4
Okt
2005

6th installment of the Canadian SWEEP Initiative e-bulletin

This is the 6th installment of the Canadian SWEEP Initiative e-bulletin (Safe Wireless, Electric and Electromagnetic Policy).

This newsletter serves as a roundup of what has been occuring on the EMF/EMR awareness and advocacy front in Canada. Please send me Canadian links and stories. Thanks to a collaboration with GotEMF Canada we are now beginning to build a broad national news-sharing alliance.

Two items today: 1)another excellent opportunity to hear Magda Havas speak, and 2) an item published this weekend in a NFLD paper about Health Canad's response to the NFLD and Lab government's inquiry about EMF.

1. For those within driving distance of Toronto: Tuesday, October 11th, 2005 The Toronto Dowsers is proud to present: Magda Havas, B.Sc., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Environmental and Resource Studies at Trent University

"Earth Energy, Life Energy, and Techno Energy Interactions: How is electrical technology affecting life on our planet? It's a Shocker!"

Gathering, Socializing, Registration, at 6:30 p.m., Program to begin at 7:00 p.m.

at THE LATVIAN CENTRE --- 4 Credit Union Drive This is actually ON Eglinton Avenue This is 2 traffic lights EAST of the Don Valley Parkway On the South West corner of Eglinton and Credit Union.
(Parkway Honda is on the South East corner.)

$7per meeting for Toronto Dowsers members $10 per meeting for non members of the Toronto Dowsers If you cannot afford this donation, please make arrangements with us before the day of the meeting.

Marilyn Gang: mgang@dowsers.info (416) 322 - 0363 (9:33-9:33) Check out the Toronto web site and our past newsletters at: //www.TorontoDowsers.com


2. An article which appeared in this Sunday's Independent from Newfoundland and Labrador

Health Canada Contacts Province About Health Implications of Electromagnetic Fields

By Clare-Marie Gosse The Independent

A Sept. 12 letter to the province from Health Canada states the federal government is planning to wait for the results of a World Health Organization study into the health implications of exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) before funding any studies of its own or setting safety guidelines.

The letter was sent by Morris Rosenberg, deputy minister of Health Canada, in response to an inquiry into overexposure to EMFs by John Abbott, the province's deputy minister of health.

In July, Abbott sent three letters to Health Canada, Natural Resources Canada and the provincial Department of Natural Resources. He outlined a request for information on the subject of electromagnetic exposure due to increasing concerns within the province that high incidents of cancer may be related to electricity from transformers or faulty power distribution lines. "The matter of exposure to EMFs and the potential link to health issues, including cancer, is of public concern in Newfoundland and Labrador," Abbott wrote.

In his reply, Rosenberg explained why Canada currently has no exposure guidelines.

"Health Canada is in line with a large number of other countries, which feel that the evidence for a clear association between magnetic fields and cancer is too weak to form a basis for national guidelines."

The results of the international World Health Organization EMF project are expected in 2006, along with recommended guidelines for national authorities. Rosenberg says Canada will review the issue at that time. "Should they be necessary, any changes to the current position of this department on the impact of EMF exposures would only come after consideration of this important and long-anticipated document," he says.

Scientists have been conducting research into the health effects of EMFs for decades. Reports have shown exposure can increase the risk of childhood leukemia, as well as exacerbate other cancers and chronic illnesses. Some countries such as Sweden and Switzerland have since tightened their guidelines for recommended magnetic field exposure. Others recommend a precautionary approach.

After his wife fell sick with breast cancer, Norris Arm resident Gerald Higgins began lobbying the province to fund a localized, independent study in Newfoundland and Labrador (which has been called an ideal location by health and environmental experts, including the Sierra Club of Canada). He has received support from several politicians, including former Liberal leader Roger Grimes and Scott Simms, MP for Bonavista-Gander-Grand Falls-Windsor.

Five years ago Higgins discovered that out of the 62 transformers in his town, there were incidents of cancer located close to 60. He has since spoken to thousands of cancer victims, and to support Higgins, Norris Arm mayor Fred Budgell, mailed 150 letters to towns in the province, asking for stories of cancer that could be related to transformers; 90 towns responded. Despite similar stories across Canada, government officials seem unwilling to conduct conclusive research.

"Research findings remain inconsistent and seem only to exacerbate, rather than resolve public concerns," writes Rosenberg.

Geoff Eaton, founder of Realtime Cancer, says with other countries beginning to adopt EMF guidelines, Canada should take note. "On the one hand they're not acknowledging data collected in other jurisdictions in the world and on the other hand they are refusing to investigate and generate data in Newfoundland," he says. "It's all about priorities. We are far too dependent on Government and if I had the cash in my back pocket, the studies would be funded and I'd do them right away."

He says government is too easily swayed by the best interests of power companies, who are "allowed to operate without any guidelines or responsibility."

Magda Havas, a professor of environmental resource studies at Trent University in Ontario and an expert in the harmful effects of EMF exposure, agrees.

She says government will eventually have to pay attention because "too many people are getting sick." Havas has been supporting Higgins in his call for a study in Newfoundland and Labrador and has spoken on several local radio stations about the issue.

Almost on a daily basis, she says people who are suffering from health implications as a result of electrical sensitivity contact her for help and she also been approached by doctors requesting information on the subject for concerned patients.

Havas says she has little faith in the World Health Organization's upcoming EMF report. "I think membership is stacked; they pick the people who are going to give them the answers they want and we are not going to move forward on this very quickly." \ She does have confidence in the possibility of a local, independent study, however, and says it could have a huge affect on government and public perception.

"Studies like that will ultimately force the World Health Organization, Health Canada, to do something. One of the reasons why I think they're reluctant to fund these studies is because they don't want to get the answers that they might very well get."
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