Go to the Globe and Mail homepage

Jump to main navigationJump to main content

Entry archive:

Elizabeth May wages war against WiFi Add to ...

The Green Party is waging war against WiFi pollution, and Elizabeth May is leading by example.

Ms. May, who was the first Green candidate to win a seat in the House of Commons in the last election, took to Twitter on Wednesday lay out her concerns over “electromagnetic frequencies.” The Green Party’s main targets are so-called wireless “smart meters,” which are set to come into use in British Columbia to monitor the use of electricity.

More related to this story

Writing on her Twitter account ( @ElizabethMay), the Green Party Leader said she was glad not to have WiFi at home, and joined ranks with parents who are concerned about the increased access to wireless Internet hookups in schools across Canada.

“It is very disturbing how quickly WiFi has moved into schools as it is children who are the most vulnerable,” said Ms. May.

Faced with critical reactions from some of her 28,700 followers, Ms. May said the World Health Organization lists electromagnetic frequencies as a “possible human carcinogen.”

“I do not act without scientific info,” she said, as she called on Canadian authorities to adopt stronger controls on WiFi that are in place in Europe.

However, Ms. May’s comments on the fact that the use of WiFi might be related to the “disappearance of pollinating insects” fuelled attacks over the soundness of her views.

Still, the Green Party issued a news release shortly after Ms. May took on the issue in social media, calling for the cancellation of plans to introduce smart meters in British Columbia.

“Wireless technology poses a potential risk to health and the environment and further research that is independent of industry funding is needed,” the Green Party said in its news release.

The federal Greens are supporting the B.C. Greens on this file, relying on the studies of Magda Havas, an Associate Professor of Environmental and Resource Studies at Trent University.

“With more frequencies being used, with the levels of radiation increasing, and with so little research on the long-term, low-level effects of this technology, we are creating a potential time bomb,” Ms. Havas said. “If smart meters are placed on every home, they will increase our exposure to radio frequency radiation -- a potential human carcinogen -- and this is both unwise and unsafe.”

BC Hydro recently received its first shipment of smart meters, which transmit information about energy use several times a day. The smart meters will replace electro-mechanical meters in every home and business in the province by the end of 2012.

Given health concerns, BC Hydro has decided to allow customers to relocate the meters on their properties at their own cost.

“There are people who adamantly believe there are [health concerns.]They are our customers and we want to be respectful and ... responsive. We will do what is reasonable and, to the best of our ability, try to find a mutually acceptable solution,” Gary Murphy, chief project officer for the $930-million program, said earlier this month.

Follow on Twitter: @danlebla

In the know

Most popular video »

Highlights

More from The Globe and Mail

Most Popular Stories