Researcher has a wake-up call about wireless

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

B.C. author promotes consumer guide to reducing electromagnetic radiation

Pamela Fayerman

Kerry Crofton owns a cellphone, but uses it primarily for emergencies. Photograph by: Steve Bosch, Vancouver Sun, Vancouver Sun

Kerry Crofton travels with a land line phone, purposely stays in hotels that don’t offer wireless Internet in rooms and when she gives her talk tonight on the topic of wireless radiation, it will be in a downtown Vancouver venue selected because it purportedly has no such radiation.

The Victoria-based health researcher is speaking at the wireless network-free St. Andrew’s-Wesley Church, where she’s promoting her new book, Wireless Radiation Rescue, said to be the first consumer guide to reducing levels of electromagnetic radiation in homes, offices and schools.

Crofton does practise what she preaches. Hence, arranging a phone interview to take place while she was en route to Vancouver was a bit of a challenge since she owns a cellphone but prefers not to use it except in emergencies. The interview took place during her sailing; she called from a pay phone on the ship.

Some would argue Crofton’s beliefs are extreme. A B.C. study a few years ago concluded there may be one extra case of childhood leukemia every two years because of power lines.

Health Canada, meanwhile, has issued statements denying the health threat from wireless technology and cellphones.

“Based on scientific evidence, Health Canada has determined that exposure to low-level radio-frequency energy, such as that from Wi-Fi systems, is not dangerous to the public,” said a statement from the federal agency.

On another occasion, Health Canada said it “currently sees no scientific reason to consider the use of cellphones as unsafe … and there is no convincing evidence of increased risk of disease from exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields from cellphones.”

But Crofton, who has a doctoral degree in health psychology, has spent the last five years collecting research on radiation from power lines, cellphones, cordless phones, wireless Internet, computers, baby monitors and microwaves.

And she’s convinced that government standards meant to be protective are too lenient and while cellphone industry-sponsored research may show no impacts, other studies do show biological effects causing symptoms such as headaches, heart effects, decreased fertility and neurological disorders.

Crofton has three decades of experience devising wellness and heart health programs for air traffic controllers, pilots, nurses, teachers and others. Until she started doing her research, Crofton was like most people: she wanted the latest, fastest technology.

“It’s not that I am against technology now. The Internet is extraordinary. Computers are essential. I just make sure that I have mine set up as a fully wired system, without the wireless mouse, without the wireless monitor and without the wireless router.”

She acknowledges that not all people will experience symptoms of such radiation.

“Absolutely, there are some people who are more electro-sensitive than others.,” she said.

Recently, a British scientist waded into the issue of wireless networks in Canadian schools, warning generations could face genetic disorders because of prolonged exposure to low-level microwaves.

“Children are not small adults, they are underdeveloped adults, so there are different symptoms,” said Barrie Trower, who specialized in microwave “stealth” warfare during the Cold War.

Crofton will be joined tonight by American cardiologist Dr. Stephen Sinatra.

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