Smart meters: new data do not alter ANSES’s conclusions
Today, ANSES is publishing a new opinion in response to a formal request to assess population exposure to the electromagnetic fields emitted by smart meters, on the basis of new scientific data. In December 2016, in view of the available data, the Agency concluded that there was a low probability that exposure to electromagnetic fields emitted by smart meters, as they are currently deployed, generates health effects in either the short or the long term. It also requested that the French Scientific and Technical Centre for Building (CSTB) carry out a measurement campaign in order to better characterise the exposures in the home caused by the Linky electricity meter. The results of this measurement campaign are now available and they reveal that exposure durations are longer than initially expected, although the electromagnetic fields are no greater. These levels of exposure remain low, and below the regulatory limit values, and therefore do not alter ANSES's initial conclusions.
Act No. 2015-992 of 17 August 2015 on energy transition for green growth authorises the deployment of smart meters throughout France, enabling the day-to-day transmission of electricity and gas consumption data to energy suppliers. Concerns have been expressed about the installation of these meters, in particular about potential health risks related to exposure to the electromagnetic fields they emit.
In this context, the French Directorate General for Health (DGS) asked ANSES to carry out an expert appraisal to assess the exposure of the population to the electromagnetic fields emitted by smart meters and any possible associated health effects.
ANSES published its initial conclusions in December 2016, based on the available exposure data. In the case of the Linky electricity meter, the levels of exposure to the electromagnetic field produced by the meter itself, and also by the power-line communications that travel through electricity cables, seem comparable to those from other electrical equipment already used in homes, and are in any case far lower than the regulatory exposure limits.
In the light of these data, the Agency concluded that there was a low probability that exposure to electromagnetic fields emitted by either radio-electric smart meters (gas and water) or other meters (electricity), as they are currently deployed, generates health effects in either the short or the long term. Nevertheless, in view of the lack of available information concerning the modes of communication of Linky meters, the Agency requested that the Scientific and Technical Centre for Building (CSTB) carry out a measurement campaign to supplement the information on population exposure to the electromagnetic fields emitted by power-line communications from Linky meters.
New data that better characterise exposure in the home
The opinion that ANSES is publishing today takes into account the data obtained by the CSTB, which enable a precise characterisation of the exposures caused by the Linky meter under real operating conditions. The results make it possible to compare exposure in the home to older electromechanical meters with that due to the new Linky meters, in situations of maximum and realistic exposure. These results are presented in the report entitled Assessment of population exposure to the electromagnetic fields emitted by smart "Linky" electricity meters (PDF) (in French).
The data obtained show a higher number of power-line communications in the home than previously anticipated on the basis of the information provided by the operator, causing longer exposure durations than expected, although the electromagnetic fields were no stronger.
The measurement campaigns revealed very low levels of exposure to electromagnetic fields, comparable to those issued by electrical or electronic domestic devices (compact fluorescent lamps, chargers for multimedia devices, screens, induction cooking hobs, etc.).
These new data therefore do not alter ANSES's conclusions on the health effects of exposure to smart meters.