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Garlic farmer raises stink over microwave towers
Canada Created: 17 Sep 2009
A Nova Scotia garlic farmer says a plan to erect a microwave tower near his property to bring high-speed Internet access to the rural area is leaving a bad taste in his mouth.

Len Levine, who has grown organic garlic on his eight-hectare Kings County farm for more than two decades, is contesting the placement of the microwave tower because he says the radiation emitted from it could affect his crops.

The farmer, 59, said that if the tower were erected, he could no longer guarantee his garlic to be wholly organic, as it would have been irradiated, if only minimally, by the inundation of microwaves.

"This is my livelihood, this is what I chose to do," said Levine. "I did it against the grain for 30-plus years, and in the last few, it's come into realization that it's very important where our food comes from, where it's grown and how it's grown."

EastLink, the main Internet provider for much of Nova Scotia, has been contracted since 2007 by the province to link more remote areas with broadband access.

Six microwave towers were proposed in Kings County, on the south shore of the Bay of Fundy, with one about 300 metres from Levine's farm. Levine raised the issue with the municipal council, which voted in May to install the other five towers but not the sixth near his farm.

EastLink has since asked Industry Canada to overturn the council's decision.

The towers emit small amounts of radiation, but there has been much debate in the scientific community over what if any adverse health effects the microwaves may cause.

A statement from the company said every tower they've erected has "undergone a rigorous consultation process," and that the "emissions from this site . . . are significantly lower than the allowable threshold as set out by Health Canada."

Related news:
Sep 2009, India: Mobile radiation stunts crop growth
Jul 2006, United Kingdom: Microwaving the planet: Flowers disappear alongside wild bees, study finds
Sep 2008, United Kingdom: Electronic smog 'is disrupting nature on a massive scale'
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Source: Times Colonist, Mike Barber, 16 Sep 2009

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