Invisible Threats: The Link Between EMF & Serious Illnesses

The longtime president of Microsoft Canada is now our country’s leading advocate for wireless radiation safety. Vitality invited high tech leader Frank Clegg, now CEO of the new non-profit organization, Canadians for Safe Technology (C4ST), to update our readers on what Canada is (or is not) doing to protect your health, and what you can do in this election year to protect yourself and your children. Here is a report on his research and conclusions.

It has been three years since the World Health Organization shocked the medical community by warning that exposure to microwave radiation from wireless devices might increase our cancer risk. If the same elite cancer specialists were to meet again today, the warning would be upgraded from a “possible carcinogen” to a “probable carcinogen.” That is according to Professor Emeritus Anthony Miller, of the University of Toronto, who was speaking recently to Toronto’s Public Works and Infrastructure Committee. (1)

Since 2011, governments around the world have alerted their populations to approach wireless devices with caution. In Belgium, it will soon be illegal to sell or market “kiddie-phones,” mobile phones that are specially designed for children. (2)

In France, the government “recommends limiting the population’s exposure to radiofrequencies – in particular from mobile phones – especially for children and intensive users.” (3)

In India, both the State of Rajasthan and the City of Mumbai have passed laws prohibiting the placement of cellular antennae on the roofs of hospitals and schools and in playgrounds because they are “hazardous to life.” (4)

Lawmakers across our globe are developing safety rules. Similar to the global trend in laws around seat belts, lawn-pesticides, second hand smoke and tanning beds, these laws are designed to protect the public from emerging technologies that eventually reveal emerging evidence of potential harm. Many people are unaware that wireless devices use microwaves, the same as your microwave oven. So your cordless phone, Wi-Fi, smart meter and the cell tower outside your window are effectively functioning as low-level, constantly-emitting, microwave transmitters.

In Canada, various levels of government are largely ignoring the warning from the W.H.O. and are instead hiding behind “Safety Code 6,” (5) an archaic federal guideline that is allowing Canada’s globally envied health care system to ignore our biggest modern health threat.

The Link Between Wireless Radiation and Illness
Since I helped found Canadians For Safe Technology (www.C4ST.org), I have personally met too many people who are suffering from over-exposure to wireless radiation. Cancer isn’t the only risk.

About 10 years ago Bill Townsend, a former radio talk show host who now works at Humber College, was the father of a sick family. His very young son had been in surgery for his tonsils, and his even younger son had been diagnosed with adenoid swelling that was resulting in a lack of sleep. His wife had chronic skin rashes that had progressed to her face and also suffered dizziness. When his wife’s doctor found she had the same adenoid swelling as their son, he scheduled both Bill’s son and his wife for surgery on the same day.

Bill became suspicious when he started to get sinus swelling himself. So he conducted an internet search and found information linking Wi-Fi to sudden onset chronic health problems including heart irregularity, headaches, nausea, poor sleep, as well as skin rashes and sinus swelling.

Bill then realized there was a direct link between his family’s health decline and the installation of a Wi-Fi router in his house. He made a simple decision to turn off the Wi-Fi, and instead hardwire all computers in his home. His wife and son’s symptoms reversed so quickly that on the day before surgery their doctor gave them both a clean bill of health and cancelled both operations. Bill’s own symptoms also quickly disappeared.

In every story I hear, the hidden cost of so much wireless radiation in our lives is being borne by our provincial healthcare system. The provinces are blindly following the federal government’s outdated Safety Code 6 – even though Safety Code 6 is only a guideline for federal buildings. No one knows how many people are sick or will become sick from this radiation, but scientists estimate about 3% of people have an immediate reaction. That means about one million Canadians. Many others – about 20% of people – will develop symptoms over time, like Bill Townsend did. These people have what Doctors call electrosensitivity or ES.

Increasing Rates of Electrosensitivity
Electrosensitivity is not like an allergy you are born with; it is an illness that builds up over increased time and radiation exposure. Just as we cannot yet explain why some individuals will die from second-hand smoke and others can live a long life smoking 2 packs a day, we cannot explain why some individuals react to wireless radiation. But with more and more cell towers and smart meters crowding into our living spaces, with Wi-Fi in buses, schools, trains, offices and hotels, people who are sensitive now struggle to work, travel and support their families.

Women’s College Hospital in Toronto has an environmental health clinic that has seen its waiting list balloon to over 6 months for patients struggling with electrosensitivity.

Health Canada is dangerously behind other countries in recognizing electrosensitivity. It is disturbing to note that Health Canada historically did recognize that some people get sick from microwave radiation. But in the last “update” of the Safety Code in 2009, the only significant change was to delete the single sentence that read:

“Certain members of the general public may be more susceptible to harm from RF and microwave exposure.”

This acknowledgement that some people are susceptible to harm from wireless radiation had been part of the safety code for more than a decade. It vanished about the same time Wi-Fi was rolled out into all schools and offices. (6)

That is in stark contrast with Sweden, where electrosensitivity is an officially recognized impairment. Some hospitals have built special rooms with very low wireless radiation so that people who are sensitive can get medical care. (7)

In 2012, the Austrian Medical Association also adopted guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of illness caused by wireless radiation. (8) Austria’s checklist for physicians lists the following symptoms: sleep problems, fatigue, exhaustion, lack of energy, restlessness, heart palpitations, blood pressure problems, muscle and joint pain, headaches, depression, difficulty concentrating, forgetfulness, anxiety, urinary urgency, anomia (difficulty finding words), dizziness, tinnitus and sensations of pressure in the head and the ears, tightness in chest, hyperactivity, irritability, noise sensitivity, burning sensation in the eyes and skin conditions.

I encourage everyone who is reading this with unexplained chronic health problems – including disturbed sleep – to turn off every wireless device in their home for a week. Write down what happens. Here’s what to do:

The Tech Exec’s 5-Step Guide to Wireless Safety
1. CELL PHONES:

a) Keep cell phones away from your head (use the speaker or airtube earbuds; not bluetooth) and out of your pocket, bras, or clothing.

b) Don’t sleep with an active cell phone near you. Use airplane mode only. It keeps the phone functions on, but blocks incoming/outgoing calls and text.

c) Children should not be near a connected cell phone or tablet device. Cell phones and tablets should not be used as toys.

d) Forward your phone to your landline when at home.

2. CORDLESS PHONES: Remove all cordless phones. If you must have them, keep them away from high use areas and bedrooms and put them on a timer or turn them off every night. The base-station is the heaviest emitter of radiation, more than the hand-held phone.

3. WI-FI: Remove the Wi-Fi in your home. If you cannot remove it, turn it off when not in use, minimally put it on a timer or turn it off every night. Make sure it is not where someone is exposed all day, such as a bedroom or study.

4. BABY MONITORS: Never place a wireless baby monitor (video or audio) by your child’s bed. Use a wired monitor. Mothers, do not carry the monitor near your body.

5. SMART METERS: If possible, opt out of any smart meter installations for hydro or water. If not possible, try to have it placed away from bedrooms or other high use area, or consider the use of a protective screen.

It’s worth noting that even the manufacturers won’t declare their products “SAFE.” The presidents of Bell, Rogers, Telus, or any cell phone maker will not declare publicly that their products are safe. In the U.S., the spokesman for the wireless industry association, Dane Snowden, is on record as testifying to the State Legislature of Vermont: “Industry has not said once – not once – that cell phones are safe. The federal government …has said it is safe.”

Lax Federal Guideline Is a Danger to Public Health
This is perhaps the most critical point in the discussion. Our lax federal guideline needs to be rigorously updated. Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 which governs the safety of cell phones, cell towers, Wi-Fi, smart meters and microwave ovens has not been significantly updated since the 1970s, long before Wi-Fi was invented or cell phones were sold.

But even manufacturers discreetly warn of possible health problems – in their fine print. This warning comes with the Apple IPad2: (9)

“You can further limit your exposure by limiting the amount of time using iPad in wireless mode, since time is a factor in how much exposure a person receives, and by placing more distance between your body and iPad since exposure level drops off dramatically with distance.”

The packaging with i-Phone5 states: “Carry i-Phone at least 10 mm away from your body to ensure exposure levels remain at, or below, the as-tested levels.”

(To find these warnings, you have to hunt for them. Go to Settings – General – About – Legal – RF Exposure)

Blackberry warns users to keep their phones an inch away from any part of their body whenever it’s turned on, “including the abdomen of pregnant women and the lower abdomen of teenagers.” (10)

For men, keeping your cell phone in a trouser pocket in talk mode may impair fertility. (11) Putting a Wi-Fi-enabled computer on your lap has also been shown to alter sperm motility.

Wi-Fi Linked to ADHD, Learning Disorders
A recent study demonstrated that pregnant women should be careful about their use of cell phones. Dr. Hugh S. Taylor, chief of reproductive endocrinology and infertility for Yale Medical Group says, “We have shown that behavioral problems in mice that resemble ADHD are caused by cell phone exposure in the womb. The rise in behavioral disorders in human children may be in part due to fetal cellular telephone irradiation exposure.” (12)

Children are especially vulnerable since their skulls are thinner and certain tissues of a child’s head, including the bone marrow and the eye, absorb significantly more energy than those in an adult head. (13) A highly regarded study from 2011 showed that radiation from a cell phone penetrated 10% of an adult head, whereas it penetrated the skull of a five year old 70%. (14)

I am discouraged to see School Boards such as Peel encourage students to Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). The campaign was designed by the tech industry and sold to school Boards as part of their international sales campaign “21’st Century Learning.” (15)

In fact, a prestigious group of medical doctors who specialize in treating disease caused by toxins in the environment wrote to the Peel Board. The letter from the American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) to the director of the Peel District school board strongly advised the Board to turn off the Wi-Fi, and instead wire computers into ethernet cables in the classroom, in order to avoid “a widespread public health hazard that the medical system is not yet prepared to address.” (16)

Science suggests that exposure to constant wireless radiation impairs learning.

One of the most succinct letters I have read on the subject was written by Dr. Martha Herbert of the Harvard School of Medicine. As one of the world’s leading autism experts, she wrote to the Los Angeles School Board discouraging the installation of Wi-Fi, explaining that wireless radiation “from Wi-Fi and cell towers can exert a disorganizing effect on the ability to learn and remember, and can also be destabilizing to immune and metabolic function. This will make it harder for some children to learn, particularly those who are already having problems in the first place.” (17)

However, as with pesticides, when the federal government lags behind, there are local initiatives that can make a difference. With lawn pesticides, the movement began in 1991 when a small town council in Hudson, Quebec, voted to outlaw the use of pesticides for “cosmetic control.” Today there are bans in more than 100 municipalities (including Toronto) and two provinces.

Local Initiatives to Protect the Public from Wi-Fi Radiation
With wireless radiation there are also some notable local initiatives:

The Saanich District School Board on Vancouver Island has banned Wi-Fi in elementary schools due to the uncertainty around children’s health. Also in B.C., the Kootenay Lakes school district voted to maintain one school without Wi-Fi in order to provide a safe haven for students who are obviously sensitive to the microwave radiation.

Last fall in Guelph, the City Council voted to request that Industry Canada stop all construction of new cell towers until Safety Code 6 is updated to reflect all health risks from overexposure to microwaves. (18) Similar requests from Thorold and Oakville earlier in the year have been ignored.

Last December, the City of Toronto voted to maintain its “Prudent Avoidance” policy recommending people and civic bodies keep radiation levels from cell towers 100 times safer than the federal Safety Code 6 minimums.

Take Action
Here’s what you can do to make Canada’s hi-tech landscape healthier:

Help us Change Safety Code 6.

Health Canada has contracted the Royal Society of Canada (as it does every few years) to “update” Safety Code 6. The current panel is very conflicted. The Chair, Daniel Krewski, has already resigned after the Canadian Medical Association Journal published an exposé showing conflict of interest. (19) Two other scientists have resigned. There remain four of eight members with conflicts that should exclude them. Details are on our website www.C4st.org. (20)

There will be no changes unless people speak out. Please consider our 3-step plan:

1) Visit www.c4st.org, www.facebook.com/c4st.org and Join our non-profit group. There is power in numbers. From our site you can send an email to the Royal Society President, Dr. Grise, expressing concern that the Expert Panel is conflicted. http://www.c4st.org/RSCpredetermined. Email Health Canada voicing your disappointment that Safety Code 6 is outdated and does not protect us against the biological harm from wireless radiation. www.c4st.org/healthcanada.

2) Contact your City Council: This is an election year. Vocally and repeatedly demand a safer wireless policy from any candidate you would like to endorse. If they refuse, find a candidate who will step up.

3) Contact your School Trustees: It is an election year for school trustees also. Ask and re-ask each candidate how they intend to protect children from wireless radiation at school. Suggest hardwiring most computers at school; suggest a school in each district that is Wi-Fi free, or Wi-Fi free zones in each school. Support trustees who will discourage BYOD schemes.

We are C4ST, Canadians for Safe Technology, not No Technology and we are convinced that there is nothing less than the future of our children at stake. The tide is beginning to turn and in numbers, our voices will be heard.

References
• C4ST, Canadians for Safe Technology, PO Box 33, Maple Grove Village Postal Outlet, Oakville, ON L6J 7P5 Telephone: 1-866-408-4350.

• To send your protest letters:

- Dr. Yolande Grise, President, Royal Society of Canada, Walter House, 282 Somerset West, Ottawa, ON, K2P 0J6

- The Honourable Rona Ambrose, P.C., M.P. Health Canada, Brooke Claxton Building, Tunney's Pasture, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0K9 (postage-free)

FOOTNOTES:

(1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=wARxnaxrRKk

(2) http://newsvoice.se/2013/10/18/belgium-bans-mobile-phones-for-children/

(3) http://www.anses.fr/sites/default/files/documents/PRES2013CPA18EN_0.pdf

(4) http://www.deccanherald.com/content/294813/no-mobile-towers-near-schools.html

(5) http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/pubs/radiation/radio_guide-lignes_direct-eng.php

(6) C4ST did a thorough investigation through Access to Information to get all records on the last update of Safety Code 6 in 2009. There are no emails or records of any kind about removing this sentence, despite this being one of the only changes made. A further complaint to the Information Commissioner's office confirmed there were no records to explain why this line vanished.

Below is a copy of the letter from the ATI investigator.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sept 10, 2012

Hello XXXXXXX,
I am writing in regards to your complaint filed with the Office of the
Information Commissioner concerning your request A-2011-00827:
("Previously disclosed records under A-2011-00503 that read as follows:)

Request all submissions, emails, printed and electronic correspondence
sent or received by Health Canada concerning the 2009 update of Safety
Code 6 (Limits of Human Exposure to Radio-frequency Electromagnetic Energy
in the Frequency Range from 3 kHz to 300 GHz)"

Please note that our office of primary interest, Healthy Environments and
Consumer Safety Branch- Environmental and Radiation Health Sciences
Directorate (HECSB- ERHSD) at Health Canada has confirmed that there are
no e-mails or written correspondence on why the sentence "Certain members
of the general public may be more susceptible to harm from microwave
exposure" was removed.
We trust this information clarifies the matter.
Sincerely,
N. Muminovic
Access to Information and Privacy Health Canada
Public Health Agency of Canada
Holland Cross, Tower B, 1600 Scott Street, 7th Floor
Ottawa, ON K1A 0K9

(7) http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15368370601044150?journalCode=ebm

(8) http://freiburger-appell-2012.info/media/EMF%20Guideline%20OAK-AG%20%202012%2003%2003.pdf.

(9) http://www.c4st.org/images/documents/IPad-2-Manual-RF-Warning.pdf

(10) http://www.c4st.org/images/documents/Blackberry-Manual-RF-Warning.pdf

(11) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18804757

(12) http://www.yalemedicalgroup.org/cellphonestudy2012

(13) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21999884

(14) http://electromagnetichealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/EBM_Final_v4_10-13-11-1.pdf

(15) Footnote 21st Century learner. - The 21st Century learner campaign began in 2002 with a group of technology companies dreaming up how to sell to schools. It was soon disguised as an "education" campaign. This is the Cisco sales document: "Equipping Every Learner for the 21st Century." The bottom line is the Wi-Fi and wireless devices are needed in every class.

(16) http://www.c4st.org/images/documents/cell-tower-situations/Peel-DSB/American_Academy_of_Environmental_Medicine_Letter_to_PDSB.pdf

(17) http://www.c4st.org/news/item/scientific-research/harvard-doctor-warns-about-wi-fi-in-schools.html

(18) http://guelph.ca/wp-content/uploads/council_minutes_121613.pdf

(19) Daniel Krewski of the McLaughlin Institute for Public Health (which is funded in part and was founded by the Canadian Wireless Industry Association) resigned after the CMAJ published an expose showing that while reviewing Canada’s Safety Code he had not mentioned the fact that he had also taken a contract for $126,000 to “convince an unwilling Canadian public” that cell towers are safe http://www.cmaj.ca/content/early/2013/06/24/cmaj.109-4523.full.pdf+html

(20) http://www.c4st.org/safety-code-6-review#sthash.fnIusKK6.dpuf

 

Vancouver introduces cigarette recycling bins

The City of Vancouver has already cleared its bus stops and beaches of smokers, and now it wants to ensure even the leftover evidence of the much-discouraged behaviour is treated like toxic waste.

The city, with an oft-boasted goal of becoming the world’s greenest by 2020, announced on Tuesday that smokers will be encouraged to dump their cigarettes into fireproof receptacles in the downtown core so they can be recycled.

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The Cigarette Waste Brigade pilot project, which will have 110 such bins labelled Recycle Your Butts Here, is being hailed as the world’s first municipal recycling effort for butts, and could lead to about 2,000 such receptacles in Canada’s third-largest city.

“It’s about how you take a very toxic piece of waste and turn it into something useful,” deputy Mayor Andrea Reimer said at a news conference. “Ultimately, we would like to see everything that is on our streets or waste products in our city, whether they’re in homes, businesses or on the streets, turned into something useful.”

Toronto-based TerraCycle Inc. will process the butts for the cellulose acetate in them to produce plastic pellets that can be used to make shipping pallets and plasticized lumber.

Albe Zakes, a TerraCycle vice-president, said his company intended to launch the project in a larger city, but focused on Vancovuer because Mayor Gregor Robertson began lobbying them several years ago.

“The reason we chose Vancouver is Vancouver chose us,” Mr. Zakes said.

“We would love to do this in New York and Chicago and London and Tokyo and the world’s biggest cities, but we also need buy-in from the city, from the mayors themselves and we found that excitement, that enthusiasm and commitment here in Vancouver.”

City taxpayers will effectively pay $1 for each of the 110 units, but TerraCycle is picking up other costs.

While city officials hailed the project as a green milestone, it prompted heckling from a homeless man, who said the green initiative is cutting off his supply of free smokes.

“I don’t have any cigarettes, and one thing I have done is go around picking up butts, and when they put this sort of thing in, there’s no butts anymore,” he said. “It’s wrong. They’re shafting it to the poor people.”

But Ms. Reimer said higher priorities are at play, noting that targeting butts would help Vancouver meet its greenest city goals.

“As a city councillor the past five years, I cannot tell you how many times I hear from people about the problem of litter on our streets, and most especially cigarette butts, whether it’s downtown Vancouver or in our parks or in our beaches,” she said.

Mr. Zakes put the issue in global terms, calling butts “one of the most pervasive waste streams on the entire planet,” with an estimated 3.5 trillion butts thrown out globally each year, generating about 768 million kilograms of toxic cigarette waste

 

Canadian medical schools have poor conflict of interest policies

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Schools need regulation to prevent industry promotion during clinical training

Most Canadians might be surprised to learn that medical students in Canada are routinely taught by faculty who have financial ties, and work in partnership, with drug companies. Conflict of interest (COI) policies at medical schools are important to ensure that students get an unbiased education based on the best available clinical evidence, free of industry-sponsored, commercially-driven information. After all these students go on to become our doctors, and we want the best doctors education can provide.

So, do medical schools in Canada lack appropriate conflict of interest policies or are they simply not following them?

In a study published this week in PloS One, we examined the COI policies at all 17 medical schools across the country. Our findings reveal a glaring problem, and something that should concern all of us. The majority of medical schools (12 of 17) have generally weak or non-existent COI policies, and four schools had policies that were moderately restrictive. Only one medical school – Western University – had stringent COI rules.

In other words, the bulk of our doctors-in-training in Canada are receiving health information that is potentially biased and misleading.

Here’s a telling example. Between 2002 and 2006, the University of Toronto held a pain management course for medical and other health science professional students that was partly funded by grants from Purdue Pharma LP, the maker of OxyContin. As part of the course, a chronic pain management book – funded and copyrighted by Purdue Pharma – was distributed to the students free of charge by a lecturer who worked in partnership with Purdue Pharma and was external to University of Toronto.

The wording in the book exaggerated both the benefits and the approved uses for these medications, based on the current evidence at that time. Despite recognition of these concerns by the university after a student complained, those who attended the sessions were never informed of the bias or the problematic content of the lectures and book (which was used in a related course up to 2010).

The most poorly regulated areas noted in our study include curriculum selection, receiving free drug samples, visits from pharmaceutical sales representatives and taking part in speaking engagements on behalf of pharmaceutical companies.

Bottom line: Unrestrictive policies allow industry to influence medical residents’ education about appropriate, effective and safe medicines, as well as prescribing choices.

Free drug samples have been found to increase the likelihood that medical residents will choose to provide medications to patients that cost more than equally effective prescription treatments, or other non-pharmaceutical options. Frequent visits by drug sales representatives are associated with influencing prescribing practices, resulting in more frequent prescribing and poorer prescribing quality.

The biggest concern, however, is the lack of education provided to medical students about the pervasiveness and effects of COI relationships with drug companies. Without such guidance, medical students, who will become prescribing physicians, graduate without being fully equipped to deal with either potential conflicts of interest in medical practice, or the influence of industry promotion on clinical judgement.

Our findings mean that industry has the ability to influence the resources provided and information that is taught to medical students. Without effective, stringent policies to regulate industry’s interactions with medical students and faculty, drug companies are granted the ability to be present in medical schools and play notably influential roles in the clinical training of medical students.

If we want the best doctors in Canada, our medical schools need to revise and improve their policies to regulate conflicts of interest between medical faculty, residents and the pharmaceutical industry. These policies should address the medical curriculum and the ways in which relationships with pharmaceutical firms may affect the attitudes and information that is taught to medical students.

Medical students should be educated by medical faculty using the best available clinical evidence that is unbiased by industry so that when medical students graduate, they are able to provide their patients with the best, most effective, and safest treatments possible.

http://v1.nationalnewswatch.com/canadian_medical_schools_have_poor_conflict_of_interest_policies.htm

Designers Turning to Circular Houses for Sustainability, Durability in Wind

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VICTORIA—Energy-efficient homes have become the norm and in the pursuit of sustainability home owners and designers are returning to a more traditional type, the round home.

But what many residents of circular houses have found is that there are also spiritual and emotional benefits to the shape.

Rebecca Christofferson, clinical counsellor and art therapist, lives in Vancouver Island’s Cowichan Valley and had intended on building a round cob home on her property. But when she realized there was an existing home on the lot she decided to erect a yurt to serve as a guest bedroom, workshop, and spiritual healing space.

“A big part of why I decided to build a yurt was the circular space,” said Christofferson. “The imagery of the nomadic was significant as well, and you don’t need to have it permitted so there is a real freedom with that.”

Yurts are portable homes traditionally used by nomads in Central Asia made of wooden ribs and layers of fabric and sheep’s wool felt for insulation and weatherproofing

“People who have spent time in our yurt have said the world sort of shuts out,” said Christofferson. “It just feels like a huge blanket on the space; it is womb-like. The world slows down and it is energetically quieter.”

Some people have chosen yurts, or gers as they are called in Mongolia, for their tent-like portability. But designer/entrepreneur Lars Chose channels the spiritual qualities he’s identified in round homes with modern performance-building qualities into the permanent structures he creates with his company Mandala Homes.

Chose had been designing and building homes for 10 years as well as working as a psychotherapist before he started Mandala Homes, but it wasn’t until 1995 that he designed and built his first round house.

“I saw where the world was going with the environment and the work I was doing with children and families,” he said.

“It came to me one day that I had an integral role as part of the change that needed to happen in the world.

“I had been studying how modern dwellings take 50 percent of our resources to build and 50 percent of our resources to cool and keep warm, and this didn’t seem right to me—it’s absolutely not sustainable for my children’s children. So I decided to start a company and use the round (shape) as a way to express both an environmentally friendly and a healthy sustainable home.”

As a practising Buddhist, Chose said the beautiful shape, the structural engineering, and the interlocking design fit well with the word “mandala” which has a distinct significance in Buddhism.

According to Chose, mandala means the interconnected whole.

“I believe that we are happiest when we live in an awakened sense of knowing that we are interdependent,” he said.

“There is no separation; it is our greatest pain to think that we are separate. To be in a building that is, literally, shaped to communicate interdependence in a way that you can sense it—experientially, emotionally, psycholologically, and physically—is a powerful experience.

Even though the round spaces created by yurts and designers like Chose create various spiritual connections, other companies like North Carolina’s Deltec Homes got into circular construction for more practical reasons.

The Asheville company began in 1968 supplying buildings to the resort industry.

Joseph Schlenk, director of marketing and sales, said their clients were coming to them wanting a structure that could be durable, energy-efficient, easy to build, and take advantage of outstanding views.

“The original Deltec structure was an A-frame,” said Schlenk. “We learned very quickly that was not energy efficient or durable, and in that same year we developed the polygonal structure, the predecessor to the Deltec structure today.”

Deltec—which now ships hundreds of homes throughout Canada including Baffin Island—has seen a complete shift in their clientele, from 100 percent in the resort industry to 95 percent residential.

“We have a long history of success as far as durability,” said Schlenk. “We have never lost a home because of high winds. The same qualities that make them resistant to high winds also make them very energy-efficient.

“They are aerodynamic. There are not any great significant areas of flat surface where air or wind can build up pressure. It flows around the building so there is very little threat to drafting.”
 

 

Moringa: Nature’s Miracle Tree

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Moringa has recently gained much attention as a new botanical with many promising benefits. While it may be new in the arena of functional foods, it has been revered for centuries as a multi-purpose remedy in Ayurvedic, Siddha, African and South Asian traditions. Moringa is a member of the Moringaceae family, which contains 13 species ranging from small shrubs and slender trees to massive water-storing trees. A tree native to the Himalayan regions of northwest India, it grows in Africa, South East Asia, the Caribbean and South America. Moringa oleifera is the most widely cultivated and consumed of the 13 species, noted for its numerous nutritional benefits.

Although Moringa is said to grow best in hot, semi-arid, low altitude regions, it has adapted to a wide range of climates, rainfalls, altitudes and soil conditions. It is highly resistant to diseases and insects as well as being tolerant to light frost. It is also known for its rapid growth. All parts of the tree can be utilized, most notably the roots, bark, leaves, flowers, seeds and pods.

According to the doctrine of signatures, a plant’s physical structure and outer characteristics signal an intrinsic essence and an essential energetic blueprint of its potential uses. It is perhaps telling that this “Miracle Tree,” as it is often referred to, has so much resilience as well as such a broad applicability. Humanitarian organizations have recognized this unique tree and as such are exploring its application as a nutritional adjunct for malnourished communities.

While no one tree can solve every issue, the unique phytochemical composition of the various parts of the tree offer significant nutritional and medicinal value. Moringa leaves, roots, seeds and bark have been noted in both traditional contexts and in the current scientific literature to demonstrate anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, anti-hypertensive, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-diabetic activities.

Much of the hype surrounding Moringa centers around nutritional comparisons in which the leaves are touted to contain ounce per ounce, seven times the vitamin C of oranges, twenty-five times the iron of spinach, ten times the vitamin A of carrots and three times the potassium of bananas. The leaves do in fact contain an impressive array of nutrients ranging from B vitamins to vitamins A, C and E to folic acid, calcium, fibre, selenium, iron as well as chlorophyll and a host of protective antioxidants such as flavonoids, phenolics and carotenoids. The leaves contain the cholesterol-reducing phytosterol, beta-sitosterol. They are also noted for their protein, containing essential amino acids such as tryptophan, lysine and methionine as well as other important non-essential amino acids.

The leaves have gained the most interest as an emerging functional food due to their nutritional profile, their stability when dried and palatable taste. While normally sold as a green powder in capsules or in loose powder form, water extracts of Moringa leaves have been shown to normalize glucose levels in diabetic rat models and show promise for their hepato-protective, anti-ulcer, anti-tumor and cholesterol lowering benefits.

In terms of use, different parts of the tree have a wide range of applications. The roots are traditionally ground and used as a condiment similar to horseradish, which is why one common name of the Moringa Tree is the Horseradish Tree. Although it does not belong to the same Brassicaceae family as horseradish, it does belong to the same Brassicales order. With a taste similar to asparagus, the pods are often consumed fresh in traditional recipes and the flowers are used in tea preparations. The seed kernel produces a delicately nutty oil with a high oleic fatty acid profile used for both culinary and cosmetic purposes. The most common part of the tree used is the leaves. Fresh leaves are cooked much like spinach, eaten as a raw salad or added to soups and stews.

Using a dried leaf powder of Moringa is the easiest way to benefit from its excellent nutrition. Add 1-3 teaspoons of the leaf powder to smoothies, salad dressings, dips, soups, stews, sauces and yogurt daily. Make a delicious spinach-like curry by combining Moringa powder with Turmeric powder, coconut milk and other spices. Combine 1-3 teaspoons of Moringa leaf powder with your favourite superfoods to create an antioxidant rich smoothie.

We will no doubt be hearing much more about this fascinating botanical as new research validates time-tested uses from past traditions. What is perhaps most exciting about this widely cultivated and resilient tree is that it holds the promise to a better life for those most in need of its abundant nutritional gifts.