Representatives of the Taiwan Environmental Protection Union (TEPU) yesterday took an appeal to the Presidential Office, alleging a weather radar in Chiku Township (七股), Tainan County, was causing a high rate of mental retardation and other illnesses in the area.
Accompanied by alleged victims of the electromagnetic waves emitted by the Doppler weather radar station in Yencheng Village (
The Doppler radar station was built in 2001 and is one of four such stations in the country. The bureau's Weather Integration and Nowcasting System (WINS) employs Doppler radar both to monitor and predict precipitation.
PHOTO: MEGGIE LU, TAIPEI TIMES
A woman surnamed Chang (張), whose six-year-old granddaughter was diagnosed with severe mental retardation (MR) this month, attended the appeal. Chang's granddaughter is the third in the family to be diagnosed with MR after Chang's two youngest sons received the same diagnosis, Chen said.
Chen said that medical tests had revealed no genetic predisposition in the family for MR, while lead poisoning and radioactive contamination in the area had also been ruled out.
Chen said that, in addition to MR cases, the village had also seen an increase in the incidence of hearing loss, brain damage and cancer since the installment of the radar station.
She cited 12 articles by international scientists to support her claim that radioactivity in residential areas is harmful to human health.
Chen said National Taiwan University and the Industrial Technology Research Institute had measured the electromagnetic waves in the village at 4,027 and 84,200 microwatts per square meter respectively. A report by US scientist S. Amy Sage last month suggested that levels above 1,000 microwatts per square meter be avoided for health reasons.
After meeting a Presidential Office representative, Chen said the the staffer had promised to relay the group's appeal to the president.
In addition to the appeal, Chiku residents demonstrated yesterday against the radar's presence in their community.
The weather bureau said in a press release later yesterday that the research TEPU had cited concerned low-frequency electromagnetic waves, microwaves and handheld radar, adding that Doppler waves are different.
In addition, the radar is perched 30m above the ground, it said, adding that since the installment of the station in 2001, the bureau has employed independent agencies to test electromagnetic levels on five occasions.
The most recent electromagnetic test, conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), was completed last week, the statement said, adding that electromagnetic waves were measured at 25,200 microwatts per square meter directly around the radar and 10,200 microwatts per square meter near the closest residency. The release said this was 0.1 percent to 0.25 percent of the EPA's safety limit.
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