Experts gather to discuss electro-smog
The Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique is calling for a moratorium on the installation of smart meters. Hydro-Québec is installing 3.8 million of the meters, sale which read customers’ consumption remotely. The utility says the meters’ emission levels meters fall well below Health Canada limits.
MONTREAL — You won’t hear alerts about this kind of smog. It’s called electro-smog and groups worried about the growing use of devices emitting radio frequencies — including cellphones, wireless home networks and smart hydro meters — say it should be taken more seriously. On Saturday, they brought medical experts to a Montreal environmental fair to raise awareness about the potential adverse health effects of the radio frequencies. “We don’t see it but there are waves all around us that are suspected, and we believe they do, have an impact on people’s health,” said André Bélisle, of the Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique.
The group is calling for a moratorium on the installation of smart meters. Hydro-Québec is installing 3.8 million of the meters, which read customers’ consumption remotely. The utility says the meters’ emission levels meters fall well below Health Canada limits. Consumers can opt to not have a smart meter if they are willing to pay various fees. Magda Havas, an environmental studies professor at Trent University in Ontario, said the public should be made aware of possible dangers. “My concern is that there’s so much microwave and radio-frequency radiation that we’re generating from all of our wireless technology that there are certain people now who have become electrically sensitive — they can’t tolerate the exposure,” Havas said. “Many of these people don’t have cellphones, they don’t have wireless technology because it affects them and now they’re forced to have a wireless meter on their homes.” Roy Fox, a doctor who until recently was the medical director of the Nova Scotia Environmental Health Centre, treats s who have environmental sensitivities.
Symptoms range from difficulty focusing, memory problems, loss of energy, and abnormal sensations in various parts of the body, he said. Most of these environmental sensitivities are related to chemicals and poor indoor air quality, Fox said. But in some cases, some radio-frequency devices worsen the symptoms, he said. “In modern life, we cannot avoid exposure to Wi-Fi and microwave radiation,” Fox said. “People can’t just change the world and get better, so what we try to do is to try to get people as healthy as possible and get them to be judicious in their exposure and to make changes in their lives that may be stressing their system.”
The Parti Québécois government has pushed ahead with the previous Liberal plan to install the smart meters across Quebec. Among those listening in at a press conference by Havas and Fox was Daniel Breton, a PQ MNA who was recently appointed by Premier Pauline Marois to study how Quebec can electrify transport. “I’m here to listen,” Breton said in an interview. “People say there’s a problem with smart meters and cell towers and now we’re talking about charging electric cars by induction — wirelessly. “I want to assure myself that before we go in that direction we have all the information we need.”