Niagara Gazette —
Johnson said the meters also transmit radio waves for far less time - the total duration of the emissions is 40 seconds a day - and at a much further distance than the average person's cell phone.
"In the big picture, when you look at all the devices that emit radio frequency out there, this is considered one of the lowest (radio frequency) transmissions of any product," Johnson said.
Johnson pointed to a list of studies from organizations such as Princeton University and the Canadian Health Ministry suggesting that there is no definitive link between radio frequency and illness.
"We have to go upon the studies that have been made," Johnson said.
After several exchanges between Gialloreto and Johnson debating the merits of various studies, water board member Renae Kimble stepped in and suggested that the board look into providing an opt out for rate payers who do not want the new system.
"At this point in time we need to just move forward as best we can and mitigate our losses as quickly as we can and see how much this would cost us," Kimble said.
After the meeting, Gialloreto said she wasn't satisfied with Johnson's explanations, but was grateful to Kimble for suggesting that an opt-out be explored.
"I think she was superb in the way she handled the situation," Gialloreto said.
Paul Drof, the water board's exective director, said the board will now try to gauge the amount of people who would want an opt-out and then figure out how much money it will cost for water board employees to continue reading meters.
"To manually have to go and read meters, there's going to be a cost to that," Drof said. "I can't speak to what that cost is until I investigate how many, how often, how many people feel that way."
Drof said about 7,300 of the city's 16,000 meters have already been replaced.
"We're anticipating being done by late summer or early fall of next year," Drof said while addressing the board.
Contact reporter Justin Sondel at 282-2311, ext. 2257