Healthier Home

Be Smart about Smart Meters

Smart meters are a type of meter that is used to measure your electric, gas or water usage.

Utility companies have been able to save money by reducing the amount of staff employees needed to drive around checking meters manually by instead installing smart meters that allow them to read your usage utilizing electromagnetic fields (EMFs). Not only did this program put thousands of employees out of work but if you live in the state of California, it was a billion dollar project back authorized by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in 2012 when it was initiated to have all the meters changed out to smart meters. A smart move to now have this type of radio frequency radiation put our health at risk within our own homes.  

We are living in a world surrounded by electromagnetic fields. Unfortunately it is affecting our health, including our immune system but it is also linked to an environmental factor that is putting us at an increased risk for cancer. There are some levels of exposure that we have no control over, like how many antenna towers we are living near which you can check out that information here, unless you are planning to move this would be vital information to research prior to choosing a real estate location. However, if you are a home owner, you have basic legal right to safety and health within your home to make modifiable changes. One of these changes is requesting that the smart meters be changed out for analog meters.

While my son was in treatment, I called my utility companies and told them I wanted to have my smart meters changed to analog. To my surprise it was not as much of a hassle as I thought it would be. The phone call took about 10 minutes of my time. One company did ask why I wanted to have it changed, for which I told them my son’s diagnosis and the health concern it poses, which in hindsight I am not even sure that they are entitled to know why you would want to have it changed. All utilities companies did have me pay an initial ‘opt-out fee’ and then said that I would be charged a monthly fee of $10. Yes this small fee can definitely add up over time but it is a small price to pay in order to mitigate your exposure and reduce any potential health risks. From the time I placed the phone call to initiate the request it took only about a week to have a technician at my house to change the meters.

A blog post from Lloyd Burrell includes an informative video from Dr. Karl Manet who is both a medical doctor and an engineer talks about the impact that smart meters, as well as other EMF emitting devices, have on our health. He also includes tips on how to shield yourself from radiation emitted from a smart meter if for whatever reason you are not able to have it removed (i.e. you live in an apartment building) which he states to “shield the wall behind the smart meter to prevent the smart meter radiation penetrating your home. There are several ways of doing this, shielding paint is one way. The disadvantage is that it requires quite a lot of decorating type work and it only shields the room the room where you have applied the shielding material.”

While there are many sources of EMF that we are exposed to on a daily basis that we have no control over, there are still a great amount of factors which we can change. If you are looking for a great book on EMFs and tips on how you can reduce your exposure, Defender Shield’s book: Radiation Nation: Fallout of Modern Technology – Your Complete Guide to EMF Protection & Safety: The Proven Health Risks of Electromagnetic Radiation (EMF) & What to Do Protect Yourself & Family is a great resource.

Healthier Home

Shining Some Light on Our Health

Naturally we gravitate towards purchasing light bulbs that are energy efficient, long lasting or perhaps the best for our budget. It is not just a matter of choosing a light source but knowing exactly what we are being exposed to when doing so.

Certain artificial lights expose us to harmful UV radiation, radio frequency radiation. This can have a negative effect on our overall health by damaging negative skin cells, eye problems with damaging the retina, causing headaches, disrupting hormone function and most importantly putting us at risk for cancer.

Amongst the choices out there of light bulbs (incandescent, halogen, LED and CFL), it has been found that incandescent light bulbs are the best option for our health, halogen being the second option. Here is a breakdown of some pros and cons of each:

Incandescent

  • Pros
    • Inexpensive
    • Good color rendering: CRI of 100 which is the best possible
  • Cons
    • Not energy efficient (90% of energy goes to heat, 10% makes visible light)
    • Average lamp life: 750 – 1000 hrs (standard household bulb)

Halogen

  • Pros
    • Inexpensive
    • More efficient than incandescents, can produce more light using the same amount of power
  • Cons
    • The bulb is filled with a halogen gas that keeps the tungsten filament from burning down which poses a higher risk for a fire

LED (light-emitting diodes)

CFL (compact fluorescent light)

  • Pros
    • Energy efficient
    • May be dimmable but need to make sure that the dimmer switch is rated for use with CFLs
  • Cons
    • Not as great of a color light quality as incandescent
    • If they have to be installed upside down (i.e. a porch lamp) it shortens the life of the bulb
    • Contain mercury! When a bulb breaks in your home, some of this mercury may be released as mercury vapor. Needs special care when cleaning up a broken CFL lightbulb. Air out the room for 5-10 minutes by opening a window or door to the outdoor environment. Shut off the central forced air heating/air-conditioning system, if you have one and leave off for several hours. Vacuuming is not recommended unless broken glass remains after all other cleanup steps have been taken.  Vacuuming could spread mercury-containing powder or mercury vapor.

The sad truth is that regardless of how much research is out there to support how incandescent or halogen light bulbs are the best for our health, electricity companies are still out there promoting rebates and encouraging their consumers to switch them out for their energy efficient counterparts in order to save money. As we know our health should be our largest investment. If we proactively make changes now to ensure our well-being, we are likely to save thousands of dollars in the future on medical office visits, prescriptions, dealing with chronic conditions or yet worse cancer. Sure you may need to replace these light bulbs more frequently than others but that is a small price to pay in comparison.

When shopping for light bulbs look out for this label with the lighting facts. If a lightbulb contains mercury the label will clearly indicate it.

Tip: If you are looking for a way to still save on electricity, using outlet timers are the perfect way to not only save energy but also reduce the amount of EMFs (electromagnetic fields) you are exposed to within you home during sleep hours. This can also help you achieve a better level of deep sleep as melatonin levels are less disrupted.