Wireless Electrical and Electromagnetic Pollution News
20 March 2010
Cell tower worries baby's father
Health risks cited for opposition
Mar 15, 2010 - 4:56 PM
Cell tower worries baby's father. William Marlatt shows where Bell Canada is planning on building a 130-foot tower 30-feet from his home. Staff photo/DAN PEARCE
A North York father is worried about possible health risks a proposed communications tower could pose to his baby son.
"Thirty feet from a one-year-old's bedroom, if that doesn't kick you in the gut, what does?" said William Marlatt, who lives on Wild Briarway on the west side of Leslie Street between Finch and Sheppard avenues.
"It is health (concerns) for a one year old. They might as well put the telecommunications equipment in his bedroom. This is ridiculous."
Bell Mobility is looking to build a 131-foot wireless tower somewhere in the parking lot of a medical centre at 4800 Leslie St., Bell spokesperson Julie Smithers said.
While Marlatt said he has measured the preferred spot and said it is 30 feet from his son's bedroom, Smithers said it is at least 65 feet from neighbours.
She said the tower is necessary to address customer requests for better cell phone coverage.
"We're always investing in our network and looking to adjust (customers') requests for coverage," she said.
"It (the present level of service) may not be as reliable as would be ideal for customers."
Bell has thousands of towers across Canada and they meet or exceed federal health and safety regulations, Smithers said.
Meanwhile, Bell is proposing a tower with the least visual impact on neighbours, she said.
"We've designed it to look as a flag pole and function as a flag pole" to make the tower as esthetically pleasing as possible, Smithers said.
But Marlatt is not convinced the tower doesn't pose health risks to his son.
"He will look out his bedroom window and see a tree and beside it a 130-foot telecommunications pole and Bell seems to think this is OK," he said.
"I think there are health concerns there. My wife is inconsolable. I think it is just a bad plan."
Marlatt is worried many residents in the area aren't aware of Bell's plans for the tower.
He wants residents to attend a Bell Mobility information meeting Monday, March 22 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. in the staff room of Lescon Public School at 34 Lescon Rd.
Marlatt, who moved into his townhouse with his family last July, said he only found out about the meeting from a neighbour.
Neither Don Valley East Councillor Shelley Carroll or Willowdale MP Martha Hall Findlay could be reached for comment
Man on a Mission: Keep cell towers a mile away from schools
Published: 03:30 p.m., Friday, March 19, 2010
Wayne Jervis is on a crusade. The 41-year-old Cos Cob resident is afraid that a proposed T-Mobile cell tower (at 205 Bible Street) and the radio frequencies (RFs) that come with it pose a health risk to his and other children who go to schools near the site -- and he's determined to do something about it.
On a recent freezing morning, at the crack of dawn, Jervis was bundled up at the Cos Cob Railroad Station gathering signatures on a petition he calls "Mandate a Mile." The mandate reads: "Residents of Cos Cob want Cell Towers kept One Mile from our Schools and Elderly Housing ... Say no to Birth Defects, Cancer, Brain Tumors, Alzheimer's, Depression, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and other illnesses linked to RF (radio frequency) Waves."
"The favorable response rate was approximately 85 percent to signing the petition at the train station," Jervis says. But his work doesn't stop at the station. Jervis has walked Greenwich Avenue and has gone door to door in different neighborhoods, collecting signatures wherever he goes -- and they now number in the hundreds.
He's been helped by his 9-year-old daughter Gigi. She and her third grade classmates have taken the petition to their school, Greenwich Country Day School (GCDS), to collect signatures from students and teachers.
"The momentum," says Jervis "is great."
Jervis and his wife, Heather, talked recently of their cell tower concerns in the living room of their backcountry rented home -- their family home on Cat Rock Road is under repair after a fire. On Jervis's desk were stacks of peer-reviewed public health studies, findings from international conferences, and from respected science journalists.
"You've got to educate yourself about the possible dangers," says Jervis who, ironically, makes his money from researching and investing in technology and telecommunication companies.
Heather Jervis, pregnant with the couple's fourth child, says she has "a mother's instinct" about the health risks of RFs. "The exposure levels are higher than the public health officials say," Heather says.
A map on Jervis' petition flyer shows 11 schools Jervis has located that are situated within a mile radius of the proposed Bible Street cell tower site: Sprouts and Seedlings Pre-School at the Greenwich Garden Education Center and Cos Cob Playgroup also on Bible Street, Central Middle and North Street Elementary Schools, Greenwich Country Day School, Pre-K Stanwich School at Greenwich Baptist Church, North Mianus School, The Preschool at St. Agnes, Stanwich School, Hilltop Preschool at Greenwich Reform Synagogue, and the new Bridge School.
"And there are two more just outside a mile," says Jervis, "Cos Cob Elementary and The International School at Dundee Preschool Program."
"They couldn't have picked a worse place," says Heather Jervis.
This year, three of the Jervis children will be attending GCDS. The Jervises have alerted Headmaster Adam Rohdie to their cell tower siting concerns.
Reached in his office, Rohdie, who has two children attending his school, says he's not opposed to cell towers. "But with the health concerns," he says, "with the jury still out on the impact on kids, it seems illogical to place these towers in densely populated areas, in close proximity to school and elder care facilities (as in the Greenwich Adult Day Care Center)."
Jervis has shared his concern with First Selectman Peter Tesei, who has been involved since last year in trying to find another T-Mobile site in the Cos Cob area after North Mianus School parents and neighbors protested the original proposed site at 328 Palmer Street. The second choice, the town-owned Montgomery Pinetum, also located on Bible Street, proved equally unpopular.
Tesei has asked Jervis to recommend people for a newly announced Selectmen's Cell Tower Placement Task Force. "Peter Tesei wants to move it from a NIMBY -- not in my backyard issue -- to a municipal issue," says Jervis.
"Since we don't have resources or staff," says Tesei, "if we want to pursue a lobbying effort, a task force would be advantageous, and Mr. Jervis has been very constructive."
Peter Berg of Cos Cob serves on the Pinetum Coalition that is fighting to keep a cell tower from being placed within the "open space" of Montgomery Pinetum. Berg, who has closely monitored the cell phone controversy over the last year, knows of 25 cell towers around town and he believes there's been "a certain hysteria whipped up here," over the health risks.
Berg is also familiar with FCC regulations.
"The federal regulators know cell towers or antennae give off radiation," he says. "They say towers can't give off a certain amount of microwaves. They have set a limit, and as long as it is below that limit a proposed tower can't be denied based on health."
T-Mobile's Northeast Senior Manager of External Affairs Jane Builder confirmed that. "T-Mobile sites operate well within the federal safety standards established and enforced by the Federal Communications Commission," she said.
"We believe," she added, "that our (siting) application strikes the optimal balance between the needs of local wireless users and the interests of residents -- many of whom rely on cell phones today to stay connected to friends, family and emergency services."
Builder and Berg were referring to the federal regulations that originated with the Federal Telecommunications Act passed in 1996. In that act, Section 704 preempts states and municipalities from forbidding cell tower sites altogether, including for any environmental or health reasons.
But Jervis doesn't buy those federal safety standards.
"In the past 20 years of putting up cell towers," Jervis says, "there have been no FCC regulations about the long-term effects. The FCC requirements were based on 1982-1993 studies of the thermal effects of short-term exposure to RF waves, which is distinct from and much higher than the recommended long-term, low-level RF exposure levels."
"The government agencies have cut all funding for researching this," he says, "The watchdog is asleep in the doghouse. And we need to take precautions until we have that long-term body of information for reference. There are indications that risks exist."
Last week, a resolution proposed by RTM District 12 that covers the North Mianus School that requires "wireless telecommunications structures" not be constructed within 1,500 feet of accredited Greenwich schools was making its rounds before various RTM subcommittees. Jervis attended the Health and Human Services Committee meeting and found the members -- many of whom are doctors and nurses -- nearly evenly divided over the resolution. "They felt there was `a need to know more' about the potential health risks of RFs" says Jervis, "and how the 1,500-foot setback for cell towers was arrived at."
"When is this going to end?" says Heather Jervis. "They're going to keep building cell towers. We won't know anything until we start having brain tumors."
"Proximity is the key," says Jervis, "That Bible Street site really is a residential area near the schools. It better be put in a commercial area. It would be great to put a stop to this until we have a logical framework for siting cell towers that incorporates residents' numerous concerns."
And, perhaps, the concerns of a crusader.
- Letters from our readers12.11.2009 08:01 p.m.
- Archery club shoots down cell tower proposal03.11.2010 09:32 p.m.
- Tower articles left out crucial point12.16.2009 05:34 p.m.
- As residents cry foul, whose backyard will end up with tower?02.02.2010 11:21 p.m.
- As one cell tower debate looms, a split on a previous cell tower construction12.29.2009 10:07 p.m.
Barnidge: Why don't cell phones carry warnings?
Posted: 03/19/2010 02:51:10 PM PDT
THE SURGICAL procedure is called a craniotomy, and Alan Marks says it is as frightening as it sounds. Nineteen months ago, his skull was opened to remove a golf ball-sized malignant tumor from the right frontal lobe of his brain in a seven-hour operation at UCSF Medical Center.
It had been growing there for years, he was told, before announcing itself May 6, 2008. That's when he had a seizure, flailing his arms, uttering unintelligible sounds and terrifying his wife, Ellie.
The Lafayette resident said he knows what caused it: extensive cell phone use.
Ellie and son Zack first wondered about the connection, researching Alan's condition online. She contacted international authorities on the correlation between cell phones and cancer, including Drs. Lennart Hardell of Sweden and Elihu Richter of Israel, who reviewed her husband's medical and cell phone history.
"They said absolutely, without a doubt, there is a connection," Ellie said.
Other experts will debate the conclusion, nonbelievers will dismiss it and those of us with no strong opinion will scratch our chins. In fact, we did that in this space 12 days ago, wondering about the dangers of the electromagnetic radiation that cell phones emit.
Alan and Ellie say we should be concerned. They have testified before Congress and the Maine House of Representatives, appeared on the "Dr. Oz Show" and national network newscasts. Numerous authorities share their opinion: Cell phones should come with a warning.
Alan, a 58-year-old real estate broker, said he used to be glued to his cell phone — more than an hour day, on average, for more than 20 years — always with the receiver tucked against his right ear. That last part is key, he said: proximity to the brain. Cell phones can be safe if they are kept at a distance — on speakerphone or headset.
"If there had been a warning 27 years ago, I still would have used a cell phone," he said, "but I wouldn't have put it to my head. That's the issue. People are killing themselves without being warned."
Because children and teens have thinner skulls, they are even more susceptible to microwave penetration, according to Cindy Sage. She is the co-editor of the BioInitiative Report, a study compiled by 14 doctors and health experts who analyzed cell phone dangers. An adult who uses a cell phone for 10 years or more has double the normal risk for malignant brain tumor. For those who start using cell phones as teenagers, the risk is five times as much, she said.
The question that you're asking is the same one Ellie Marks asked: Why doesn't the government require warning labels?
That was why she appeared before the U.S. House of Representatives in 2008, at the invitation of Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, where she was stunned to learn Congress had not addressed this issue since 1997.
The 1997 standards, still in effect, are based on thermal heating — the amount of energy required to burn human tissue. Radio frequency and microwave radiation can have major effects without heating anything.
"Not much came out of the hearing," Ellie said. "But our government knows there's a problem. And the industry knows it, too."
Cell phone manufacturers' only acknowledgment appears in fine print buried deep in owners guides. The iPhone 3G advises users to keep the device at least five-eighths of an inch from their bodies; the BlackBerry 8300 says it should be 0.98 inches away.
Why, Alan asks, aren't the warnings printed on the box?
"People will still buy them," he said. "They'll just use them more responsibly."
Major organizations such as the National Cancer Institute and the World Health Organization have declined to press the issue. They say there is no definitive evidence of a health threat, but don't tell that to Ellie.
The film festival is including a screening of "Full Signal," a documentary examining the dangers of cell phones and towers in communities across the world. ...
Note - Cancer, hypersensitivity and other serious health effects - all involving non ionizing radiation!
Paul Jackson discusses UV light exposure limits
An UV Light Technology product story
Edited by the Manufacturingtalk editorial team Mar 17, 2010
Paul Jackson, managing director of UV Light Technology, discusses the occupational ultraviolet (UV) light exposure limits specified by the EU Optical Radiation Directive 2006/25/EC.
UV lamps are routinely used for non-destructive-testing (NDT) crack detection, particularly within the aerospace and automotive industries.
Many workers exposed to artificial UV light sources are increasingly concerned about risks to their health and safety.
This is often a result of media coverage concerning the potential detrimental effects of UV light from natural sunlight and sunbeds, which has led to widespread misinformation and misunderstanding regarding UV light exposure in the workplace.
Occupational UV light exposure in the UK will be subject to the new Control of Artificial Optical Radiation at Work Regulations 2010, which will bring into law the European Physical Agents (Artificial Optical Radiation 2006/25/EC) Directive.
This incorporates statutory UV light exposure limit values (ELVs), which are due to become law on 27 April 2010.
It specifies the minimum health-and-safety requirements for the protection of workers from risks arising from exposure to UV light and provides clarity on precisely what is required for the safe use of UV light in the workplace.
It states that employers must determine personal UV light exposure levels and compare with the ELVs as a means of assessing risk and necessary controls.
Workers must not be exposed above the ELVs and must be provided with specific information and training.
Ensuring compliance with the UV light exposure limits by appropriate control measures and providing appropriate information and training will not only mean that employers meet their obligations, but will build confidence and the acceptance of safe working practices by the workforce.
UV light is non-ionising electromagnetic radiation, transmitted in the form of waves, which are described by their wavelength and measured in nanometres.
It is located between the blue end of visible light and x-rays (400nm to 100nm) and split into the following spectral-range classification bands: UV-A 400nm to 315nm; UV-B 315nm to 280nm; and UV-C 280nm to 100nm.
It should be noted that 1nm equals one millionth of a millimetre.
The term 'optical radiation' defines the region of the electromagnetic spectrum that includes UV, visible and infrared light.
UV light energy - and its potential to cause adverse health effects - is inversely proportional to wavelength across the bands.
The dividing lines between the bands are convenient distinctions and not boundaries where sudden, large changes occur in detrimental health effects.
The potential to cause damage to unprotected skin and eyes varies across the bands and classification is, therefore, only a broad indication of the effectiveness for producing adverse health effects.
UV-A has the lowest energy and the least potential to cause acute adverse health effects.
UV-B has significantly higher energy and more potential to cause acute adverse health effects than UV-A.
UV-C has highest energy and generally the most potential to cause acute adverse health effects.
The ELVs take the lower limit of the UV-C region to be 180nm.
This is because UV light below 180nm (vacuum UV) is readily attenuated in air and is, therefore, of little practical biological significance.
It is well established and generally agreed that low-level exposure to certain wavelengths of UV light provides some health benefits, such as the synthesis of vitamin D3.
On the other hand, over-exposure to UV light can cause adverse health effects, such as erythema (sunburn), photoconjunctivitis and photokeratitis (arc eye) in the short term (acute effects) and can be attributed to premature skin ageing, skin cancer and cataracts as a result of repeated exposure in the long term (chronic effects).
The levels of risk for acute adverse health effects are determined by the UV light wavelengths present, the UV light irradiance values and personal exposure time.
The key is to avoid over-exposure and this necessitates the strict implementation of exposure limits in order to protect against over-exposure to UV light in the workplace.
There are different UV light ELVs depending on the wavelength range of the UV lamp.
It is, therefore, necessary to understand the definition and classification of UV light and know the wavelength range of the UV lamp in order to identify the applicable ELV.
It should be noted that more than one ELV may apply for a specific wavelength range.
The Control of Artificial Optical Radiation at Work Regulations 2010 and the Optical Radiation Directive are based on ELVs defined by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).
In cases of persons subjected to UV light exposure from artificial sources, it is necessary to assess the level of risk for adverse health effects by determining personal UV light exposure levels and comparing with the ELVs.
Where personal exposure complies with the ELVs, the risk can be considered low for the majority of the population and adequately controlled so far as is reasonably practicable.
However, workers must be provided with specific information and training.
Where personal exposure exceeds the ELVs, additional control measures must be implemented that decrease exposure to below the ELV.
The UV light ELVs for a broadband source are defined below.
Both exposure limits are applicable to all types of UV lamps used for NDT applications.
The ELVs define a level of UV light exposure, below which nearly all individuals may be repeatedly exposed without adverse acute health effects and incorporate significant safety margins.
The maximum permissible effective radiant exposure value (Heff max) of 30J/m2 takes into account variations of different UV light wavelengths in causing biological hazardous effects, such as erythema, photoconjunctivitis and photokeratitis.
This is necessary because some UV light wavelengths have a very significant effect, others proportionally less effect and some almost none at all, depending on the effect in question.
It provides a measurement that is weighted by wavelength according to a spectral weighting function, which is directly proportional to the biological hazardous effect.
The maximum permissible UV-A light radiant exposure value (HUV-A max) of 10,000J/m2 is an unweighted value and is in addition to the above.
It is necessary that compliance is achieved with both ELVs detailed above.
What this means is that, for UV-A blacklights used for NDT applications, there will be separate maximum permissible UV light exposure times for the unprotected skin and eye.
The user should ask if a clear and unambiguous statement can be made that the UV light ELVs are either observed or exceeded.
Where the operating instructions for a UV lamp provide the type of data illustrated below, this will allow the determination of personal exposure scenarios for assessing compliance with the ELVs.
This is the most user-friendly way of presenting data for ease of operator understanding and risk assessment.
It allows a clear and unambiguous statement to be made that the UV light ELVs are either observed or exceeded.
It is necessary for duty holders to limit personal UV light exposure time at the specified positions above to ensure that the maximum permissible exposure values for the unprotected skin and eye are not exceeded within any continuous eight-hour period.
If the maximum permissible exposure values are exceeded, the UV light irradiance must be reduced by appropriate control measures.
These could include containment, moving further away from the UV light source, reducing exposure time, or, as a last resort, the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE).
However, if this information is not available, a clear and unambiguous statement cannot be made that the ELVs are either observed or exceeded.
In this case, UV light irradiance measurements will most likely need to be made to assess whether or not exposure to a particular UV lamp would cause a person, located in a specific position, to exceed either of the ELVs.
This requires specialist measurement equipment, knowledge and expertise.
If either one or both are less than eight hours, control measures are necessary to ensure that personal UV light exposure is below the ELVs.
Persons at the measurement position should be advised to either limit their exposure time, so as not to exceed the maximum permissible exposure time within any continuous eight-hour period, or reduce the UV light irradiance to which they are subjected, by using containment, moving further away from the UV light source - or, as a last resort, PPE.
All persons who could be exposed to UV light, which could cause adverse health effects to the eye or skin, must be provided with suitable and sufficient information and training.
This must include: the potential adverse health effects of over-exposure to UV light on the eyes or skin; control measures and safe working practices to minimise the risk; heightened photosensitivity; the entitlement to appropriate health surveillance where necessary; the detection of adverse health effects, reporting procedures and entitlement to medical examination where necessary; and the necessary pre-operational checks to UV light equipment.
For example, where a filter glass is fitted in front of a UV bulb, always ensure it is intact and securely mounted in the correct position.
The UV light exposure limits may not be adequate protection for photosensitive individuals and special precautions may be necessary.
These individuals should seek medical advice with respect to additional protective measures that may be required before any exposure to UV light.
Check that all persons who could be exposed to significant levels of UV light are not unusually photosensitive, exposed to photosensitising agents or, less commonly, aphakic or pseudophakic.
This can be done by using questionnaires.
Individuals who are intrinsically photosensitive are normally aware of their heightened sensitivity, while individuals who are exposed to photosensitising agents, either ingested, injected or externally applied, may not be aware of their heightened sensitivity.
Check for any possible effects on the health and safety of employees, which could result from the interaction between UV light exposure and photosensitising chemical substances.
NDT magnetic particle or dye penetrant fluorescent inspection techniques offer the potential of greater sensitivity and the probability of the detection of hairline cracks in many safety-critical components upon which our lives may depend, such as aircraft landing gear and automotive steering systems.
It is, therefore, essential that UV light continues to be used within the NDT industry to ensure the quality and safety of these types of components.
While we must accept that there are risks associated with all human activity, UV light exposure at levels that comply with the new Control of Artificial Optical Radiation at Work Regulations 2010 will help to ensure that risks are low and adequately controlled.
Jackson is a metallurgy and materials technology graduate from Aston University in Birmingham.
He has published a book and runs training courses entitled 'Safety First with UV Light'.
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