8th July, 2009
In response to a petition calling on wireless technology to be removed from schools, the Government has pronounced itself happy with WiFi safety guidelines its critics have labelled 'dangerously out of date'
The Government has said Wi-Fi in schools is a 'perfectly acceptable choice' and that there is 'absolutely no reason' the technology should not continue to be used in educational establishments.
Responding to an e-petition on the No10 website that had called for wireless technology to be removed from schools on health grounds and replaced with wired alternatives, the Government cited its health watchdog, the Health Protection Agency (HPA), whose current guidelines state there is 'no scientific evidence of any health risks… or that exposures exceed international guidelines'.
Critics claim the technology has been implemented without a proper assessment of its potential adverse health effects. Exposure to the electromagnetic radiation emitted by WiFi and its masts can make those who are electrosensitive – three in 100 of us – ill. There are also continuing fears about the cancers and tumours associated with mobile phone use and telephone masts.
'WiFi is an untested and under-regulated technology,' the petition read. '[HPA chairman] Sir William Stewart called for government and regulators to apply the precautionary principle and to review the use of Wi-Fi in schools. The German government is advising its citizens to limit their exposure to WiFi. It is time to stop putting corporate profit over the health of UK citizens – especially the youngest who are most likely to feel the adverse effects of WiFi and are least able to defend themselves.'
In its response, the Government said it was up to schools to use their professional judgement on the deployment of a technology that could 'support the use of ICT by raising standards in provision'.
The Government body that advises schools on the safe use of technology, Becta, itself follows the advice of the HCA, which argues that wireless signals are low-power (0.1 watt), and as such fall within guidelines accepted by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).
However a signatory to the petition, Andrew Goldsworthy, a former lecturer in biology at Imperial College London, warned the guidelines were 'dangerously out of date'.
He said WiFi affected the stability of cell membranes 'at levels thousands of times lower than those specified in the ICNIRP guidelines, which are relevant only to heating effects', and called the Government's response to the petition 'an insult to my intelligence and that of my cosignatories'.
The ABC is urging staff at its Melbourne studios to undergo checks after three employees were diagnosed with cancer.
In an email sent to all staff at the broadcasters's Southbank studios, ABC state director Randal Mathieson said management was "deeply concerned" for the health and wellbeing of its workforce.
He said two employees at Radio Australia, on the building's top floor, had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
A third staff member was diagnosed with cancer last year.
Mr Mathieson said the three cases had been referred to Professor Freddy Sitas, who is heading an epidemiological study into breast cancer incidence among ABC employees.
The scare comes less than three years after staff abandoned the national broadcaster's Brisbane studios following the emergence of an unexplained cancer cluster.
At least 17 staff were diagnosed with breast cancer at the Toowong studios in Brisbane's inner west.
In the email sent on Tuesday, Mr Mathieson urged staff who were concerned about the latest cases to seek medical advice and undergo breast screening, which would be paid for by the ABC.
"I am aware that staff have raised the issue of possible emissions from the communications and broadcasting equipment located on the roof of the Southbank building," he said.
"This equipment is regularly assessed for compliance with the general public and occupational reference levels in the Radiation Protection Standard ..."
Mr Mathieson said a hazard control survey conducted in December 2004 found "no hazard exists", except immediately adjacent to equipment on the rooftop and within the main satellite dish area.
In a statement issued late on Wednesday, the ABC confirmed the three cancer cases.
"Our thoughts go out to them and their families at this difficult time," Mr Mathieson said.
"Our primary concern remains the health and welfare of our staff. We have advised them that if they feel concerned, they should seek medical advice from their doctor and undergo a breast screening."
Mr Mathieson said the ABC was expecting a preliminary report next month into the incidence of breast cancer at its studios around the country.
Prof Sitas is undertaking the study for the Cancer Council of NSW.
The ABC has also sought urgent advice from Professor Bruce Armstrong, chairman of an expert panel that reviewed the Toowong breast cancer cases.
The panel was unable to find any link between the work environment and the high incidence of breast cancer.
Prof Armstrong has also been asked to review the ABC's hazard testing system.
© 2009 AAP
A new Post "#1091: A new ABC breast cancer cluster?" was written on the July 9, 2009 at 9:09 pm on "EMFacts Consultancy".
With a sense of "deja vu" another possible breast cancer cluster has been reported in an Australian ABC studio, this time in Melbourne (below). According to a radio news item today apparently the same expert panel that discounted the possibility of ELF magnetic fields in
the ABC Toowong breast cancer cluster will be examining this one as well. I hope they are somewhat wiser this time.
Of course it is very likely that this is a random occurrence unrelated to EMF/EMR, especially considering the increasing prevalence of this disease in Australia. However, a full investigation of all possible environmental factors MUST include the women's power-frequency ELF workplace exposures and not just RF/MW from roof top antennas that seems to be the concern. For reasons why see: *Breast cancer cluster at ABC Studios – Toowong, Queensland: http://www.emfacts.com/papers/toowong.pdf*
Medical associations in many countries have issued resolutions that warn the public of risks from cell phone use and other wireless technologies like WI-FI and wireless internet. The FDA will have to explain to Congress and the public why ... The FDA cannot afford to ignore the potential health effects of chronic, indiscriminate exposures to ELF and RF – it has the potential to be another "Vioxx" moment for FDA. Public trust is already stretched thin over FDA failures to ...
EMFacts Consultancy - http://www.emfacts.com/weblog/
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Chateauguay 9 July 2009 at 2 pm at 411 St. Francis
Fear of Radiation grips residents of Chateauguay
Concerned Citizens Chateauguay, a group of residents, has been battling the Federal Government to prevent the installation of a Telecommunication Tower in their neighborhood. Involuntary exposure to radiation should not be imposed upon the citizens of Canada. The residents claim that the Ministry of Industry have not followed the laws and regulations and given Rogers Communications the license to install a Cell Phone Tower with Antennas. Many other communities in Quebec like Terrebonne, Prevost, Boucherville,St Cuthbert and others are facing similar problems. All across Canada, cities like Simcoe, Kingston, Toronto, and provinces from British Columbia to Prince Edward Island are engaged in the same battle against bureaucratic dictatorship. The Chateauguay Tower is to be constructed at 411 Boulevard Saint- Francis. The group plans a demonstration to protest against the installation of this Cell Tower at the proposed site in Chateauguay, Quebec. Carole Freeman, MP representing Chateauguay will be present. Chateauguay Deputy Mayor and councilor will also be present.
A man's home is no longer his castle but subject to the whims of the Federal bureaucrats who can turn your paradise into a nightmare. This tower is as close as 50 feet from the backyards of residents of Chateauguay.
Unless dramatic changes are made to public policy, there is a projection of an epidemic of cancer and other related chronic illnesses caused by electromagnetic radiation.
The defense put forward in most cases is that the installation conforms to the standards of Safety Code 6, a Health Canada guideline, entitled "Limits of Human Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields in the Frequency Range from 3 kHz to 300 GHz"
This guideline has not been revised since 1999.These guidelines are based on preventing damage to human tissue due to the well-understood heating effects of RFs-thermal effects, which are short-term thermal effects. However, non-thermal effects of RF are focus of the debate as to whether current exposure guidelines are adequate to protect human health. These include Biological effects, Calcium Ion Activity, Cell Proliferation, alteration to the blood-barrier, Melatonin, toxicological effects, Damage to DNA, Cancer and many others. These occur at exposure levels far below the Canadian standards.
Research in populations living near cell phone base stations in Europe indicates that populations within 300 meters of a base station are more likely to experience symptoms of bad health and can have different sensitivities. Chronic exposure to ultra-high frequency electromagnetic fields or microwaves brings on effects in man such as headache, fatigue, sleep and memory disturbances (Bielski1994, Santini 1999). Other symptoms people experience are: depression, anxiety, skin disorders, eye and ear disorders, nausea, chronic pain, poor short-term memory and cardiovascular irregularities.
Once installed, there is no provision for subsequent monitoring of these Antennas. More transmitters can be added to these towers at any time without any consultation. The planned Tower in Chateauguay has clearly indicated future additions provisions. This will leave the residents without any recourse to any remedy at any level whatsoever.
Industry Canada has found an easy way to grant these spectrum licenses by mostly claiming that the projects are not subject to the provisions of the Environment Assessment Act, which would bring close scrutiny. It is clear that in the case of the proposed Antenna in Chateauguay, that project should have been submitted to the Canadian Environment Assessment Agency, as it does not fit the profile of the conditions of Section 20 the Exclusions List Regulations 2007.
There is both a water body and a wetland (swamp) adjacent to the proposed tower. It is quite clear that Industry Canada chooses to ignore all the evidence and refuses to revoke the license of the proponent obtained under wrongful attestation and declarations.
The City of Chateauguay has passed a resolution stating that the project should be suspended till proper consultation takes place with the residents, but to no avail.
In Europe, the European Parliament has demanded higher standards of safety. In England, France and Ontario, the precautionary principle has been adopted.
Regie de Sante du Quebec has agreed to re-evaluate the normes Canadienne relating to levels of exposure and the various scientific reports, books and documentaries.
Wireless Technologies cause harm to children and adults is the message going out to every member of Congress of the USA, Governors and thousands of environmental and health journalists this month with a copy of the book "Public Health SOS: The Shadow Side of the Wireless Revolution" a book by Dr. Magda Havas of Trent University, Canada.
There are many reports and studies on adverse health effects of electromagnetic radiation.
Bioinitiative Report- A rationale for a biologically based public exposure standard for electromagnetic fields. www.bioinitiative.org/report is recognized as an authority worldwide.
Paul Normandeau 450-698-0338
Francois Therrien 450-471-8371
Site internet http://www.dangersemo.com