Before I get to the plaintiff's claim, let's think what $1.7 billion is. It's $1,700 million. $1,700,000,000. Consider spending $1000 a day. It would take 4,657 and 1/2 years to spend it all. Santa Monica's total expenditures for fiscal year 2010-2011 was $521.7 million, one-third of what the plaintiff is asking.
On to the claim. The plaintiff, Denise Barton, alleges that the city's new parking meters are "causing ringing in her ears, ear infections and tightness on the back, left side of her neck."
Hmmm. Maybe Bob Dylan was right in his Subterranean Homesick Blues, "…watch your parking meters."
What could a parking meter do to cause these ailments? She asserts it's the wireless signals from these new advanced parking meters the city has installed.
It's the old power lines cause cancer that was updated to cell phones cause cancer a few years ago. Now it's parking meters. On September 11, 2011, I dealt with the physics of electromagnetic radiation (light) and how it cannot cause chemical changes. Microwaves cannot cause atoms and molecules to ionize.
Furthermore, these parking meters are about 1000 times less powerful than your cell phone. Your cell phone must communicate with a cell tower that can be miles away. These parking meters send signals to a sensor 5 to 8 feet away according to a city official.
So I'll repeat what I wrote last November:
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that "[a] large number of studies have been performed over the last two decades to assess whether mobile phones pose a potential health risk. To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use."
The National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health says "there is no evidence from studies of cells, animals, or humans that radiofrequency energy can cause cancer."Thanks to Josh Hibbard for tipping me off to the Santa Monica Daily Press article.