A woman says Santa Monica's new parking meters are ruining her health because of the wireless signal they emit and she wants $1.7 billion to make up for it.
Denise Barton is suing the city for the steep amount, because she says she's been felled by ear infections, ringing in her ears and neck pain since April, according to the Santa Monica Daily Press.
“I know it seems a little big,” said Barton, a well-known local activist, “but they can’t do things that affect people’s health without their consent. I think that’s wrong.”
She asks for another $1.7 million for every month that the smart meters are up and running, according to Curbed.
The Daily Press said her symptoms appeared "not long after the meters began rolling out" in Santa Monica. Other reports however said the new meters, which emit radiation to accept credit card payments and to send text messages to drivers when their time is running low, were installed in May.
A prominent University of Southern California professor of medicine and engineering told The Huffington Post that Barton will have a hard time backing up her allegations.
"There is no evidence that cell phones, wireless networks or other low-level emitters cause adverse health effects," said Dr. David B. Agus in an email. "The first cell phone was introduced in 1973, and the epidemiological data do not show significant changes in the incidence of cancers since that time. It is very difficult to prove that these energy sources do not cuase health problems, but there is no data that they do."
The strongest suggestion that cellphones and wireless communications pose a risk to public health came last year when the World Health Organization added them to a category with lead and chloroform that are described as "possibly carcinogenic to humans."
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