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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 porkpie on 1/15/2010 4:00:56 PM , Rating: 4
Every drug test includes a placebo blind control group, so your point isn't really valid. Yes, placebos do make people feel better sometimes. But no drug can be sold (in the US at least) unless it works **better** than a placebo.

Honestly, your entire point of view sounds like the usual hollywood-inspired anti-corporate paranoia. Drug companies are in business to sell drugs. Does a company somewhere occasionally overpromote their product? I'm sure....but they still save tens of millions of lives each year.

How many lives have YOU saved, sitting on your butt complaining about evil corporations?

RE: psychosomatic?
By AlexWade on 1/15/2010 7:34:33 PM , Rating: 3
I am not anti-corporation. What I don't like is money put ahead of my health. And I don't like being made to think I have a medical problem. Obviously drug companies need to make a profit so as to have a motivation to do more research. That is not the issue. The issue is drug companies making people think they need drugs.

I was not referring to real problems. I was referring to people who think they have a problem when, in fact, they do not. As in the case of this radio tower.

RE: psychosomatic?
By whiskerwill on 1/15/2010 9:11:33 PM , Rating: 3
My wife has restless leg syndrome. Its not a "fake" condition made up by drug companies. It's really bothersome for her at times.

RE: psychosomatic?
By Camikazi on 1/17/2010 8:24:40 PM , Rating: 2
They didn't say all conditions were, RLS is real, they were talking about symptoms the mind creates based off fear of something happening. Like what these people were saying the tower was doing to them, even though it was off.

RE: psychosomatic?
By croc on 1/16/10, Rating: -1
RE: psychosomatic?
By porkpie on 1/16/2010 4:21:24 PM , Rating: 5
"how many double-blind studies were done, to the FDA's satisfaction prior to the release of the H1N1 vaccine, right? And that is just one drug... "

First of all, get your terminology straight. A vaccine isn't a drug. We don't spend years double-blind testing flue vaccines before release because a) if you don't produce a new vaccine every year, its rather pointless, as the virii mutate that fast, and b) we already have more than a century of experience making flu vaccines. In any case, we do double blind test flu vaccines...but we do at AS as they're being admininistered, as a retrograde efficacy check.

Finally, what the hell point do you think you're making? That flu shots don't save lives? If so, you're sadly mistaken.

"How about paracetimal? How many tablets does it take over how many days to kill your liver"

Well, given I've taken it daily for the last 11 years (in conjuunction with another painkiller) for a chronic pain condition, I honestly don't consider it to be terribly dangerous. Of course, if you take too much, you'll die...but that's true of pretty much everything in this world, including Vitamin A and even water. So what?

"I could go on, but I think I have proved my point."

If your point was to prove you're a Luddite twit, then yes, you've succeeded.

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

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