|These practices should be regulated! Cell phone tower |
disguised as a flag pole, located directly in front of
a home for seniors, Oakville, Ontario.
Here is an example that cities and towns might wish to consider regarding placement of cell phone towers, as suggested in a letter to constituents, written by Canadian Member of Parliament for Oakville, Ontario, Terence Young. (See here for full text of the 14 May letter.)
Six cellular suppliers want to establish a high grade of service in the GTA which will require many more cellular towers. The suppliers claim they wish to provide cell phone service in Oakville. “It is really about building a much more comprehensive network so that consumers can watch TV shows on hand held devices, which will require broadcasting stronger radio frequency everywhere, reaching even the basements of our homes…”
Canadian Member of Parliament, Terence Young, goes on to say that although there is “no broadly based consensus regarding proof that electro-magnetic radiation (EMR) from cellular antennae on towers is a serious health risk,” the precautionary principle should be applied when it comes to health.
“The current safety standard, the model Industry Canada uses to identify health concerns from cellular towers, is in my view both inadequate and outdated. It measures only how much radio frequency (EMR) heats up body tissue over six minutes. It does not properly address recent concerns over the risk of cancer and EMR, or those persons who have sensitivity to EMR.
“I believe that Industry Canada should recognize the early evidence as the European Parliament has done. They should issue new regulations that will allow municipalities like Oakville to reject any proposed location that is close to homes, schools, health care facilities or day care centres.”
Based on the precautionary principle, he is suggesting immediate removal of antennas that are currently placed close to homes, schools, health care facilities and daycare operations that are causing distress to residents.
Action should be initiated on a local level, as it would take years for Health Canada to endorse changes in safety measures. What then is the solution? The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has proposed three changes:
1. Do away with the current exclusion from public scrutiny, local planning and zoning for new commercial towers fifteen meters high or less.
2. Cellular telephone companies must be directed to a higher degree by Industry Canada to share their existing and future communications towers so there are fewer towers overall.
3. The current safety code must be updated every two years and set stringent standards to protect human health.
A good place for municipalities to start is to demand placement of new towers at least 200 meters away from homes, schools, health care facilities and daycare facilities.
He concludes by citing two precedents where towns and cities in Ontario led the way for upper levels of government to act on matters related to human health. The first was pesticides where the Town of Hudson, Quebec went to the Supreme Court of Canada to claim the local power to ban them and won. This opened the door for every town and city to do so.
The second was smoking in restaurants, where GTA municipalities, including Oakville under the leadership of the former Mayor, adopted a gold standard by-law that made it easy for the province of Ontario to later ban smoking in public places.
“These two examples prove that municipalities can determine public policy on health issues when they take a stand.”