The long term health affects of low level microwave radiation are controversial and we are not qualified to evaluate the diverse scientific opinions on the subject. (Recent link to the 2007 Human Rights Commission report added, below, on April 7, 2012)
A May 27, 2011 news release from the Parliamentary Council of Europe urging governments to be cautious with EMF, stating, “The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), meeting in Kyiv at Standing Committee level, today called on European governments to “take all reasonable measures” to reduce exposure to electromagnetic fields…”
Here is the link to the actual Resolution 1815 (2011)
On May 31, 2011, WHO’s IARC declared that exposure to cell phone RF represented a 2b Carcinogen.
Read here for the details of the categorization, Health Canada’s response and Siemiatcyki’s caution about cell phones specifically:
Should I take steps to minimize my risk?
It’s your call, says Siemiatycki.
“People can respond to this according to their personal levels of concern, how they react to these kinds of possible hazards in society. So many things that we do carry some risk, whether it’s driving on highways or whatever, and we make decisions constantly about risks that we’re willing to take or not willing to take. For the time being, for the individual user, anyone who is concerned about this — and it’s not unreasonable to be concerned about this — can have options for reducing their exposure to radio-frequency fields from mobile phones. The easiest is to use hands-free devices,” said
Krewski says this makes sense. “Well, I think at this point, once the International Agency of Cancer Research identifies an agent as possibly carcinogenic to human, I don’t know if we want to wait for the final definitive science to accrue. I think we should be a little bit careful. “
Click here for The Lancet Oncology, Early Online Publication, 22 June 2011 article.
Below are some areas where there are clear conflicts and inconsistencies in policies, practices, and statements that are obvious to anyone.
1. Industry Canada will not consider any objection to the placement of a cell tower if it pertains to health. This stance is fundamentally wrong, Canadians have the right to object to anything, for any reason and to expect government officials to hear and honestly consider any argument. Industry Canada has followed the lead of the US Federal Communications Commmission (FCC) which has been criticised as being “an arm of the industry”. “Many who work for the FCC are either past, present or future employees of the very industries they are supposed to regulate.”(Karen J. Rogers, 2002)
2. Health Canada states in its publication, Radiofrequency Fields, “Safety Code 6 offers the best protection for Canadian workers and the general public for several reasons … Its limits, based on established biological effects, are among the most stringent in the world.” In fact, many countries have cellular antennae radiation levels far lower than Canada’s, complying with what is called the “precautionary principal.” The directive of this principal is to “err on the side of caution” until the safety of new technologies is firmly established. Cellphone networks in countries using lower radiation levels clearly work well, yet Canada stubbornly remains among the countries using high wattage levels. Measurements are in microwatts per square centimetre: Canada 1000, Switzerland 400, Salzburg Austria 0.1, New South Wales Australia 0.001.
3. The telecommunication industry funds most scientific research on all aspects of microwave radiation safety, yet it does not clearly advise the public about potential dangers. CBC national news showed safety warnings are hidden in the small print of cellphone operators manuals rather than clearly displayed on the cellphone or packaging (see below). The industry is vigorously opposed to putting SAR levels or warning labels on cellphones and Health Canada has remained silent on the issue. (SAR “specific absorption rate” indicating the amount of radiation absorbed by the body)
4. Health Canada has no staff EMF specialists, nor does it conduct epidemiological studies, rather it draws conclusions, “based on the weight of evidence, including most recent science, from hundreds of peer-reviewed RF studies.” Most of these studies, funded by the telecommunication industry, look at possible health consequences of cellphone microwave radiation heating human flesh. Scientists, who urge EMF caution, point out that “thermal effects” studies explore trivial concerns and more research needs to focus on DNA damage and other areas.
For further information:
There is a vast amount of information relating to health and safety of cellphone antennae on the internet. We are not in the position to recommend particular sites, but suggest:
Canadian Sites of Interest:
(Health Canada), “Safety Code 6″, Canada’s official EMF Guide: “At present, there is no scientific basis for the premise of chronic and/or cumulative health risks from RF [radio frequency] energy at levels below the limits outlined in Safety Code 6. Proposed effects from RF energy exposures in the frequency range between 100kHz and 300GHz, at levels below the threshold to produce thermal effects, have been reviewed. At present, these effects have not been scientifically established, nor are their implications for human health sufficiently well understood….” Safety Code 6
(VWS) Richard Caniell’s well argued letter is critical of Health Canada, suggesting it’s actions in regard to cellular technology has called the integrity of the organization into question.
The Canadian Human Rights Commission document of 2007 (Sears, M.Eng. Ph.D) outlines a broader view of cummulative effects of environmental stressors on the body in the document: Medical Perspectives on Environmental Sensitivities.
(CBC), Sunday Edition: Michael Enright examines health complaints of tenants living beneath rooftop cellphone antennae in a Toronto apartment building. Followed by an interview with University of Colorado biochemistry professor, Jerry L. Phillips, PhD and researcher on factors that help shape radiation safety standards, including: funding, “weight of evidence” and the kind of research being done.
Citizens for Safe Technology: Comprehensive site. Hosted a petition against WiFi in Schools, and Liberal MP Maria Minna’s health petition. The Minna petition has 3000 signatures, many from Calgary, more signatures will be accepted when parliament resumes. Petition forms are on the site.
WEEP: (The Canadian Initiative to Stop Wireless, Electric, and Electromagnetic Pollution) Electro hypersensitivity and the environmental effects of electric and electromagnetic emissions.
World Health Organization: An overview of the WHO’s EMF project, listing further areas for research.