Monday, February 2, 2009

Doc seeks health study / bulbs undergo safety testing + Global TV / Swedish professor joins Kingswinford phone mast protesters / Children shocked by stray voltage

Doc seeks health study
By JOHN MINER   London Free Press

Mon, February 2, 2009

WIND TURBINES: London surgeon Robert McMurtry is concerned about the noise

When London surgeon Robert McMurtry decided to build a house, he wanted to go green -- geothermal heating, solar panels for hot water and a wind turbine for electricity.

But when he started reading about wind turbines, the former dean of medicine at the University of Western Ontario said he had a change of heart.

"I thought, 'Holy Toledo, there are some issues here.' "

Dozens of wind turbines have already been built or proposed in Southwestern Ontario, as Queen's Park tries to wean Ontario off dirty coal-fired electricity plants and reduce its reliance on nuclear power.

McMurtry is calling for health studies into the wind turbine farms popping up across Ontario with backing by the provincial government.

With towers nearly 100 metres tall, and blades half that long, the turbines can be an imposing sight, even from afar.

"At minimum, they should be doing a survey of people around wind farms and getting a sense of how many people are complaining of problems," he said.

"If there is enough evidence, they should mount a formal epidemiological study," McMurtry said.

In the U.S. and Western Europe especially, where wind farms are more advanced than in Canada, complaints abound about the low-frequency sound the giant windmills generate.

In Canada, Ontario is one of the only provinces with regulations governing wind farms, requiring a noise-impact assessment for areas up to 1,000 metres from the turbine.

McMurtry is concerned about health complaints he's heard from people living near wind farms, including sleep disturbance from the noise of the giant turbine blades.

"Once you have sleep disturbance for a few days, you aren't going to be feeling well," he said.

Last week, the province announced it's backing six new wind farm projects, including three in Chatham-Kent, expected to create 558 jobs. Total investment in the new farms is expected to reach $1.32 billion.

McMurtry, who has taken his concerns to Ontario Energy Minister George Smitherman, said it's going to be an uphill battle to convince people to look hard at the health implications because turbines have become closely associated with green energy.

"It has got an iconic, symbolic status that carries a lot of weight and there is a very powerful, worldwide lobby group behind it," he said.

McMurtry said turbines smaller than the ones being installed may be better than the monsters now going up.

"Harness the wind safely. Let's look at other alternatives. There are better, smarter options," he said.

Monica Elmes, of the Chatham-Kent Wind Action Group, opposed to the wind farms, said the turbines will be an unreliable, intermittent source of electricity and a waste of taxpayers' money.

"All Ontario residents are truly the losers in this scam," Elmes said in an e-mail.


Wind turbines generate sound waves, both audible and inaudible (infrasound) and they produce dirty electricity if not properly filtered.  People who live within 700 meters of these turbines are getting sick in Germany, France, UK, Wisconsin, Nova Scotia, Ontario . . .

More than 100 university professors in Germany signed a manifesto in 1998 stating the following:

"More and more people are describing their lives as unbearable when they are directly exposed to the acoustic and optical effects of wind farms. There are reports of people being signed off sick and unfit for work, there is a growing number of complaints about symptoms such as pulse irregularities and states of anxiety, which are known to be from the effects of infrasound [sound frequencies below the normal audible limit]."

And the French National Academy of Medicine (2006) concludes:

 "People living near the towers, the heights of which vary from 10 to 100 meters, sometimes complain of functional disturbances similar to those observed in syndromes of chronic sound trauma . . .  The sounds emitted by the blades being low frequency, which therefore travel easily and vary according to the wind . . .  constitute a permanent risk for the people exposed to them . . .  . . . sound levels 1 km from an installation occasionally exceeded allowable limits. . . the Academy recommends halting wind turbine construction closer than 1.5 km from residences."

Measurements in Ripley Ontario found high levels of dirty electricity once the wind turbines became operational and high levels of ground current coming into homes through plumbing.  Three families had to leave their homes because of ill health.

With our rush for renewable energy we haven't (yet again) done our homework.  It may be good for the environment (and some questions the claims made about wind energy) but if it isn't good for human health why place these large wind turbines 400-600 meters near homes????  Can't we design something that is good for the environment that doesn't adversely affect our health?


Green bulbs undergo safety testing
By Ed Moore

Yellowhead County will continue to hand out CFL light bulbs unless they are proven to be harmful by Health Canada.

Health Canada is currently testing certain types of CFL bulbs following a British health warning that some of the bulbs can emit higher than normal UV radiation levels.

"At this point we haven't reacted — we'll wait and see," said county Chief Administrative Officer Jack Ramme.

The county has been giving out light bulbs as part of Project Porchlight's initiative to equip homes with the energy-efficient bulbs.

Officials from the UK Health Protection Agency singled out the corkscrew or tube-like design, the kind the county is giving away, as the bulb most likely to give off levels of UV radiation, similar to the harmful rays given off by the sun.

Health Canada recommends that CFL bulbs not be used in areas where people spend more than an hour a day within 30 centimetres of the bulb.

Health Canada's Phillip Laroche said in a statement that the agency is currently testing CFL bulbs to measure ultraviolet emissions and electromagnetic field exposure levels. Results of the tests are expected to be released in the fall, he added.

Thirty brands of CFL bulbs are being tested — six samples of each model, Laroche said.

Laroche added although the bulk of scientific studies to date have not identified any health-related issues, Health Canada has decided to test the bulbs in order to acquire reliable technical data. If the tests establish a reason for concern, actions will be taken to force manufacturers to correct the situation, he said.

Bruce Cran, president of the Consumer's Association of Canada said his organization has received numerous calls about CFL bulbs.

"We've had a lot of reports about explosions."

Laroche countered, saying bulbs do not explode at or near the end of their life. He said they may emit smoke or an odour, or make a popping sound. People should also check the plastic base of the bulb for discolouration, charring or deformities. A smoking or smelly bulb does not present a shock or fire hazard, Laroche added.

Cran said the disposal of these type of bulbs has caused problems in some areas of Canada.

"We've had hundreds of complaints over the last few months. People have been telling us they've bought [a package] of five and only four will work," said Cran.

He said the federal government in deciding to go with CFL bulbs as a replacement for incandescent bulbs was a mistake.

"To head off in the direction of using only those bulbs was a bad mistake," Cran said.

Cran claimed there were alternative light sources to CFLs that the federal government could have used.

He said he doesn't use CFL bulbs in his house anymore.

The federal government has mandated that incandescent bulbs will no longer be available after 2012.


You might be interested in the response Global TV is getting to the CFL bulbs for two shows that aired this month (January).  The reaction to the CFL bulbs, what they emit, how they make people feel, and the fact that by 2012 people in the US and Canada won't be able to buy incandescent bulbs is getting a lot of people upset.  Similar bans of energy inefficient light bulbs exist for other countries.

Global TV did a special on the CFL bulbs and more than 400 people contacted them from across Canada.  Some have removed the bulbs and their health problems have gone away, especially skin problems, headaches, and fatigue.

Global TV air their first aired show (two 8-minute) segments on January 4th (still in their archives, see link below).  Had a great response with testimonials etc.

They then aired a second and different show on January 18th.  Once again a huge response.  They have decided to air one of the previous shows (I think) again on February 8th at 6:30 pm (EST).

After the second show they had a live blog and will do that again for their next show. 

The CFL bulbs and the government insisting that we all need to use them by 2012 is helping us get the message to the public that dirty electricity and other forms of radio frequency are bad for your health.

Just wanted you to know.


p.s.  If you want to view any of the previous shows they can be seen at:


This comes from their website.

Global's 16 X 9: The Bigger Picture,  Sunday, 6:30pm

Reaction to Rays & Electrical Shock,  Sunday January 18th, 2009  8 minutes each

After our last story ran on compact fluorescent light bulbs - we heard from hundreds of you! You all wanted more information and wanted to know what our government officials were doing. So in our next story, Allison Vuchnich speaks with the Health Minister and Health Canada about the light bulbs. Find out what they told her.

Can someone be allergic to electricity? And what's dirty power? Some believe all the electrical gadgets in our lives are making people sick. Now there
are experts who can come into your home and test for power quality. What's in your house? And can someone really be allergic? 16:9 investigates.

Rays of Rash and Dirty Energy, Sunday January 04th, 2009  8 minutes each

Dr. Magda Havas is an expert in her field. She tests all sorts of bulbs by measuring the power quality and radio frequencies that different bulbs give off. She measures for dirty electricity.

While the new fluorescent light bulbs may be environmentally friendly, the concern is about how much dirty electricity they're emitting.

Havas says that a lot of people are responding negatively to these light bulbs. "They get headaches, they get other body aches and pains. Some of them have difficulty sleeping if they're tired, some of them have mood disorders."

But all of this is controversial - scientists do not agree if people can suffer from what's called electromagnetic hypersensitivity. Another way of saying that people are getting sick from the electronic devices they use - and the stuff the devices give off...

Watch Now


Swedish professor joins Kingswinford anti-mobile phone mast protesters

ANXIOUS Kingswinford campaigners fighting to remove mobile phone masts from near their homes have taken their battle to Europe.

Protesters marched to the High Acres Base Station with MEP Liz Lynne, who pledged to do all she could to see the equipment moved from the top of a former water tower at the summit of a hill.

Also joining them, all the way from Stockholm, was Professor Olle Johansson, who made a special visit from the Karolinska Institute in the Swedish capital, where he has established himself as one of the world's leading authorities on electro-magnetic radiation.

Since masts started to be erected at the site in 2001, 14 near neighbours have died of cancer and a further 20 people have contracted the disease.

The masts, erected by Orange, O2, T Mobile and Vodafone, have produced what US scientist Dr George Carlo called "the worst levels of this type of radiation in the world".

Some scientists, including Dr Carlo and Prof Johansson, now believe that the type of non-ionizing radition emitted from masts may have a damaging effect on health, although the mobile phone industry continues to claim levels of exposure are not dangerous.

Sutton Coldfield housewife Eileen O'Connor, now a leading figure with the Radiation Research Trust, also joined activists at the top of the hill.

She contracted breast cancer shortly after a mobile phone mast was erected near to her home in the Wishaw area, and found that there was an apparent cluster in the village.

Mrs O'Connor said European MPs were doing "brilliant work" in highlighting the protestors' cause.

Wendy Baggott, co-ordinator and trustee of the High Acres Base Station Mast Action Group, said there were 18 antennae and eight dishes at the base station.

She said: "The surrounding land is a public open space and our children are supposed to play here. How many more masts can they put up, and what effect is it having on our health?"

Liberal Democrat MEP Mrs Lynne, who is co-chair of MEPs Against Cancer in the European Parliament, said: "It's obviously a cluster and we would like to know why."

Prof Johansson said such base stations at least needed better shielding to protect neighbours from microwave exposure, but claimed that his arguments were being taken on board.

He called for an urgent reduction of exposure level.


Children shocked by stray voltage

Last Updated: 30th January 2009, 5:45pm

Several children shocked by stray voltage – just two weeks after a second dog was electrocuted - has finally prompted Toronto Hydro to mobilize 600 workers to inspect its aging street-level infrastructure.

The recent zapping, involving 3 to 5 children from Regent Park/Duke of York Junior Public school, happened yesterday near the corner of Dundas and Sumach Sts.

Several students on a field trip, told their teachers they received a shock as they walked along the sidewalk, a letter home to parents from the school's principal stated. Staff determined that each of the students had stepped on a metal hydro plate, known as a handwell.

TDSB officials said the children appeared uninjured but cautioned parents to take them to their family doctor just in case.

Hydro was called and inspected the area.

In the wake of the student shock, hydro announced it will ramp up efforts to check for stray voltage across the city.

"All available resources are being assigned to finding and fixing equipment that poses a safety hazard," said David O'Brien, president and CEO, Toronto Hydro Corporation. "This operation will involve more than 600 employees, and is a 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week operation.

"We are committed to fixing this problem. All of our resources will be dedicated to this, in the interests of public safety."

The utility had been conducting mobile inspections in the wake of two dogs being electrocuted in the city's west end, near Dundas and Keele Sts. in November and January. Dogs were also shocked, but not killed, in several incidents across the city.


Toronto Hydro investigates after child shocked by handwell

National Post

Published: Friday, January 30, 2009

TORONTO - Toronto Hydro is pulling out all the stops in its stray-voltage crackdown, after at least one child suffered an electric shock this week, following incidents in which two dogs died.

David O'Brien, the president and CEO of Toronto Hydro, said Friday he would assign every available worker to a handwell replacement project starting Saturday morning.

A handwell is a metal utility plate on the sidewalk.

"This operation will involve more than 600 employees and is a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week operation," O'Brien said.

"We're going to get it fixed."

Reports of an incident involving five children forced the utility to step up its effort.

On Wednesday, five elementary schoolchildren were playing together near a downtown intersection when they were shocked, according to a letter sent home with students, although Toronto Hydro would only confirm one child was affected.

When the school contacted Toronto Hydro, a crew identified a source of stray voltage in a nearby metal handwell.

Two dogs have died since November and there have been several more reports of non-lethal shocks.

Since November, the utility has received 140 reports of potential stray voltage.