For Sue Parsons, the thought of coming into contact with a cell phone or even a computer makes Parsons sick - literally.
That's because Parsons is suffering from a widely unknown disorder called electro hypersensitivity, she says.
Parsons says the disorder, which is experienced in some individuals after being exposed to electromagnetic fields transmitted through computers, cell phones, microwaves and televisions, causes headaches, dizziness, intense fatigue and skin rashes. Symptoms that Parsons knows all too well.
"I really started acknowledging it two years ago but I'd been having symptoms three or four years before being diagnosed," said Parsons from her Geneva street home in St. Catharines.
According to Parsons, her health problems began to intensify while working on the Brock University campus in Alumni services. She says it was the positioning of her desk, right next to the switchboard room on the campus, which caused her to begin having severe headaches, daily nosebleeds and eventually mild seizures.
Her doctors told her she may have early stages of multiple sclerosis. Scared and sure that her health problems were stemming from another source, she visited the Environmental Health Clinic at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto and received a diagnosis of EHS.
Now, Parsons along with several other residents in Pelham, are fighting to stop Rogers Wireless Inc. from constructing new cell phone towers along Victoria Avenue. The towers, which some residents feel will be an eyesore and decrease the value of their properties, may also cause severe health problems for residents in the community, they say.
"Who will want to buy my property beside a cell phone tower with the possibility of ill health effects?" said Pelham resident Jerry Limick during a presentation to city council this week. Lemick, who was joined by two other concerned residents for the presentation, brought forward a motion for council to consider stopping the construction if the research behind 'electro smog' is correct.
"My wife and I would never purchase land next to high voltage towers or WiFi towers, for that matter," said Robert Kaman, a homeowner on Victoria Avenue, who brought a petition containing 34 signatures of residents opposed to the building of the towers. Kaman asked council to postpone the construction until more information is made available from Health Canada, Industry Canada and Rogers Wireless over whether or not these towers may cause health problems or decrease the values of homes along the street.
Parsons, who has joined Pelham residents in their mission to halt the tower construction, sent a letter to Mayor Dave Augustyn last week pleading with him adopt a precautionary principle when approaching this issue.
She says that Pelham council has the authority and responsibility to protect its residents, even though many councillors expressed that the issue was out of their jurisdiction.
"I don't think we have the authority... to place a ceiling threshold," said Coun. John Durley, who said it would be up to Health Canada and the federal government to say whether or not the tower frequencies are safe.
Coun. Cook suggested the residents contact their local MP and by getting members of the provincial government on board, the pull on federal legislation would be more effective.
"People aren't the only ones who don't know about this problem. Even local governments don't know the power they have to change this," said Parsons. "But they (council) have the right to protect their citizens."
At the end of the discussion, both Coun. Debbie Urbanowitz and Coun. Jim Lane put forward a motion that council request, prior to the installation of the towers, Rogers comply with the building permit process and they prove to local residents and neighbours that no ill health effects will come as a result of their installation.
At the vote, council decided to split the motion and although the first half of the motion ensuring Rogers complied with building codes was passed, the later half asking Rogers to prove the towers are healthy was deferred.
Mayor Dave Augustyn was the only member of council who voted against the deferral.
"I would have rather seen us debate that and approve that... I thought we didn't have to wait to respectfully request Rogers prove to local residents and neighbours that there's no ill effects," said Augustyn in an interview with Niagara this Week after the meeting. "We could have sent that off to them immediately... I just thought we could have sent that message out."
For now, residents will need to wait at least 60 days for Rogers Wireless to come back to the city with answers to their questions.
"It's crazy. It's ridiculous," said Parsons. "These towers can change your whole way of life. I can't work anymore. I can't go out anywhere. I'm stuck at home and even that's not good anymore."
To learn more about Parsons crusade to change the legislation surrounding cell phone and wifi tower installation and to learn more about EHS, visit her web site at www.weepiniative.org .
Petition to the Government of Canada
We, the undersigned residents of Canada request that the Government of Canada undertake an independent study to determine the negative effects of electro-magnetic fields on human health. There is evidence to suggest that electro-magnetic fields emanating from all types of transformers and substations located near residences can pose a significant health-risk to individuals and their families. As such, an independent study would ensure unbiased conclusions concerning the risks and effects of transformers located near Canadian homes.
' Wi- Fi on steroids' coming to Canadian homes
U. S. spearheads creation of powerful system of Internet links putting unused TV channels to work
OTTAWA An international initiative spearheaded by the U. S. Federal Communications Commission could see Canada blanketed in early 2011 by cheap, high-speed Internet with the potential to change the way we share information, make cellphone calls and watch TV.
Earlier this month, the FCC launched the a training initiative designed to educate non-U. S. regulators about the potential of so-called " white-space" broadcasting unused digital TV channels on the dial.
Unlike other wireless technologies, TV signals white spaces are not affected by concrete, trees, or shrubs, and do not require a clear line of sight.
By using the existing TV broadcasting network, the new technology could encourage more competition among Internet providers and, possibly, lower fees for Internet access. Without the need to lease cables or set up new towers, new Internet providers can set up quickly and at low cost, and offer coast-to-coast Internet access.
"Our founder, Larry Page, calls it Wi-Fi on steroids," said Jacob Glick, Canada policy lawyer for Google Inc., which has been one of the most vocal supporters for white spaces. " For the average person, there will be many more choices on where, how, and how much you pay for your broadband Internet connection."
The new technology will use the digital TV broadcast rollout in the U. S. which will replace the existing analog TV broadcasts as early as Feb. 17 as a medium to distribute Internet signals. Because it's using the broadcasting network, anyone able to pick up TV signals will be able to tap these Internet signals.
Canada is to shut off analog TV in February 2011, and whites pace technology could be implemented here at that time. That's why Canadian regulators are listening intently to their U. S. colleagues.
The FCC has researched white spaces for years and wants to share its findings about the technology.
New cellular phones are being planned that would operate independently of existing networks, and would instead access the Internet through white-space technologies and send and receive calls over the Web. High definition TV broadcasts and movies can be streamed through white spaces directly to a person's laptop, BlackBerry or iPhone.
" It takes images and sound and sends them great distances with no distortion," said Jake Ward, a spokesman for the Wireless Innovation Alliance, which has been lobbying for white-space technology to be approved for general use. " Given we have this empty space and you can move information further and faster, this is incredibly important to the wireless industry."
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A man has died after his mobile phone exploded, bursting an artery in his neck, it has been reported.
The shop worker from Guangzhou, China, died moments after he put a new battery in his phone, it has been claimed.
It was believed that he may have just finished charging the battery and had put the phone in his breast pocket when it exploded.
China's daily Shin Min Daily News said the accident happened on Friday, Jan 30, at 7.30pm. An employee at the shop told local media that she heard a loud bang and saw her colleague lying on the floor of the shop in a pool of blood. The employee said the victim had recently changed the battery in his mobile phone.
Police are investigating what caused the explosion and whether the phone was counterfeit.
The make and model of the phone are not thought to be known.
Local reports said that this was the ninth recorded cellphone explosion in China since 2002.
The Shin Min Daily News published advice for consumers on how to avoid being hurt by exploding mobile phones, following the latest incident.
Some of the tips were:
Always use original batteries.
Do not expose your mobile phone to high temperatures, and avoid exposing it to direct sunlight.
Avoid long phone conversations.
--------------------------------------------------------------------Man 'killed by exploding phone' shot himself
Police in China believe a shop-worker said to have been killed by an exploding mobile phone in fact shot himself accidentally with a home-made pistol.
Doctors who rushed to the scene of the explosion at a computer salesroom in Guangzhou, north of Hong Kong in southern China, found the man, named as Huang Heping, lying on the floor with a severed artery in his neck.
They found shattered fragments of his mobile phone, which had been in a top pocket, leading to suggestions that its lithium battery had exploded.
Exploding mobile phone batteries have been implicated in previous deaths and injuries, leading to safety advice being published on how to prevent accidents.
But this incident raised doubts, as batteries only overheat when they are being charged or used for long periods, not while they are sitting unused in pockets.
Now police sources have told local newspapers that the mobile phone was an innocent victim in the case. At first, it seemed as if the man was carrying some sort of homemade explosive, traces of which were found on his body.
Further examination at the scene discovered the remnants of what appeared to be a home-made firing device, with nine bullets in a separate bag.
They say they believe the gun went off accidentally after Huang, dropped it, killing him with a single shot to the neck. The phone was also broken, leading to the initial theory which came from those first on the scene.
The original report caused widespread consternation in China, which is in the middle of a panic about "shanzhai" or fake goods. Since the tainted milk scandal which killed at least six babies last year, fake medicines and medical equipment as well as other theoretically less dangerous products have been exposed.
It was feared that the Guangzhou incident might be just the first in a rash of fake battery explosions.
Police have not said why Huang, 45, might have been carrying a home-made gun.
But Guangzhou and its neighbour Shenzhen have notoriously high crime rates for China, and warnings have been sent out that this might get worse in the wake of the economic crisis. The region has lost hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of jobs in the last few months.
Chinese Regulators Find Mobile Phone Batteries That Can Explode
SHANGHAI, July 6 After concerns over pet food, toothpaste, seafood and defective tires, China may now have to cope with another consumer product disaster: exploding mobile phone batteries.
Chinese regulators in southern Guangdong Province, one of the world's biggest electronics manufacturing centers, said this week that they had found Motorola and Nokia mobile phone batteries that failed safety tests and were prone to explode under certain conditions.
The batteries were said to be manufactured by Motorola and the Sanyo of Japan's Beijing operation, and were being distributed by companies based in Guangdong Province, which is near Hong Kong and is one of China's biggest export centers.
It is unclear whether any of the substandard and hazardous batteries entered the export market.
The announcement came just a day after China's state-controlled news media reported that in June a 22-year-old man in western China was killed after his Motorola cell phone exploded in his shirt pocket.
The man was reportedly a welder and the heat associated with the job may have touched off the explosion.
Motorola and Nokia, two of the world's biggest mobile phone makers, immediately denied links to the distributors of the problem batteries, suggesting they were counterfeit.
"All the batteries tested were not Motorola genuine batteries," said Yang Bo-ning, a spokesman for Motorola in Beijing. ". They were fakes. Those companies are not our suppliers."
Nokia officials said they were investigating the case and trying to determine whether any of the substandard batteries affected Nokia phones.
Nokia officials said they do not manufacture batteries in China and the company has no business ties with the Chinese distributors named in the safety tests.
"We are confident this is a counterfeit product," said Eija-Riitta Huovinen, a Nokia spokeswoman in Finland.
But the discovery of the exploding batteries is already threatening to turn into another consumer product nightmare, and helping fuel mounting international concerns about the quality and safety of goods being made in China.
For years, China's role as the world's factory floor has seemed to usher in an age of lower and lower prices, and helped tame inflation around the globe powering one of the greatest economic growths stories in history.
The dark side of that boom, however, has been a culture of counterfeiting or copying high-end western products.
Counterfeit products have been produced here since the country's economic reforms began to take hold in the early 1980s, and everything from fake Gucci bags to counterfeit DVDs and Windows operating systems can to this day be bought on the streets of big cities.
But now, perhaps for the first time, cheap and sometimes counterfeit products from China are beginning to look hazardous and even deadly.
Exports of tainted pet food ingredients earlier this year triggered one of the biggest pet food recalls in United States history, possibly killing or injuring as many as 4,000 cats and dogs, according to American regulators.
Cough medicine laced with a mislabeled industrial chemical from China called diethylene glycol may have killed as many as 100 people in the Dominican Republic last year.
And a few weeks ago, an American company recalled about 450,000 Chinese made tires because they did not contain a key safety feature, which could prevent tire treads from splitting and falling apart.
The recall occurred after a lawsuit blamed the Chinese-made tires for an accident that resulted in the August 2006 deaths of two people in Pennsylvania.
The series of high profile recalls and public relations disasters for China also seems to be playing into the hands of China bashers, Congressional critics and big corporations worried about protecting their intellectual property.
China has responded in recent months with a massive effort to reassure global investors, customers and consumers at home.
Regulators have announced efforts to overhaul food safety regulations, to introduce a national recall system and to revamp the nation's top drug watchdog.
In May, the former head of the State Food & Drug Administration was sentenced to death for accepting bribes and approving substandard drugs. Today, another high ranking official in the same agency also received the death sentence, though with a two-year reprieve.
And in recent months, China's top watchdog agency dispatched over 30,000 inspectors on a nationwide sweep to find counterfeit and substandard foods, drugs and consumer products.
The government has all along insisted that most of its products are safe and are of high quality, and warned the media not to create a panic.Next Page »