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|Oakville family shields home from cell tower|
|Canada||Created: 14 Jun 2012|
With a cell tower taking root next-door, one Oakville woman said she’s been driven to undertake a unique, but expensive retrofitting of her home to protect her family.
Large sections of Lisa Guglietti’s home, which is under construction at 253 Balsam Dr., currently look like something out of a science-fiction movie, with the walls and ceiling covered in a special aluminum shielding.
This shielding will eventually be covered by drywall and is intended to keep out the radio frequency radiation coming from the cell antennas recently erected on the chimney of the building next door.
That building serves as a Bell Canada central office, but has operated as a Bell technology centre since 1953.
Guglietti said her home was well under construction when the antennas were set up in September.
“We wouldn’t even have gone through with the construction if we knew something like that was going to be put up,” she said.
“I asked some of the other neighbours if they knew this cell tower was going to be put up and nobody knew. Because it is under 15 metres, they didn’t have to notify anyone... which is not fair. I think we should have the right to know and the right to decide whether we want to be exposed to these frequencies.”
Once the basic structure of the house was completed, Guglietti had the company Safe Living Technologies Inc., conduct readings in its various rooms to determine how much radio frequency radiation was now present with the arrival of the nearby antennas.
Guglietti claimed some of the rooms on the second floor, which are closest to and in line with the cell antennas, were found to contain 15,000 microwatts of electromagnetic energy per square metre.
Guglietti said she is concerned about these readings because of the potential health impacts of long-term exposure to cell-tower emissions.
She cited a study conducted in Brazil in 2011, which found that people who lived near cell towers, experienced a higher rate of mortality from cancer than those who lived more than 500 metres away from cell towers.
“The more you research, the more you figure out there are a lot of studies out there that prove that these frequencies are not very good for your health, especially long-term exposures,” said Guglietti.
Bell Canada media relations representative Jason Laszlo said all Bell Canada sites, including the one on Balsam Drive, meet or exceed all federal safety and other operating requirements.
He added this particular cell installation was put in place due to customer demand in the area.
Halton Region’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Bob Nosal, has said there is no convincing evidence weak radio frequency signals from cell towers cause adverse health effects.
Nosal has also acknowledged the agreement between Health Canada, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the International Agency for Research on Cancer that additional research is warranted.
After talks with government officials and Bell Canada representatives failed to get the Balsam Drive antennas removed, Guglietti said she settled on another option, which she hoped would keep radio frequency radiation out of her house.
This option involves blocking the radiation with aluminum shielding.
“It works on the principle of reflection and it reflects radio waves and prevents them from going through. So it basically creates a barrier for microwave transmissions and radio frequency transmissions and blocks cellphone towers, Wi-Fi signals, smart metres and cordless phones,” said Rob Metzinger, president of Safe Living Technologies Inc., which supplied the shielding.
“(The aluminum shielding will be placed within) all exterior walls and the roof and ceiling.”
Metzinger said for windows, a special film will be added that is also designed to reflect radio frequency radiation.
While Metzinger said he is confident the project will be successful, he admits some apprehension, given the intricacies of keeping the radiation out of an entire two-storey, five-bedroom home.
“Shielding computer rooms and things like that has been done successfully, but that is when you can seal everything off and you know for sure there are no openings,” said Metzinger.
“It’s hard to know what is going to happen around the windows. I am pretty confident we are going to get significant amount of protection/reduction from this and if not then I have to go in and do further measuring, see where the leaks are, try and repair those or offer some other kind of solution.”
University of Toronto Physics Professor David Bailey said the principle Metzinger is discussing is sound, stating that if you completely wrap your house (including the windows) in aluminum, you are turning your house into a Faraday cage, which will shield high-frequency electromagnetic radiation.
“To check this out, just wrap your cell phone in aluminum foil and try to call it and see if it rings,” said Bailey in an e-mail.
“The resident would need to hire an engineer to properly design a house system, since all the aluminum would need to be properly connected and some electromagnetic radiation will come through the windows.”
At the end of day, Metzinger said he wants to see a reduction in radio frequency radiation within the house of at least 90 per cent.
Adding the aluminum shielding to Guglietti’s home’s construction has not been cheap with Guglietti stating that so far the venture has cost around $20,000.
When asked why Guglietti would spend so much on something that may not keep the radiation out of her home, she said going with an option that offered some hope was better than doing nothing.
In addition to herself and her husband, Guglietti said their three young children will be living in the house when it is complete.
She said her 11-year-old son’s future bedroom is only 13 metres away from the Bell antennas.
“I don’t know if you have children, but when it comes to your children you don’t want them to be guinea pigs, you don’t want to take a chance. I want to keep my family protected and I’m going to do that any way I can,” she said.
“It’s unfortunate we are being put in this position. It’s unfortunate we are being forced to live so close to this. It’s not right.”
Guglietti said she doesn’t know what will happen if the aluminum shielding doesn’t work as she doubts there is much of a real estate market for homes next to cell towers.
She said the situation is not ideal as there is currently nothing in place to shield the family from the radiation when they are outside the house, although Metzinger has brought up the subject of incorporating the shielding into some kind of fencing.
Guglietti said she is calling on Industry Canada, the federal organization, which approves cell tower installations, to stop locating cell towers near homes and schools until more research is completed and it is proven these towers do not cause health problems.
She said she is also calling on Bell Canada to reimburse her family for the money they have spent to block the signals from the Bell antennas.
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|Source: Inside Halton, David Lea, 13 Jun 2012|
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