CELL PHONE TOWERS TOWN OF INNISFIL

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1 CELL PHONE TOWERS TOWN OF INNISFIL Dr. Jim Pfaff, MD, BSc, MHSc, DAvMed, Associate Medical Officer of Health Marina Whelan, CPHI (C), BSc., Manager, Health Hazards Lori Holmes, CPHI (C), BASc, Coordinator, Health Hazards July 10, 2013

2 OBJECTIVE Provide brief summary of current information related to human health and cell towers Respond to questions or comments from Council and residents

3 RADIOFREQUENCY (RF) Wireless communication occurs when information is relayed using radiofrequency (RF) energy Cell phone towers serve as hubs (base stations) for cell phones and local wireless networks RF energy has a lower frequency than visible light RF energy is similar to the type of energy used in AM/FM radio and TV broadcast signals

4 RADIOFREQUENCY ENERGY

5

6 STANDARDS Public safety Health Canada developed safety guidelines for exposure to radio frequency in its Safety Code 6 Limits of Human Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields in Frequency Range from 3kHz to 300 GHz. Safety Code 6 based on hundreds of peer reviewed scientific studies Operators must respect updates made to Safety Code 6. Industry Canada responsible for regulating radio communication and perform compliance assessments Industry Canada requires all radiocommunication and broadcasting operators to comply with Safety Code 6 at all times Health Canada conducts ongoing reviews of published scientific studies on the health impacts of RF energy.

7 When establishing recommendations for exposure limits the weight of evidence from the bulk of scientific literature is considered. The term "weight of evidence" means that a number of factors other than just the number of studies finding or not finding an effect are taken into account. The most important of these factors are: the quality of the work performed, and whether the effect, if found, is reproducible by other researchers.

8 HEALTH CANADA Consensus of the scientific community is that RF energy from cell phone towers is too low to cause adverse health effects in humans. RF exposures from cell phone towers are typically well below Health Canada s exposure standards. Health Canada set the public exposure limits 50 times lower than the threshold for potentially adverse health effects. As long as exposures respect the limits set in Health Canada s guidelines, there is no scientific reason to consider cell phone towers dangerous to the public (HC October 2011).

9 WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION To date, the only health effect from RF fields identified in the scientific reviews has been related to an increase in body temperature from exposure to very high field intensity found only in certain industrial facilities. Levels of RF exposure from base stations and wireless networks are so low that the temperature increases are insignificant and do not affect human health.

10 RF MEASUREMENTS 2012 City of Toronto 2007 Highest 6 minute average at Metro Hall. Level was 2.11% or 47x below Safety Code 6 (SC6) limit Second highest average was.44% or 227x below SC 6 If these two removed due to proximity to broadcast facilities, average would be.0556% or 1798x less than SC6 City of Vaughan 2012 Al Palladini Community Centre Highest level at 240m from the tower was.02680% or about 3731x lower than SC6 Time averaged level at 100m from the tower was.03492% or 2864x below SC6 Overall average (6 sites): Maximum:.10377% of SC6 public limit = 964x below SC6 6 Minute time averaged: % or 1781x less than public limit for SC6

11 EXPOSURES Public Health Ontario has advised that in terms of the Vaughan study, the recorded data indicated that the cumulative 6 minute timeaveraging SC6 levels for all sites are only a small fraction of the SC6 requirements for the general public and therefore comply by a wide margin. (2012). WHO states that recent surveys show that RF exposures from base stations range from.002% to 2% of international exposure guidelines. This is lower or comparable to RF exposures from radio or television broadcast transmitters (2006)

12 ELECTROMAGNETIC SENSITIVITY (EHS) Self reported symptoms include: Headache Fatigue Nausea Ringing in the ears Digestive disorders Skin redness Burning Sensation Appear at levels tolerated by the general public. Causes are unclear. However, there is no scientific evidence that the symptoms are actually caused by EMFs (Health Canada, 2011). Majority of studies indicate that EHS individuals cannot detect EMF exposure any more accurately than non-ehs individuals (WHO, 2005).

13 CONCLUSION WHO, Health Canada and Public Health Ontario agree that adverse health effects are not associated with cell phone towers. Public engagement and education is important

14 RESOURCES World Health Organization: Health Canada: Vaughan Study: &s=all%20sites

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