of these ‘smart’ meters are exposed to involuntary microwave radiation.” 5

Singer notes that we are living with unhealthy standards, “According to our federal Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration (OSHA) standards (determined by engineers), magnetic fields above one gauss—1000 milliGauss (mG)—are dangerous. Those who study health have made other conclusions. Because of the possible link between childhood leukemia and in utero exposure to ELFs, the BioInitiative 2012 Report recommends a 1.0 mG limit for existing habitable space for children and/or pregnant women. To be clear, the BioInitiative Group recommends 1/1000th of what OSHA allows for magnetic field exposure.6 You can find the BioInitiative 2012 Report (a compilation of 1,800 studies about the biological effects of electromagnetic fields and radio frequency radiation, (edited by Cindy Sage, MA and David O. Carpenter, MD) on the Internet.”

WiFi and Smart Meters Are Like Living By an Open Microwave Oven

The FDA still regulates microwave ovens, and most of them leak less radiation than most cell phones. All mobile phones are currently allowed to leak higher than microwave ovens.7

What Are the Levels of Protection for the Public from Escalating EMFs?

Biological standards are not considered by the FCC and WHO other than from damage arising from thermal impacts of the energy. Molecular damage from EMFs is not studied or controlled.

Devra Davis, an authority on health and EMFs, states, “The FCC Act of 1996 prevents local authorities from considering health concerns in deciding where cell towers are going to be placed. As to the devices themselves, it was easy to convince the FCC and its sister agency on cell phone regulation, the FDA, that there was no need to test the safety of these devices. Because cell phones produced no heat, it was assumed that their invisible waves did nothing harmful.”8 This act is decades old.

In Public Health SOS, Libby Kelley, of the MA International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety, is quoted as saying, “The International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety considers these exposure standards to be inadequate as they are based on heating effects and do not accommodate the low level, cumulative exposure conditions in which the public now lives. There are no health surveillance or remedial response systems in place to advise citizens about electromagnetic radiation exposure (EMR). As wireless technology evolves, ambient background levels increase, creating electrical pollution conditions which are becoming ubiquitous and more invasive. We strongly encourage consumers, manufacturers, utility providers, and policy makers to reduce, eliminate, and mitigate EMR exposure conditions and to support biologically based standards.”9

In Public Health SOS, James S. Turner, Esq., chairman of the board, Citizens for Health, further observes: “According to the BioInitiative Report: A rational for biologically-based public exposure standard for electromagnetic fields—from electrical and electronic appliances, power lines and wireless devices such as cell phones, cordless phones, cellular antennas, towers, and broadcast transmission towers—we live in an invisible fog of (Electro-magnetic Radiation (EMR) which thirty years of science, including over 2,000 peer reviewed studies, shows exposes us to serious health risks such as increased Alzheimer's disease, breast cancer, Lou Gehrig disease, EMF immune system hypersensitivity, and disruption of brain function and DNA.”10

What Is Electrosmog?

According to Chuck Thompson in an article in Outside magazine, “Around the world, studies are proliferating on the devastating effects of ‘electrosmog,’ the blanket of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) that we've cast across the planet, which could be harmful to various wild species. For example, German scientist Ulrich Warnke has argued that there's a link between colony collapse disorder in bees and our mania for cell phones, whose RF waves discombobulate bees' orientation and navigation mechanisms.”11

The 5G Rollout

Since 2009, the standard for cellular and wireless technology has been 4G, or the fourth generation of mobile telecommunications. By 2018, 97% of the country is slated to be wired for new 5G or the fifth generation of cellular transmission.12

To understand the impact of the coming 5G rollout, recall that earlier in this article Katie Singer stated that The Bio-initiative Report set the lowest safe limits for biological safety at 1.0 mG and OSHA set limits 1000 times higher at 1G. These are far exceeded by current smart meters. In Radiation Nation, Daniel T. DeBaun warns, “If standards are not adequate now, they will be grossly inadequate when faster wireless networks are deployed, allowing for much stronger transmissions.”13

This accelerating technology poses a threat to all living things. Yet, as DeBaun reports, the FCC remains unconcerned. FCC Commissioner Tom Wheeler brushed aside health and environmental concerns of this untested new technology, “Unlike some countries, we do not believe that we should spend the next couple of years studying what 5G should be or how it should operate. We won't wait for the standards to be the first ...” Earlier this year, T-Mobile announced a rollout of 5G beginning in 2019, with a target of 2020 for full nationwide coverage.

Those concerned with the impact of smart technology on health should focus on supporting a revision to the FCC Act of 1996 provision, Section 704 which mandated that the Federal government will “prohibit state and local governments from restricting or influencing the siting of wireless antennas and towers based on environmental grounds.” “This legislation essentially preempts our right to good health and affects the health of wildlife, domestic and farm animals and all living species as well,” Camella Rees states in Public Health SOS, Camella Rees She calls for consumer action to “Urge Congress on EMF Safety” at www.ElectromagneticHealth.org.14

What Can I Do to Protect Myself?

As soon as I connected my symptoms to the smart meter in my home, I simply asked for it to be removed for reasons of health, and the utility company promptly attended to my request. Others may have to pursue community efforts or a lawyer.

As an update, I have subsequently experienced a recurrence of some symptoms. I have struggled for several weeks to determine the cause and suspected dirty electricity, but from where? Then, while working on this article, I came across an article on “opt-out smart meters.” These devices have digital faces and are hooked up to your electrical lines, but are not transmitting, so your utility regards them as harmless. However, they appear to be the cause of severe symptoms. This arises from the digital, or choppy, flow of electricity unlike the analog, or smooth, flow of electricity we have been used to since electricity first entered our homes. The article mentioned that filtering your lines is effective. If you are interested in the article, you can go to the smart meter education network and look for “what's the opt-out meter”. The web link is: http://www.smartmetereducationnetwork.com/optout-status-mpsc-rules-no-analog.php#5

I also purchased a grounding mat and grounding wristband from Amazon.com to use in my home while watching television or working on the computer. They are also for places other than my home where I have no control over the amount of EMF in the area.

I purchased EMF protective clothing from LessEMF.com for use while traveling and being in airports and in airplanes and in hotels with WiFi. They will also offer protection from unfiltered dirty electricity in my home until we install filters.

To lessen the effect of EMF smog encountered during the day either inside or outside the home, you can ground yourself by walking in grass or on dirt for at least a half hour. If pressed for time, choose just before bed to do it. Then retire to a room without electrical devices and unplug your lights. During sleep is the most important time to be EMF-free. If you have grounding mats or wristbands, you can ground during sleep.

Get a copy of the The BioInitiative 2012 Report and show it to your city council and/or your local newspaper, especially if threatened by power, gas, and water companies or by unwanted cell tower installations.

Visit your local library and ask for leads to lawyers who defend electro-sensitive people in cases of public utility overreach.

Visit your local paper and offer your story for publication. Others need to know what is going on with you and smart meter removal. Be careful of forceful wording, the majority of people love their gadgets and may think you are trying to take them away.

Another avenue of approach is freedom of privacy. Smart meters record not only your utility use but also patterns of when you are at home, when you cook, watch TV, use a tablet or computer, turn on the lights, or entertain guests. This surveillance data is readily determined by computer algorithms and then sold to government and third parties. Along with other digital information, it can then be used to construct a complete profile of your calendar, lifestyle, and spending habits. Smart meters are also vulnerable to hacking and for the most part have no security features.

If you want to be an activist, the best groups to contact are healthy school networks that are interested in EMF legislation and protection of children; they have the most clout according to James S. Turner of Citizens for Health.

The American Civil Liberties Union may be able to refer you to a lawyer in your area or an organization that can help with a specific complaint. They have a website at ACLU.org


1 Davis, Devra, PhD. Disconnect. New York, NY: Penguin Group, 2010, p. 21.

2 Dickey, Colin. “A Maddening Sound: Is the Hum, a mysterious noise heard around the world, science or mass delusion?” New Republic, April 8, 2016.

3 Yarrow, David. “Return of the Dragon: The Hazards of Man-Made Magnetism.” Solstice. May, 1990: 19.

4 Havas, Magda, “Why Pulsed Microwave Frequencies are more Harmful.” Sept. 27, 2010.

(http://www.magdahavas.com/pick-of-the-week-12-why-pulsed-microwave-frequencies-are-more-harmful/) 2014

5 Singer, Katie. An Electronic Silent Spring. Great Barrington, MA: Steiner Books, 2014: pp. 64-5, 72, 149.

6 Ibid. 72.

7 Ibid.149.

8 Davis, op. cit., 41.

9 Rees, Camilla and Havas, Magda. Public Health SOS: The Shadow Side of the Wireless Revolution. Wide Angle Health, LLC, 2009, p. 8.

10 Rees and Magda, op. cit., 8.

11 Thompson, Chuck. “Feel the Noise.” Outside Magazine. Jan. 2017, p. 64.

12 Singer, op. Cit., 135.

13 DeBaun, Daniel T. and DeBaun Ryan P. Radiation Nation

. USA: Icaro Publishing, 2017, pp.123-125.

14 Rees, op. cit., 94.

Further Reading

Gittleman, Ann Louise. Zapped. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 2011.

Ober, Clinton. Earthing. Basic Health Publications, Inc., 2014.

Take Back Your Power. Dir. Josh del Sol. Warren, NJ: Passion River, [2014]. DVD

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