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.
The Santa Monica Daily Press says she admits that’s a lot of money. “I know it seems a little big,” she said, “but they can’t do things that affect people’s health without their consent. I think that’s wrong.” said Barton, a well-known local activist.
On Aug. 6, Barton filed the $1.7 billion claim that gives the city 45 days to respond.
“I figured that’s the value of my life and health considering how much I had to go through as a child,” Barton told ABC News.
Barton, who experienced neurological damage following a car accident as a young child, added,
“It’s also the value of taking away my choice of the best way to protect my health without my consent.”
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.”
So far, she’s the cheese standing alone in her complaints against the meters, said the city’s assistant finance director.
“The Wi-Fi is very low level and only communicates between the meter and the sensor, about 5 to 8 feet,” he wrote. It’s also not like the meters are constantly sending out wireless signals — they only activate when a person pays the meter or when cars pull up or away, he said.“It’s the same as someone using a cell phone walking on the sidewalk,” he wrote. “The meters comply with all necessary regulations related to wireless communication.” City Hall says the new technology makes it easier to park and find spots.