The main health concern about smart meters is that they may increase the risk of cancer, according to the American Cancer Society. Since they give off radiofrequency, or RF, waves, the meters are potentially carcinogenic.
Smart meters are devices that keep track of electricity, gas and water use, notes the American Cancer Society. They are electronic and communicate with a computer system. These meters give off RF waves, which is the same type of radiation that comes from cell phones and Wi-Fi devices.
There may be a connection between cancer and exposure to RF waves, according to the American Cancer Society. However, studies linking smart meters to cancer risk are somewhat inconclusive. Usually, the meter is located outside of the home, so a person's risk of radiation exposure from the device is minimal. It is also difficult to determine whether smart meters increase the risk of cancer, since humans are exposed to many sources of RF waves. Although there have been studies linking RF exposure to cancer, there have not been enough studies to conclude whether smart meters are a direct cause of cancer or other health problems.
RF radiation is too weak to damage DNA on its own, but it may harm cells in the body that have already been damaged, notes the American Cancer Society. Some people have also been worried that smart meters may interfere with electronic medical devices such as pacemakers, but studies have shown that smart meters have no effect on these devices.