Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 threshold for excessive heating and other adverse effects from radiofrequency and microwave wireless radiation on the human eye and on infants
Issue(s): Federal provincial relations, governance, human / environmental health, other, science and technology
Petitioner(s): Resident of Canada
Petitioner Location(s): Winnipeg, Manitoba
Date Received: 27 June 2017
Status: Completed—Response(s) to petition received
Summary: The petition concerns guidelines that Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 establishes on the threshold of excessive heating and other adverse effects from exposure to radiofrequency and microwave wireless radiation devices, such as baby monitors, cellphones, and 5G technology. The petition focuses on the impacts of radiation on the human eye and on babies (from embryo to fetus to newborn child). The petition asserts that Safety Code 6’s threshold exposure levels do not provide the full margin of safety for some population subgroups (such as newborns with a low body mass index), as indicated in the Safety Code 6 (2015) rationale. The petition also indicates concern about the potential effects of 5G technology that it claims will require intense infrastructure (for example, microcell technology) near homes and schools.
The petition raises concerns about the Safety Code 6 guidelines’ ability to sufficiently protect certain vulnerable populations from the adverse effects of radiation, particularly newborn or prematurely born babies. The petition asks about assumptions and extrapolations Health Canada made to establish the extrapolation rate for Safety Code 6 based on eye tissue. The petition also asks how this factor protects fetuses and newborn babies.
The petition refers to correspondence the petitioner had with Health Canada’s Consumer and Clinical Radiation Protection Bureau on the appropriate safety for the human eye and for the early human development states (embryo, fetus, premature baby, small child). The petition asserts that the Bureau’s position on the actual threshold for effects on the human eye recognized by Health Canada is based on the assumption that adverse effects would not occur until specific absorption rate levels exceed 80 watts per kilogram.
The petition questions this alleged stance, citing evidence that adverse effects to the eye tissue can occur below a specific absorption rate of 80 watts per kilogram. It also expresses concern that the current threshold of 80 watts per kilogram adopted in 2015 is eight times higher than it was in 1991 and four times higher than it was in 2009. The petition asks specifically for peer-reviewed studies referenced by Health Canada to justify changes to Safety Code 6’s specific absorption rate guidelines, as well as studies Health Canada referenced when considering power density levels for 5G technology.
The petition also asks why Health Canada’s evaluation for the Safety Code 6 change did not include 11 studies that the petition claims found adverse effects occurring below a specific absorption rate of 80 watts per kilogram.
Federal departments responsible for reply: Health Canada