EMFs and health-related issues topic of Aurora town meeting

Jun 20, 2006
Serena Willoughby,
Staff Writer

The possibility of a power generation facility being built in Aurora and the proposed Holland transformer were up for debate at Aurora town hall last Wednesday.

Presenters included Dr. Magda Havas an expert on EMFs (electro-magnetic fields) and Ian Munro, a local electrical engineer who has served on several resident advisory committees and is an expert on the Ontario Power Authority.

Dr. Havas presented her research that included interviews with people who've experienced heightened sensitivity to EMFs, which has caused a range of symptoms from headaches, to increased instances of attention deficit disorder and some forms of childhood cancer, she said.

EMFs are invisible lines of force created whenever electricity is generated, such as through power lines, cellphones, computers and appliances.

She showed video footage that depicted the physical reactions of people who suffer from the effects of electromagnetic fields, given off by household items such as computers, TVs, microwaves and cordless phones.

Dr. Havas recommends monitoring EMF levels in your home by having an expert test them, using equalizing devices and by simply staying away from them.

However, some medical experts have called Dr. Havas' work inconclusive.

While Health Canada recognizes the existence of studies linking EMFs and childhood cancer, it calls evidence "very weak".

After an evaluation of scientific data, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified EMF magnetic fields as "possibly carcinogenic" to humans based on studies of childhood cancer.

Mr. Munro's presentation at the meeting consisted of an overview of what is being done to make sure there is a regular supply of energy to Aurora.

He pointed out the last report released by the Ontario Power Authority called for local power generation in York Region to meet power needs beyond 2011.

The Holland transformer, in the last stages of the environmental assessment process will meet power needs up until that point.

Aurora Councillor Phyllis Morris, who organized the meeting, pointed out the need for early consultation in Aurora, if a local generation facility is being planned.

"We can't leave it till the last minute, it's already 2006, we need early public consultation about this," she said.

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