Saturday, May 9, 2009

Katharina Gustavs Paper / The Angriest Riding in BC / EMF-Omega-News 9. May 2009

Hi All

Katharina Gustavs from British Columbia, has published a very detailed paper - Options to Minimize EMF/RF/Static Field Exposures in Office Environments. It has a great deal of reference material that could be helpful to EHS victims and persons learning about EMF issues. I encourage you to read the paper.



In its booklet on radiation risk and VDTs from 2002, the BC Centre for Disease Control continues to specifically admonish VDT users not to "purchase electromagnetic shields or any other radiation protective devices" for their VDT. I find this rather peculiar since—already back in 1990— the European Union issued a directive on the minimum requirements for VDTs that clearly states that "all radiation with the exception of the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum shall be reduced to negligible levels from the point of view of the protection of workers' safety and health."

This difference in approaches motivated me to create a science-based resource guide for low-emission office environments in English. In contrast to the common risk assessment practice of applying safety factors to observed or estimated no observed adverse effect levels derived by establishing thermal threshold values, I chose to start out with the background levels of non-ionizing radiation in nature, to document what actual exposure levels across various frequency bands are found in office environments today, and to look at technically achievable options of how to minimize emission levels of common office equipment.

Options to Minimize EMF/RF/Static Field Exposures in Office Environments

Here are some highlights of my resource guide:

a.. Detailed exposure data for cordless/mobile phones (p. 39-43), VDTs/CPUs (p. 49-50), wireless area networks (p. 44-46), artificial lighting (p. 54-57), etc.;

b.. Science-based recommendations for exposure minimization strategies for a broad range of office equipment including EMF, RF, static field exposures
(p. 39-66);

c.. English summary of EMF sanitary regulation for computers issued by the chief medical officer of Russia since 2003 (p. 114-115);

d.. Extensive tables of exposure limits from around the world, showing the entire range of occupational, general public, precautionary threshold values complete with references (p. 81-95);

e.. An annotated bibliography of less well-known studies on health effects associated with electromagnetic exposures in office environments (p. 96-107).

I welcome feedback.

With best regards,

Katharina Gustavs
Building Biology Environmental Consultant (IBN)
Translator English/German (STIBC)


The Angriest Riding in BC

Cecil Dunn and the house he felt forced to abandon.

In Tsawwassen, massive power lines have sparked voter rage.
By Geoff Dembicki
Published: May 7, 2009

Cecil Dunn fought the provincial government and lost. For four years, he battled a proposal to build steel power poles in the backyards of Tsawwassen homes. The struggle wasn't just about sparing residents the anxiety of ever-present radiation or saving its tree-lined skyline from 30-metre eyesores. Dunn's own house of 26 years lay on the proposed route. The fight
was personal.

The retired Telus executive describes the last four years like a rollercoaster ride, full of euphoric highs and cynical lows. But the defeats built up one by one. The opposition he spearheaded lost in B.C.'s highest court. The power poles went up last summer. And this year, faced with a tough choice between life under the lines or a government buyout, he opted to sell the home he'd planned to grow old in.

Dunn feels betrayed by the political system, but not enough to abstain from the May 12 vote. He's throwing his support behind heavyweight independent Vicki Huntington, a five-term local councillor who's promised to defend Delta South against the whims of big government. Her main challenger, BC Liberal Wally Oppal, is drawing from the same sense of helplessness, albeit with a twist. As attorney-general, he's promised voters the ear of the premier and a key voice in cabinet.

Whether voters reject the current government or bid for a stronger place inside it is anyone's guess. But perhaps nowhere else in the province is the choice so visceral.

From a 'back lane to a superhighway'

I meet Dunn in a Tim Horton's on Tsawwassen's main strip. He buys me a coffee and we stake out a table near the back, away from the crowds of seniors gathered for their morning social. I tell him this is my first time in town. Normally I'm just passing to the nearby ferry terminal. He nods his head in assent. "Just like most people," he says.

Dunn begins our talk with a crash course in local power line history. In the mid 1950s, the British Columbia Electric Company bought land rights for a transmission corridor through "a couple of potato farms and forest."

Tsawwassen grew into a thriving coastal community over the coming decades, cut in half by 17-metre wood power poles on a 3.7 kilometre right of way. Many homeowners assumed the lines would be dismantled once their life cycle came to end.

In late 2004, they were shocked by the province's proposal. The old lines were coming down. And in their place, 20 steel poles the size of a high-rise, capable of transmitting 60 per cent more power and connected to a 23.5 km submarine cable under the Strait of Georgia. Residents were told the project was essential to meet Vancouver Island's growing energy needs.

"The analogy I like to use is they wanted to turn a back lane into a superhighway," Dunn says.

Retracted promises

The Tsawwassen Residents Against Higher Voltage Overhead Lines (TRAHVOL) sprung up to fight the proposal. Dunn spent hours researching the link between electro-magnetic fields (EMF) and cancer rates. He shook hands with senior government executives, urging them to reconsider. TRAHVOL's efforts soon paid off -- or so residents thought.

Just weeks before the 2005 provincial election, Dunn received a letter from Energy Minister Richard Neufeld. The B.C. Transmission Corporation (BCTC) had abandoned plans to build overhead lines in favour of yet-to-be-determined alternatives, it read.

"People were excited," Dunn says between sips of coffee. "They thought, 'Hey, these guys are actually listening to us.'" When election day came, BC Liberal Val Roddick defeated the independent Huntington by 1,100 ballots.

Dunn's vote helped her win.

"We were all a bit politically naïve," he admits. "I have quite a different view of politics than I did then."

After the election, BCTC announced plans to bury high voltage lines in a shallow trench along the Tsawwassen right of way. Residents weren't impressed. They argued the plan would tear up backyards and emit even more radiation than the steel pole system. Even worse was a carefully worded July letter from Neufeld that appeared to play down the province's commitment to oppose overhead lines.

TRAHVOL proposed alternate routes, organized rallies and pleaded with government officials, to no avail. In the absence of broad public support, the province's utilities commission disregarded the trench alternative and forged ahead with the original proposal. A legal battle followed, but B.C.'s court of appeal refused to reverse the decision. Construction on the towers wrapped up last summer and BC Hydro energized the lines in December.

'They look disgusting'

South Delta Secondary School sits in the middle of Tsawwassen, a low building fringed by open sports fields and leafy residential streets. When I visit, wind tousles the hair of teenagers enjoying their spares in the sun.

The setting would be unexceptional, were it not for the gigantic steel towers cascading down a nearby hill -- or the 30-metre power pole that juts out from the parking lot, towering over surrounding cars. During the fight to reroute the overhead lines, Delta Secondary became a key battleground. The Mothers Against Power Poles formed out of fears the school's 1300 students would be made test subjects for prolonged EMF exposure. After the lines went in, some parents withdrew their children, and local anger hasn't subsided.

The BCTC maintains exposure levels are well within the World Health Organization's guidelines. It notes 30 years of scientific studies haven't revealed any definite link between EMF and cancer. Still, as the Canadian Cancer Society points out, incidents of childhood leukemia appear to be greater when radiation levels are high.

Crossing the school's soccer field, I approach a group of Grade 12 girls reclined on a blanket. The appropriately named Natalie Watts seems a bit aloof as I motion towards one of poles. With graduation so near, she's not too concerned about radiation. But aesthetics are a different story. "I hate them. They look disgusting," Watts says. "It's our small town and there's these huge urban power lines going through."

'People here are exhausted'

When I enter Ladner's ABC Restaurant later that day, Vicki Huntington appears tired. We take a booth near the back and I glance at the flower paintings on the walls. "It's so loud here," she remarks, cringing at the background muzak.

Huntington tells me she was courted by Gordon Campbell and Carole James before her campaign began. Both knew her local popularity and five terms in civic politics make her a potent candidate, she says. But neither offer was enough to sway her.

"I'm firmly of the opinion that MLAs in British Columbia represent parties, not the people," she says.

That's been a frequent theme in Huntington's campaign as she tries to position herself as a staunch defender of local interests, unbeholden to a government that treats Delta South like its personal "doormat."

When she lists off local grievances, they sound like personal affronts. The healthcare cuts that gutted Delta hospital. The proposed Deltaport container expansion and $1 billion South Fraser Perimeter Road -- both poised to destroy critical wildlife habitats, she claims.

And of course, the Tsawwassen power lines. I ask her whether an independent MLA could have made any difference in an entrenched party system. She brings up the late Chuck Cadman in response -- everyone knows if single voices can't make a difference, democracy has failed, she says.

"People here are exhausted. They've been fighting their own government for almost eight years."

(Delta South isn't the only area to rally against outside encroachment.)

Anger Hotspots in BC

The Tsawwassen power lines upgrade isn't the only infrastructure project to raise the ire of B.C. residents. Here are four current examples of concerned citizens taking on powerful interests.

Texada Island

In 2007, WestPac LNG Corp. proposed a $2 billion mega-project to build a liquefied natural gas terminal and electricity facility on this island in the Strait of Georgia. Texada Action Now formed to fight proposal, claiming the project would be a major eyesore and anathema to the province's carbon targets. Project still in early stages.

West Vancouver

A $130 million road connector formed a key part of the Sea-to-Sky highway upgrade. The Eagleridge Bluffs Coalition feared the project would harm critical wetlands and held vocal protests that resulted in arrests. The province turned down a costly tunnel proposal and the four-lane highway opened last month.

MacMillan Provincial Park

A provincial proposal to build a new parking lot in the old-growth forest at Cathedral Grove pitted loggers against camped-out protestors in early 2004. Cabinet minister Bill Barisoff vowed to have the lot built before the summer tourist season but years of protests followed. The lot was scrapped in 2006.

Klappen Valley

Shell Canada received land tenure five years ago to explore for coalbed methane near the Sacred Headwaters in northwest B.C. The Tahltan First Nations blockaded roads in 2007, citing concerns about salmon habitat destruction. Arrests followed and both sides threatened legal battles. The province set a moratorium on the project last fall. -- G.D.

Oppal's strategy

After meeting with Huntington, I contact Oppal's headquarters. I was supposed to sit down with the attorney-general at noon, but his campaign manager called in the morning to cancel. I'd visited his Tsawwassen office twice today but was told both times he was too busy to talk. Phone in hand, I try my luck again.

Election staffer Matthew Naylor tells me Oppal definitely can't meet today. "Would he be able to phone sometime this week?" I ask. "I wouldn't be too optimistic," Naylor replies.

This is Oppal's first run for Delta South, though he's called Tsawwassen home for 10 years. If 2005 results are any indication, the vote here could be tight. Most analysts predict a dead heat between the well known attorney-general and the former councillor, with the New Democratic Party's Dileep Athaide trailing in third.

Though Huntington draws on popular anger to buoy her candidacy, Oppal's personal charm and claim to be a powerful voice in government could carry him to victory. "The premier listens to me. Other members of my cabinet listen to me," he told a packed room of Huntington supporters at an April 16 debate.

His challenger likes to point to Oppal's record of silence on critical Delta South issues, including his intervention against TRAHVOL's power line challenge in the court of appeal. But the attorney-general can hit hard too.

The governing party makes the rules, he argued at the debate earlier this month. "There's no possible way that any independent could have any influence on that."

Strange homecoming

Back in Tsawwassen and fresh off our Tim Horton's chat, Dunn takes me for drive in his green pick-up. We follow the steel poles -- from the hulking power station near Fred Gingell park to the tree-lined street he used to live on. After electricity started flowing, the provincial government made tempting offers on 119 homes. Only 15 households could resist. Dunn moved to Ladner on April 1, and as we stand in front of his old house, he tells me government workers just came by to change the locks. For the time being, it sits empty.

We're soon being greeted enthusiastically by Dunn's old neighbour, Rick Grant. He took the government buyout too, but won't be leaving until the end of summer. The former neighbours chat like old friends. "You know, there were some people by last week to cut your lawn," Grant says. He leads us to a compact backyard, bursting with spring colours. Overhead, power lines grid the sky. The poles are impossible to miss.

"Your tulip tree looks great," Dunn says, pointing to the white petals littering the grass.

"It's the energy from the lines," Grant jokes.

When Dunn and I get back into the car, I notice a Huntington sign on his old front lawn. He says Grant put it there. We start to drive and he tells me the decision to leave Tsawwassen was one of the hardest he's ever made.

"You've always got that apprehension in the back of your mind -- do you live with these lines forever or start a new life?" He takes a right turn down a quiet street. "What we chose is not what we wanted to choose."


Dear Sir, Madam, Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

for your information.

Best regards,
Klaus Rudolph
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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Words of Wisdom

"Act as if the principle by which you act were about to be turned into a universal law of nature". --Immanuel Kant

"You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no results." --Gandhi

"The arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice." –Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." --Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Your silence will not protect you." --Audre Lorde

"A time comes when silence is betrayal." --Martin Luther King

"Liberty can not be preserved without general knowledge among people."
--John Adams

"The world shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." --Anais Nin

"Remaining silent about the destruction of nature is an endorsement of that destruction."
--Redwood Mary (a.k.a. Mary Rose)

That which is looked upon by one generation as the apex of human knowledge is often considered an absurdity by the next, and that which is regarded as a superstition in one century may form the basis of
science for the following one. --Paracelsus

"How could I imagine how lost in the open field I was." --Neal Lindley

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."
--Margaret Mead

" If one advances confidently in the direction of their dreams, And endeavors to lead a life which they have imagined, They will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."
--Henry David Thoreau

"Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being
shared." –Buddha

Motivation is not a problem for anyone who accepts the extraordinary truth contained in Yeshe Aro's ancient prescription for happiness: "On this depends my liberation: to assist others – nothing else."

"Where do the wars and where do the conflicts among you come from?
Is it not from your passions that make war within your members?
You covet but do not possess.
You kill and envy but you cannot obtain; you fight and wage war.
You do not possess because you do not ask.
You ask but do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your
James 4: 1-3 (James is the brother of Jesus, who became a leader in the early church)