ESB Network’s smart meters fully comply with international exposure limits.
Even in the worst case, if your head was very close to the meter while it was transmitting, smart meters comply with the exposure limits. That is, of course unlikely, but it is theoretically possible. That would be just like holding a mobile phone against your head. The exact exposure would depend on the exact location and orientation of the head relative to the smart meter, and can only be assessed by quite detailed numerical modelling or by laboratory tests. But that modelling has been done for mobile phones.
The relevant limit is the limit for localised exposure in the head and trunk, which is a Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) of 2 W/kg. Mobile phones generally produce maximum SARs from around 0.5 – 1.5 W/kg, depending on the model in question. All mobile phones comply with the limits, and hence the smart meters will also comply, even in that unlikely scenario of putting the head right against the meter.
In practice, smart meters comply by a much larger margin, because they are usually further away, because the exposure is not continuous but only in short bursts while data is being transmitted, and because the power levels are often less than the maximum.
The exposure from a smart meter drops rapidly the further away from it you are. If we take 1m as a typical distance from a smart meter, that reduces the exposure by a factor of 20 or more. And when we take into account that the meters rarely need to transmit at full power, and time averaging, with smart meters transmitting for only short periods, that reduces the exposure by a factor of a hundred or more.
So, overall, smart meters will typically comply with the exposure limits by a considerable margin. Combined with the margin of safety already built into the exposure limits, this provides a large measure of confidence in their safety.