Letter to Minister on Safety Code 6: Updating Canada's regulations on radiation-emitting wireless devices

July 10, 2014

Hon Rona Ambrose
Minister of Health
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0A6

Dear Minister Ambrose,

I am writing to you in follow-up to increasing concerns from Members of Parliament and Canadians regarding electromagnetic radiation emitted by wireless devices, the Royal Society of Canada’s (RSC) most recent review of regulation Safety Code 6 (of which, their 2014 recommendations are identical to those submitted to Health Canada in 2010), and the government’s current 2014 Public Consultation of Safety Code 6.

I would first draw your attention to the exclusionary language used to solicit online feedback on Safety Code 6 through the Health Canada 2014 Public Consultation website:

“Health Canada recognizes the significant stakeholder interest in RF safety. However, only feedback of a scientific nature received during the public consultation period can be considered in the finalization of a revised Safety Code 6.”

Of particular concern is that, as a “public consultation,” this exclusionary language prevents the majority of the general public from taking part and submitting their feedback. This is of particular concern in cases of individuals who are current sufferers of microwave radiation from wireless devices, who may lack the technical expertise to express their concerns, and have them formally submitted to and reviewed by Health Canada during this review process of Safety Code 6.

My office had the opportunity to attend the press conference and information session yesterday, July 9, 2014, organized by Canadians for Safe Technology (S4ST), where we heard there are 139 scientific papers providing evidence that changes at the cellular level can occur in humans at levels far lower those currently considered acceptable within the regulation. Further, my understanding is that the World Health Organization has listed microwave radiation as a Class 2B possible carcinogen, and that the government’s current regulation falls short of recognizing this, due, in part, to the fact the current regulation does not recognize cellular change unless a temperature change can be measured – a criteria developed in 1979 before the introduction of mass wireless technology for commercial use.

In your March 28, 2014 response to my Order Paper Question concerning Safety Code 6, you indicated:

“With regard to (d), the 2009 version of SC6 introduced several editorial changes to improve clarity. Any amendments did not introduce a change in approach or policy, and the exposure limits remain comparable to all international science-based human RF exposure limits.”

However, I understand countries such as China, Russia, Italy, and Switzerland have exposure guidelines 100 times more rigorous than those of Canada, the United States, and the UK.

Yesterday, members of the public, including current sufferers of microwave radiation, heard the following recommendations from Canadians for Safe Technology to Health Canada, which I am including here:

“Out of sincere concern for the health of Canadians at all stages of life – from the developing fetus through childhood and into adulthood – we respectfully request that:

  1. Health Canada develops and support strategies to raise awareness about microwave radiation impacts and to minimize prolonged exposure to microwave radiation in schools and other places where children are regularly exposed
     
  2. As Health Canada has acknowledged that a full literature review was not part of its latest update of Safety Code 6, we request a comprehensive literature review for all age ranges with less reliance on industry-funded studies.
     
  3. Health Canada provide guidelines and resources to assist Canadian physicians in becoming apprised of microwave exposure and related health problems and clinical presentations that may be associated with over-exposure or sensitivity.”

I urge you to review the recommendations from Canadians for Safe Technology, and review the scientific literature they are submitting (139 science papers) as part of 2014 Public Consultation being conducted by Health Canada regarding Safety Code 6, and take immediate action.

For your additional information, I am including my recent question to you in Question Period during the last Parliamentary session concerning Safety Code 6, as well as a motion, M-355 (April 25, 2012), by my NDP colleague, Alex Atamanenko, regarding the same.

Thank you for your attention to this, and I look forward to your earliest response.

Sincerely,

Libby Davies, MP
Vancouver East
NDP Critic for Health

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This Update from Libby was posted on July 10, 2014
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