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Radiation risk of smart meters is overblown

Cell PhonesU.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Several articles about utility smart meters, most recently the profile of a retired EPA attorney who has concerns about them ("At the center of smart-meter fight," March 24), indicate that those opposed to the devices are mostly concerned about possible health risks of non-ionizing wireless radiation as smart meters send readings over the cell phone networks.

If there is something to worry about with wireless radiation, look to your cell phone. It is used much closer to your body than a smart meter is going to be. In addition, the smart meter is outside your house, adding a further level of attenuation. The strength of the wireless signals falls off with distance according to the inverse square law. Double the distance and the signal drops by one quarter. If you used your cell phone placed one foot away from your head with a head set and your smart meter is 10 feet way, then your cell phone is producing 100 times more non-ionizing wireless radiation than the smart meter.

So is it really worth worrying about wireless aspect of smart meters? After all, no one seems concerned about cell phones that have a much higher wireless output, and used a few inches from your head.

Bob Webber, Ellicott City

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