Wireless Electrical and Electromagnetic Pollution News
Governments buck up $5.7M for Grande Prairie Wi-Fi initiative
DARRELL WINWOOD – Herald-Tribune staff
All three levels of government are investing $5.7 million in a Grande Prairie project that should carry great benefits for everyone but will be virtually invisible.
The federal and provincial governments both announced $1.9 million for City Hall's wireless master plan Monday, topping up the $1.9 million investment by the city. It's a plan that will bring Wi-Fi to city facilities, eventually creating a wireless network across Grande Prairie that businesses could potentially access.
The plan calls for establishing public wireless Internet access at 17 civic sites including City Hall, Leisure Centre, Montrose Cultural Centre, Coca-Cola Centre, Centre 2000, the Multiplex, museum and other working buildings such as the fire halls, RCMP detachment and Aquatera facilities.
Access will be free, but there could be limits on bandwidth and speed to stop people from taking advantage by excessively downloading large files such as movies.
The service could be up and running within weeks.
One goal is to make city staff more efficient by providing wireless access for employees, allowing them to spend more time in the field and less time at desks dealing with paperwork.
The fire department will also directly benefit by being able to access building plans wirelessly when responding to calls, giving critical information to firefighters far faster.
Eventually, as the city builds new facilities, it could save costs in not having to install hardwire data services and retrofitting older buildings for technology upgrades could become much cheaper.
After all those services are established, it's likely the city will have extra capacity in the wireless network that could be sold off to private businesses for wireless access anywhere in the city.
Mayor Dwight Logan praised the provincial and federal investment.
"It wouldn't happen as a city project ... we didn't have the funds to make happen ourselves," he said.
There will be no new wireless towers built; any new transmission infrastructure will be attached to existing towers or city property including light posts and traffic signals.
"Everyone will be able to take advantage of this," said Logan.
The mayor defended the investment in wireless technology compared to traditional infrastructure such as roads and utilities, saying the plan will benefit everyone and is needed to keep Grande Prairie competitive. The benefit for emergency responders, a plan the city won a national award for, is also about public safety.
"It's not an easy sell to a municipal council ... because the immediate payback isn't there," he said.
Peace River MP Chris Warkentin said technologic infrastructure has become as important as any road or bridge.
"Those communities are investing in technology," he said. "It's necessary in today's economy ... people think it's important when they're choosing a community to live in."
I have just read your article
about City Hall's $5.7 million wireless master plan that will bring Wi-Fi to city facilities, eventually creating a wireless network across Grande Prairie.
I find it hard to believe that elected Grande Prairie officials could act so recklessly and not consider the adverse health effects that this decision may cause. If this plan is implemented it could cause very serious harm to the health of citizens of Grand Prairie. Wi Fi works by transmitting and receiving strong signals of microwave radiation. The serious adverse health effects of microwave radiation have been known for over sixty years. This form of electrical pollution should not be allowed, to put your entire community at such risk.
I have attached sixteen documents, which will help to show you the danger of Wi Fi, among those documents are many references to scientific studies. I trust that you will notify the public of these dangers as soon as possible.
Co Director WEEP
Cell phones and electromagnetic radiation a growing concern
March 05, 2010, 1:17AM
Cell phones and their snappier smart phone cousins might as well be the air we breathe, they're so ubiquitous. And as their popularity grows, so does the infrastructure needed to handle all the data we send and receive on them: e-mails, photos, maps and phone calls.
Look around, and you see more cell phone and wireless antennas than ever -- Portland has about 800 wireless antennas. All of the technology emits electromagnetic radiation. The phones. The towers. Not to mention the Wi-Fi and cordless phones so many of us have in our homes.
My family has been steeping in it for some time with our cell phone, Blackberry, cordless phone and Wi-Fi. It's kind of magic, all that stuff. So convenient -- and even sometimes lifesaving. So I hadn't given much thought to the growing concern over the health effects of this radiation until I saw the documentary "Full Signal" at the Hollywood Theatre in February.
Part of me really didn't want to hear it. That cell phones emit electromagnetic radiation at signal strengths and frequencies that don't naturally exist at the Earth's surface. That children are at greatest risk. That when we make a call we increase the radiation we receive and that for anyone living near the cell tower relaying our signal.
The documentary's 32-year-old director wants people to beware and err on the side of caution. "If in five years we discover this technology is safe, we haven't lost anything, " Talal Jabari says.
The neighborhood group RespectPDX helped bring Jabari and his film to town to raise awareness. The group is fighting the placement of a wireless antenna on a utility pole near Northeast 37th Avenue and Fremont Street for mobile broadband Internet.
They worry it's too close to their homes. And according to Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish, who attended the documentary, federal law prohibits cities from denying a wireless application based on human health impacts.
"The documentary was pretty sobering particularly in identifying the health risks to children," Fish told me. "What outrages me is that the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has pre-empted the ability of states and local governments to independently evaluate the health risks to our citizens." Fish, who oversees the parks and housing bureaus, has asked the bureaus to give him a list of all cell phone towers and equipment on parks property or adjacent to parks or recreational facilities.
Concern is cropping up elsewhere. A California state senator proposed a bill last month that would require cell phone manufacturers to print radiation information on the packaging. Environmental Working Group based in Washington, D.C., created a database last fall of cell phones and their radiation levels.
The Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association insists the technology is safe. And the antennas continue to go on and near schools, churches and other community locations around the world.
"CTIA and the wireless industry have always been guided by science, and the views of impartial health organizations," said industry spokesman John Walls in an e-mail. "The peer-reviewed scientific evidence has overwhelmingly indicated that wireless devices, within the limits established by the FCC, do not pose a public health risk or cause any adverse health effects. That is why the leading global health organizations such as the American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, World Health Organization and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration all have concurred that wireless devices are not a public-health risk."
But Sean Gray, with the Environmental Working Group, said that when the FDA announced in 2003 that scientists found no harmful effects from cell phone use, they reviewed studies where people had used cell phones for just three years. No one knows how long cancer might take to emerge. His organization wants more studies.
"We have some troubling data out there that suggests there might be a link between cell phone use and cancer," he said. "There's a lot more to learn to understand how this radiation impacts brain tissue." Studies have shown young children's brains absorb more radiation than an adult's.
His organization is not saying cell phones cause cancer. But on the other hand, he said, "No one should be out there saying cell phones don't cause cancer. We're at the point of concern without panic."
Colin O'Neill, who lives near the proposed wireless antennas in Northeast Portland, has two small children and says more than a dozen others live on his block. Four months ago he would have thought better Internet connections a good thing. Then he did some research. Now he's just plain nervous. Last month, he got rid of his Wi-Fi. He rarely uses his iPhone anymore.
"It's so convenient you just want it to be there," he said. "I wish it could be proven safe. I wish someone could do the work and reassure us all."
Jabari, a former associate producer for CBS in Jerusalem, traveled for 18 months to 10 countries and six U.S. states to make his documentary. He had heard debate that the cell phone antennas near his Jerusalem home were dangerous -- but the only thing he knew for certain was that they made his phone work well and that made him happy. After reporting for the film, he feels deep concern.
So, should we all get rid of our cell phones?
No, Jabari said. He recommends using them less (keep in mind texting is better than holding the phone to your head, he said). Secondly, when making a call, use a wired headset. Do things like turn off your Wi-Fi at night. And lastly, he discourages children from using cell phones period.
I'm not going to give up mine. But I also can't ignore the warnings. Until the debate on cell phones and health is settled, I'll take Jabari's advice.
Read her blog at:
School confident Wi-Fi system safe
By Rachel Taylor on Sat, 6 Mar 2010
The Rosebank Primary School in Balclutha has assured parents there are no safety issues about electromagnetic radiation levels emitted by the school's Wi-Fi computer network, installed last September.
Two families are known to have withdrawn their children from the school in February and a third family joined them this week, citing concern about health risks.
But in a four-page newsletter, issued to parents by the school's Board of Trustees on Thursday, the school insists the results of a National Radiation Laboratory test of equipment, carried out on January 20, prove the equipment complies with the relevant regulations and operates at "very safe levels of electromagnetic radiation".
Principal Chris Morris confirmed six children had been withdrawn from the school over this issue so far.
"The school respects the rights of parents to make decisions.
"We are sad and disappointed, but we respect people's right to choose. We've spent a considerable amount of time and money [$4410] investigating the process."
Parent Kim Cruse said she would like the school to be more receptive to hearing parents' concerns, and to look at all the evidence presented from both sides.
The Wi-Fi equipment was installed at the school last September, following recommendations in the Rosebank ERO report to upgrade the Information and Communications Technology system.
The Ministry of Education, in an email response to questions from the Otago Daily Times this week, said the installation of wireless networks was a "local issue for schools and they are not required to inform the Ministry if they are installing such a network".
Boards of trustees were required to provide a "safe and secure environment for pupils and teachers - they are therefore expected to purchase and install products that meet the international guidelines for wireless radiation."
After receiving several letters on the issue at Rosebank, the ministry believed the school management and board had "responded in an appropriate manner".
The Rosebank board will survey the school community on Monday to gauge opinion on the issue and how it has been handled.
It has offered to pass on any scientific articles to parents who request them.
David and Julia Hunter, who removed their child at the beginning of the school term, are seeking legal advice over being publicly named by the school in this week's newsletter.
> Wireless networks use radio waves to transmit data.
> Wireless adapters inside computers translate data into radio signals, and transmit via an antenna.
> The radio signals are received by a router and decoded back into data.
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