News for Bermuda

Entrepreneur Keith's firm takes aim at the perils of electromagnetic fields
Bermuda Created: 5 Apr 2006
A LOCAL company is offering protective tools against emissions from cell phones, microwave ovens and other appliances, warning that exposure could be driving the incidence of asthma, diabetes and other common afflictions.
Radiation Protection Ltd. is the brainchild of Keith P. Swan. The company tests emissions levels to achieve safety levels, and outfits companies and private homes with filters so humans are not adversely affected where readings are high.
"I was always curious as to what I was being subjected to without knowing," Mr. Swan explained. "There's a high incidence of cancer, diabetes and asthma here. Why? Is it the food? Is it the air? I decided to find out."
According to the entrepreneur, a disturbing revelation followed: Human and man-made sources throughout the environment, known as electromagnetic fields, can have a profound effect on one's well-being.
"I found that electromagnetic fields play a big part in our health," he said. "Human bio-rhythms are disturbed by electromagnetic fields. It was something I thought Bermudians should know."
With that in mind, he established Radiation Protection Ltd. Its mandate is two-fold. The company tests emission levels across the island and provides its customers with filters to guard against harmful effects.
There is also a community service to the operation Radiation Protection Ltd. aims to educate the public on the health risks associated with computers, cell towers, televisions and other technologies found at home and in the workplace.
In keeping with that aim, the company is holding a forum tomorrow night, designed to teach residents how to protect themselves, their homes, their families and secure their workplaces.
Speaking will be two authorities in the field, Dr. Magda Havas, a professor of environmental and resource studies at Trent University in Ontario, Canada, and Dave Stetzer, a trained ground radio communications electronics technician in the US Air Force.
Explained Mr. Swan of their expertise: "Dr. Havas is a teacher, author and researcher on environmental pollutants, conducting current research on the biological effects of electromagnetic fields and radio frequency radiation. Mr. Stetzer has held top military clearance with crypto access, repairing, trouble-shooting, and classifying electronic equipment using spectrum analysers, oscilloscopes, signal generators, shunts and digital frequency counters."
Residents needed to be advised of the threat, Mr. Swan said, because it was an intangible one.
"We felt the need to inform residents because radiation is not something that you can see," he explained.
"It's something that has to be tested. Televisions, microwaves, household appliances, even power sockets, they're all emitting electro-magnetic fields. People don't know of the potential for harm because they don't have the instruments to measure the harmful effects.
"We do. And, we're bringing in the scientists, people who are renowned, so they can let Bermuda know exactly what is happening. We're hoping to make the island aware of how serious a problem it is."
Sincere in his belief that the spread of emissions is an island-wide problem, Mr. Swan said he felt compelled to approach Government on the issue and has since held discussions with representatives from two ministries Telecommunications and E-Commerce and Environment.
"We wanted to make sure they were aware so they could determine if corrective measures need to be taken," he explained. "The Department of the Environment is very concerned about it (but) it's something we all need to be aware of. In the last couple of months I've done a lot of research. We're living in a society that's purely electronic. It's purely push-button.
"Attention Deficit Disorder. Is that a(n innate) condition or are kids suffering from too much exposure to television rays? I've seen people use their lap tops (and watched) the hairs on their arms to stand out.
"I spoke with a man who complained that his head felt strange after he used his cell phone. We cannot stop radiation but we can protect against its harmful effects. For example, I have a cell phone which I keep on a clip on my belt. I now have a filter on it but before the filter was put on, I had severe pains running down my leg. I've had none since the filter.
"Electronics is a vast arena. We keep bringing stuff into our lives. It's our lifestyle. It's convenience. But are we being harmed? And if so, to what extent and what can we do about it? Definitely, our aim is to let people know."
Persons who request Radiation Protection Ltd.'s services will first have their property audited to determine emission levels. A level of protection is provided based on the reading obtained. A second test is then conducted to ensure the filters are offering sufficient shielding to humans.
"Our company offers solutions to electromagnetic radiation protection," Mr. Swan explained. "Florescent lights, microwave ovens, they can have a real effect. We have actual devices that can filter the harmful effects of negative electric toxins. They re-polarise random particles that are harmful to the body, converting them into a pattern that does not harm human DNA.
"It's a one-time purchase. A one-time installation that never has to be replaced. For employers especially, if they're considering the safety of their workers, it's worth it. As an employer, you can feel good knowing you've done your part to make that environment safe."
EDUCATORS also needed to play their part, the environmentalist insisted. As an example, he mentioned an incident in the United States where 37 asthmatic children in one school saw their illness disappear after filters were placed throughout the institution.
"We're now insisting our kids learn computer skills. Schools have a responsibility to protect them from harmful effects. (This) is certainly something that the Education Ministry should be aware of, so they are able to at least take the necessary steps. We will be providing the public with information and how residents use it, how companies choose to use it, how educators decide to use it, is up to them.
"At the moment, we're thinking particularly in terms of safety for workers. It is not our intention to alarm. We want to alert people to the fact that we live in an unsafe environment. We want to inform the relevant companies where we find there is a harmful effect. So first, we intend to verify if there is a problem and then let the companies know and discuss what they can do to make it better."
Dr. Havas and Mr. Stetzer will speak at a forum at St. Paul's Centennial Hall on Court Street, tomorrow night. The forum begins at 6.30 p.m. and is designed to help residents better understand the harmful effects of radiation. Admission is free although donations will be accepted.
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