Monday, March 21, 2011

Mobile radiation can weaken your eyesight / The Robesonian / St. Albert parent / A new problem / it's not always very clever / Electromagnetic Hazards / How not to run a power system

W.E.E.P. News

Wireless Electrical and Electromagnetic Pollution News 

21 March 2011


Mobile radiation can weaken your eyesight

DNAHM41838 | 3/20/2011 | Author : Priya Adhyaru-Majithia | WC :422 | City-Ahmedabad

Radiation from cell phones heats up the skin of the entire head; this heat damages the eyes' corneas, and leads to poor vision

Cell phone radiation has been linked to non-cancerous tumours that cause deafness and even to cancerous growth in the brain or spine (glioma). But now radiation from mobiles is also suspected of causing damage to the cornea (the transparent front part of the eye), leading to weakening of vision. And if you own several mobiles, your eyesight is at even greater risk.
The recently released report of the inter-ministerial committee on electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation constituted by the department of telecommunications, ministry of communications and information technology, warns that excessive use of cell phones can damage the cornea.
The heat generated by EMF radiation is absorbed mainly by the skin of the head and face causing its temperature to increase by a fraction of a degree, the report states.
The brain is able to dispose of the excess heat by increasing the local blood flow but the cornea of the eye does not have this temperature regulation mechanism, the report adds. Hence, the heat generated by absorption of EMF radiation can do the maximum damage to the cornea. Symptoms of such damage include red eyes, burning sensation in the eyes and blurred vision (which may or may not be permanent).
Recent research has also shown that constant use of 3-4 different mobile instruments can heat up the corneal area and cause damage to it. As the human body is a bio-electrical system - the heart and the brain, for instance, are regulated by internal bioe...



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St. Albert parent sounds alarm about Wi-Fi in schools

Saturday, Mar 19, 2011 | By Lauren Den Hartog

A local parent has raised concerns about the installation of a wireless Internet network at her children's school.

In a presentation she made to the St. Albert Protestant School Board earlier this month, Donna Nilsson said no long-term studies have been done to determine the effects of microwave radiation emitted by wireless Internet devices.

"I can't honestly find anything to tell me it is safe," Nilsson said last week.

"Why are we blanketing the whole elementary school with microwave radiation? Can you honestly tell me that every kid from kindergarten to Grade 6 needs immediate 24-hour access seven days a week, 365 days a year to the Internet?"

Wireless Internet, or Wi-Fi, was installed at the school over the summer and all schools in the district are expected to have wireless technology installed this year.

Nilsson, who will have three children at Leo Nickerson School in the fall, said the issue first surfaced at a parent council meeting several months ago.

"Parents weren't informed that Wi-Fi was installed in our elementary schools and still haven't been informed that it's been installed," Nilsson said.

"I'm wondering if the want for wireless technology has been pushed ahead by industry and if it's outpaced our health studies?"

In determining the safety of wireless Internet networks, Protestant chair Joan Trettler said the district looks to Health Canada.

According to Health Canada's Radiofrequency Energy Guidelines, also known as Safety Code 6, the energy coming from Wi-Fi transmission is so low, it doesn't cause cell damage.

"They believe it is safe so we're basing our decisions on that information," Trettler said.

From a public health point of view, X-rays are a much greater concern because they emit a stronger source of radiation and have the ability to break chemical bonds, according to Health Canada. The agency admits there aren't many studies on the effects of Wi-Fi on children.

"I think that our district is being reasonable in the way they're approaching it and gathering information and making sure that we're handling it," said Leo Nickerson principal Kevin Jones.

While the board will not be making any changes at this time, Trettler said they will continue to monitor the issue.

"It's certainly not something that we want to expose our students to if it's not [safe] but we also have been assured that it is so we're basing it on that."

Greater St. Albert Catholic Regional Division Superintendent David Keohane said his district has only received one complaint about wireless installation.

"We ensure that our Wi-Fi falls within the standard and they would fall well within the standard of electromagnetic frequency," he said.

"We have to make sure we balance diligence to the research and ensuring that we're well informed in terms of what the research says."

Guidelines not a comfort

Nilsson says she's not comforted by the Health Canada guidelines.

"Safety Code 6 only refers to the thermal effects of microwave radiation. The fact is there are many doctors out there that say there are biological effects that can happen without having a thermal effect," she said. "They've been wrong about things before."

"As parents we feel as though the school board has put my child in a clinical trial that I have not consented to."

Nilsson said she wants school councils and parent councils to have the opportunity to explore other options.

"I'm not saying nobody else should have the option of having their kid in a Wi-Fi school but I should have the option of not exposing my child," she said.

"I can control what they're exposed to at home and I want to be able to control some of these things that they're exposed to at school as well."




A new problem with smart meters

Your newspaper has run a couple of articles recently concerning the pros and cons of smart meters (March 6, 8). However, there is an issue that has not been addressed and that is the effect of this change on landlord-and-tenant agreements and relationships.
A tenancy agreement could have the heat and utilities included in the rent or the rent could exclude these costs and the tenant could be required to cover them separately. In either case there is a problem.
A smart meter will only reduce the costs of electricity if the consumer uses the power more in off hours and, of course, this is not convenient. If the consumer does not alter their behaviour then the bill will actually increase and in some cases rather substantially.
Clearly this is a problem if the landlord is paying the bill and wants the tenant to do their laundry at night but there is no incentive to the tenant to do this. This creates friction and has caused some landlords to try to alter the agreement and/or evict the tenant. A tenant does not have to accept a change to the agreement during the tenancy.
On the other hand, if the tenant has the bills coming in their name the owner of the building/home has no incentive to reduce the costs by installing more efficient appliances or upgrading the heating system, insulation, windows and doors. This can obviously cause problems with maintenance issues.
At the Kinna-aweya Legal Clinic we have noticed an increase in the number of disputes between landlords and tenants concerning these issues and nothing in the government's program has addressed them.
If we are serious about conservation then the costs of the energy used must rest with the only person who can make the investments necessary to reduce those costs and that is the landlord/owner of the property. To have co-operation from the tenant there must be a different incentive system created.

Richard H. Atkinson
Thunder Bay




The internet of things: it's big but it's not always very clever…

The Guardian

One of the most glaring examples is the electricity industry. All over the industrialised world, utility companies are starting to install hundreds of millions of "smart meters" which contain an on/off switch that can be remotely actuated. The prime purpose of these devices is to enable electricity suppliers to switch delinquent customers on to pre-pay tariffs; but other uses include giving utility companies (or governments) the power to implement rolling power cuts as electricity demand outstrips generating capacity.




Cellphones, Wi-Fi, and Other Electromagnetic Hazards

by Jim Waugh




How not to run a power system

Ontario agencies wasting money
There were two more examples this week of the stunning ineptness of the Ontario government and its alphabet soup of power agencies.

Implementation of the province's $1-billion smartmeter program has been delayed in Ottawa and elsewhere due to confusion between the local power companies and the provincial agency running the program. Of greater concern is the revelation that power companies and power traders have been paid hundreds of millions of dollars for not producing and not importing power.

A report by the Ontario Energy Board panel that monitors the electricity market says that $1.1 billion has been paid to companies not to produce or not to import power since the Ontario power market was created in 2002.

Some Ontario companies apparently know how the system works and how to work the system. The review panel has "repeatedly" underlined a problem in northwestern Ontario, but it hasn't been fixed. Companies there have raked in $360 million, essentially for doing nothing. There is surplus power in that part of the province and limited connections to move it elsewhere.

Nevertheless, Ontario's power rules allow companies to offer their power for sale, then be paid not to provide it. Power customers across the province get the bill for this nonsense.

The panel notes that in other jurisdictions, companies playing these kinds of games are subject to financial penalties and investigations.

In Ontario it's all perfectly legal.

Ontario also compensates generators who have to shut off their power due to excess supply in the system.

Shutting down pays more than generating the power. One company made more than $18 million in just six months by exploiting this loophole in the system. The Ontario Energy Board and the Independent Electrical System Operator are looking into the matter.

Is it any wonder that the cost of power in Ontario is expected to rise 7.9 per cent a year for the next five years?

Also in the power incompetence file is the latest twist in the smartmeter saga. The provincial government compelled Ontario consumers to buy the meters at a total cost of $1 billion. By measuring when power is used and charging accordingly, the meters are supposed to help moderate peak demand and might even save consumers a few dollars.

Unfortunately, the savings to consumers have been adjusted almost to the point of non-existence by the province's decision to charge only minor differences between peak and off-peak power. If consumers don't see the value, the potential to moderate demand will be lost as well.

Now Hydro Ottawa has asked for an extension of the June implementation deadline, citing numerous technical problems on the provincial side. While it's phrased as a request, Hydro Ottawa is telling the Ontario Energy Board that it can provide no definitive date for getting the smart meters to work as intended.

Of the 40 power distributors in Ontario, 16 have so far asked for deadline extensions and only one has all customers on time-of-use billing. Time-of-use has been activated for about 15 per cent of Hydro Ottawa customers.

Hydro Ottawa says the metering plan, as originally designed, did not provide customers with a meter reading for the start and end of each billing period. A federal agency had to step in to order that fixed.

While the local power utilities have the capacity to read meters and bill their customers locally, the new smart-meter system rules demand that all the information be submitted to a central databank run by the IESO. It's no surprise that this had led to a few technical delays. One wonders why it was even necessary.

There have been other technical delays as well, Hydro Ottawa says.

The Ottawa situation is particularly interesting because Hydro Ottawa CEO Rosemarie Leclair has been chosen to run the Ontario Energy Board.

Her own utility's assertion that things just aren't ready to proceed will make it tough to stick with the party line that it's all going according to plan.

It's tough to say how much the whole smart-meter program has cost. We all had to buy meters, but the power companies will have to pay to operate them and it sounds like there have been considerable technical costs. The IESO alone has an $89-million, four-year budget for its piece of the smart meter plan.

Maybe the problem will become moot. If elected, Progressive Conservative leader Tim Hudak says he will make the time-of-use program optional, effectively making the whole program useless.

With the delays, the smart-meter program could be dead even before it gets started.

If so, it will be a money-waster in the same league as the eHealth Ontario scandal.

Managing the province's electrical supply and transmission system is complex, but Ontario has created a textbook example of the weaknesses of centralized bureaucratic systems. The whole thing needs to be rethought from the ground up, preferably by people who care about your power bills.

Contact Randall Denley at rdenley@ or 613-596-3756.


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