War erupts over iBurst tower

iBurst CEO Jannie van Zyl recently met with a small group of Craigavon residents who claim their health has deteriorated since an iBurst tower was erected in the neighborhood.  According to the residents the mast, based in Fourways Memorial, has led to various health problems, including rashes, headaches and insomnia.

There is also a dispute over the legality of the process that preceded the erection of the tower.  Some parties argue that iBurst did not follow the correct legal procedure to erect the tower, a claim that iBurst disputes.  More about this issue here: http://mybroadband.co.za/news/Wireless/9584.html

Radiation levels

The UK Government requires all mobile phone installations to comply with the International Council on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) public exposure guidelines as recommended by the European Union. These guidelines are frequency-dependent. At 1800 MHz – the frequency used by iBurst Wireless – the guideline is 9 W/m2 or 58 V/m.

According to Van Zyl he recently had the signal level measured, by an independent company, at the closest property to the Craigavon/Fourways Memorial mast, and the results show that the radiation level was 0.0049 V/m.  This level is over ten-thousand times below the ICNIRP safety limit of 58 V/m and is the same level as the 2G and 3G signals present at the site before the iBurst tower was constructed.

Radiation and health concerns

iBurst’s radiation test results did little to allay the fears of the residents, but the details about the exact nature of these reported ailments remain sketchy. MyBroadband contacted Mrs. Tracey-Lee Dorny from the ‘Craigavon Task Force’ to hear directly from her what their concerns are, but when she was reached she said that she could not immediately give feedback.

Dorny was again contacted later, but she then said that she preferred to answer the questions by email.  MyBroadband sent Dorny questions related to the matter, but later that day Dorny said that there was a problem with her laptop and mail server and that she could not immediately answer any of the questions.  To date MyBroadband has not received any feedback from Dorny about her apprehension regarding the iBurst tower.

While Dorny did not provide direct information, MyBroadband is in possession of an email where Dorny said “several rash cases were presented in person and by photos from people who could not attend [the 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.”

Van Zyl however said that no medical proof has been furnished by any resident to date, that there have been allegations made in the media without proof.  Furthermore a website has been created which is publishing misleading and incorrect information. “We have asked numerous times for some kind of proof, but Dorny refuses to furnish any such proof,” said van Zyl.

The iBurst CEO further said that illegal and defamatory posters were distributed and placed in the neighbourhood by residents which state ‘iBurst wants to harm your children’.  Furthermore, non-residents were paid to act as protestors in the Task Force Demonstrations and according to Van Zyl the iBurst base station was vandalized.

“During this whole process, iBurst tried to engage with the community in spite of constant defamatory attacks on iBurst. It seems clear that contrary to their claims, the community do not want to engage with iBurst and I had to resort to asking on 702 and via the local councilor to facilitate a meeting with the residents,” said van Zyl.

Meeting

Van Zyl said that the residents indicated that the health problems started shortly after the tower had gone live, and that they claim the symptoms subsided shortly after leaving the vicinity of the tower.  Should these claims from some residents be true, it may be evidence that radiation is to blame for the reported health issues.

At the meeting on Monday Van Zyl agreed to turn off the tower with immediate effect to assess whether the health problems described by some of the residents subsided.  iBurst further agreed to fund an independent radio frequency engineer, chosen by the residents, to ensure that the tower is not active, and to further assess the radiation levels at various locations close to the tower.

“iBurst agreed to switch the tower off on the 16th of November, and did so on that date.  iBurst will leave the tower off for two weeks. This is a much longer period indicated by residents, including Tracey-Lee Dorny, to see a potential improvement in symptoms, including nausea, skin irritations, vomiting, headaches and sleep disorders,” said van Zyl.  Van Zyl requested that iBurst receive written proof from residents outlining when the symptoms appeared and if and when they subside.  A follow-up meeting will be held with the residents on the 30th of November.

Dorny however said in an email that there is “different time relief [for different complainants] – days/ weeks /months and some had not yet had a chance to be away totally from the mast so the three days as mentioned below is a shade off mark.”

“Those with rashes expressed that it had taken 6 weeks for the rash to heal after moving out of their homes, medical input and sleeping away completely from the tower. Remaining skin texture was still to heal even after this time,” said Dorny in an email.

However, Dorny is quoted in the press as saying that there is a near immediate correlation between the symptoms and being near the tower. According to van Zyl this was also confirmed by some of the residents at the Monday meeting including some of the residents’ staff who said if they go home for the weekend, the symptoms disappeared or improved substantially.

November resolution sought

Van Zyl said that he is looking forward to resolving the issue by the end of the month.  “I believe iBurst and myself have clearly demonstrated our willingness to engage with the community – to the point of begging to meet via various mediums.”

“We therefore now believe the community should engage in a similar manner by providing the proof for their claims as these have not yet been furnished to iBurst after repeated requests. As an act of good faith, the tower was turned off but clearly this cannot be an open-ended affair,” van Zyl concluded.

iBurst legal letter to Craigavon Task Force here

iBurst tower and health – discussion

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War erupts over iBurst tower