Recent comments

  • When it Comes to Political Ideas, How Big is ‘Big’?   26 weeks 5 days ago

    In much of your column you present arguments which, to a good part at least, can be traced back to our first-past-the-post (FPTP) voting system. and yet, in the opening paragraphs you suggest that FPTP is not our political system's greatest flaw.

    First past the post works just fine for horse races, but a democracy is not a horse race. The purpose of a democratic election is not to reward one political party with the prize of unilateral legislative and executive powers, it is to form an assembly reflecting the citizenry's multiple views and beliefs for the purpose of working out compromise solutions - finding ways for us all to get along, respect each other, and accept reasonable (if not perfect) solutions to our problems and challenges.

    The correct definition of our voting system is purality-majority. The majority it produces is an illusion. When one political party wins a majority on the basis of 40 percent of ballots cast, what it represents is the largest minority. The citizenry's majority, made up of the lesser minorities, is left out in the cold.

    The defects in our voting system stand out when we compare the 1963 and 2011 federal elections.

    1963, 79.2% voter turnout, Liberal Party 41.52% = minority government;

    2011, 61.1% voter turnout, Conservative Party 39.62% = majority government.

    I consider a system that can deliver a minority parliament on the strength of 41% and a majority parliament on the strength of 39% to be problematic.  As the name implies, the parliamentary seats a proportional representation voting system allocates to political parties is proportional to their popular support.

    The reason our political parties fail so miserably in developing and pursuing what you refer to as good ideas is that our voting system does not focus on ideas, its focus is on the person of the leader. Our voting system assumes: a) that only one party at a time can have good ideas, and b) that a single party can have the je ne sais quoi to know all the questions and to have all the answers to all the questions,

    The only way a political party can not just advance, but also implement a good idea is to have the power to do so. It is so because it is far easier to find fault with a good idea, to throw rocks at it and shoot it down, than it is to convince voters that it will work, and that early flaws in the implementation (Obama care) can and will be worked out.

     A bold idea offers an easy target for those who oppose it. A party needs the support of the largest minority to gain the power necessary to implement a bold idea. Holding back bold ideas and catering to the narrow self-interest (cut taxes) can reward a political party with the power needed to implement its bold ideas (Fair Elections Act). A party would never dare to advocate such ideas prior to or during an election.

    So what is our situation today? Our voting system leaves us with little more than hoping that we may some day be blessed with a political party whose flamboyant leader will elevate it to the status of largest minority and that, notwithstanding the bland narrow self-interest policies advocated during the election campaign, that flamboyant leader will surprise us all with good ideas after the election. Hmm, not exactly what democracy's philosophy promises, is it,  

    Three out of four European countries have proportional representation. Yes, that number includes economic basket cases such as Greece and Spain. But it also includes Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, the Netherlands and many others where ideas on education, health care, the economy, environment and social stability - what to do and how to do it - are debated at great lenth during and after election campaigns. In those countries, after the election, the focus of the debate among those elected to be responsible to sort it all out shifts to finding a compromise a majority - that is more than 50% - can accept and live with. In the mean time, back home here in Canada, our voting system favours a debate about which of the party leaders has the je ne sais quoi to be Prime Minister. 

  • Second area community opts out of Trail recreation program   27 weeks 2 days ago

    You are right about the endless feuding. Money does play a role, although other matters, call them political, can have deeper roots.

    In the particular case of Rossland and Trail money is at the root of much discord because the property tax is the principle source of discretionary municipal revenue, Trail's non-residential taxable assessment as a share of total taxable assessment is way above the provincial average, Rossland misses the average too, but on the other side. In addition, because of topography and altitude, Rossland's per capita costs are higher than Trail's, the most extreme example being winter road maintenance.

    Regionalizing services was pursued as one means by which to equalize access to the non-residential taxable assessment. For a service such as fire it worked reasonably well for two reasons:

    a) the service was fully regionalized, meaning that the RDKB was put in charge of all aspects of the service, leaving both Rossland and Trail (and the villages) as clients of the RDKB.

    b) what mattered was to have a service capable to respond to an emergency. Where the RDKB placed what was of no concern.

    Regional recreation was an utter failure for the simple reason that, unless the fire service, recreation was set up as a hybrid of the worst kind. The RDKB was responsible for the money but not service delivery, and municipalities were responsible for service delivery without control over the money.

    The sewer service, because of the regional district voting structure established by the province, provided Trail with a majority of the votes, able to impose its will on the other two partners.

    One option that was never pursued seriously was the allocation of the industrial taxable assessement on a per capita basis in the region. Trail would have fought an attempt to do so, of course, and the province was not interested, fearing what may come out of the woodwork if doing so were to be regarded as a precedent by other municipalities.

    Whether the mess and the ongoing fights are a price worth paying to avoid the allocation of industrial assessment, who is to tell. 

  • Second area community opts out of Trail recreation program   27 weeks 2 days ago

    The alternative methods of generating and sharing revenue could create the opportunity to not be so dependent on the traditional property tax. We still have to make more progress in order to not be so dependant.  That’s certainly a topic for another discussion.

    My frustration is the never ending battles to develop simple agreements for sharing local services. This isn’t new in any way. There was a newspaper article about Rossland and Trail in disagreement about services. This newspaper article was from 1927. The disagreements likely go back even further. They always contain fear mongering about losing local identities or public services or not getting a fair deal. We are still so very dependent on each other, regardless of the fear mongering. Sounds like a married couple in a home and have common interests, yet they can’t agree on anything and neither can move away.

    Local Governments could likely see even better provincial support of major projects if they could only see strong agreements in place between smaller communities that are so dependent on each other.

  • Second area community opts out of Trail recreation program   27 weeks 2 days ago

    John, have a look at this. You may find some information of interest with relevance to local conditions as it concerns financing. Keep in mind that municipalities, district municipalities, regional districts, towns or cities, they are all local governments. As it concerns financial matters, there is no distinction among the various sub-groups.

    http://www.ubcm.ca/assets/Resolutions~and~Policy/Policy/Finance/LocalGovernmentFinance_Report_Web_Final.pdf

  • Second area community opts out of Trail recreation program   27 weeks 2 days ago

    The SD20 system is a good example of where a regional district function might be considered as too large. Not everyone agrees on same terms for fair representation. A functioning district municipality could likely incorporate the RDKB Areas A and B, those areas doesn’t expand as far as Castlegar.  Is not having a senior high school in Rossland really that bad? For this discussion, try to ignore the lack of long term planning by the SD20 when constructing a new school in Trail that is too small. BTW, snow removal is a component of public safety. I’ve already seen reductions. The effects are barely noticeable.  

    Communities can still support and manage facilities on their own. However, the escalating cost of maintenance, repairs, and replacement for the aging facilities isn’t going to slow down. The wants and needs of society today seem to be compared to the luxuries of government spending seen during the baby boomer generation. No one is claiming to have a crystal ball here, but these luxuries might be lost when the small cities can’t borrow money using this localized taxation approach. Or we just remain status quo and pass the increasing debt onto the next generation.

  • Second area community opts out of Trail recreation program   27 weeks 3 days ago

    Thanks Andre,

    I appreciate the reading tips. Both books sound informative. The changing gut feelings must be unique in every community. I can go to a library to further investigate. Cheers.

  • Second area community opts out of Trail recreation program   27 weeks 3 days ago

    SD20 represents our larger region, with two board members representing Castlegar, two representing Trail, two representing the Beaver Valley, one (who actually lives in Trail) representing Warfield and two RDKB electoral areas, one representing two RDCK electoral areas, and one representing Rossland. I definitely don't see this regional board reducing any political problems between neighbouring commitees. If anything, it has exacerbated them.

    If this is an example of how an amalgamated government would work for the "Greater Trail" region, I'm not remotely interested. I suspect Rossland would fight a losing battle to keep amenities such as the library, pool, arena, museum, and having our streets snowploughed nearly as well as they currently are, when other communites could have more say in these decisions than we do.

  • Second area community opts out of Trail recreation program   27 weeks 3 days ago

    Your points are valid, John. I recommend a couple of books worth the effort to read for you, and others who may be interested.

    "Merger Mania: The Assault On Local Government" by Andrew Sancton. Sancton is a Rhodes scholar with a philosophy in politics doctorate. The book is published by McGill-Queen's University Press. the book examines shifts in moods and trends in amalgamations and consolidations in the US, Britain, New Zealand, Australia, and several Canadian provincees over the past century. It is well worth reading and helps the reader ask the right questions.

    The other book is "Guide to Good Municipal Governance" by C. Richard Tindal and Susan Nobes Tindal. Richard was prof at several colleges and universities, Susan is a lawyer, and together they established Tindal Consulting Limited, a local government and management consulting firm. The book was published by Municipal World in St. Thomas, Ontario.

    Unlike Sancton's, this book does not deal with amalgamation specifically. Its nine chapters are:

    #1 Introduction to Municipal Governance

    #2 Be Strategic and Selective

    #3 Align Organization with Priorities

    #4 Measure Results, Reward Performance

    #5 Pursue Public Involvement

    #6 Partner Where Possible

    #7 Develop and Live by Organizational Values

    #8 Council-Staff Protocol

    #9 Keys to Good Governance.

    You will not find these books in the local book store, but you should be able to get them through the library.

    You can float along on gut feelings and assumptions for quite a while, but if that is the basis on which you govern a municipality, the day will come when the gut don't feel so good any more. Many, many more books have been written on the subject of local governance by people who do know more about the subject than tired old taxpayer homilies.

    Reading these two would be a good start, and may encourage you to keep looking for more.

     

  • Second area community opts out of Trail recreation program   27 weeks 3 days ago

    Here we have a group of municipalities existing both geographically and socio-economically side-by-side. We’ve developed such strong collective approaches to providing a number of important services including; sewage treatment, parks and recreation, public transit and police and fire protection.  Anyone new to the area might not even be aware of the municipal boundaries.

    The local debates between communities continue to embrace a user-pay method for cost sharing our strongly integrated services. This user pay approach for public services is not sustainable for long. For example; why can’t someone stop paying school taxes after their kids graduate?

    There will always be challenges when looking for fairer methods of paying for shared services. As well, the definition of fair can be drastically different, depending on your age or where you live. The topic of a potential district municipality or amalagamation creeps back into the small town talk.

    There are strong arguments in favour of amalgamation:

    ·         more effective government;

    ·         lower per capita service costs;

    ·         fairer cost sharing;

    ·         elimination of the “free rider” problem;

    ·         the local identity and interests aren’t lost in a larger regional district system; and

    ·         more equitable access to resources; such as, an industrial tax base.

    There are also strong arguments made against amalgamation:

    ·         communities can have joint service agreements;

    ·         the regional district system can overcome the “free-rider” problem if key services are provided on a regional basis;

    ·         smaller community councils can appear to be more accessible to their citizens and have stronger local identities; and

    ·         smaller communities are better able to match the interests of local residents, their willingness to pay and the services provided.

    The potential loss of the strong local identity and willingness to only pay for local services always rears its head when the amalgamation topic comes up. Our communities are very strongly integrated together. The local identities shouldn’t go missing if the legal boundaries are quickly or even gradually removed. We just need a sustainable plan we can all use to remain both together and diverse. Local government restructuring could play that vital role by contributing to a prosperous economy and healthy society.

    References: Managing Changes to Local Government Structure in British Columbia: A Review and Program Guide. October 2000
  • Second area community opts out of Trail recreation program   27 weeks 3 days ago

    The problem that Trail doesn't get is that it is in effect "taxing" other municipalities without any representation.  The recreation facilities of Trail are run by Trail.  If Trail thinks they are regional facilities and require regional funding, then it stands to reason it should be run by a regional board of directors.  However we do not currently have regional recreation.  Either we all go it alone and are each responsible for funding and implementing our own facilities and programs, or we do it as a region for the region.  Trail dictating what will be offered and how much other municipalities should contribute is not the way to go about it, it ends up being taxation without representation.  That's just a non-starter in a democratic society.

    And it fails to address the elephant in the room which is Teck and other large regional employers who disproportionately fall into Trail's property tax area.  If Trail wants to split expenditures on regional facilities, wouldn't they also want to share revenue from regional employers and businesses?  I didn't think so.

    Maybe it's time to think about amalgamating into one large city?  This might reduce some of the political problems that exists between our neighbouring communities.  I've been opposed in the past, but it would certainly have some benefits, not the least of which would be reduced administrative costs (at least, in theory).

  • LETTER: Who’s Paying Attention to the WHO?   28 weeks 51 min ago

    Phil,

    Am I impressed, shocked or surprised that the WHO are making statements that cancer isn't linked to EMF and RF radiation?  Absolutely not.  However, I would rather believe scientists who have no ties whatsoever to the worldwide, multinational telecommunicaitons industry.

    I responded to your other post first, but I also wanted to reply to this one with some of the same information that I gave you in that post.  Closer to the bottom of that one, I mentioned a report by Susan Forster.  She was writing about a press briefing given by WHO scientists who were presenting the World Cancer Report 2014.  Her report suggests that there is a huge cover-up going on in the WHO with regards to the scientific data on EMF and RF radiation.  She points out that the players are not coming forward with the truth, and that truth (the perverbial elephant in the room) is that RF and EMF radiation are profoundly legitimate concerns in the dramatic rise in cancer rates around the world.

    http://www.c4st.org/images/documents/news-updates/WHO-Knew_The-Elephant-in-the-Room-2014.pdf

    Cheers.

  • LETTER: Who’s Paying Attention to the WHO?   28 weeks 1 hour ago

    Phil,

    Apologies for the delay in responding - good points made.  Certainly there are many conflicting studies out there on this subject and it is not easy to sort through what is true, unbiased research, and what is funded by those with vested interests in the telecommunications industry. 

    For your further research, I'm putting in a link to Dr. Ollie Johansson's Youtube video, where he is speaking at to a group of doctors in Barcelona, Spain.  Dr. Johansson is a Ph D. from the Dept. of Neuroscience at the Karolinska Institute, Stockholm.  He was speaking to a group of physicians in Barcelona, Spain last November.  In that video, you will see several scientific studies quoted, and as well as learning about Dr. Johansson's work, the Bioinitiative Report, you can follow up on the other studies he uses in his presentation. 

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5udG8OCZWY

    Also, there is a report from the Standing Committee on Health Canada, entitled, An Examination of the Potential Health Impacts of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Radiation - Canada.  So you don't have to read through the entire document, here are some notes that a friend summarized from it:

    --- Pages 12-13 ---

    "It is important to note that some scientists have found that long-term exposure to low level RF electromagnetic radiation could potentially provoke biological and chemical changes within cells that could negatively influence people's well being.9 These biological responses occur at the cellular level and do not involve heating. Scientists refer to them as “non- thermal effects” of RF and microwave electromagnetic radiation.10 However, these 
    biological and chemical changes may not necessarily translate into adverse health effects.11"

    --- Page 14 ---

    "Guidelines determining acceptable amounts electromagnetic radiation for safe human exposure are designed to prevent negative health consequences due to thermal effects"

    "The safety limits that Health Canada has set for safe human exposure to RF electromagnetic radiation is in the frequency range of 3 kHz to 300 GHz.20 This limit is referred to as Safety Code 6 and results in an average SAR of 0.08 W/kg, which is deemed safe for all members of the population including the elderly, individuals with health concerns, children and pregnant women.21"  

    "The impact of electromagnetic radiation on the human body is measured by the Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), which measures the amount of heat produced in the human body as a result of exposure to radiofrequency fields.18"

    --- Page 15 ---

    "Health Canada examines scientific evidence from animal, cell culture and epidemiological studies carried out worldwide.27"

    "... it examines studies that focus on both the thermal effects of electromagnetic radiation, as well as those that examine non-thermal effects occurring at the cellular level.28"

    --- Page 16 ---

    "They further noted that in the development of Safety Code 6, models of children's bodies and brains were used to examine the potential effects of radiation exposure on tissue similar to that of a child's, as studies cannot be directly conducted on children due to ethical reasons.30

    --- Page 19 - 20 ---

    "However, these scientists also pointed out that there were certain gaps in the existing literature related to long-term low-level exposure and brain functions and reproductive outcomes, as well as the effects of long-term exposure among children using mobile phones.56"

    "Furthermore, they suggested that while they supported the existing guidelines, individuals who did have concerns could take individual measures to limit their exposure, such as limiting their use of mobile phones.57"

    "precautionary principle is applied when there is only some evidence and that evidence remains inconclusive.50"

    --- Page 20 ---

    "In responding to concerns raised by witnesses, Health Canada officials indicated that they agreed that long term studies on the effects of low level electromagnetic radiation, as well as ongoing review of the scientific literature were necessary.61"

    "They further emphasized that a precautionary approach was only undertaken by the department when limited scientific evidence was available.63"

    --- Page 21 ---

    "However, the Committee also heard that some studies had found that there were negative health effects resulting from exposure to low levels of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation. It also heard that there were gaps in the scientific literature related to children's exposure, effects on brain function and possible effects on reproductive capacity. Moreover, the Committee heard that long-term studies on the effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation were necessary, as well as ongoing review of the scientific literature. Finally, the Committee also heard from witnesses that more publicly funded studies examining the health impacts of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation were necessary.

    --- Page 33 ---

    NDP Complimentary Report—Impact of Microwaves on Human Health:

    "The biggest gap in studies to date has been the effect of wireless technology on children."

    "... it would also be appropriate to let Canadians know that the safety of this technology is not guaranteed, but only theoretical at this point, particularly in the case of children."

    "... children should not be forced to be exposed to this technology in their schools until it is actually proven safe, not just theoretical acceptable."

    http://www.parl.gc.ca/content/hoc/Committee/403/HESA/Reports/RP4834477/hesarp10/hesarp10-e.pdf


    Next, I would like to make you aware of a report that was written only last month.  It comes from the website: www.c4st.org (CanadiansFor Safe Technology).  The particular article I'm giving the link to was written by Susan D. Forster, MSW, summarizing a press briefing in London with WHO scientists who were presenting the World Cancer Report 2014.  This report is very telling in that it points out that the players are not coming forward with the truth, and that truth (the perverbial elephant in the room) is that RF and EMF radiation are profoundly legitimate concerns in the dramatic rise in cancer rates around the world.

    http://www.c4st.org/images/documents/news-updates/WHO-Knew_The-Elephant-in-the-Room-2014.pdf

    By the way, the c4st.org website has a lot of other very helpful information for you to consider.  Hope this helps answer some of your questions.
     
    Cheers.
     
     

     

     

     

     

  • Green bin program moving to rural Grand Forks   28 weeks 6 hours ago

    Thank you :) 

  • Green bin program moving to rural Grand Forks   28 weeks 8 hours ago

    Shara: The reader is correct.

    The District Municipality of North Cowichan implemented a similar program back in 2012. The kitchen scraps from North Cowichan are sent to a privately-operated anaerobic digester composting facility which processes 30 tonnes per day of organic material from over 50,000 mid-Island households.

    With this expansion of the Grand Forks Green Bin service, Area D residents will also gain from being part of a regional service which will now collect between 25 and 30 tonnes per month of kitchen scraps from 3500 Grand Forks homes. That’s small scale.

    The point is that landfills service all residents – rural and urban. Landfill operators in BC must all move towards a more aggressive organics diversion program for the entire wasteshed. 

    The RDKB is in the process of updating the Solid Waste Management Plan - a strategic plan which will guide us in properly managing this component of our waste stream (40%).

    For more information about this Plan and how to participate in the process, follow the ‘Solid Waste Management Plan’ link on RDKB’s homepage: http://rdkb.com/home.aspx . (or 'like' us on Facebook: kNOw Waste-RDKB)

  • Green bin program moving to rural Grand Forks   28 weeks 2 days ago

    I am an avid supporter of composting garden, household and other compostable materials in one’s back yard.  My critical concern with this is, once a municipalities’ residents get used to and count on a municipal supplied free service, a user fee eventually slips into the mix.  This user fee then moves into the area of general revenue.

    I can remember the great promises of Rossland’s water metering system.  It was to be a great saver of water and very cheap to the users.  I attended a council meeting where the water meter and the relationship to user fees were being discussed.  I stood and asked if –everyone- in Rossland would have to have a meter and would there be a penalty for those who did not install a meter.  Yup, every citizen’s household would be forced to install a water usage meter and severe penalties would be charged for those delinquent meter free water users.  My second question was, “Will the users fees ever be used or raised as a way to raise funds for general revenue?”   The response; “Oh goodness no, the money for water used goes right back into our reservoir system.”  Well guess what; and guess what again.  To this date, only about 55% of Rossland households have water meters installed and funds from the water usage has been diverted to general revenue.

    What starts out as something really worth while and free, usually ends up being a profit maker for someone somewhere.

  • COMMENT: When one million job openings may actually mean just 210,000 new jobs   28 weeks 2 days ago

    Politics has always been a rider of the fence of outright lying to shady ambiguous promises using the passive form of grammatical English.   This is why, when dealing with politicians of all stripes, it is best to listen with doubt, question and a knowledge of their historical promises.  Several years ago there was a bill put before the house in Victoria that a campaigning politician can be held liable for promises made but not kept.  Naturally the bill was defeated.  The truth of the matter is, I don’t think God himself could keep half the claims that most politicians want you to believe.  Ambiguity in politics is an acceptable way of life in political circles.   For the most part, I love to listen to the outlandish rhetoric that we hear in federal, provincial and municipal elections. 

    Rossland can sit back and listen to much of this comedy act this coming fall.  We will be voting for a mayor and city councillors.  You can expect great relief from taxes, free shopping at Ferraros, free gas for your cars and everything and anything you desire in the city.  If you don’t believe me, just ask one of the candidates. 

    People want to hear the truth but they won’t vote for someone who tells the truth.  We are a strange lot are we not.

  • Green bin program moving to rural Grand Forks   28 weeks 2 days ago

    A reader sent in this link saying that the RDKB isn't the first regional district to implement a rural composting program. 

  • What's really at stake in the Ukraine?   28 weeks 2 days ago

    So Mr.  Dobbin and the Rossland Telegraph hits us with another Anti Conservative/Anti Harper rhetorical tirade. 

    Maybe before anyone begins to believe this political based diatribe, he or she should do a little research into history of the Ukrain/Crimean region.  The entire region has a storied and unsettled past spanning dozens of human generations.  Having the USA huff and puff their empty threats and hollow rhetoric is hypocritical enough, but having a pro NDP based poster come in to post more political jibberish is almost laughable. 

  • LETTER: Who’s Paying Attention to the WHO?   28 weeks 2 days ago

    Maybe you mean there are over 25,000 published articles that studied the dangers of RF and EMFs.  And from what the WHO is saying, they found it wasn't dangerous at the levels at which we are exposed. 

    If you mean otherwise, please point to some of those studies and their findings. But I'm only interested in peer reviewed research published in reputable science journals or magazines.

    Please also keep in mind that the terms EMF and RF represent a very wide variety of signals, each with different properties, and many of those studies focus on very specific wavelengths. So findings on one wavelength can't be applied to all other wavelengths.

  • Green bin program moving to rural Grand Forks   28 weeks 2 days ago

    The curbside collection of organic material in a rural region. Really, that is the ultimate of a cash grab. It takes minimal effort to separate organic waste and minimal space for composting. Those that separate waste materials are very likely to already have a composter or could easily begin to compost in a small yard.  Now that its separated, why pay extra for someone to take it away. Reduce Reuse Recycle. I guess there’s no money in the first two.

     

  • Author tackles Lyme Disease in vital new book   28 weeks 3 days ago

    Wow. Isn't it the responsibility of the publisher of this article to point out that there is blatantly false information being quoted by this woman? Or are we just supposed to look that up ourselves? Lyme disease is caused by borrelia bacteria, and nothing more. It's not debatable. For someone who writes a book about a disease and is holding lectures, how can you not know even the basics like that? Maybe this is a misquote? I wouldn't be buying this book or going to the lecture after seeing her say something dead wrong about the basic cause of lyme disease. 

     “One of the many Lyme-related problems that we have here in Canada is the way in which health authorities continue to define Lyme disease in such narrow terms— infection with borrelia bacteria and nothing more—and that's a definition that isn't helpful to patients stuck in a medical nightmare.” 

     

    REALLY??

  • LETTER: Who’s Paying Attention to the WHO?   28 weeks 3 days ago

    You do know that hardwired appliances also emit EMFs, right? If you're using AC electricity, you're generating EMFs.

     

    And instead of relying on fear mongering articles, you can go straight to the WHO website and read that there is no evidence of adverse health effects. Allow me to copy and paste it for you to read here:

    "Are there any health effects?

    A large number of studies have been performed over the last two decades to assess whether mobile phones pose a potential health risk. To date, no adverse health effects have been established as being caused by mobile phone use.

    Short-term effects

    Tissue heating is the principal mechanism of interaction between radiofrequency energy and the human body. At the frequencies used by mobile phones, most of the energy is absorbed by the skin and other superficial tissues, resulting in negligible temperature rise in the brain or any other organs of the body.

    A number of studies have investigated the effects of radiofrequency fields on brain electrical activity, cognitive function, sleep, heart rate and blood pressure in volunteers. To date, research does not suggest any consistent evidence of adverse health effects from exposure to radiofrequency fields at levels below those that cause tissue heating. Further, research has not been able to provide support for a causal relationship between exposure to electromagnetic fields and self-reported symptoms, or “electromagnetic hypersensitivity”.

    Long-term effects

    Epidemiological research examining potential long-term risks from radiofrequency exposure has mostly looked for an association between brain tumours and mobile phone use. However, because many cancers are not detectable until many years after the interactions that led to the tumour, and since mobile phones were not widely used until the early 1990s, epidemiological studies at present can only assess those cancers that become evident within shorter time periods. However, results of animal studies consistently show no increased cancer risk for long-term exposure to radiofrequency fields.

    Several large multinational epidemiological studies have been completed or are ongoing, including case-control studies and prospective cohort studies examining a number of health endpoints in adults. The largest retrospective case-control study to date on adults, Interphone, coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), was designed to determine whether there are links between use of mobile phones and head and neck cancers in adults.

    The international pooled analysis of data gathered from 13 participating countries found no increased risk of glioma or meningioma with mobile phone use of more than 10 years. There are some indications of an increased risk of glioma for those who reported the highest 10% of cumulative hours of cell phone use, although there was no consistent trend of increasing risk with greater duration of use. The researchers concluded that biases and errors limit the strength of these conclusions and prevent a causal interpretation."

  • LETTER: Who’s Paying Attention to the WHO?   28 weeks 4 days ago

    Phil F:

    It disturbs me when people who are unreceptive to the established body of scientific knowledge use "fear mongering" as a label to entrench their position.  I certainly don't expect you to take my word for it as I am not a scientist.  However, I have been discovering more about what could be the most important health game-changer in recent history.  Please take the time to visit the following website:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5udG8OCZWY

    You also asked if I knew what the background radiation was in Grand Forks.  Actually, I do.  My Electrosmog meter (from EMF Solutions) tells me that it is generally between .001 and 1.000, mW/m2 with regular spikes up to 5.000 every few minutes or so (we do not have WiFi or cell phones, and our computers are hard-wired).  This is about the limit for safety according to the EU Assembly and the Bioinitiative Report.  You also asked what additional radiation the water meters would add for the average person and that, I don't know.  I certainly would love to have that question answered by the City Council before they go putting the water meters on our homes.

     

  • LETTER: Who’s Paying Attention to the WHO?   28 weeks 4 days ago

    Thanks for your response - a lot of information in there.  My comment is to the changing of Health Canada guidelines for EMF and RF.  I heard that a group from Health Canada asked for information from Dr. Ollie Johansson, PhD of the Dept. of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden as recently as last November (2013).  Dr. Johansson is the scientist behind the Bioinitiative Report that prompted the EU to lower their rates from the ICNIRP standards which Canada abides by, by 10,000 (yes, you read that right).  Perhaps those people are seriously looking at the scientific data that's out there (over 25,000 published papers on the dangerous effects of EMF and RF radiation), and will soon be making changes to Canada's guidelines.  What might be expected of city planners if the guidelines were to change, say, within a few months of having installed water meters on our homes?

  • LETTER: Who’s Paying Attention to the WHO?   28 weeks 4 days ago

    I don't get this mass hysteria over wireless meters specifically, and other wireless devices.  I find it particularly amusing, in a sad kind of way, that GPS devices are included in this list.  While GPS devices do use radio signals to triangulate a global position for the user, they actually emit no wireless signal of their own - they use signals (very weak ones) sent by satellites. That means you get the same exposure, regardless of whether or not you use a GPS device, which is barely above background radiation from our sun and other stars. It is in fact the weakness of this signal that makes GPS devices lose their accuracy in heavily wooded areas, buildings, canyons...

    Beverly, before you complain of lack safety regulations regarding microwave radiation in Canada, and particularly regarding water meters in Grand Forks, do you know what the background radiation is in Grand Forks, and how much additional radiation exposure (on a daily average) these water meters would add for the average person? Or are you just jumping on a fear mongering bandwagon?

    And no, I don't think a consumer e-magazine article is a credible info source on this subject - they make their money selling advertising to people by publishing just that kind of emotionally charged article. Fear based marketing is fantastically successful, probably second only to sexually charged advertising.