A worrisome situation , at Brock University, St Catharines Ontario, Canada
The main University Administration building sits high on top of the Niagara Escarpment and the top of the building is the highest place in that area. Because of this high position, the building is a handy (but unsafe) location to place radio antennas and cell phone antennas. Unfortunately, because of all these antennas, the electro magnetic radiation on the campus is very high, which leads to serious concerns for the safety of the staff and students.
The message below is from Dr. David Fancy, a faculty member at Brock.
Well, we’ve made some progress here at Brock. The attached report from the Brock University Joint Health and Safety Committee EMF subcommittee was supported unanimously by worker and management members alike at the last full JHSC meeting. It was adopted unanimously as a motion, one that the administration must now act on. One of the members of the subcommittee is the university’s vice-president academic, and is a research scientist himself.
This report and motion represents gradual progress, because the removal of the Brock communications towers and the over 50 broadcast antenna on them is not mandated (antenna sited within 100 meters of residences, classrooms, and offices). However, it does put into significant question the safety of the existing Health Canada guidelines. I’ve been working through the union executive, of which I am a member, to now send more thorough information about current scientific literature and policy initiatives/options out to our membership. I’m working with the other unions on campus to send out materials to their memberships as well.
This represents a crack in the wall and, as far as I know, it is the first time a Joint Health and Safety Committee for an organization (one that employs thousands of people and is part publically funded) has taken this kind of precautionary step towards EMF. We can promote this as a ‘first step’ model for JHSCs or their equivalent all across the country. Please circulate widely and encourage other union Health and Safety representatives to contact me with advice on how to work with their unions and management.
It’s been four years and many meetings in the making, and there’s much work yet to do towards establishing exposures here that respect what the scientific literature is telling us are risk levels, but: we’re getting somewhere. The EMF issue remains an ongoing one here and the subcommittee has had its initial one year mandate extended indefinitely to review ongoing developments on the issue.
Tom St. Ivany
Brock Joint Health and Safety Committee
February 2 2009
The EMF/Radiofrequency Subcommittee of the Brock University Joint Health and Safety Committee comprised of Gerry Boily, David Fancy, and Greg Finn has reached consensus on how to best advise the wider Committee regarding the issue of EMF/Radiofrequency on campus. The Subcommittee recognizes that there is no international scientific consensus on the safety or lack of safety to human health of levels of radiofrequency exposure to which faculty and staff at Brock may be exposed during the course of their regular working activities.
In view of this lack of scientific consensus, the Subcommittee advises that the wider Committee recommend the minimum level of precautionary action to be taken in such a circumstance: namely, that Brock faculty and staff be alerted via whatever means the Committee deems appropriate that:
1) the JHSC has been investigating this issue on their behalf;
2) that this investigation has resulted from the fact that there is no international consensus on the matter; and
3) that faculty and staff are encouraged to inform themselves further on this matter should they be concerned.
The Subcommittee does not advise supplying the community with a web resource on the issue at this time. The Subcommittee does not advise embarking on any testing of levels of radiofrequency on campus at this time. Additionally, the Subcommittee advises that its mandate be extended by calling for it to reconvene annually:
1) to track any developments on this issue;
2) to determine whether there is a need for a web resource on the issue for the community; and
3) to discuss whether there is a need for testing of radiofrequency levels to be done on campus.
There are no dissenting opinions or additions accompanying this recommendation.
Note: The Subcommittee met five times during the past year, most recently on January 30th. The meetings were not minuted. Members of the Office of Environment Health and Safety were active participants in a number of the meetings. John Hay, Community Health Sciences, presented his opinions to the Subcommittee during the fourth Subcommittee meeting in late fall 2008.
Dr. David Fancy
Department of Dramatic Arts
905-688-5550, ext 3584