Print 69 comment(s) - last by Chernobyl68.. on Jan 20 at 4:37 PM

Resident claim broadband tower causes health issues -- but tower was secretly turned off months ago

There's a great deal of intense fear among many in the public about the possible health impact of cell phone towers and high power radio waves.  While there is actually some legitimate research into health impacts ongoing, most current research indicates current current communications technologies have relatively minimal (if any) affects on the human body, compared to more serious direct threats -- such as the ingestion of plastic residues.  Nonetheless, there's been great public fear perpetrated by a variety of pseudo-medical sources decrying the health risks of radio waves.

This irrational behavior was brought into sharp focus by the residents of Craigavon, South Africa.  On August 12, 2009, a new iBurst (or HC-SDMA, High Capacity Spatial Division Multiple Access) tower in the city's Fourways Memorial Park.  IBurst is a high speed wireless broadband technology, commonly used in the U.S., Canada, South Africa, and elsewhere to bring fast wireless internet to USB modems.

Shortly after the tower was turned on, residents began to complain that they were suddenly afflicted with severe health issues according to MyBroadband.  Describes Tracey-Lee Dorny, one of the supposed victims, "Several rash cases were presented in person and by photos from people who could not attend [a meeting with iBurst]. Headaches, nausea, tinnitus, dry burning itchy skins, gastric imbalances and totally disrupted sleep patterns, especially with some of the children, were some of the issues presented by the residents."

Residents recruited the legal services of legal firm Bezuidenhout, Van Zyl and Associates to sue iBurst.  They complained that their symptoms resided within a day of leaving the town, and they demanded the tower be permanently removed.

Then iBurst did something clever.  It secretly turned off the tower near the end of September.  The residents didn't know this, though, when they came to a meeting with iBurst CEO Jannie van Zyl in mid-November.  They claimed that their symptoms took hours to subside, but would return shortly after they came back to the town.  They said that certain skin conditions took a while longer -- as long as 6 weeks -- to fully recover.  They also said that their afflictions still were ongoing.

Then Mr. Zyl revealed to them that they had been tricked.  He explains, "At the meeting in mid-November residents claimed that full recovery of skin conditions could take as long as 6 weeks. Yet, the tower was switched off for more than 6 weeks by this time. At this point it became apparent that the tower can, in no way, be the cause of the symptoms, as it was already switched off for many weeks, yet the residents still saw symptoms that come and go according to their proximity to the area."

At this point it seems almost certain that the symptoms are indicative of some other local heath risk, such as contaminated drinking water.  However, the tower is obviously not to blame. Mr. Zyl lauds the safety of iBurst, adding, "Radiation levels emitted by the tower were ten thousand times LESS than the international safety standards set for mobile towers and that the radiation at this site was in fact the same level as that already present from cellular phone towers in the area."

Despite being caught in a fallacy, the residents' hatred of the broadband service burns on.  Their lawyer states that the medical complaints were "only the beginning" of a much larger complaint against iBurst.

The truly curious part is that in their fervor to destroy the local iBurst tower, the residents seem to have given up on any effort to find the true reason why they are suffering from strange health afflictions.  Log this one in the annals of irrational fear of radio waves.

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RE: psychosomatic?
By bighairycamel on 1/15/2010 11:37:50 AM , Rating: 5
Probably a lot of the same idiot geezers that thought power lines were causing illness back in the day.

It's like the bizzaro placebo effect.

RE: psychosomatic?
By porkpie on 1/15/2010 12:48:12 PM , Rating: 5
Sounds a lot like the loons who are afraid of nuclear power plants exploding, in my opinion....or those who think genetically-engineered tomatoes will take over the world.

RE: psychosomatic?
By Curelom on 1/15/2010 1:04:11 PM , Rating: 2
Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

RE: psychosomatic?
By walk2k on 1/15/10, Rating: -1
RE: psychosomatic?
By epobirs on 1/15/2010 5:36:09 PM , Rating: 4
You have to be kidding. Chernobyl used a reactor design that has been implemented almost nowhere else in the world for stationary applications. The closest parallel is in older nuke subs where size and weight was a severe limiting factor. The US determined that it was unsuitable for civilian applications decades before the Chernobyl failure. What happened says more about the nature of the USSR than it does about the risks of nuclear power.

RE: psychosomatic?
By porkpie on 1/15/2010 6:23:24 PM , Rating: 5
Of course, reactors built on Chernobyl's princicples were never even considered in the US, they were too dangerous. But also lets not forget that had the Soviets just evacuated people when the accident happened, they would have avoided nearly all the health problems. I read there were people still fishing in Chernobyl's cooling pond several days after the melt down occurred, because the USSR didn't want to advertise how bad the accident was.

RE: psychosomatic?
By walk2k on 1/15/10, Rating: -1
RE: psychosomatic?
By porkpie on 1/15/2010 10:10:21 PM , Rating: 5
Rofl, how many people were killed by TMI? Zero. How many people were even injured or had their health impaired in any way? Zero again. You get more radiation from a cross-country air flight than anyone got from the TMI "incident".

As for the "no nuke plant is safe from earthquakes and other natural disasters", did you forget about that Japanese nuclear plant that was right on top of a large earthquake last year? It didn't even come close to causing a leak. Plants are generally rated to withstand a Richter 9 earthquake. That's ONE HUNDRED TIMES stronger than the one that destroyed Haiti.

Meanwhile we have possibly as many as 10,000 people a year die from all the health problems caused by coal-fired power plants, while asshats like you do your best to keep them open with your irational fear of nuclear power.

RE: psychosomatic?
By Whedonic on 1/16/2010 11:20:18 AM , Rating: 2
If I could vote you up to a 6, I would.

RE: psychosomatic?
By S3anister on 1/17/2010 11:09:51 PM , Rating: 2

RE: psychosomatic?
By Chernobyl68 on 1/20/2010 4:37:28 PM , Rating: 2

RE: psychosomatic?
By Solandri on 1/17/2010 2:16:06 AM , Rating: 2
Just to reinforce this, here's a worldwide audit of power generation accidents.

For the time period 1969-1996 (which includes Chernobyl), nuclear power had the fewest number of fatalities per GWh generated (p.241, fig 7.2.7). Even if you include estimates for latent cancer deaths, nuclear is still the safest (fig 7.2.9).

RE: psychosomatic?
By erple2 on 1/15/2010 6:14:53 PM , Rating: 2
Is that worse than the firing of coal plants?

RE: psychosomatic?
By gilboa on 1/18/2010 1:52:10 AM , Rating: 1
So, the worst nuclear disaster ever to hit man kind killed 56 people?
How many people die, each day, from illnesses that link directly or indirectly to using coal to produce electricity? 100-fold? 1000-fold?
How many cancer cases are reported each year that may or may not result from coal ash being inhaled?


- Gilboa

RE: psychosomatic?
By Ammohunt on 1/15/10, Rating: -1
RE: psychosomatic?
By Goty on 1/15/2010 3:51:45 PM , Rating: 5
Ok, obligatory Christianity/religion bashing post accounted for, please go troll elsewhere.

RE: psychosomatic?
By Ammohunt on 1/16/10, Rating: -1
RE: psychosomatic?
By Goty on 1/17/2010 12:39:37 AM , Rating: 5
A parallel that brings absolutely nothing to the conversation and serves only to try and inflame those that believe differently than yourself.

Thanks for playing, please try again never.

RE: psychosomatic?
By MonkeyPaw on 1/15/2010 8:22:36 PM , Rating: 2
Probably a lot of the same idiot geezers that thought power lines were causing illness back in the day.

Check a local transformer near you. Chances are it has a blue "Non PCB" sticker on it. Care to guess why? Because electrical equipment used to have PCBs, and it wasn't a good thing.

RE: psychosomatic?
By porkpie on 1/15/2010 9:09:24 PM , Rating: 5
Erm, no one living below a power line ever got sick from the PCBs in a transformer. The risk factor from them is very low...there was a case once where over a million gallons of PCB were accidentally dumped in a river, and no illnesses were reported as a result.

A heavy dose will cause a skin rash...long term exposure will increase your risk of cancer somewhat. But getting sick just from being near a container of PCB? Thats quackery, my friend. Chlorine is a much stronger carcinogen...and you keep that under your kitchen sink.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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