Health Canada – Reply to Safe Schools Policy – Best Practice Standards for Screens and Radiation

From: Miruna Ionescu [mailto:miruna.ionescu@hc-sc.gc.ca] On Behalf Of CCRPB-PCRPCC
Sent: May 1, 2017 8:13 AM
To: Cris Rowan <crowan@zonein.ca>
Cc: CCRPB-PCRPCC <CCRPB-PCRPCC@hc-sc.gc.ca>
Subject: Re: Safe Schools Policy – Best Practice Standards for Screens and Radiation

Dear Ms. Rowan,

Thank you for your correspondence of March 26, 2017 submitted to Health Canada regarding your Safe Schools Policy. We recognize that your letter was addressed to the attention of the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Radiation Protection Committee and has been forwarded to the attention of the federal-provincial chairs of the Committee.

With respect to human exposure to radiofrequency (RF) energy from wireless devices, Health Canada monitors the scientific literature related to possible health effects, conducts research, and develops exposure guidelines such as the Limits of Human Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Energy in the Frequency Range from 3 kHz to 300 GHz – Safety Code 6 (2015). Although the limits in Safety Code 6 are not device specific, they do set forth the maximum recommended level of exposure over the entire frequency range they cover. The actual RF exposure level for a given device would depend on the frequency used by that device.

Specific devices such as cell phones, smartphones, iPods, tablets, Wi-Fi and their associated infrastructure (e.g. telecommunication towers) are regulated by Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISEDC). To ensure that public exposures fall within acceptable guidelines, ISEDC has developed regulatory standards that include testing and labelling requirements which require compliance with the human exposure limits outlined in Safety Code 6 (2015). Any queries regarding compliance, testing procedures or labelling of the noted RF emitting devices should be directed to ISEDC (http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/icgc.nsf/eng/h_07026.html).

Health Canada is aware of the work of the US National Toxicology program and has reviewed the study report, which states that there was a statistically significant increase in certain types of cancer among male rats exposed to cell phone signals over two years. The RF exposure levels tested in the study were 19 to 75 times higher than the human exposure limits established internationally and within Canada for whole body exposure for humans. Departmental officials will review the full published studies as they become available and will consider this new evidence alongside existing scientific knowledge in this area when assessing the possible health risks from exposure to RF fields.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified RF energy as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” (Class 2B). The IARC classification on RF energy reflects the fact that some (limited) evidence exists that RF energy may be a risk factor for cancer. However, the vast majority of scientific research to date does not support a link between RF energy exposure and human cancers. Health Canada is in agreement with both the World Health Organization and IARC that additional research in this area is warranted. Given the uncertainty associated with long-term heavy use of cell phones, Health Canada has issued precautionary advice to cell phone users informing them of practical ways they can reduce their exposure to RF EMF from cell phones (please refer here: https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/consumer-radiation/safety-cell-phones-cell-phone-towers.html)

Health Canada is committed to safeguarding the health and safety of Canadians by actively monitoring scientific research and collaborating with various international organization, partners, stakeholders, federal, provincial and territorial governments to ensure that Canadians are protected from adverse health effects from radiation emitting devices.

You may wish to visit the following links for more information:

Health Canada – RF Exposure Guidelines (Safety Code 6)

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/consult/_2014/safety_code_6-code_securite_6/final_finale-eng.php

Safety Code 6 – Fact Sheet
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/pubs/radiation/radio_guide-lignes_direct/safety_code_6_fs-code_securite_6_fr-eng.php

Health Canada – Radiofrequency Fields
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/radiation/cons/radiofreq/index-eng.php

We hope you find this information helpful and thank you for the information which has been noted.

Sincerely yours,

Consumer & Clinical Radiation Protection Bureau (CCRPB)
Bureau de la protection contre les rayonnements des produits cliniques et de consommation