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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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Pyschosomatic Symptoms
By SeeManRun on 1/15/2010 11:42:00 AM , Rating: 4
These kind of things can be self realized. If you think something will make you sick, you can actually make yourself sick. Especially things like rashes and aches that are not easily traceable, unlike cancer and other more obvious issues.

RE: Pyschosomatic Symptoms
By Motoman on 1/15/2010 12:08:52 PM , Rating: 2
It works the opposite way too. Say you get cancer, but you "don't believe in modern medicine." So you do some chiropractic, some herbal remedies, and a bit of homeopathy. You feel better, and you are convinced that all of the above are working and healing you. Right up to the moment that you die from cancer, because none of the BS you were doing did anything more than invoke a placebo effect.

When someone asks the mind-bogglingly stupid question "if it makes you feel better, what's the harm?" just point that out. The harm is that, even though the placebo effect may make your feel better, the fact of the matter is that you're still dying from cancer, and you aren't actually doing anything to treat it.

RE: Pyschosomatic Symptoms
By erple2 on 1/15/2010 6:20:53 PM , Rating: 2
Clearly, there are limits to what the placebo effect can accomplish. Mild headaches, mild stomach pains, and things of that sort that you can "will" on yourself (through fear or whatever) can be just as easily removed with the placebo effect.

Nobody is suggesting (well, nobody that believes our current understanding of medicine) that the placebo effect can "cure" cancer.

RE: Pyschosomatic Symptoms
By porkpie on 1/15/2010 6:27:05 PM , Rating: 2
The placebo effect is much more powerful than that. I read a VERY interesting medical study not long ago that worked like this. First they gave people (real) medicine to help with a condition. They felt better. Then they switched them to the placebo. The people still felt better. Standard placebo effect, right? But then they gave the paticipants a new pill that blocked the effect of the original drug..the drug they were no longer getting. The people STOPPED feeling better, even though they had no idea what they were actually taking. In other words, the placebo effect was triggering their bodies to somehow actually produce the original drug.

RE: Pyschosomatic Symptoms
By Motoman on 1/17/2010 1:04:08 PM , Rating: 2
The problem is that the people experiencing a placebo effect think they are actually being heald, and not under the influence of placebo.

People experiencing the placebo effect are convinced that they are not, in fact, experiencing placebo - but rather that their moronic "treatment" plans using ear candles, pee water, and positive thinking are actually curing them.

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