Wednesday, April 28, 2010


OTTAWA — A battle is brewing on Parliament Hill over whether mobile phones, wi-fi networks and cell towers emit too many harmful microwaves.

Industry officials say they don’t and argue the scientific community is behind them, but a fledging Montreal-based group, Save our Children from Microwaves, say they have science on their side, too.

Both sides — which vehemently discredit each others’ science — are testifying at the Parliamentary Health Committee this week.

Former New Brunswick Premier Bernard Lord, who now heads up the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, said the industry is “fully compliant” with Health Canada’s regulations, and the science that supports the industry is independent.

“We know there is scientific, peer-reviewed studies done around the world and they all come to the same conclusion. The standards that are set ensure the devices are safe,” Lord said. “There’s no credible study that has come to the conclusion that there is a risk to human health.”

But Francois Therrien, a spokesman for the wireless wary, has said that sounds suspiciously like the tobacco industry in years past.

“The industry says ‘we are waiting to have the proof of the link between the microwaves and illness,’” Therrien said Tuesday. “It’s too late. We don’t need this proof. The reality is people are sick when they are in the presence of microwave (emitting devices).”

He said symptoms of electro-hypersensitivity include: fatigue, headaches, memory loss, skin problems, dizziness, and loss of appetite, among others.

Industry Minister Tony Clement said the regulations are based on the “latest science,” and a spokeswoman for Health Canada said as long as exposure complies with its limits, “the department has no scientific reason to consider exposure to low-level radiofrequency fields, such as those from cell towers, dangerous to the public.”

The Health Committee will hear from more witnesses on the issue Thursday.