Microwave - and other forms of electromagnetic - radiation are major (but conveniently disregarded, ignored, and overlooked) factors in many modern unexplained disease states. Insomnia, anxiety, vision problems, swollen lymph, headaches, extreme thirst, night sweats, fatigue, memory and concentration problems, muscle pain, weakened immunity, allergies, heart problems, and intestinal disturbances are all symptoms found in a disease process originally described in the 1970s as Microwave Sickness.
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Cell Tower Concerns
Cell Tower Concerns
MARCH 26, 2012 |
Rogers towers on AISH rooftop cause safety concerns among residents, tenants
Shlomo Kapustin Correspondent
TORONTO – A Toronto-area Jewish organization’s decision to allow cell phone towers on its roof has residents and tenants up in arms over safety concerns.
Aish HaTorah Toronto, a branch of the international outreach group, contracted last year with Rogers Communications, permitting it to install nine towers atop its northern location in Thornhill, on Clark Avenue near Bathurst Street. About a month ago, nine poles were installed on the low-rise building: six with antennas and three for future use.
But some of the building’s tenants, who hadn’t been apprised of the agreement, objected. A school with classes from pre-nursery to senior kindergarten has leased space in the building for 10 years.
“I think there’s a lot of deception going on there,” said Shirley Haber, who has sent four children to the school. “They didn’t talk to the owner, didn’t communicate with us.… The parents are going to pull their kids out.”
For its part, Aish pleads human error.
“There was no deliberate deception here on the part of Aish,” said Aish Toronto corporate spokesperson Caroline Spivak. “Aish Toronto saw an opportunity to augment its finances through a corporate partnership (Spivak said the deal pays Aish $1,700 per month) and didn’t anticipate the community concern and backlash. It just wasn’t foreseen. People are human and they make mistakes. Aish has apologized for the lack of communication on this. Nothing malicious was intended here.”
Matters came to a head recently, with two community meetings of about 150 people, one for parents and one for area residents. Arranged by Aish, representatives of the organization joined a Vaughan public-health nurse to calm the situation. However, the attempt at consensus building turned “hostile,” said one parent, with some invoking the chilul Hashem theme (literally, desecration of G-d’s name).
While both parents and residents oppose the towers, parents are more willing to accept a delay in activating the antennas, which would allow the school to find an alternative site. Homeowners, worried about cancer and potential declines in property values, want the towers removed.
“We do not want to risk our health and the health of our children,” said Igor Averbakh, who lives near Aish. “We do not want our children to be guinea pigs for these experiments.”
As the demand for wireless services increases, providers have added infrastructure to maintain their networks. About 13,000 wireless antenna sites dot Canadian rooftops, on private and municipal properties, and many are in residential communities, according to Rogers. The Rogers rooftop tower nearest to the Aish installation is about a kilometre south, at Bathurst Street and Steeles Avenue, atop an apartment building.
Industry Canada has adopted safety guidelines on maximum human exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic energy, following Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 from 2009, and neither Aish nor Rogers has broken any laws.
“[T]he emission levels at this particular site are significantly lower than what is allowed under Safety Code 6,” wrote Leigh-Ann Popek, senior manager, media relations, at Rogers, in an e-mail. “At the highest power density point in the basement (where the daycare is) the levels are 164 times below Safety Code 6’s maximum allowable limit.”
However, residents such as Averbakh aren’t convinced.
“I know the situation with research on health issues related with cell phone towers,” he said. “For new technologies like this, it takes about 30 years to understand fully their health impact.… There is no conclusive scientific research on the matter and many specialists believe that cell phone towers may represent a serious health hazard.”
Vaughan Councillor Alan Shefman said that Rogers has notified the city in the past, even when not required to do so.
“I expect it’s an oversight,” he said.
Expressing frustration with the current federal regulations on the siting of cell phone towers, he suggested that the jury is still not completely in concerning tower safety.
Aish, he said, has suffered from the controversy.
“This really hurts Aish HaTorah,” he said. “It has a very good standing in the community.”
In response to the backlash, Aish has “commenced a legal process to understand all its options,” said Spivak, noting that “it’s just not possible” to resolve the issue overnight.
Both she and Rogers confirmed that Aish has requested a delay until the fall for testing to begin and that Rogers declined. A Rogers employee also said last week that no request has been made to cancel the contract.
While Aish’s board chair was aware of the decision, said Spivak, current executive director, Rabbi Mitch Mandel, was hired to the position only in the fall, after the agreement was signed.
Members of the building’s other tenant, the Aish Thornhill Community Shul (TCS), have taken a conciliatory approach.
“We share their concerns, but not with the same aggressive reaction,” said Rabbi Avram Rothman, spiritual leader of the 200-member synagogue. “People are concerned, but they know that Aish isn’t selling out for a couple of dollars.”
Like the nursery, TCS pays rent, said Rothman, and he denied knowing about the towers before Rogers arrived to install them. But some tower opponents hold him responsible for the decision – he said he has been verbally attacked.
“They misunderstand my role,” he said.
Until about six years ago, when Rothman joined the group, the synagogue was more formally part of Aish. The two organizations now share only philosophies, he said.
Averbakh, a father of one, wants Aish to solve the problem.
“If they act decisively and have the towers removed quickly – the public trust will gradually recover. If they delay the decision and try to find the most cost-saving ways out of the situation, the public trust will be damaged beyond repair.”