Those Richmond homeowners who have so far not signed up to have a wireless water meter installed on their property are being encouraged to stand their ground and oppose them.
Thats the advice from Una St. Clair, executive director for the Citizens for Safe Technology Society as the city prepares to make them mandatory for the remaining 8,000 or so single family homes not currently using them.
(Wireless) water meters should not be forced on anybody, St. Clair said. They should be fully explained and people be given the choice.
St. Clair said she believes they pose a health hazard.
This (microwave radio frequency radiation) is a toxin. And the government shouldnt be in charge of telling you should take this toxin because its convenient for us, St. Clair said, citing a Kamloops resident who had a wireless water meter installed on her property two years ago and complained it caused her to feel ill.
She got strong tinnitus (ringing in the ears), St. Clair said.
City of Richmond spokesperson Ted Townsend said the new water meters are considered safe.
Weve been using radio frequency devices for a number of years and never had any concerns about them, he said.
Their output is less than one-tenth of what the BC Hydro smart meters use. And they (water meters) are typically installed, at the front of the property line, closest to the street.
The new meters transmit water usage data that allow meter readings to be taken from a vehicle cruising past a row of homes. Townsend said readings are gathered four times a year.
About 70 per cent of local, single family homes which constitutes roughly 20,000 residences already have the meters which have been offered on a voluntary basis over the past five years.
The CSTs St. Clair said its important for the public to consider just how widespread wireless technologies are being used today when deciding on allowing one more to be installed on their property.
Its not just your (water) meter, St. Clair said. If youre in a normal, urban development think of all the houses around you, all sending, spiking, pulsing microwave radiation signals.
People dont get the big picture, which is the whole area is polluted by multiple units that are pulsing away.
St. Clair, who lives in Langley, said she has refused to have a BC Hydro smart meter installed at her home, and would also pass on a wireless water meter if it was offered.
This is a toxin. Its an invisible, environmental pollutant. Its not safe, St. Clair said, adding that in May 2011 the World Health Organization has listed microwave radio frequency radiation as a possible cause of cancer.
Asked what she felt the potential health impacts could be, St. Clair said future generations likely will pay the price.
Will it be us, personally? I think our children will be the ones who suffer the most as their immune systems are developing. Science shows immune systems are impacted by these exposures to chronic, long-term, low-level exposure. I think our children will pay the ultimate price, probably in further low fertility, early onset of dementia and cancers, immune system challenges.
Those homeowners who have had the new meters installed have benefitted from lower annual bills, Townsend said. Plus, on average, the environment has experienced a benefit, too, through lower consumption.
The flat rate for water is $571 for a single family home, and typically what that has dropped to is $291, Townsend said.
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