If you Google “smart meter dangers,” you may soon fear for your mitochondial functions like insomnia, tinnitus, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, irritability, listlessness, heart palpitations, and changes in cognitive behavior.

In the monograph “Smart Meters: Countdown to a National Crisis of Illness and Death,”John P. Thomas suggests millions will experience chronic disability and fatal illness from exposure.

Our cell proteins will become “permanently altered” and we may suffer for decades “with chronic fatigue, unexplained anxiety, and attention deficits until a life-threatening illness makes its ugly appearance.”

Unlikely? Every power company and most scientists would say the levels of radiation are lower than the cellphones pressed against our thighs.

On Feb. 12, Pacific Power’s Alisa Dunlap came to Cannon Beach to introduce councilors to smart meters at a work session.

Residents questioned the safety of smart meters, and lamented the lack of public information available. Smart meters are a “big money venture,” Ed Johnson, a former high school science teacher, said, with health effects on people and animals.

He told me later he hadn’t even known smart meters would be on the agenda at the work session. “There’s been so little background information put out to the general public that’s not being provided by the corporations that are responsible for the technology,” Johnson said. “They didn’t even vote on it, It was just coming. I wasn’t very happy.”

The broad spectrum of the 5G carries a “huge range,” and may adversely affect humans and wildlife. “You won’t be able to go any place on this planet without being impacted.”

At February’s Seaside City Council presentation, Frank Erickson, a retired radiologist with an impressive list of medical credentials, told the City Council he had “seesawed” whether to opt out or opt in for smart meter installation.

The health effects have been “ping-ponging” over the past 20 years without a clear consensus, he said, with a small but growing body showing health care risks. “I’m still rethinking,” Erickson said.

No wonder that the first package received at the Pacific Power meet-and-greet March 5 at Seaside Brewing Co. was a handout from the Utilities Telecom Council, “No Health Threat from Smart Meters.”

The same binder included the fact sheet, “Electromagnetic Fields and Public Health: Mobile Phones”; the monograph “Radiofrequency Safety and Utility Smart Meters,” Sept. 25, 2013; and “Aclara’s response highlighting inaccuracies in ‘Evaluation of the Aclaral-210+C AMI Meter’” by William Bathgate.

Heavy titles, designed to counteract the mountain of conspiracy theories, junk science and wild speculation regarding radio frequency.

Cory Estlund, manager of field support based in Portland, is the guy who shakes you out of paranoia. He’s standing by the smart meter display.

Smart meters have been in existence for almost 20 years, Estlund said. They’re all manufactured by Aclara Technologies, which bought out the meter business from General Electric.

Pacific Power waited for smart meter technology to mature and develop before bringing it to Oregon homes, he said. “I live in Portland, and I’ve had them the entire time I’ve lived in my house. There are over 70 million across the country, in big cities, in small cities and rural communities — more than half the homes have a smart meter.”

Smart meters are a more efficient way of doing business, Estlund said, and a more efficient way of gathering home energy usage. Instead of having a meter reader come out once a month, data is reported on a real time basis.

The digital display tracks your demand and usage data; you can log on to pacificpower.com and learn what the numbers mean.

“We’ve been meter reading for 100 years and we’ve done it the same way every time,” Estlund said. “This is really the first time in 100 years if you had a high bill, you’d call us and say, ‘no way.’ Outside of testing the meter and reading it again, we didn’t have any way of getting the information about when you use power. This is the first time we’ve been able to give you insight into what you’re actually using.”

The smart meters never explode or catch fire, Estlund said.

They’re breakable, but “they’re pretty sturdy.”

“Mine at home has been up 15 years and I haven’t broken it yet.”

After watching Robert Redford and Jane Fonda in “The China Syndrome” almost 50 years ago, I learned never take anything with radioactive material for granted. The movie was released to nuclear industry denials — and the timing couldn’t have been worse, followed 12 days after its opening by a meltdown at the Three-Mile Island nuclear plant near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Official denials and industry cover-ups, in not just the nuclear industry but in many aspects of our lives, followed through the decades: Love Canal; the Hanford site; the Flint, Michigan, water crisis and the Boeing 737 MAX 8.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, I remember covering many meetings on the topic of cell towers. They were ugly, for one thing, sprouting up on mountains, hills and then farms and backyards. And maybe unhealthy — but one of the results of the 1996 Telecommunications Act was to ban challenges to cell tower sitings based on potential health impacts.

Now smart meters join the great cavalcade of American fears: fluoride, cathode-ray tubes, microwave ovens, pacemakers to our ubiquitous cellphones, all of which h to ave the capacity to poison,radiate, fry or otherwise contaminate us in one way or another.

One of the documents presented at the Seaside Brewing information session Included a white paper analysis of radio frequency associated with “advanced metering devices.”

While I didn’t understand a word of it, I do like the word “advanced” better than “smart” to describe these contraptions.

“Smart” gives it a human quality that you don’t necessarily want in an electronic device, especially when it is monitoring your electric orange-juice squeezer.

It’s a little too close to another famously intrusive device, HAL, the computer in Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

“Good morning, Dave… How are you this morning?”

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.