It's a tabloid's dream story: Dogs being zapped and killed, innocent children shocked by "stray voltage" reportedly leaking from steel covers in the ground.
The burghers at Toronto Hydro spotted the possible fallout from this one very quickly, from the moment the cops first issued a press release a couple of weeks ago about a dog getting hit near Annette.
The fear of liability issues prompting the power supplier to spend a few mil at the flip of a switch.
I'm no electrical engineer but it would seem to me that if there's that much "stray" voltage floating around the city, on the very concrete sidewalks pedestrians use every day, the problem goes deeper than something the replacement of a few thousand handwells will solve - to say nothing of the possible long term adverse health effects.
We may all unwittingly be walking through curtains of electromagnetic waves.
Pretty soon the city will be erecting signs like they do in some States down south to warn about nuke contamination. I'm only half kidding.
Mind you, the discussion then centred around development of subdivisions near hydro corridors, but you get the picture. That "stray voltage" is all around us.
The Medical Officer of Health also recommended an assessment of health impacts when increases in the capacity of existing transmission lines are proposed within the City.
And advised the City to design new recreational, trail and park uses in hydro corridors in such a way as to minimize childhood exposure to EMF.
Those getting zapped in the west end may be the tip of the proverbial iceberg. Indeed, we may be pumping more electricity than the current system can take. We're overloaded. Hence, the "stray voltage" floating around the west end and probably a few more hotspots across the city.
Replacing the existing handwells with less conductive plastic ones may help stop people from getting zapped on the spot, but what of the possible long term effects?
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified the magnetic component of EMF as a possible carcinogen because of the association between exposures to EMF magnetic fields in the home and childhood leukemia.
And what of the telephone wires crisscrossing the city? Gas lines?