Russ Loader is convinced invisible electromagnetic fields in his Oshawa apartment are making him sick. Health Canada says there’s no reason for concern.

Russell Loader and partner Katherine Melnitsky say abnormally high electomagnetic fields in their Oshawa apartment have been the cause of their declining health.


By JAYME POISSONStaff Reporter
Sun., Feb. 26, 2012

Russ Loader has a twisted neck, mangled hands, swollen ankles and sores on his legs. He’s convinced that invisible electromagnetic fields in his Oshawa apartment are making him sick.

But Health Canada, the agency that sets the guidelines for exposure to such fields reviewed a report on the Loader’s apartment and says there’s nothing to be alarmed about.

The conundrum is further fuelling a debate about what level of exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) is safe for Canadians.

“Based on the information provided, and on Health Canada’s expertise, there is no scientific reason for people in the building, nor any Canadian, to be concerned with exposure to power-frequency EMFs,” agency spokesperson Christelle Legault wrote in an email to the Star.

Magnetic fields are created by electrical currents and can come from cellphones, electrical appliances and power lines.

Loader and his partner, Kathy Melnitsky, moved into their fourth floor unit on Colborne St. eight years ago and say their symptoms began soon after unpacking. In addition to the swelling, their toenails began to rot. He said his arthritis has been exacerbated.

It wasn’t until they found a video online called “Dancing Cows” that the inexplicable ailments began to make sense to them. Dairy cows that live in barns with high electromagnetic fields have experienced joint swelling, open sores and rotting of their hooves.

And so, the couple got their own expert, Trent University associate professor Dr. Magda Havas, who wrote the report reviewed by Health Canada and said she’s “disgusted” by the agency’s safety guidelines. Havas said she can’t believe their “level of incompetence,” especially since the World Health Organization has classified EMFs as a class 2b carcinogen, meaning they’re possibly carcinogenic.