Smart Meters Uncovered

Posted by Security Team on

Electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are invisible areas of energy, often referred to as radiation, associated with the use of electrical power. Smart meters, which are becoming increasingly common in Australia, are devices that record the consumption of electric energy in intervals and communicate this information back to the electricity provider for monitoring and billing. These meters emit EMFs, leading to concerns about their potential health effects.

The Health Debate Around EMF Radiation in Australia

Australia, being a tech-forward nation, has seen a rapid adoption of smart meters. With this widespread use, there have been rising concerns about the health implications of EMF emissions from these devices.

ARPANSA's Findings on Smart Meters and Health: The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), the primary authority on radiation protection and nuclear safety in Australia, has conducted extensive research into the effects of EMF emissions from smart meters. According to ARPANSA, the RF emissions from smart meters are significantly below the exposure limits, even when taking into consideration the cumulative RF exposure from other sources.

Public Perception and Concerns: Despite the scientific consensus from organizations like ARPANSA, a portion of the Australian public remains skeptical. Concerns often stem from anecdotal reports of health issues like headaches, insomnia, and tinnitus shortly after smart meter installations. It's important to note that no causal relationship has been scientifically established between these symptoms and smart meter emissions.

Precautionary Measures: In response to these concerns, certain Australian states and utility providers have implemented precautionary measures. Some regions offer residents the option to delay or opt-out of smart meter installations, or to have meters installed in less frequented areas of their property. It’s always recommended to consult with local utility providers for options and further information.

Research and Future Insights: Australian research institutions and universities continue to study EMF emissions and their potential effects on health. It's crucial for the public to stay updated with the latest research findings and to approach the topic with a balance of caution and understanding.

Understanding Smart Meters

Technical Aspects and EMF Radiation Emission: Smart meters use wireless communication technologies to send data, emitting low levels of RF energy or EMFs. The frequency and power of these emissions can vary depending on the specific technology and how often the meter sends data.

Evolution of Smart Meters: Electronic or digital utility meters have been in use since the early 1990s. The first remote-communicating electric meters, AMR (Automated Meter Reading) meters, began replacing traditional analog electric meters in the mid to late 1990s. The electricity "smart" meter, technically known as an AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) meter, started its rollout in the early 2000s. The key difference of the AMI meter is its two-way communication capability; it can receive as well as transmit data. Most utilities globally prefer the wireless option for AMI due to its cost-effectiveness and ease of deployment.

Smart meters are complex devices that utilize various frequencies to both measure electricity consumption and communicate this data back to utility providers. To truly understand, it's essential to break down the types of frequencies they emit and compare them to other common devices.

Low-Frequency (LF) Electromagnetic Fields

  • Definition: Low-frequency electromagnetic fields are produced by the electrical currents that flow as the smart meter measures electricity consumption. These are the fields associated with the basic operation of any electrical device.
  • Measurement: The strength of LF fields is typically measured in milligauss (mG).
  • Frequency Range: These frequencies are in the range of 50-60 Hz, aligning with the frequency of the electrical power grid in most countries.
  • Examples of Devices Emitting LF:
    • Traditional Analog Meters: Even the old-style meters produce LF emissions, though they lack the wireless communication capabilities of smart meters.
    • Household Appliances: Devices like refrigerators, washing machines, and ovens emit LF when they're in operation.
    • Power Lines: Both overhead and underground power lines produce LF emissions.

High-Frequency (RF) Electromagnetic Fields

  • Definition: High-frequency fields are produced when the smart meter communicates wirelessly with the utility company. This wireless communication allows for real-time data transmission and remote monitoring by utility providers.
  • Measurement: The strength of RF fields is typically measured in microwatts per square meter (µW/m^2).
  • Frequency Range: RF emissions from smart meters are typically in the range of 900 MHz to 2.4 GHz, depending on the communication technology used.
  • International Exposure Standards: Many nations, Australia included, have aligned their RF exposure standards with those proposed by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation (ICNIRP), a set of guidelines that have received the World Health Organization's endorsement. The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) has also embraced these guidelines and has developed a standard titled 'Standard for Limiting Exposure to Radiofrequency Fields – 100 KHz to 300 GHz' (RPS S-1) to align with international best practice. According to an ARPANSA position paper, there is no proven scientific evidence that exposure to low levels of RF from wireless smart meters has adverse effects on health and smart meters are required to meet ARPANSA RF radiation exposure standards.
  • Critique of Current Standards: A number of EMF specialists argue that the prevailing standards might not be stringent enough to ensure the protection of human health. The Australian College of Environmental Sciences, for instance, suggests more conservative levels of Pulsed RF for residential settings:
    • Living areas: Less than 10µW/m^2
    • Sleeping areas: Less than 5µW/m^2

How to Measure EMF Radiation from Smart Meters

Understanding EMF Measurement Units for Smart Meters: Smart meters primarily emit radio frequencies (RF), which are measured in microwatts per square meter. This unit gauges the power density or the amount of RF energy present in a specific area.

Selecting the Right EMF Meter for Smart Meters: Given the context of smart meters, the primary concern revolves around the High-Frequency (RF) radiation they emit due to their wireless communication capabilities. While smart meters also emit Low-Frequency (LF) radiation, the RF radiation is often the focal point of health debates and public concern due to its capability to travel through air and potentially cause adverse health effects. Therefore, when selecting an EMF meter for evaluating smart meter emissions, it's crucial to choose an meter that can also measure RF.

Using the RF Meter: Before starting, ensure your RF meter is calibrated to ensure accurate readings. A low battery can skew results. Make sure your meter's battery is fully charged or new. Set the RF meter to measure in µW/m^2, which is the most relevant unit for smart meter emissions.

  • Turn off other RF-emitting devices nearby to prevent interference.
  • Ensure the smart meter is in its active transmission phase.
  • Begin about 3 feet away from the smart meter. Slowly move closer, noting the readings at each step.
  • Document peak values.
  • Cross-reference your readings with established safety standards.

Interpreting the Results: If your readings are consistently below the recommended safety standards, your smart meter's RF emission is within acceptable limits. If readings exceed recommended levels, consider mitigation strategies.

Protecting Yourself from Smart Meter Radiation: Some areas allow residents to opt out of smart meter usage. Check with your local utility provider. Use smart meter covers or interior barriers. Avoid placing high-traffic areas such as beds or couches directly against the wall where the smart meter is located. Electromagnetic radiation (EMR) is a topic of increasing concern, especially with the proliferation of electronic devices in our daily lives. Understanding how to measure EMR is crucial for ensuring our safety and well-being.

Methods to Measure EMR: Building biologists typically employ three primary techniques to measure EMR: AC Magnetic Fields, Radio Frequencies, and AC Electrical Fields.

  1. Eliminate the EMR Source If Possible:
    • The most direct way to prevent exposure to electromagnetic radiation is to remove its source. This could mean turning off electronic devices when they're not in use, such as Wi-Fi routers at night or unplugging appliances that emit EMR. If a particular device or technology isn't essential for your day-to-day life, consider eliminating it altogether or replacing it with a low-EMR alternative.
  2. Distance Yourself from the EMR Source:
    • The intensity of electromagnetic radiation decreases dramatically as you move away from its source. This principle is known as the inverse square law: if you double the distance from a radiation source, you reduce your exposure to a quarter of its original amount. For instance, placing your Wi-Fi router in a far corner of your home, rather than right beside your workspace or bedroom, can significantly reduce your exposure.
  3. Minimize Your Exposure:
    • Even if you can't eliminate or distance yourself from EMR sources entirely, you can minimize the duration and intensity of your exposure. This could mean setting a timer to remind yourself to take breaks from screens, using speakerphone or earphones instead of holding your mobile phone directly to your ear, or setting electronic devices to airplane mode when they're not needed for connectivity.
  4. Implement Protective Measures Such as Shielding Materials:
    • If elimination, distance, or reduced exposure isn't feasible, consider using shielding materials to block or minimize EMR. Products like Faraday fabrics, special paints, and films can be used to create barriers against electromagnetic radiation. These materials contain conductive elements like silver, copper, or nickel which deflect or absorb radiation. For instance, if you live close to a cell tower and experience high levels of EMR, you might use shielding curtains or wall linings to reduce your exposure.

Shielding Solutions: Faraday Fabrics and Bags

Faraday fabrics are innovative materials engineered to block or significantly reduce the penetration of electromagnetic fields (EMFs). These fabrics are often constructed with a mesh of conductive material such as silver, copper, or nickel, creating a barrier that EMF radiation finds difficult to pass through.

Faraday Fabrics

  • Functionality: Faraday fabrics can be utilized in various ways to create protective barriers against EMF radiation. By interweaving metallic threads, they create a shield that can deflect or absorb the radiation, providing a safer environment.
  • Applications: They can be used as curtains, wall hangings, or even incorporated into clothing to provide a shield against EMF radiation. They're particularly beneficial in areas with high EMF exposure, such as near smart meters or cellular towers.
  • Availability: A diverse range of Faraday fabrics with varying levels of shielding effectiveness is available. They come in different textures, weights, and shielding capacities to cater to varying needs.

Faraday Bags

  • Functionality: Faraday bags, crafted from Faraday fabric, serve as portable shielding solutions. They encase electronic devices, preventing external EMF radiation from reaching the enclosed device and blocking the device’s own emissions from leaking out.
  • Applications: They are ideal for securing sensitive electronics, protecting credit cards from skimming, or creating a quiet zone by blocking cell phone signals. They can also be used to shield entire rooms when scaled up, creating a safer, low-radiation environment.
  • Availability: Various sizes and designs of Faraday bags are available to accommodate different devices and purposes. From small pouches for smartphones to larger bags capable of enclosing laptops or tablets, there's a wide selection to choose from.

Explore Our Range

We offer a comprehensive range of Faraday fabrics and bags on our website, tailored to meet your shielding needs. Whether you're looking to reduce EMF exposure in your home or on the go, our products provide effective solutions. Explore our collection and find the right shielding solution for you. Our customer support team is always available to assist you in making an informed decision.


Recap: EMFs are ubiquitous, and with the rise of smart meters in Australia, it's essential to understand their potential effects. While there's still debate about the health implications, being informed and taking proactive steps, such as using shielding solutions like Faraday fabrics and bags or measuring EMF levels in your home, is advisable.

Proactive Steps: Stay informed, consider shielding solutions, and regularly measure the EMF levels in your surroundings to ensure a safe living environment. The Building Biology Institute recommends opting out of AMI systems when possible and using shielding strategies when opting out isn't an option.

While the proliferation of modern technologies has increased our daily exposure to EMR, it's essential to approach the topic with a balanced perspective.

Electromagnetic radiation is a broad spectrum, and not all types or levels of exposure are inherently harmful. By being aware and taking practical steps, we can optimize our environments for both convenience and well-being. It's not about fear but about making informed choices in a tech-centric world. As with many things in life, understanding is key.

Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →