Canada offside with world on cell tower issue
By Sarah Schmidt, Canwest News Service
April 2, 2009
Health Canada says the government's limits of human exposure to electromagnetic fields and radio frequency radiation, set in 1999, adequately protect Canadians, including children, so no European-style warning on cellphone towers is necessary. The European parliament voted overwhelmingly on Thursday to push for tougher regulations to keep mobile phone towers and other electromagnetic emitting devices away from schools and to limit cellphone use for children and teenagers because of the "continuing uncertainties about the possible health risks."
Key parts of the newly endorsed report, backed by 559 of 581 parliamentarians, puts Canada offside with a growing number of international bodies raising concerns about a possible link between wireless technologies and devices and certain types of cancers, including brain cancer.
Health Canada maintains the government's limits of human exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) and radio frequency radiation, set in 1999, adequately protect Canadians, including children, so no warning is necessary.
Noting the use of cellphones has become common place for children as young as 10 as "an object serving a practical purpose and as a fashion accessory," the newly adopted report by the European Parliament raises special concern over young people "whose brains are still developing."
The international body representing 492 million people from 27 countries also voted to "draw attention" to the recent "appeal for caution" from Canadian epidemiologist Elisabeth Cardis, co-ordinator of the Interphone study, the largest research project organized by the International Agency for Research on Cancer studying 6,400 cellphone users with cancer.
The European parliament's report notes that Cardis, "in light of existing knowledge, recommends, as far as children are concerned, that mobile phones should not be used beyond reasonable limits."
In the short term, the parliament is calling on the commission to review "the scientific basis and adequacy of the EMF limits" because "the dispute within the scientific community regarding the potential health risks arising from EMFs has intensified" since the limits were set in 1999. The report also notes that in the absence of "definite conclusions" from the scientific community, China, Russia and at least nine members states of the European Union have already lowered allowable exposure limits based on a "preventive" model.
In a statement issued Thursday in the wake of the vote, Health Canada said it is constantly reviewing the scientific literature to make sure Canada's Safety Code 6, which establishes exposure limits. The limits, last revised in 1999, remain "current and valid," the department said.
"Based on information to date and the weight of evidence from ongoing scientific literature reviewed by Health Canada scientists, the department is confident that the exposure limits specified in Safety Code 6 remain current and valid."
Health Canada didn't comment specifically on the "appeal for caution" put forward by Cardis, but the federal agency said its safety code's "built in margin of safety" means the limits for public exposure apply to everyone, including children.
"The limits set out in Safety Code 6 also protect frequent users of cellphones as they assume non-stop usage — 24 hours a day, seven days a week — which is not typical of Canadian cellphone use. As well, tests were performed at peak power levels. Cellphones typically operate at much lower levels."
However, Health Canada said "parents concerned about their children's RF exposure may wish to take extra precautions by limiting the use of cellular phones by their children."
That's not good enough for Sharon Noble. She and her husband received assurances from municipal and federal officials a few years ago that Safety Code 6 would protect them adequately before they purchased land and built on Triangle Mountain in Colwood, nearly Victoria.
Their home is located within 100 metres of two towers with a total of 140,000 watts and within one kilometre of 45 transmitters, said Noble. She attributes a high concentration of health problems among neighbours to the transmitters.
"It should say to Health Canada 'open up your eyes,'" Noble said of Health Canada's position in the face of international pressure.
"The United States and Canada are just about the worst in the world. With all the other countries reacting the way they are in trying to come up more with protective devices and guidelines, Health Canada will not talk about it. They say there's no credible evidence."
Britain, Germany, Belgium, Finland, Israel, Russia and India advise that children should limit their use of cellphones. France is moving to make it illegal to market cellphones to children under 12, while Russia recommends children under 18 not use cellphones at all.
© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service
Great news from Europe. Now if only Canada could follow their example.
From Libby Kelley:
Subject: European Parliament adopts Reis Resolution on April 2, 2009
Dear ICEMS members and colleagues,
We are very glad to advise you that the European Parliament approved the EMF resolution, prepared by MEP Frédérique Ries, on April 2, 2009. The votes by the MEPs were: 559 for, 22 against and 8 abstentions.
I have confirmed this was the official vote but am still working on accessing the official minutes and actual language of the resolution to determine whether there were any amendments or other changes to the Reis Resolution.
Meanwhile, we forward an early report about this vote prepared by Pedro Belmonte, Ecologistas NGO, in Spain, which is unconfirmed (see below).
See News story on the Reis Report, dated March 31, 2009 at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/public/toute_actualite/default/default_en.htm
(scroll down the page for this report.)
By this vote, the European Parliament shows its interest in taking action to address health problems related to electromagnetic fields. I will inform you of any new developments or you can go directly to the European Parliament website at www.europarl.europa,eu .
Elizabeth Kelley, M.A.
International Commission For Electromagnetic Safety
----- Original Message -----
From: pedro belmont
Sent: Thursday, April 02, 2009 11:15 AM
Subject: Adopted Resolution Ries on ELF in the European Parliament
The full European Parliament on Thursday adopted a non-binding report which claimed that the antenna, the high-voltage power grids or telecommunications towers are installed at a minimum distance of schools, nursing homes or health centers and to publish maps showing the levels of exposure to these waves after warning of the consequences to human health that exposure to electromagnetic fields can be determined.
The report, prepared by the Belgian liberal MEP Frédérique Ries and approved with the votes of 559 MEPs, 22 against and 8 abstentions, calls for "ensuring that at least schools, kindergartens, nursing homes and health centers are located at a specific distance, determined in accordance with scientific criteria, this type of equipment "and advocate" solutions dialogue between industry, government and military and neighborhood associations on the criteria for the installation of new antennas or telephone lines high voltage because they consider that it "is in the public
MEPs also argue that government support the establishment of infrastructure shared by companies and antennas in order to "reduce the number and exposure of the population." They also propose to reorient the antennas to electromagnetic fields that do not impinge so directly on the inhabited villages and seek to accelerate the implementation of the policy that specifically protects workers against electromagnetic fields.
The rapporteur Ries warned that European citizens are "concerned" by the radiation emitted by such facilities, while up to 80% of them recognized not have enough information. Therefore, the EU proposes to Veintisiete in his report that was published maps of this type of exhibition facilities via the web to ensure their access to the public.
The European Parliament also urged the Commission to use funds from the trans to drive research on the effects of electromagnetic fields and, again, asked to find out why it had not been released Interphone global scientific report, which helped finance Brussels, on the relationship between mobile phones and certain types of cancer
Dear Sir, Madam, Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,
for your information.
Citizens' Initiative Omega
Member of the Buergerwelle Germany (incorporated society) Protectorate Union of the Citizens and Initiatives for the Protection against Electrosmog
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