Canada: Oplaaiend debat over zendmasten en mogelijk daarmee samenhangende gezondheidseffecten.
woensdag, 09 februari 2011 - Categorie: Berichten Internationaal
''Het enige waar de overheid ons met haar achterhaalde emissienormen tegen beschermd is opwarming'' is in Canada een veelgehoord argument in de oplaaiende discussie over zendmasten voor mobiele telefonie en de gezondheidseffecten die daarmee mogelijk gepaard gaan.
Aanleiding van het debat in de Canadese plaats Nainamo is de voorgenomen plaatsing van een zendmast recht tegenover een basisschool. Ouders dreigen hun kinderen van school weg te halen als plaatsing van de mast doorgaat.
Health Canada, de Canadese Gezondheidsraad, weigert een interview met de krant.
De plaatselijke gezondheidsautoriteit, Vancouver Island Health Authority, verdient zelf $13.500,- per jaar aan een zendmast op een van haar gebouwen, Nanaimo Regional General Hospital......
Bron: Nainamo News 9 febr. 2011
Concerns about cellphone towers not being heard
Government bodies not talking about antennas on public property
Auteur: Derek Spalding, Daily News
The debate over cellular phone antennas and the possibility of associated health impacts continues to heat up around North America.
The discussion landed in a north Nanaimo neighbourhood recently when Telus announced its proposal to erect a 43-metre tower near Hammond Bay Road.
Telus has offered $24,000 a year to the Regional District of Nanaimo for renting a portion of its property, located across the street from an elementary school.
Two very distinct arguments have been made about the impact of people's exposure to electromagnetic energy, which is emitted from radio frequencies in cellular phones.
Most levels of government and private businesses subscribe to Health Canada guidelines that say high-frequency radiation levels do not cause health problems in humans.
But some scientists are still studying this relatively unknown territory and many are saying there is an increasing number of studies that demonstrate the impacts of long-term exposure to high-frequency or microwave radiation levels.
No one has been able to tell the Nanaimo Daily News how many antennas are in the city, but research shows there could be approximately 15 within Nanaimo proper.
At least four of those are on public property, but few of the governing bodies, including Health Canada, have any comment about the antennas or the possible health impacts.
Too many people hide behind the federal guidelines, which are out of date and have not kept up with the research, according to one of Canada's loudest scientists who believes that long-term exposure to microwave radiation can impact a person's health.
''Our government believes that the only harmful effect from microwave radiation is from the thermal effect. The only thing our government is protecting us against is heating,'' said Magda Havas, associate professor of environmental and resource studies at Trent University. ''Other countries are basing exposure on any kind of biological effect.''
Havas is criticized as often as she is praised for her work in this field. She has been researching the biological effects of electromagnetic pollution, including radio frequency since the 1990s.
Research indicates that there is enough of a risk attached to high-frequency radio waves to cause concern among communities and inspire government to reconsider its guidelines until more research can be done.
Studies have shown that long-term exposure to high-frequency radio waves increased the risk of cancer in lab rats, while other studies show that humans experience a range of physiological ailments after long-term exposure to similar microwave radiation from cellphone antennas. The exposure can lead to what scientists are calling electro hypersensitivity. This illness includes insomnia, tinnitus, chronic fatigue, nausea, dizziness, skin problems, depression and anxiety. Not everyone is impacted by the radiation, but research is demonstrating that the closer people live to the antenna, the more likely they are to experience difficulties.
Health Canada refused a Daily News request for an interview. Statements from its communication team said typical radiofrequency levels from cellphone towers are ''thousands of times below the limits for public exposure.''
A growing number of parents say they will pull their children from Hammond Bay Elementary School, if the RDN reaches an agreement with Telus and allows the tower to go up. Residents living close to the RDN's Greater Nanaimo Pollution Control Centre say they do not want to be exposed to the antennas. Parents say their children will be exposed to it 24 hours a day, particularly at school, which is within 200 metres of the proposed tower site.
School staff have not returned requests for interviews, but a few parents have spoken out. The school's parent advisory council has formed a sub-committee, which has been tasked to come up with an official position. Area residents have lobbied local, regional, provincial and federal governments looking for support. Most of those bodies already have antennas on their own property, but taxpayers hope that they can bring enough attention to stop this one from being erected.
Some people will meet with Coun. Bill Bestwick, who is also a director for the RDN.
''They are taking the necessary protocol to bring the issue to people's attention,'' said Bestwick. ''They're making a compelling argument for why this might not be the most suitable location for a cell tower.''
Local governments should be more involved in site selection for these towers, according to Vancouver East MP Libby Davies. She is working on a private members bill that outlines why the federal government should take more of an active role in determining where the towers are installed. It explicitly demands that municipalities be far more involved in the process.
Government bodies are already making money from cellphone towers in the city.
The Vancouver Island Health Authority has one erected on top of Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, the RDN already has one at its 6300 property on Hammond Bay Road and the city has a contract with both Telus and Rogers.
Telus installed an antenna in the tower at NRGH a few years ago. VIHA receives $13,500 a year as outlined in the 10-year contract signed in 2008, according to communication staff.
VIHA refused interview requests regarding the health implications for cellphone antennas. When asked if they conducted research into possible health implications, the communications team issued a statement, saying the ''health authority does not believe there are health impacts consistent with existing evidence using Health Canada guidelines.''
City staff also avoided questions about whether or not they completed any research on the possible health impacts. They too cited Health Canada guidelines, saying the city does not regulate cellphone antennas.
''People won't talk about it because everyone is hiding behind Health Canada regulations,'' Havas said. ''Everyone wants to believe Health Canada, but on this the regulations are so far behind the science.''
Telus plans to hold an open house in March to get feedback from the community. Spokesman Shawn Hall said there is wide support for the tower, which will fill a huge gap in service.
Telus proposes erecting a 43-metre cellular phone tower on RDN property at 4600 Hammond Bay Rd.
Telus has nine cellular phone antennas in Nanaimo.
Cellular phone providers have a total of about 19 antennas between north Nanaimo and the Nanaimo airport.
The number of cell phone users in Canada rose from 100,000 in 1987 to more than 21 million by the end of 2008.
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