Wireless Electrical and Electromagnetic Pollution News
11 January 2011
Glowing Gadgets Fool Your Brain and Disrupts Your Circadian Rhythm
Hanging up on new cell tower
Health concerns over second structure
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Residents in the quiet enclave of Wildwood Park are banding together to stop MTS from building a cellphone tower behind their local community centre.
They say possible health risks to children linked to the towers -- exposure to low-level radio-frequency radiation -- should convince MTS and the City of Winnipeg, which owns the Wildwood Community Club, to erect the tower somewhere else.
"It has to do with health reasons," said area resident Stephanie Wicks. "Secondly, it has to do with esthetics and, thirdly, it just doesn't fit in with the credo of what Wildwood Park is, which is a calm and a forestry-type neighbourhood."
Opposition against the tower, which has been on the drawing board for months, only picked up steam before Christmas when another cell tower went up on the nearby Wildwood Golf Course. That tower, because there are no homes immediately close to it, did not go to public consultation.
Wicks said the City of Winnipeg approved the erection of the Telus cellular transmission tower on the golf course without a public hearing because of its protocol on where cell towers are located. That protocol says only property owners and tenants within a radius of three times the height of the proposed communication facility should be notified.
Because of the proposed location of the MTS tower, that project must go to a public hearing sometime this spring. "I don't want any animosity over this," Wicks said. "I just want people to be informed. I want people to understand."
Wildwood Park Community Club president Bill Jost said the City of Winnipeg told the club's board several months ago about the MTS proposal.
Jost said the board wanted to explore the possibility of the tower because MTS would make a nominal one-time payment to the club to help it improve its facilities.
But Jost and fellow board member Kevin Stefanson said the final decision on the tower will be left up to the community, not the board or city.
"That's where it will live or die," Jost said.
MTS spokeswoman Selena Hinds said the proposed site is the best place to improve wireless reception for clients in the Wildwood Park area, which hugs the Red River in Fort Garry. MTS hopes to have the tower in service by the end of May.
"The tower that we plan to put up will look like a large flagpole," she said. "It's about half the size of other towers in the area. It's smaller than most mature trees. We'll also be working with a landscape architect to help the tower blend into the community."
The fight by residents against the tower is not unique to Wildwood Park or Winnipeg.
Many communities, particularly in British Columbia and Ontario, are fighting against cellphone towers near schools, playgrounds and residential areas because some research indicates the emission of radio-frequency radiation causes biological effects linked to cancer and other diseases.
Hinds said the proposed MTS tower is well within the guidelines on emissions as set by Industry Canada and Health Canada.
"This particular wireless site is in fact many thousand times lower than the guidelines," she said.
The City of Toronto has recommended a "prudent avoidance policy" be adopted for siting of telecommunication towers and antennas in that city and in 2005, the Vancouver School Board banned cellphone antennas within 300 metres of existing schools.
Wicks said school and municipal officials should take a similar stand here. The proposed MTS tower is near St. John's-Ravenscourt School.
"How many cellular towers are required in a neighbourhood?" she asked. "The more you have, the more the health concerns rise. I don't understand how it's OK to have two transmission towers in one neighbourhood."
The City of Winnipeg's communication facility protocol was adopted by city council April 28 last year. It says the City of Winnipeg prefers cell towers and other communication facilities not be located in or near residential areas and have minimal impact on "living areas" and areas of historical or environmental significance.
What others have to say on the subject
A study published by the National Research Council Press last year said cellphone towers have the potential to hurt us with radiation.
The study recommended cell towers should be kept 450 metres from people's homes and made nearly 50 metres tall.
It said symptoms can include:
-- Nausea and visual disruptions in people living within 10 metres of a cellphone tower;
-- Irritability, depression and memory loss between 10 and 100 metres;
-- Headaches, poor sleep and skin problems between 100 and 200 metres.
The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association says cellular transmissions in Toronto -- with the country's biggest concentrations of towers -- are less than one-seventh of one per cent of Health Canada's maximum safe level.
Health Canada says it has determined there is no scientific reason to consider base stations dangerous to the public.
The World Health Organization (WHO) established the International EMF (electric and magnetic fields) Project in 1996 to assess the possible health effects of low-level radio-frequency radiation exposure.
It says to date there is no conclusive scientific proof of adverse health effects from exposure to radio-frequency fields at levels below those that cause tissue heating.
The Canadian Cancer Society cites WHO research from 2005 that did not find any "short- or long-term health effects from the signals produced by cellphone towers."
However, the CCS notes ongoing research is examining the possible link between RF exposure from all sources and cancer.
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WHEREAS, significant health questions have been raised concerning the increased electromagnetic frequency radiation (EMF) emitted by the wireless technology in SmartMeters, which will be in every house, apartment and business, ... WHEREAS, FCC safety standards do not exist for chronic long-term exposure to EMF or from multiple sources, and reported adverse health effects from electromagnetic pollution include sleep disorders, irritability, short term memory loss,
Everything is fine until we have incontrovertible proof that it is not. Yes, we do not have an epidemic of brain tumors in countries that have used cell phones heavily for little more than a decade. But 10 years after cigarettes began to be heavily smoked, we also did not have an epidemic of lung cancer.