The CEO of Network Tasman Ltd, Mr Wayne Makey, has written an article in the Nelson Mail titled: “Fears regarding smart meters not warranted”.  (You can read the article at this link http://www.stuff.co.nz/nelson-mail/opinion/10072263/Fears-regarding-smart-meters-not-warranted .)

In this article, Mr Mackey writes:

“We understand that some people in the community are worried about this new technology and are looking to us to provide answers.”

This statement may be intentionally or unintentionally ironic, since Network Tasman employee Andrew Stanton undertook to provide answers to written questions about the planned “smart meter” roll out, and has at the time of this writing, replied to only 16 questions of 32 questions.

Many of the questions that he has so far refused to answer (or chosen not to answer) are those that related to the amount of radiofrequency radiation (RFR) produced by the “smart meters” that Network Tasman Ltd plans to roll out and how often the brand of “smart meter” selected by Network Tasman Ltd produce pulses of radiofrequency radiation.  (More on this issue will follow in a later post.)

But back to Mr Mackey, CEO of Network Tasman Ltd, and his piece in the Nelson Mail:

“The issue of radio frequency fields associated with advanced meters and other appliances has been the subject of intense debate. We have uploaded a number of scientific, peer-reviewed international research articles on our website that conclude there are no proven adverse health effects from any of those common appliances. I encourage anyone seeking information to read these reports, and a Q and A section, at www.networktasman.co.nz.”

Mr Mackey’s choice of wording is important here: he claims that the documents state there are “no proven adverse health effects from any of these common appliances”.   However, if you take cell phones as one of these “other appliances” there is strong scientific evidence, tantamount in most people’s opinion to scientific proof, that the radiofrequency radiation that they produce can have harmful effects.  In this regard, there is  the evidence relating to microwave radiation and cancer that was considered by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) when it made its determination that radiofrequency radiation in the microwave range was a possible carcinogen (type 2B). (See: http://microwavenews.com/short-takes-archive/iarc-publishes-rf-cancer-review )

There is also other evidence of health effects, such as adverse  effects on male fertility from cell phones (see:  http://www.ewg.org/cell-phone-radiation-damages-sperm-studies-find) for example.  Given the importance of healthy, genetically-normal sperm in producing healthy, happy babies, this research is frankly alarming.

Back to Mr Mackey’s article and his suggestion that people “seeking information” read the reports on Network Tasmajn Ltd’s website.

One of these, the report by EPEC at this link http://www.networktasman.co.nz/Advanced_Meters/Health%20&%20Safety%20of%20Smart%20Meters.pdf, has already been de-bunked by Dr. Don Maisch, Ph.D.  (You can access Dr. Maisch’s critique of the EPEC report at this link https://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/latest-news/report-on-health-and-safety-aspects-of-electricity-smart-meters-debunked/.)

I might add that the EPEC, while based at the University of Canterbury, is hardly a disinterested party when it comes to “smart meters”.  EPEC’s website shows that it is sponsored by major players in the NZ electricity industry – an apparent conflict of interest at the very least.

And what of the information presented at this link: http://www.networktasman.co.nz/Advanced_Meters/Radio%20Frequency%20Safety.pdf ?

Yes, it shows that “smart meter” emissions can be lower than some other sources of radiofrequency radiation.  However, that does not mean the exposure is trivial.  At one foot away from a “silver spring”-enabled “smart meter” (such as may occur in the case of a meter mounted on a bedroom wall*) someone is exposed to  8.8 microwatts per square cm (or 88,000 microwatts per square metre).  While “smart meters” are designed to produce RFR intermittently, rather than constantly, this is not a trivial level of radiation.  The authors of the BioInitiative report (www.bioinitiative.org) have recommended a precautionary level of exposure as 1,000 microwatts per square metre. (See http://healthybuildingscience.com/2013/02/18/emf-and-emr-conversion-formulas/)

Then we have the document at this link: http://www.networktasman.co.nz/Advanced_Meters/Report%20on%20Generic%20EMF%20for%20SmartCo%20v%201.1.pdf

The document at the link above is likely to be essentially meaningless to most people who do not already have a significant knowledge base concerning “smart meters” and “smart grids” because of the way that Network Tasman Ltd have chosen to present the information.  The actual measurements of RFR produced by the “relays” and access p0ints” are not specified.

Instead the document claims to show the “minimum safe distance to ensure the EMF does not exceed 25% of the limit specified in NZS2772”.

The “relays” use the 915-921 MHz band and “access points” use the 915-921 MHz and 900-915 MHz band, for which the NZ national standard (NS: 2772.1:1999) is an appalling 450 microwatts per square cm (4,500,000 microwatts per square metre).  (That’s right 4.5 million microwatts per square metre which is 4,500 time  higher than the  1,000 microwatts per square metre suggested as a precautionary level by the scientists who created the BioInitiative Report.)

National standard  (NS: 2772.1:1999) can be described as a safety standard only in regard to the fact that it is designed to prevent thermal injury.  It is not designed to prevent other types of harm from exposure from RFR – such as damage to DNA, for example.)

If the relay and access points that Network Tasman Ltd want to install expose people to  25% of the the RFR limit allowed under NS: 2772.1:1999 if they stand 0.15 – 0.4 metres away from this infrastructure, that is cause for concern, in my opinion, even if this infrastructure is not constantly producing EMR .

Network Tasman Ltd also has a graph at this link http://www.networktasman.co.nz/Advanced_Meters/Radio_Frequency_Fields.asp of its website. The graph gives the impression that  “smart meters” expose people to less RFR than do cell phones, and other devices. The document from which this graph has been reproduced has been the subject of a detailed critique, which features its own graphs which tell a different story.  You can read the critique by downloading the PDF from the link below.

Hirsch comments on Health Impacts of Radio Frequency from Smart Meters California Council Science & Technology

Last but not least, Mr Mackey states that “Another concern raised is that advanced meters will result in breaches in individuals’ privacy.”  This is true – and it is a valid concern.  See this link for details: https://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/government-and-electricity-industry-positions/network-tasman-there-are-no-privacy-concerns-with-smart-meters-yeah-right/

Will Network Tasman ltd do the right thing by its community?  The CEO seems happy to expose the community to radiofrequency radiation that he has been informed is considered by the International Agency for Research on Cancer to be a possible carcinogen. (See:  https://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/government-and-electricity-industry-positions/will-network-tasman-ltd-do-the-right-thing-by-its-community/ )

Perhaps other staff within the organisation will put people’s health above profits and facilitate either the re-certification of analogue (Ferraris) meters which are still in good working order, or install new analogue (Ferraris) meters for people whose current meters have reached the end of their useful lifespan.

 *Network Tasman Ltd has not ruled out installing “smart meters” on bedroom walls.