Policy Updates Needed Regarding Electromagnetic Radiation
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- C4ST, canada, cellular towers, radiation, wireless
On December 1st, the Toronto Executive Committee was supposed to discuss a moratorium on installing rooftop cellular towers on Toronto Community Housing Corporation (TCHC) buildings. Councillor James Pasternak of Ward 10 wanted to mandate consultation with TCHC tenants about proposed installations of telecommunication towers on their homes. Currently, tenants are not consulted and have no opportunity to voice their concerns about the electromagnetic radiation that the towers produce.
The motion was not debated; Councillor Ana Bailão, who represents Ward 18 and is Chair of the Affordable Housing Committee, moved to defer the item indefinitely after stating: “There is a process that is legislated and that we follow… TCHC follows all the regulations that the legislation imposes on them to have these towers put into any of our buildings.”
The legislation that Councillor Ana Bailão is referring to is presumably Safety Code 6. Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED, formerly Industry Canada) relies on the Health Canada standard, Safety Code 6, to establish the limits of electromagnetic radiation exposure. Not only are these federal Canadian guidelines the least stringent in the world, they do not address the critical issue of long-term exposure to low-intensity microwave electromagnetic radiation emitted by cellular towers. ISED also has guidelines, about requirements and exceptions for notifying residents of all new cellular towers or antennae planned in their community.
With the legislation as it stands, TCHC administrators can agree to have as many cellular towers on their buildings as they choose without consulting residents. TCHC refuses to discuss this issue with tenants because they legally don’t have to if they are following Safety Code 6. This puts the residents of all of these buildings at risk, as they will be subjected to continuous radiation from the telecommunication towers. Councillor Pasternak stated during the Executive Committee meeting, “I think it’s very important that we respect the opinions and feedbacks of our TCH tenants. Certainly, we want to put people first and not antennas first.”
The Government of Canada must acknowledge that current assumptions about the safety of electromagnetic radiation are outdated and must be revised. Health Canada must upgrade the Safety Code 6 guidelines to lead, not trail, the world in the health and safety of its citizens. Exceptions to notification must also be eliminated from ISED guidelines, to mandate that there is always public consultation before placing telecommunication towers in communities.
C4ST is a not-for-profit, volunteer-based coalition of parents, citizens and experts whose mission is to educate and inform Canadians and policy makers about the dangers of electromagnetic radiation and to update legislation to keep all Canadians safe.