Exposure of vulnerable persons to microwave and radiofrequency radiation

Petition: 403

Issue(s): Governance, human / environmental health, other, science and technology

Petitioner(s): Canadian organization

Petitioner Location(s): Sarto, Manitoba

Date Received: 15 June 2017

Status: Completed—Response(s) to petition received

Summary: The petition raises concerns about the effects of exposure to microwave or radiofrequency radiation from wireless devices on vulnerable persons, including pregnant women, children, and babies. The petition draws attention to the 2015 report of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Radiation and the Health of Canadians, and references statements the Minister of Health made in the government response that was tabled in Parliament on 6 October 2016.

The petition expresses concern about the evidence of harmful effects from radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation below even Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 levels, and it asks that Health Canada incorporate this evidence when determining Safety Code 6 guidelines. The petition calls on the Government of Canada to caution Canadians on the potential dangers to pregnant women and children from exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation. It suggests that the government require warnings on wireless devices, similar to those it provides to pregnant women on cigarette packaging and alcohol labels. The petition claims that Health Canada’s method examines only thermal effects from this type of radiation (effects from heating body tissues), and that Health Canada does not examine non-thermal effects.

The petition references international actions, studies, and standards and compares them to Health Canada’s Safety Code 6guidelines. The petition states that the Minister’s response to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health Report cited a publication from France’s national health and safety agency to justify Health Canada’s current policy, but that the Minister did not mention the restrictions that France has placed on the use of Wi-Fi in nursery schools and elementary school classrooms. The petition also asks whether Health Canada has identified additional protective measures other countries have taken and, if so, why the federal government has not implemented these measures in Canada.

The petition also asks Health Canada to update its 2011 publication entitled Health Canada Offers Practical Advice for Safe Cell Phone Use, to better reflect recent epidemiological studies. It seeks to know what precautionary measures the Government of Canada plans to take in light of the increasing use of 5G technology.

The petition notes that there have been educational campaigns conducted in other countries to educate women on the potential for harmful effects of radiation from wireless devices on their unborn children and to prevent the marketing of wireless devices to children under 14. It asks for a similar campaign of protective measures and messaging in Canada on the sale and marketing of cell phones.

Federal departments responsible for reply: Health Canada, Innovation, Science and Economic Development