Dr. Stephen Faulkner, a family doctor in Duncan, is raising concerns around the increasing number of cell and micro towers in the region.
He made a presentation to Duncan’s city council on Feb. 5 in which he said studies indicate that the radiation the towers emit is harmful to health and increases people’s risk of getting cancer.
Faulkner said there at least 14 of the towers in downtown Duncan alone, and countless more situated throughout the Valley.
“They are going up like mushrooms, even though studies show clearly that they are harmful to health,” he said.
“They affect people’s behaviour and sleep patterns and there is an increased risk of cancer for anyone living with one-half a kilometre of one of these towers.”
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Faulkner said the communications industry hides behind Safety Code 6, which governs all electronic emissions in Canada, to justify placing the towers in residential areas.
He said the code indicates that most cell and micro towers operating in Canada are well within safety parameters, but the measurements to conclude that are based on industrial standards and not meant to measure the impacts on non-industrial areas.
“The code is grossly inadequate to determine the biological effects of these towers,” Faulkner said.
“Basically, they’re saying that if the towers don’t cook your brain, they’re OK. Setting up these towers in populated areas is an experiment that is being conducted on our population. The industry wants to place these towers about every two blocks as technological improvements advance.”
Duncan mayor Phil Kent said he appreciates Faulkner’s concerns, but the issue around radiation and electronic waves is federal jurisdiction and not municipal.
But he said Faulkner’s assessment of Safety Code 6 is “his point of view”.
“Health Canada monitors these electronic devices on a regular basis to ensure they meet the standards,” Kent said.
“It’s important to be knowledgeable about this issue and I’ve done some research on it, but I can’t say one way or another who is right. The fact is that we are living in an environment that is exposed to these frequencies on an increasing basis and more concerns are being raised about it all the time.”