Smart meter complaint to be heard by B.C. Human Rights Tribunal
Una St. Clair doesn’t want one of B.C. Hydro’s smart meters because she suffers when she’s in “microwave environments.”
She said her symptoms include migraine headaches, dizziness, heart palpitations and insomnia — all brought on by wifi, cellphones or cell towers.
“I feel terrible in a wifi environment,” said St. Clair, who has been diagnosed with electro sensitivity.
St. Clair is the head of Citizens for Safe Technology whose complaint has been accepted by the Human Rights Tribunal accusing B.C. Hydro of discrimination against those suffering from medical conditions caused or exacerbated by smart meters.
The tribunal said the types of disabilities and medical conditions claimed to be affected by smart meters must be narrowed before the case can proceed.
St. Clair said the group will proceed only with the cases of members diagnosed with electro sensitivity.
According to St. Clair, about 100 group members have been diagnosed with electro sensitivity or other disabilities.
“When smart meters came on the scene in the spring of 2011 we started to hear from members saying we can’t have this on our house,” said St. Clair. “They had eliminated wireless devices from their homes and then to be forced to be exposed to something that made their home unsafe was frightening.”
St. Clair said she banished wireless devices from her home in 2006 and is not willing to have a smart meter installed.
“The last place that I [can] keep safe is my home. When you have a government agency forcing a health risk upon me … it’s unacceptable.”
But according to Cindy Verschoor, spokeswoman for BC Hydro’s smart metering program, B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer, Health Canada and the World Health Organization have confirmed the smart meters are safe.
A study released by Health Canada in Sept. 2011 reads, “While the symptoms attributed to (electro sensitivity) conditions are real, numerous scientific studies to date have failed to demonstrate that these health effects are actually associated with (electromagnetic field) exposure.
An independent study by North Vancouver engineering firm, Planetworks Consulting has confirmed the meters communicate for about 1.4 seconds per day, said Verschoor.
“The signals are far below Canadian guidelines and are even below the strictest precautionary limits in the world,” she said.
According to the B.C. Hydro website, “exposure to radio frequency during a 20-year life span of a smart meter is equivalent to the exposure during a single 30-minute cell phone call.”
The site also states smart meters use “very low power signals” of about one watt and points to a meter box around it which acts like a shield directing its radio frequencies away from the home.