Canada: Tegenstrijdige verklaringen voor Parlementscommissie voor Volksgezondheid.

donderdag, 29 april 2010 - Categorie: Berichten Internationaal

Bron: Vancouver Sun 27 april 2010

MPs hear conflicting evidence on cellphone safety

Auteur: Meagan Fitzpatrick, Canwest News Service

OTTAWA ? A committee of MPs heard conflicting evidence on the safety of cellphones and other wireless technology Tuesday as well as opposing views on whether Canada's safety standards are strong enough.

The House of Commons health committee began hearings on the health impacts of the radio-frequency and electromagnetic energy that is emitted from the mobile devices that are now used by more than 23 million Canadians and the cellphone towers used to operate them.

The ongoing debate about whether there are any health risks posed by wireless technology exposure was brought before the MPs, who heard from representatives from Health Canada, the wireless technology industry and advocates who call the safety of cellphones into question and say Canada needs to change its standards.

Health Canada sets guidelines ? known as Safety Code 6 ? that outline safe levels of exposure to radio-frequency energy. The guidelines, very technical in nature, are enforced by Industry Canada which uses them in the licensing requirements for the telecommunications sector.

''The existing guidelines are inadequate,'' Magda Havas, an associate professor and researcher at Trent University, told the committee. ''Safety Code 6 does not protect the public.''

Beth Pieterson, director general of Health Canada's environmental and radiation health sciences directorate, said her department is constantly evaluating scientific research and, if necessary, revises the Code 6 guidelines. She told the committee there are ''insufficient grounds'' to make any changes to the exposure levels that are currently considered safe and said Canadian exposure levels are well below the limit.

Pieterson said Health Canada has ''thoroughly evaluated relevant peer-reviewed scientific evidence and conducted in-house studies, which to date do not support the notion that microwave emissions from cell towers and wireless technologies pose hazards to the health of Canadians.''

Havas, however, said there are more than 6,000 publications that indicate there are adverse health effects from the exposure to radio-frequency energy.

Bernard Lord, president and CEO of the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association, and another witness at the committee said some people rely on individual, non-peer-reviewed studies to back up their claims.

''What we see with the peer-reviewed international studies is that there is no reason to conclude that there are risks and we see that there are significant benefits and that must be taken into account as well,'' Lord said.

Among the benefits touted by the former New Brunswick premier were that the wireless industry makes businesses more productive, keeps family and friends connected, creates jobs and he noted that more than half of the 911 calls made in Canada are from mobile devices.

Francois Therrien, an advocate with a group called Save our Children from Microwaves, doesn't buy that argument.

''It's always denial,'' he said of Lord's position that cellphones pose no risk and instead are beneficial. Therrien said he was surprised industry representatives were even invited to appear at the health committee.

The one thing the witnesses did agree on is that there is room for more research to be done on the impact of wireless technology on human health.

''We welcome more study,'' Lord said. ''We want to make sure these products . . . continue to be safe because everybody uses them, including ourselves.''

The biggest study to date was launched in Europe this month examining whether cellphone use increases the risk of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, as well as cancer.

Lord said Health Canada is the appropriate body to sift through the scientific evidence and that the wireless industry in Canada complies with all safety standards.

Havas, who teaches at Trent's environmental and resource studies department, said it's ''absolutely essential'' that there is funding for independent research.

The health committee will hear from several medical experts when it continues its hearings Thursday.

Voor het originele verslag zie: .

Lees verder in de categorie Berichten Internationaal | Terug naar homepage | Lees de introductie