Smart meters: The health warnings continue

posted in: Health, Magazine Articles
Organic NZ Magazine: January/February 2013
Section: Health and food
Author: Paul Waddell

As the rollout of so-called ‘smart’ meters in New Zealand continues, Paul Waddell shows we have a lot to be concerned about – and not just from smart meters but the phenomenal increase in radio frequency radiation from a number of sources

Since my article (in Organic NZ September/October 2012) I seem to be getting emails almost daily about protests, law suits and health issues linked to smart meters, from websites I subscribe to. The latest was a YouTube presentation entitled ‘Smart Meters and EMR: The Health Crisis of our Time’ by Dr Dietrich Klinghardt, which I highly recommend you watch ( Also, thank you to the people who took the time to contact me with their stories of smart meters.
Warning: content may disturb
Organic NZ also received correspondence from Lee Howden, marketing communications manager for Arc Innovations Ltd, a subsidiary of Meridian Energy, which pioneered smart meters in New Zealand. Lee commented: ‘What has disturbed me the most is how ill-informed your contributors are and how their comments may disturb some of your readers’. Also referenced were some information pamphlets and an ‘independent’ study that Arc commissioned earlier this year.
To complete the ‘independent’ study, Arc Innovations contacted the Electrical Power Engineering Centre (EPEC) of the University of Canterbury, which wrote a very nice report and had it reviewed by the Wireless Research Centre, also of Canterbury University. Very early in the report it clearly states the industry stance that there is no possible health effect other than thermal or heating effects, in other words, if it doesn’t cook you, you are perfectly safe. I question how independent this study could be when it is written by industry training institutions.
Biological magnetic field
The two things that differentiate us from inert matter as living biological beings are the beautiful breath we breathe and the incredibly small electrical impulses that preclude every chemical reaction, thought or movement of our bodies. This comparison does not directly relate to microwave fields, but to give you some idea of the difference between the biological magnetic field of a person and our environment, let’s make a comparison to the NZ Standard. Our biological field is two billion times less than the standard which has a magnetic field strength of 2 Gauss (extrapolated from figures at Surely it is arrogance of the highest order to assume that any living thing would not be affected by such an overwhelming difference in field strength.
Phenomenal increase in radio frequency radiation
Even in the EPEC report they comment that the background radiation from radio frequency devices has grown by 100,000,000,000 times (yes, that is 100 billion times) since the coming of the first radio communications, and that this level is rapidly rising as new communications technologies like 4G and smart meters are introduced. Their conclusion is that because all of the industry-funded organisations around the world do not acknowledge that there is even a possibility that this massive increase in background radiation might affect us, that they, Arc, will also perpetuate this myth.
Symptoms felt by electro-sensitive people
Let’s think about what a pulse of microwave radiation that is many millions of times higher than our own internal electrical system might feel like to our body at a cellular level, not our conscious mind. I suspect it might be something like electro-shock therapy for the brief part of the second that we experience it. Around the world smart meters have been linked to increasing numbers of electrically sensitive people, could these pulses be the reason why? The electro-sensitive people that I know describe the effects of this type of radiation as giving them confused thinking, severe headaches, ringing in the ears, elevated heart beats, missed heart beats, insomnia and severe joint pain like arthritis. These symptoms only slowly dissipate once they escape from the source of the radiation. We must understand that these sensitive people amongst us are the canaries in the coalmine, and that we need to pay far more attention to what their bodies are telling us before it becomes our own experience.
Invisible but dangerous
If you have watched the YouTube video I recommended earlier you will understand that at a cellular level we are having the same reaction and chronic effects as these people to this stimulus, but thankfully we don’t yet have the sensitivity to consciously feel the effects.
In Sweden, the home of the cellphone, it is estimated that 3–5% of its population of 9 million are electro-sensitive, which would equate to 135,000 or more people in New Zealand. My very strong concern is that if we continue to allow ourselves to be shocked by these high power yet small duration pulses, we will see a similar trend here. Some of the people who recently contacted me were certain that their symptoms were linked to the introduction of smart meters, and this has also been the experience of many people overseas.
Average readings not the full picture
One of the industry problems was how to make the readings from smart meters, cell phones and other short duration signals seem less threatening. Imagine you’re a research scientist who receives very generous funding from the power industry and your problem is that your measurements of a pulse that has only milliseconds duration is way too high to be palatable, in fact it can be strong enough to travel 35 km. Some clever person came up with the idea of averaging the reading over 360 seconds. Obviously this was long enough to achieve the result that they wanted, and for some odd reason this has become the norm. Let’s be generous and say the pulse is 0.1 of a second, that’s a perceived reduction of 3,600 times. That should be enough to make it seem like it’s less than a cellphone or anything else in the house. Wake up people: your body will have to deal with the full pulse, not the average value.
Waking up with headaches
It brings me no pleasure to test a room where a pre-school child is waking up daily with headaches and feeling very grumpy after a poor night’s sleep, to find that the smart meter through the wall of the bedroom is giving a reading in excess of 10,000 µW/m2 (microwatts per square metre) within the room, and that the body voltage from a nearby light switch and power outlet gives a body voltage reading of 8 volts AC at the pillow. Hopefully by being aware of these issues and remediating the room, these parents might prevent their child from developing more serious health complaints.
High radiation from smart meters
I was also surprised that Lee Howden failed to challenge the veracity of my extremely high reading from the three smart meters or the short duration between pulses that I tested (Organic NZ Sept/Oct 2012). In fact, the way I read the EPEC report they give a theoretical value of between 1300 µW/m2 and 13,000 µW/m2 at a distance of 5 metres (dependent on antenna gain and duty cycle) as being the expected figure. This certainly ties up with some of the readings I have made, but as previously recorded I have also seen figures extremely higher than these. In fact I went back to Bill’s house and in a flurry of pulses actually captured and logged a reading that was well in excess of the New Zealand standard of 4,500,000 µW/m2. I was horrified by this and will continue to monitor these meters to verify the repeatability of this extremely high reading. It does us well to remember that the building biology recommendation for slight concern for a sleeping area is less than 10 µW/m2 and preference is for a reading of 0.1 µW/m2.
Health concerns: the evidence
There are many credible studies that show a distinct relationship between very low power microwave radiation and negative biological effects including breaches of the blood brain barrier, fragmentation of DNA, altered brain activity, calcium ion changes and removal etc. Rather than list a whole series of references I would point you to a single article that was written as a response to a very similar report to that from the EPEC. Please go to to read this worthy response. Another highly recommended site which has a wealth of information presented in very innovative mindmaps is
Become informed, act and speak out
The more I read and research about this issue the more concerned and determined I have become to speak out about smart meters. Others in New Zealand are also starting to do this; I highly recommend you visit
Based on Lee Howden’s comments above I hope you do find me well informed and just a bit disturbing.

Paul Waddell has a certificate in electromagnetic field testing from the Australian College of Environmental Studies, and operates an electro-pollution testing consultancy called SafeSpace in Auckland. See the links page of his for information and tips to make your home safer.
Comparison of household EMR
(source EPE Centre Report; *asterisked information provided by Paul Waddell)
Source                                    Level in µW/m²                       Distance
Smart meter                              1000 to 20,000                         1 m
Smart meter*                             1,360,000 +                              0.5 m
Wifi router                                 2,000 to 10,000                        1 m
Cordless phone base station*  20,000                                      0.5 m
Cellphone tower                       50 to 20,000                             A few km to tens of metres
Cellphone                                  10,000,000 to 50,000,000        At ear
New Zealand Standard*           4,500,000 to 11,000,000          Depending on frequency
Building biology guideline*       10 slight concern, >1000 extreme concern
The 4 types of electro-pollution
You can’t see, hear, taste or touch it, but some sensitive people can feel it. Each type is harmful in its own way and only by testing and remediation, where necessary, can you be sure that your home or workplace is safe.
1.    Electric fields
The alternating current electricity in our wiring is a human-made electrical voltage that is unnatural and potentially harmful. Wherever there is voltage (potential difference) on a wire there is an electric field which is measured by an e-field meter or a body voltage meter. Because electricity is everywhere, people assume that they are safe, but this is far from the truth.

2.    Magnetic fields
Whenever there is current flow (electricity being used) there is a magnetic field generated. This is measured with a Gaussmeter. Magnetic fields were the first officially recognised electro-pollution, causing leukaemia in children near power distribution lines.

3.    Microwave or electromagnetic radiation (EMR)
This is radio frequency radiation at much higher frequencies, from 700 KHz to over 6GHz. This includes cellphones at 800 KHz to 2.1 GHz, smart meters at 900 KHz, microwave ovens at 2.45 GHz, wifi, baby monitors and cordless phones at 2.45 or 5.8 GHz. It is measured with radio frequency meters or spectrum analysers. EMR is possibly the main cause of the growing increase in brain cancer and cancer in general.

4.    High frequency harmonics and transients (voltage spikes), called dirty electricity (DE)
DE is created by the appliances that you plug into the power and is carried on building wiring, distributing it throughout the entire building.  It can also come in from outside your building, created by your neighbours, cellphone tower inverters or other devices on the power network. The spikes and harmonics can be created by poorly designed power supplies in your appliances and are in the lower end of the radio frequency band, from 2 KHz up into the MHz range. DE is measured with a microsurge meter and is cleaned up by eliminating the device causing it, or by plugging in stetzerizer filters.
Resonance: Beings of Frequency
A must-watch new film that reveals the harm we are doing by submerging ourselves in an ocean of artificial wireless frequencies. They are all around us, filling the air, drowning out the earth’s natural resonance.
Watch it at: