Canada’s parks – both urban and wilderness – may soon be more like coffee shops, with “hotspots” for wireless communication devices (WCDs – cellphones, tablets, etc.). No one has ever evaluated the full environmental and health impacts of blanketing regions with such radiation. Reports are mounting of ecological effects, that birds and insects become disoriented when exposed to wireless radiation – most recently from the US Department of the Interior. But what about the rest of us?
The topic is hotly debated, and the experts on both sides have studies to which they can point with some confidence that show ‘conclusively’ different results.
Nevertheless, many Canadians complain of illness or sickness due to wireless radiation from cell phones, cell towers, smart meters and Wi-Fi; they have formed advocacy groups, made presentations to official bodies and lobbied government for regulatory changes and reviews of Canada’s safety levels for microwave radiation exposure.
Students in Lindsay Freedman’s split Grade 3/4 class at Red Willow Public School are working away on tablets, laptops and iPods. It’s Bring Your Own Device day, a regular occurrence here, and supplementing the devices brought from home are 20 school-owned iPads. Freedman walks around the classroom, marvelling at her students’ instant embrace of the online presentation app she’s just introduced. “They’re an instant motivator,” she says, referring to the tools in their hands.
In 2011, Health Canada found itself in a tough spot. The public was becoming more and more uneasy over exposure to RF radiation from the proliferating number of cell phones, cell towers and Wi-Fi routers. After holding hearings in the spring and fall of 2010, Parliament asked the health agency to investigate whether its exposure limits —the national RF standard known as Safety Code 6 (SC6)— were too lenient and needed strengthening. Soon afterwards, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) added urgency to the assignment by classifying RF radiation as a possible human cancer agent, or, in the vernacular, a 2B carcinogen.
A new review of Health Canada's safety standards for radiofrequency devices, including Wi-Fi and cellphones, is deeply flawed due to the authors' conflicts of interest and lack of expertise, say two scientists.
Deux chercheurs rompent le silence et dévoilent les lacunes majeures du rapport récent de la Société Royale du Canada portant sur les effets des radiofréquences: téléphones cellulaires, systèmes Wi-Fi et compteurs intelligents
Canada's Royal Society (equivalent to the US' National Academies of Science) has just completed an evaluation of the county's safety standards for wireless devices like Wi-Fi and cellphones. The review, done at the behest of Health Canada, concludes that the existing standards appear sufficient, and there's no clear evidence of any risks posed by lower exposure. But the repport suggests that the government has done a poor job of explaining why it's adopted the standards it has.
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Society of Pediatrics state infants aged 0-2 years should not have any exposure to technology, 3-5 years be restricted to one hour per day, and 6-18 years restricted to 2 hours per day (AAP 2001/13, CPS 2010). Children and youth use 4-5 times the recommended amount of technology, with serious and often life threatening consequences (Kaiser Foundation 2010, Active Healthy Kids Canada 2012). Handheld devices (cell phones, tablets, electronic games) have dramatically increased the accessibility and usage of technology, especially by very young children (Common Sense Media, 2013). As a pediatric occupational therapist, I'm calling on parents, teachers and governments to ban the use of all handheld devices for children under the age of 12 years. Following are 10 research-based reasons for this ban. Please visit zonein.ca to view the Zone'in Fact Sheet for referenced research.