Council hears wireless health concerns

Maple Ridge should follow Toronto and pass a Prudent Avoidance Policy regarding cellphone towers in the district, a Canadians for Safe Technology speaker told council last week.

“We are requesting this review,” Ron McNutt said at council’s committee meeting.

The policy calls for the city to review radio frequency levels when companies are installing cell towers and requests that cellphone companies keep emissions from those towers at one per cent of the levels set by Industry Canada’s Safety Code 6, which guides public exposure.

The policy is voluntary because communications is a federal issue that’s regulated by Industry Canada.

Late last year, a report suggested abandoning the policy, but the Toronto Board of Health kept it in place.

McNutt said effects from radio frequencies from cellphones or cell towers or Wifi can be cumulative and cause people to suffer from electrosensitivity.

Toronto also won’t provide free WiFi in parks and public places, he pointed out.

McNutt also requested that Maple Ridge council to ask Health Canada to review all the health information on wireless technology as it reviews Safety Code 6.

Industry Canada announced last week that it’s now requiring all communications companies to consult the public before setting up cellphone towers.

That mirrors a policy already in place in Maple Ridge.

Industry Canada, however, still has the final say on where or if cellphone towers will be built.

“The placement of new cell towers is often a divisive issue in communities across Canada,” Industry Minister James Moore said in a release.

“It is essential that residents be at the centre of the process to determine the location of a new tower, and it is up to the wireless industry to ensure that local voices are heard.

“These new rules will give communities a better say in the placement of new cell towers.”

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