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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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RE: psychosomatic?
By kattanna on 1/15/2010 1:02:23 PM , Rating: 2
IMO at least its better to blame this poor tower then the usual route they might take and accuse some one of witchcraft and casting "spells" on them


RE: psychosomatic?
By porkpie on 1/15/2010 1:03:47 PM , Rating: 2
That's the usual route in Nigeria or Uganda. Here in the West, our superstitions run more towards irrational fear of science and technology.


RE: psychosomatic?
By kattanna on 1/15/2010 1:10:50 PM , Rating: 2
which is why i was a little surprised since this is in africa

quote:
This irrational behavior was brought into sharp focus by the residents of Craigavon, South Africa


so.. i guess in a way.. this is progress???


RE: psychosomatic?
By ipay on 1/15/2010 2:51:15 PM , Rating: 2
Hi, I'm from South Africa. Yes, we have Internet here. However our only fixed-line provider only offers speeds up to 4Mbps - which you pay through the ass for - and its service levels are practically non-existent. (Yay for government-owned monopolies, huh?) Hence many choose (or rather, are forced out of necessity) to use wireless Internet providers such as iBurst.

BTW, the residents of Craigavon have a reputation for stupidity and/or inbreeding (much like American rednecks), which explains their "symptoms" more thoroughly than any doctor could.


RE: psychosomatic?
By shin0bi272 on 1/15/2010 6:01:53 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
(Yay for government-owned monopolies, huh?)


dont say that too loud or they'll come take it away


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