This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

Evidence of meeting #54 for Health in the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was studies.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Andrew Adams  Director General, Environmental and Radiation Health Sciences Directorate, Department of Health
Frank Prato  Imaging Program Leader, Assistant Scientific Director, Lawson Health Research Institute
Paul Demers  Director, Occupational Cancer Research Centre, Cancer Care Ontario, As an Individual
James McNamee  Chief, Health Effects and Assessments Division, Healthy Environments and Consumer Safety Branch, Department of Health
Peter Hill  Director General, Spectrum Management Operations Branch, Department of Industry
Meg Sears  Adjunct Investigator, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, As an Individual
Martin Blank  Special Lecturer, Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, Columbia University, As an Individual

3:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Ben Lobb

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. We're here to begin our brief study on Health Canada Safety Code 6. We have a number of witnesses here today, two panels and some departmental officials as well.

Who would like to go first among the departmental officials?

Mr. Adams, go ahead, sir.

3:30 p.m.

Andrew Adams Director General, Environmental and Radiation Health Sciences Directorate, Department of Health

Thank you very much. I have some opening remarks to make.

Chairman and members of the committee, it is my pleasure to be here today to speak on Health Canada Safety Code 6. My name is Andrew Adams, and I am the director of the environmental and radiation health sciences directorate in the healthy environments and consumer safety branch of Health Canada. I am joined today by Dr. James McNamee, the chief of the health effects and assessments division in the consumer and clinical radiation protection bureau and the lead author of Safety Code 6.

Safety Code 6 is Health Canada's guideline for exposure to radio frequency, or RF, electromagnetic energy, the kind of energy given off by cellphones and Wi-Fi, as well as broadcasting and cellphone towers. Safety Code 6 provides human exposure limits in the 3 kilohertz to 300 gigahertz frequency range, and we have provided chart A of the electromagnetic spectrum, just so committee members can situate the frequency range we're talking about.

But Safety Code 6 does not cover exposure to electromagnetic energy in the optical or ionizing radiation portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Safety Code 6 establishes limits for safe human exposure to RF energy. These limits incorporate large safety margins to protect the health and safety of all Canadians, including those who work near RF sources.

While Safety Code 6 recommends limits for safe human exposure, Health Canada does not regulate the general public's exposure to electromagnetic RF energy.

Industry Canada is the regulator of radiocommunication and broadcasting installations and apparatus in Canada. To ensure that public exposures fall within acceptable guidelines, Industry Canada has developed regulatory standards that require compliance with the human exposure limits outlined in Safety Code 6.

I'd like to talk a little bit about the approach for updates to Safety Code 6. Safety Code 6 is reviewed on a regular basis to verify that the guideline provides protection against all known potentially harmful health effects and that it takes into account recent scientific data from studies carried out worldwide. The most recent update to Safety Code 6 was completed earlier this month. I will describe the process used for that update later in my remarks.

When developing the exposure limits in the revised Safety Code 6, departmental scientists considered all peer-reviewed scientific studies, including those pertaining to both thermal and non-thermal, and employed a weight-of-evidence approach when evaluating possible health risks from exposure to RF energy.

The weight-of-evidence approach takes into account both the quantity of studies on a particular end point and the quality of those studies. Poorly conducted studies receive relatively little weight, while properly conducted studies receive more weight.

Now I'll focus on the recent update of Safety Code 6.

The most recent update to Safety Code 6 was initiated in 2012, with the goal of ensuring that the most up-to-date and credible scientific studies on the potential effects of RF energy on human health were reflected in the code.

Health Canada proposed changes to Safety Code 6 that were based on the latest available scientific evidence, including improved modelling of the interaction of RF fields with the human body, and alignment with exposure limits specified by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection. These changes were proposed to ensure that wide safety margins were maintained to protect the health and safety of all Canadians, including infants and children.

Some of you may recall that this committee previously conducted a study on the potential health impacts of RF electromagnetic radiation. Among the recommendations included in the committee's December 2010 report was a recommendation that:

Health Canada request that the Council of Canadian Academies or another appropriate independent institution conduct an assessment of the Canadian and international scientific literature regarding the potential health impacts of short and long-term exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation....

ln response to this recommendation, in 2013, Health Canada contracted the Royal Society of Canada to review the results of emerging research relating to the safety of RF energy on human health, to ensure it was appropriately reflected in the revised Safety Code, through a formalized expert panel process.

I'm sure you know that today we're joined by the chair of the expert panel and one of the members of the expert panel.

The Expert Panel of the Royal Society released their review in March 2014, concluding that in the view of the panel there are no established adverse health effects at exposure levels below the proposed limits.

Among the recommendations made by the expert panel was the suggestion that the proposed reference levels in the draft Safety Code 6 be made slightly more restrictive in some frequency ranges to ensure larger safety margins for all Canadians, including newborn infants and children.

ln the interest of openness and transparency, Health Canada also undertook a 60-day public consultation period for the proposed revisions to Safety Code 6 between May and July 2014. The department invited feedback from interested Canadians and stakeholders.

Comments related to the scientific and technical aspects of Safety Code 6 received by Health Canada during the public consultation period, as well as the recommendations provided by the Royal Society Expert Panel, were taken into consideration when finalizing the revised guideline.

The final version of Safety Code 6 was published on March 13, 2015. Health Canada also published a summary of the feedback received during the public consultation period. Given the scientific basis of the guideline, only feedback of a technical or scientific nature could be considered in the finalization of Safety Code 6; however, the summary of consultation feedback responds to both technical and non-technical comments received from Canadians.

With the recent update, Canadians should be confident that the radiofrequency exposure limits in Safety Code 6 are now among the most stringent science-based limits in the world.

To shift a little bit and talk about the scientific methodology that underlies the revision of Safety Code 6, a large number of submissions received during the public consultation period raised concerns that Health Canada had not considered all of the relevant scientific literature when updating Safety Code 6. ln particular, it has been stated that 140 studies were ignored. I would like to address that criticism here today.

ln updating Safety Code 6, Health Canada made use of existing internationally recognized reviews of the literature along with its own expert review of the relevant scientific literature. Numerous reviews on this issue have been written in recent years by international organizations such as the World Health Organization, the European Commission's Scientific Committee on Emerging Newly identified Health Risks, and ICNIRP. I believe we have provided links to some of these reports for the committee's interest.

While Safety Code 6 references these international reviews, the code is an exposure guideline, not a scientific review article. Accordingly, most individual scientific studies are not referenced in the code. However, this does not mean that Health Canada did not consider all relevant scientific information when deriving the science-based exposure limits in the code. I can assure you we did.

lt should be noted that studies with inappropriate study design or methodology can lead to erroneous results that are scientifically meaningless.

Studies were considered not to be of sufficient quality to inform the recent update if it was not possible to determine the dosage studied, if the study lacked an appropriate control, if experiments within the study were not repeated a sufficient number of times, if no statistical analysis of the results was conducted, or if other improper scientific techniques were used. Of the 140 studies that have been cited, a large number fall into this category.

Other studies were not considered to be within scope. For example, some of these studies looked at exposures to a frequency range outside of the frequency range covered by Safety Code 6 and were therefore not considered relevant.

However, Health Canada did consider all studies that were considered to be both in scope and of sufficient quality for inclusion in our risk assessment. While it is true that some of these studies report biological or adverse health effects of RF fields at levels below the limits in Safety Code 6, I want to emphasize that these studies are in the minority and they do not represent the prevailing line of scientific evidence in this area.

The conclusions reached by Health Canada are consistent with reviews of the scientific evidence by national and international health authorities. Of note, the European Commission's Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks earlier this month released its final opinion on the potential health effects of electromagnetic fields. SCENIHR concluded that there are no evident adverse health effects, provided exposure levels remain below levels recommended by European Union legislation.

Now I'd like to talk a little bit about an international comparison. Members of the committee may be wondering how the limits in Safety Code 6 compare with limits in other parts of the world. I refer you to the chart of radio frequency exposure limits for the general public in different countries. Internationally, a few jurisdictions have applied more restrictive limits for RF field exposures from cell towers; however, there is no scientific evidence to support the need for such restrictive limits. Canada's limits are consistent with, if not more stringent than, the science-based limits used in such other jurisdictions as the European Union, the United States, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand.

In conclusion, the health of Canadians is protected form radio frequency electromagnetic energy when the human exposure limits recommended in Safety Code 6 are respected. Safety Code 6 has always established and maintained a human exposure limit that is far below the threshold for potentially adverse health effects. The health of Canadians was protected under the previous version of Safety Code 6, and recent revisions to the code ensure even greater protection.

Health Canada will continue to monitor the scientific literature on this issue on an ongoing basis. Should new evidence arise that indicates a risk to Canadians at levels below the limits in Safety Code 6, the department would take appropriate action.

Thank you for your time.

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Ben Lobb

Thank you.

Dr. Prato, you have some prepared comments. You can go ahead, sir.

3:40 p.m.

Dr. Frank Prato Imaging Program Leader, Assistant Scientific Director, Lawson Health Research Institute

My name is Frank Prato. I'm an assistant scientific director and medical imaging program leader at the Lawson Health Research Institute. The Lawson Health Research Institute is one of the largest hospital-based research institutes in Canada and the research institute for the two teaching hospitals in London, Ontario.

I became interested in 1982 in non-ionizing, non-thermal effects when I introduced here in Canada magnetic resonance imaging. We produced the first image in Canada using magnetic resonance imaging in 1982, and I became interested in the potential of non-thermal effects as a result of exposure of biological systems to non-ionizing electromagnetic fields.

I have continued to work in this area and have published about 100 publications. I have some credentials in terms of international credentials. I'm the past president of The Bioelectromagnetics Society, which is the largest society investigating non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation. I'm chairing, for the seventh year now, the Canadian National Committee of the International Union of Radio Science, which is a National Research Council of Canada committee of a scientific union called the International Union of Radio Science. This union looks at applications of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation. And for the union worldwide, I was a commissioned chair for Commission K, which looks at biological effects of exposure to a non-ionizing radiation.

Given this background, I've been very interested, but my interest generally falls outside of the frequency limits associated with Safety Code 6, which start at three kilohertz. Most of my interest has been at lower frequencies in what is called the ELF range, the extremely low frequency range of around 300 hertz and lower, including frequencies like 50 hertz and 60 hertz that are associated with electrical power transmission.

However, in this area, I published in the international journal of the Royal Society, called Interface, in 2013, that exposure to 30-hertz—which, again, is well below the three kilohertz associated with Safety Code 6—ambient electromagnetic fields generated by humans do have effects on biological systems. These were experiments that needed to be carried out under shielded conditions; however, they are not relevant because they fall below the frequency limits associated with Safety Code 6.

I would like to say a few words about non-thermal RF effects below Safety Code 6 limits within the frequency range. There have been a number of problems with this literature as Mr. Adams alluded to. There are three major problems with this literature at this point in time. One is that the effects have been small; two, that there is no established mechanism, and in fact there are a number of people who claim there are no possible mechanisms with such weak energy fields; and three, that there are issues with reproducibility. Reproducibility issues aren't surprising, given that we don't really understand the mechanism.

However, there was an article published very recently in Nature , on May 15, 2014, after the release of our article in the Royal Society review, entitled, “Anthropogenic electromagnetic noise disrupts magnetic compass orientation in a migratory bird”. So these are clear non-thermal effects of RF within the range of Safety Code 6 safety.

Now we are getting more and more literature that suggests that very weak fields, below the limits set by Safety Code 6, can have biological effects. Of course, we don't know if these effects occur in humans, and we are not stating that they are detrimental. They were obviously detrimental to the birds in the urban population because it interfered with their ability to sense the earth's magnetic field for a proper orientation and homing.

The question that arose with respect to the discussions of the Royal Society committee on Safety Code 6 is why we cannot set limits for non-thermal effects. I draw you section 7.8, the last paragraph, which says that “it is not known how the reported effects scale with exposure parameters.”

With heating effects, there is a very straightforward metric that we can evaluate and determine what the energy deposition is and what the probability is that the exposed tissue or organism will have a detrimental, perhaps, increase in temperature, but we do not know what the scaling metric is for these non-thermal biological effects.

The definition of non-thermal was also discussed in the Royal Society report. I'll remind you that in that report, we basically said the definition of non-thermal is a bit difficult, but at least we can talk about effects below the limits for Safety Code 6 as being those that would include non-thermal effects.

I'd also like to point out that in section 10.2 of the Royal Society review, the second-to-last bullet says that “Health Canada should pursue research to expand our current understanding of possible effects of exposure to RF energy at levels below SC6.”

What I am saying, as a researcher, is that there are now well-established effects in some animals of exposures below those of Safety Code 6. At this point, there is no strong evidence—there is some evidence—that similar effects are reliably reproduced in humans. Also, there is no evidence that these effects would be detrimental to humans if, in fact, they occurred.

Let me point out that the more recent literature that has come out in the last six months or so, and some literature building up to that, suggests some of the studies are quite flawed in this area, because it turns out that magnetic and electric fields produced in the environment do have biological effects. When people have been doing experiments like having one group of individuals with cellphone exposure, and another group just in the lab without cellphone exposure but, say, with sham cellphone exposure, they are still being exposed to magnetic and electric fields which are in the environment. We have evidence now in animals that those magnetic fields generated by humans do have biological effects in a number of species, including mice and birds.

That's basically what I am saying. I am trying to explain why at this point there is not enough information to even consider setting limits for non-thermal effects, because the mechanism is not known, and therefore we don't know how the effect scales. It may not scale at all with respect to the intensity of the exposure.

From my point of view, and from my knowledge in this area, if there are questions, I'd like to respond to the Royal Society review with respect to section 6.5, which deals with magnetic resonance imaging; section 7.8, which deals with low-level and non-thermal effects; section 7.9, which is about possible effects on stress protein expression; and section 10.2, the last bullets only, which are the summary of the recommendations that I have already referenced. Of course, I would be willing to answer questions in terms of what research still needs to be done for “non-thermal effects.”

That's my statement.

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Ben Lobb

Thank you very much.

Next up we have Dr. Paul Demers. Go ahead, sir.

3:50 p.m.

Dr. Paul Demers Director, Occupational Cancer Research Centre, Cancer Care Ontario, As an Individual

Thank you, Mr. Chair and members of the committee, for inviting me here today. I know I've been asked to come here today because I chaired the expert panel of the Royal Society of Canada on Safety Code 6. But I thought I'd start by saying a few other things about my background.

I'm the director of the Occupational Cancer Research Centre, which is based in Cancer Care Ontario, a provincial agency that is also funded by the Ontario Ministry of Labour and the Canadian Cancer Society. I'm also a member of the faculty of the schools of public health of the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia.

I am an epidemiologist, so I study impacts of different types of health effects upon populations of people, but my primary area of research is on the risk of cancer associated with workplace chemicals, dust, and radiation, although I have done research on a number of other diseases as well as on environmental exposures. However, I want to state that, unlike Dr. Prato, I'm not an expert specifically in the area of electromagnetic fields and have never actually done research on radio frequency radiation.

As you know, at the request of Health Canada the Royal Society convened an extra panel to conduct a review of the 2013 draft of Safety Code 6. I was asked to chair that panel because I had no conflicts of interest and because of my expertise in cancer epidemiology, which was identified as one of the areas for which they wanted expertise on the panel.

I was also asked because of my experience sitting on similar panels for the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the U.S. national toxicology program, the U.S. Institute of Medicine, which is part of the National Academy of Sciences, and the Council of Canadian Academies, the latter two being fairly similar to the Royal Society of Canada in the way they operate.

I should also mention, although you may be aware of this already, that I was the second chair of the panel. The first panel resigned because of a perceived conflict of interest, and I took over as chair of the panel about midway through. But I also want to state that I'm here as individual and am not representing the Royal Society of Canada or any other organization at this point.

The panel was presented with five specific questions, and I'm going to over very briefly our responses to those five questions. Overall, they were all dealing with whether or not there were any established health effects at levels below those recommended by Safety Code 6 and related types of questions.

To answer these questions, we did a review of recently published studies in the area on a wide range of different types of health effects. We also looked at many of the international reviews, which I think have already been mentioned here today. These are conducted on a pretty regular basis by many agencies around the world.

Because we were asked to look in particular at established health effects, we defined an established adverse health effect as something that has been seen consistently or been observed consistently in multiple studies with a strong methodology. So we had a fairly flexible definition, but still it required an effect's being observed in not just a single study.

Before I get into the questions—because I'm actually going to read out the questions we were given—I want to explain two different terms that are used quite a bit in those questions, namely the definition of what basic restrictions are and what reference levels are.

Basic restrictions in Safety Code 6 are things that happen within the body, either heating or induced fields within the bodies, or things like those. Many of the actual limits are set based upon that. Because these are not easily measured, the code also uses reference levels, which are things you can measure outside of the body using a meter. They are much easier for regulatory purposes. You will often see that the questions are phrased in terms of these basic restrictions and reference levels.

Our first question was, do the basic restrictions specified in Safety Code 6 provide adequate protection for both workers and the general population from established adverse health effects of radio frequency fields? Our conclusion was that yes, they provided that protection. Specifically, Safety Code 6 was designed to protect against two kinds of established health effects, thermal effects and peripheral nerve stimulation. The margins of safety, we concluded, appeared to be quite protective. For peripheral nerve stimulation, it was a safety factor of five for the workplace or controlled environments, and a 10-fold factor for uncontrolled environments, which are closer to what you would experience in the general public. For thermal effects, the safety factor was 10-fold for workplaces and 50-fold for the general public.

The second question that we were given was, are there any other established adverse health effects occurring at exposure levels below the basic restrictions on Safety Code 6 that should be considered in revising the code? Our conclusion to that question was no. The panel reviewed the evidence for a wide variety of health effects, including cancer, cognitive and neurologic effects, male and female reproductive effects, development effects, cardiac function, heart rate variability, electromagnetic hypersensitivity, and adverse effects in susceptible areas of the eye. Although research in many of these areas—important research, I think—continues, we were unable to identify any adverse health effects occurring at levels below those allowed by Safety Code 6.

Our third question related specifically to the eye: Is there sufficient scientific evidence upon which to establish separate basic restrictions or recommendations for the eye? We concluded that no there wasn't sufficient evidence. Recent studies do not show adverse health effects in susceptible regions of the eye at exposure levels below those proposed by Safety Code 6 for the head, neck, and trunk. Therefore we recommended that it not contain separate basic restrictions for the eye.

The fourth question was perhaps a bit more complex: Do the reference levels established in Safety Code 6 provide adequate protection against exceeding the basic restrictions? That is, do the levels that are proposed as limits for things you can measure outside the body actually protect against the target health effects the code is trying to prevent within the body? Our conclusion was that for most frequencies, yes, reference levels were adequate, but that there were some regions where compliance with the reference levels may not ensure compliance with the basic restrictions. We recommended that the proposed reference levels in Safety Code 6 be reviewed by Health Canada to make them somewhat more restrictive in some frequency ranges to ensure a larger safety margin for Canadians, including newborn infants and children.

This recommendation took into account recent studies that we call dosimetry studies, at least one of which was published after Health Canada produced the proposed Safety Code 6.

Our fifth question was, should additional precautionary measures be introduced into Safety Code 6 exposure limits? I'll state that although there was a range of opinions on the panel regarding precautionary efforts, overall the panel believed that Safety Code 6 was well-designed to avoid established health effects; we did not have any science-based recommendations for precautionary measures to lower the limits. I'll say that it was for the reasons that I think Dr. Prato explained quite well, which is that we couldn't, at least in looking at the study, say that the evidence tells us that we should lower it it in such a fashion. However, we did recommend a number of other measures that can and should be taken by Health Canada.

I'll read some of them here now.

First was to investigate the problems of individuals with what's called electromagnetic hypersensitivity—it goes by other names as well, IEI-EMF, and things like that—with the aim of understanding their health conditions and finding ways to provide effective treatment.

Second was to develop a procedure for the public to report suspected disease clusters and a protocol for investigating them.

Third was to expand Health Canada's risk communication strategy to address consumer needs for more information around radio frequency radiation.

Fourth was to identify additional practical measures that Canadians can take to reduce their own exposure.

These recommendations are really in response to the public input that we received as part of the panel. We also had a number of different research recommendations. In particular, if one has the chance to read the report, you'll notice that each section on a particular health effect usually ends by basically pointing out that more research is needed on that health effect.

A few of the specific ones are that Health Canada should aggressively pursue research aimed at clarifying the radio frequency radiation cancer issue, which would allow the government to develop protective measures if the risk were substantiated; and that Health Canada should pursue research to expand our current understanding of possible adverse health effects of exposure to radio frequency radiation at levels below those allowed by Safety Code 6.

The response to the panel's report from Health Canada—

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Ben Lobb

Mr. Demers, I'm sorry to interrupt you. We are tight for time today, so if you could wrap it up here in the next little bit, that would be great.

4:05 p.m.

Director, Occupational Cancer Research Centre, Cancer Care Ontario, As an Individual

Dr. Paul Demers

I have about two sentences left. Thank you very much.

The response to the panel's report from Health Canada, which is publicly available on the web, is that it would review all the panel's recommendations and would revise the levels in the update to Safety Code 6, which has now been adapted. I am personally not an expert in the measurement of electromagnetic fields, as I mentioned, but Health Canada has reported that our feedback was incorporated. In looking at the new Safety Code 6, you can actually see that changes were made in the frequencies that we had recommended be lowered.

With that, I'll end. I'm sorry if I went over time.

4:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Ben Lobb

That's great. Thank you very much.

The first round of questioning will be en français, so if you need translation, you can use the earpiece and set it to English. We'll do a test run before we start Ms. Moore's time.

Go ahead, Ms. Moore.

4:05 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

In December 2010, the Standing Committee on Health published a report entitled “An Examination of the Potential Health Impacts of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Radiation”. Allow me to summarize the five recommendations I'm interested in.

The first recommendation was to provide funding to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research for studies into this matter.

The second was to conduct an assessment of scientific literature.

The third called for a comprehensive risk awareness program for exposure to electromagnetic radiation.

The fourth involved providing information, including awareness sessions.

The fifth recommendation was to implement a process to receive reports of adverse reactions.

As we know, the government did not respond to that report because of the 2011 federal election. I would like to know which of those five recommendations submitted by the committee over four years ago have been followed, why some of them may not have been implemented, and to what extent certain recommendations were followed.

I would also like to know what the next steps are.

4:05 p.m.

Director General, Environmental and Radiation Health Sciences Directorate, Department of Health

Andrew Adams

Thank you.

Health Canada did receive the committee's recommendations in 2010. I can give you an overview of what we have done in response to the recommendations.

It could take some time, as there are five recommendations.

The Health Canada website provides some information on the effects of electromagnetic fields and on what Canadians can do to protect themselves. We have information on cellphones and on how Canadians can reduce their exposure to those devices. We also have information on Safety Code 6, as well as on its development and measures to protect the health of Canadians.

I think we have submitted to the committee a list of documents available on the Health Canada website. I should have a copy of it. Perhaps I should be asking you whether you have received the list. I think we have given you documents from the Health Canada website.

4:10 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

We did receive those documents.

4:10 p.m.

Director General, Environmental and Radiation Health Sciences Directorate, Department of Health

Andrew Adams

In response to the committee's recommendation from 2010 that we raise public awareness, we have posted information on the department's website.

Do you have more specific questions about that?

4:10 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

If I understand correctly, only people who look for the information on your website will be educated. There are no awareness programs for the general population—for instance, warning young people against carrying their cellphones in their pockets, directly against their skin.

4:10 p.m.

Director General, Environmental and Radiation Health Sciences Directorate, Department of Health

Andrew Adams

We don't have anything like those television advertisements on drug use.

4:10 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Okay.

4:10 p.m.

Director General, Environmental and Radiation Health Sciences Directorate, Department of Health

Andrew Adams

We don't have any programs to educate young people and families about the effects of electromagnetic fields, for instance.

4:10 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Regarding complaints, is there a place where people who think they are having an adverse reaction to radiofrequencies or health care professionals who think their patients may be having those issues could report their experience?

4:10 p.m.

Director General, Environmental and Radiation Health Sciences Directorate, Department of Health

Andrew Adams

We already have a consumer product safety system.

We can receive complaints about any consumer products, including cellphones, through that system. When people have problems related to cellphones or to electromagnetic fields created by cellphones, they can use that existing service.

4:10 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Okay.

Is the industry looking specifically into the cumulative effects of radiofrequencies emitted by several devices together? For instance, a home will often have a cordless telephone, two or three cellphones, a baby monitor, a smart meter, a Wi-Fi router, and so on.

4:10 p.m.

Director General, Environmental and Radiation Health Sciences Directorate, Department of Health

4:10 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Are specific studies also done on pulsed waves, as in the case of smart meters, which emit waves every 60 seconds? Those are more aggressive effects compared with continuous background noise. It's sort of like water torture.

4:10 p.m.

Director General, Environmental and Radiation Health Sciences Directorate, Department of Health

Andrew Adams

Yes, I understand.

4:10 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Are any studies focusing specifically on pulsed waves?

4:10 p.m.

Director General, Environmental and Radiation Health Sciences Directorate, Department of Health

Andrew Adams

I do not know whether specific studies are being carried out on pulsed waves. I don't know if my colleagues have more information.