Betreff: Auditor General Petition
Von: Martin Weatherall
Datum: Fri, 15 Jun 2007 16:55:40 -0400
Mr. Gerry Higgins has been fighting against overexposure to electro magnetic radiation for six years, even the tragic loss of his wife has not stopped him.
He has been raising awareness in Newfoundland, about the dangers of transformers and powerlines, at every opportunity. He has been very successful and Newfoundland Municipalities have called on the Provincial Government and the Federal Government for an inquiry into the situation.
Gerry has just submitted a environmental petition to the Auditor General. It is attached to this message, along with some research documents about the dangers caused by electro magnetic radiation. Please read 'Gerry Higgins petition to the Auditor General'.
WEEP (Wireless Electrical and Electromagnetic Pollution).
----- Original Message -----
From: Gerry Higgins
Sent: Friday, June 15, 2007 3:13 PM
Subject: Fw: Auditor General
>15 June 2007
>Dear Ms Smith
>I have attached my environmental petition to the Auditor General.
>I have already sent a signed hard copy to the Auditor General by registered
>In this message I have attached several documents which support the
>concerns that I have mentioned in my petition.
>Please note, that the dangers from electro magnetic fields, that are
>mentioned in the attached documents about electrical powerlines, are also
>the same as those from electrical transformers.
>If you need to contact me, I can be reached at Tel # 709 653 2152.
* Power stands charged- Disturbing story about transformers and cancers
* Power stands charged- Disturbing story about transformers and
Power stands charged
(Please remember Sir Richard Doll's viewpoint below - And
tuned for more to follow on similar views by Doll on other
Are electromagnetic fields causing women to miscarry,
triggering childhood leukaemias, and even driving some
to suicide? As new studies emerge, the experts are divided
YOU CAN'T SEE, smell, hear or feel them, but they surround
at work and at home. And, according to some scientists,
electromagnetic fields given off by electrical appliances,
house wiring, computers or overhead power lines are far
innocuous - they constitute an invisible menace eating
our health and are responsible for such diverse ills as
childhood leukaemias, brain cancers, miscarriage,
and even suicide.
Last year, the National Radiological Protection Board
the government-funded organisation which sets safety
exposure, concluded that high electromagnetic fields
might double the risk of childhood leukaemia, and was
responsible for an additional two deaths from the disease
year. Now a massive report from researchers in the United
States has cast the net of doubt much wider. The report,
conducted by three senior figures at the California
of Health Services, concluded that the authors "are
to believe that EMFs can cause some degree of increased
of childhood leukaemia, adult brain cancer, Lou Gehrig's
disease (a degenerative neurological condition similar to
motor neurone disease) and miscarriage".
The link to miscarriage was especially dramatic - as many
one in 20 pregnancies may end prematurely due to EMF
the report said. Whether by coincidence or serendipity,
NRPB, which is independent of the power industry, will
issue a discussion document on whether action is needed.
The miscarriage link is controversial - both the NRPB and
Electricity Association, which speaks for power companies,
the studies on this were flawed.
But Denis Henshaw, a professor of physics at Bristol
University, who argues that power lines can make people
says that the new findings on miscarriage turn this into a
major public health issue.
"We're talking about an absolute extra risk of miscarriage
5 to 10 per cent, which is considerable," Henshaw says.
power industry has always argued that even if there was an
increased risk of childhood leukaemias, they are still
rare, and so it wasn't a public health matter. This is a
bigger can of worms." Henshaw believes that EMFs are
responsible for skin cancers, lung cancers, depression and
around 60 suicides a year.
The authors of the American report, which took ten years
complete, cost $7 million (£4.4 million) and runs to 400
pages, couldn't rule out links with suicide or adult
leukaemia. All three scientists were "close to the
line between believing and not believing" that EMFs put a
person at increased risk of these. They did not believe
EMFs were implicated in birth defects, other cancers,
disease, Alzheimer's disease or depression. The report did
look at the EMFs from mobile phone masts.
Henshaw has hailed the report, the final draft of which
released on the internet without announcement last summer,
"groundbreaking". He says: "(The report) is unprecedented
its depth. The power industry has tried to ignore it, but
so substantive that people can't really complain about it.
Importantly, it's also been independent from industry
pressure. It should wake people up."
Henshaw argues that the NRPB should follow the examples of
Switzerland and Sweden in reducing the maximum safe
levels. The doubling of childhood leukaemias was seen at
levels of 0.4 millionths of a Tesla (0.4 microTesla). The
limit is set at 4,000 times that, at 1600 microTesla.
Four years ago, Switzerland dropped the maximum to just 1
microTesla. To drop the limits any less dramatically,
comments, "would be as irrelevant as reducing the speed
on the motorway from 1,000mph to 500mph". He also believes
that houses should no longer be built near power lines or
substations, and that cables should be buried underground.
Dr Michael Clark, scientific spokesman for the NRPB, says
Californian report "can't be dismissed but, because it is
review of existing work rather than new research, it
substantially change anything". He cautions against being
prescriptive about exposure levels because the
modern life might be as much to blame as pylons and power
lines. "Hairdryers produce large fields, as do car
but can we really tell people not to drive their cars?"
While someone standing directly beneath a power line might
experience a magnetic field of 40 microTesla, a hairdryer
electric razor can produce 1000 microTesla. However, Dr
Swanson, scientific adviser on EMFs to the Electricity
Association, says that these high exposures come in short
bursts, and holding a hairdryer even a few inches away
the head cuts the level to about 100 microTesla.
Clark says that because many factors probably contribute
miscarriage, it is vital to be sure that the role played
EMFs is genuine.
The NRPB has appointed Sir Richard Doll, the
who famously spotted the association between smoking and
cancer, to review all the evidence, including that on
miscarriage. Under his guidance, the NRPB believes that
is "(no) substantial evidence of increased risk of
attributable to exposure to above-average magnetic fields"
therefore no regulatory action is called for.
Doll's scepticism is shared by Swanson, who says: "The
miscarriage studies are sufficiently flawed for me to be
For example, the participation rate was only about 39 per
of the women approached, and most epidemiologists would
for a rate of at least 50 per cent. The questions raised
valid but these studies don't answer them.
"I think the California report is wrong. Their conclusions
out of line with most other reputable research groups
What is really needed to resolve the issue is harder
statistical evidence, or a killer fact - a convincing,
provable scientific theory of how EMFs can physically
the body. Such a theory would not only settle the
but would also pave the way for legal action. Lawyers such
Martyn Day, whose London firm Leigh & Day is in touch with
potential litigants, say that the California report is an
important new weapon in the battle. "It's a significant
piece of evidence which has pushed me back to the edge,"
"But I could see the courts being very nervous about this
There is evidence that EMFs affect molecules, but not
to break them apart. And it is always possible that it is
something else, rather than the EMF, that's causing the
damage." And so, in the midst of blurred, ambiguous
statistics, the controversy lingers. People living in the
shadow of power stations continue to pile up anecdotal
evidence of ill-health, miscarriage and suicide. And, in
absence of hard figures, scientists remain reluctant to
believe that the power lines that lattice the landscape
damage unborn babies and make people take their own lives.
Informant: Don Maisch
Disturbing story about transformers and cancers
A few days ago I received a phone call from Mr. Gerald
from Newfoundland. He told me a disturbing story about
transformers and cancers and when I suggested that he send
story to some of the EMF newsgroups for circulation he
if I would send it on his behalf because he's "new to
and is a slow typist".
I agreed. What follows is a much-abbreviated version of
Gerald Higgins bought a small house measuring 12 feet by
feet and skidded it to it's new home on a half acre parcel
land in Norris Arm, NL, Canada. He placed his home
beneath a power line, moved into it in October 1980, and
and Power duly hooked it up for him. The 13.8 kV power
was about 15 feet above his roof. He didn't know that this
not a good place for a power line and Light and Power
comment about it either.
In the mid to late 1990s the weather began to change as
storms became more common. Gerald Higgins was concerned
the power line might fall directly on his house after one
these storms so in 1998 be asked the power company to move
line, but they refused.
In May 2000, Gerald Higgins' wife, Margaret, was diagnosed
with breast cancer. She was 39 years old and had no
breast cancer in the family. She had months of
Grand Falls and radiation therapy in St. John's during
time Mr. and Mrs. Higgins stayed at Agnes Cowan Hostel.
the therapy sessions, Gerald Higgins spoke to well over a
people and found that all but 9 of them lived within 100
of a transformer.
He talked to 7 married couples where both partners had
He learned about a leukemia patient who was diagnosed when
was 18 years old and died at the age of 25. Two
were within 50 feet of his house. His father was later
diagnosed with prostate cancer at the age of 52.
In Cornerbrook, a couple in their early 50s lived within
feet of a transformer. The husband had thyroid cancer and
wife had breast cancer. They were both blind.
Then there are horror stories of transformers crashing to
ground and dumping their chemical waste. In one such
in St. Stephens, a transformer fell in the fall of 1998
splashed a nearby home and yard with its chemical waste.
husband was diagnosed with brain tumor in April 1999 and
died in August of that year. In June 2000, the wife was
operated on for colon cancer. The brother-in-law who lived
feet away died of lung cancer two months later and the
who lived across the street and within 50 feet of a
transformer developed stomach cancer and has since died.
and Power dumped gravel in the yard and said there was no
danger with the spill.
Gerald Higgins has hundreds of similar stories.
After his wife developed breast cancer, Gerald Higgins put
more pressure on Newfoundland Power and they moved the
feet away and placed it on higher poles during the winter
2002. The magnetic field on the roof immediately above the
bedroom now reads 5.7 mG, so we can image how high it was
the line was directly overhead.
Gerald. Higgins has become a man with a mission. He wants
government to fund a properly conducted, independent
assess the link between cancer and proximity to
If people living near transformers have a higher risk of
developing cancer then he wants the transformers moved.
Support for Gerald Higgins is mounting. After he appeared
talk show and was quoted in the local newspaper, The
mayors and city clerks from around the island began to
to him with their own mini surveys. Here are a few of
Brent's Cove has a population of 283. Nine transformers
found within 100 feet of houses. In one family, consisting
15 family members who lived 54 feet from a transformer,
are living. The rest had died of cancer within the past 10
years. Another person who lived 105 feet from the same
transformer was diagnosed with cancer and has since died.
In Carmanville, the Justice of the Peace conducted a
October 6, 2002. He found people with cancer in 19 homes.
Sixty percent (60%) of these homes were within 30 feet of
transformer and the rest were within 100 to 150 feet.
In East Port, of the 51 cancer patients identified, 49
within 100 feet of a transformer and some lived "very
to transformers according to one of the Councilors who
conducted the survey.
The Mayor of Fleur de Lys said that during the past 10
all cancer cases lived within 100 feet of a transformer.
five homes across the road from a fish plant with a large
power source, 4 people developed cancer.
In Flowers Cove, of the 25 transformers near homes, 18
transformers were near homes where people had developed
In Hermitage, the Town Clerk conducted an independent
and found that many of the cancer patients who died had
transformers in their yards.
In Gaskiers and Point La Haye the Town Manager reported
21 out of 23 people diagnosed with cancer lived near
transformers on utility poles. So far 14 have died.
In Engelee, the City Clerk reported that out of 8 or 10
with cancer most lived within 100 feet of a transformer.
but 2 have died.
Joe Batt's Arm has 40 transformers within the community
are in close proximity to homes where people have died of
cancer according to the Mayor.
The Mayor of La Scie reported that of 52 cancer cases 46
within 100 feet of a transformer.
There are 12 transformers and a population of 176 people
within the community of Plate Cove. Of the 25 people
with cancer in this community, most live "close" to a
transformer according the Mayor.
In Pools Cove, the Mayor reported that transformers were
within 50 to 125 feet from homes where people had been
diagnosed with cancer. In this small community during the
20 to 25 years, 18 people have been diagnosed with cancer
12 of them have died.
In Port Rexton, the Town Manager reported that within the
10 years or so, of the 21 cancer-related deaths, 15 lived
within 100 feet of pole-mounted transformers. Three cancer
survivors still live within 100 feet of a transformer.
In Port Saunders, 19 of the 20 people diagnosed with
during the past 10 years lived within 50-100 feet of a
In Port Union, the Mayor reported 12 cancer cases within
past 10 years. All 12 lived within 200 feet of a
and 9 lived within 100 feet. Nine of these people have
In Seal Cove West, the Mayor drove around to survey the 28
transformers and cancer cases. A total of 18 people
cancer of which 11 have died and all lived within "close
proximity" to a transformer.
The Mayor of St. Alban's reported that of the 38 people
cancer that he phoned 47% lived within 50 feet, 32% within
50-100 feet, 13% within 100-150 feet, and 8% lived beyond
feet of transformers.
In St. Lunaire-Griquet, the Mayor reported that of the 14
people with cancer, 11 lived within 30 to 50 feet of a
In St. Mary's, the Mayor was diagnosed with cancer and
recently. She lived "2 arm lengths" or about 12 feet from
In Trespassey, a 33 year old, non-smoking woman who
a tumor on her leg had a transformer in her yard.
Woodstock has a population of 300 people and a total of 16
transformers within the community, according to the Deputy
Mayor. Within the past 10 years 8 people have died of
and 11 are living with cancer. All live within 50 to 100
of a transformer. There is also a transformer within 50
of the school that has a kindergarten.
In Norris Arms, 300 residents, almost 50% of the
signed a petition to ask the Minister of Health to fund an
independent study to determine the relationship between
incidence and transformers. They ask that the study be
coordinated by the Public Health Department and that it be
conducted at arm's length from NFL Power.
This request seems perfectly reasonable to me considering
scientific studies report a two-fold increased risk of
childhood leukemia for children who live near power lines
are exposed to magnetic fields above 2 mG. Other research
shows that electromagnetic fields may promote the growth
cancerous cells. These scientific studies in combination
the informal survey conducted by Gerald Higgins and the
Mayors, Clerks and Councilors across Newfoundland are
trumpeting a loud wake-up call to our public health
I trust they are listening.
Mr. Higgins is determined not to let this issue die. If
would like to contact Gerald he can be reached via email
GerryHiggins55@hotmail.com or by phone at 709 653-2152.
Message from Magda Havas
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May 30, 2007
Magnetic fields tied to railway workers' cancer
By Amy Norton
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Railway workers exposed to low-frequency magnetic fields may have an elevated risk of certain blood cancers, new study findings suggest.
In a study of more than 20,000 Swiss railway workers who were followed for 30 years, researchers found that certain workers' risk of myeloid leukemia and Hodgkin's lymphoma climbed in tandem with their exposure to very low-frequency magnetic fields.
Train drivers, who had the greatest exposure, were nearly five times more likely to develop myeloid leukemia than station managers, the workers with the lowest exposure to magnetic fields.
Drivers were also more than three times as likely to be diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymph system.
The findings appear in the journal Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
Electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) are areas of energy surrounding electrical devices, including appliances, computers, electrical wiring and power lines. They also occur naturally in the environment.
Numerous studies have investigated whether human-made EMFs promote cancer. Overall, there is little evidence that everyday exposure to EMFs -- from power lines or electric blankets, for instance -- raise the risk of cancer in adults. Studies have been less clear about whether on-the-job exposure creates a cancer risk.
For the current study, researchers led by Dr. Martin Roosli of the University of Berne looked at the relationship between railway workers' cancer rates and their long-term exposure to extremely low-frequency magnetic fields.
Drivers had the greatest exposure to low-frequency magnetic fields, from spending long hours in train engine cabs. They had from 3- to 20-times the exposure of yard engineers, train attendants and station managers.
As mentioned, drivers also had the highest risks of myeloid leukemia and Hodgkin's disease, Roosli and his colleagues found. There was no link, however, between magnetic field exposure and other forms of leukemia or lymphoma, or brain cancer.
The reasons for the connection between magnetic field exposure and certain cancers aren't clear, Roosli told Reuters Health. As a precautionary measure, he and his colleagues say, new railway equipment should be designed to minimize magnetic field exposure, especially when it comes to drivers.
"We found considerable differences in the (magnetic field) levels for different engines," Roosli said. These differences, he explained, were mainly due to the construction of the engine -- such as the distance placed between the driver and the electrical supply.
Roosli and his colleagues stress that the findings apply to workers, whose exposures to magnetic fields are far higher than those of train passengers.
"Train passengers spend considerably less time in trains than the people with the occupations studied and their exposure levels and potential health risk are therefore negligible," the researchers conclude.
SOURCE: Occupational and Environmental Medicine, May 24, 2007 online.
1996-2007 Scientific American, Inc. All rights reserved.
Betreff: #554: Why 4 mG is preferable to 100o mG as an acceptable health based standard
Von: EMFacts Consultancy
Datum: 20 Sep 2006 23:12:53 -0500
A new entry titled '#554: Why 4 mG is preferable to 100o mG as an acceptable health based standard' has been posted to EMFacts Consultancy.
The weblog version of this message
In the last message note where Health Canada blindly refers to ICNIRP's 1000mG residential exposure level as an acceptable level for the affected residents of Tsawwassen. To Quote: "The agency says residents would be exposed to electromagnetic fields that are "well within" international guidelines -- which are based on studies of humans, animals and cell systems."
This is the same problem we face in Australia, be it Ross House, RMIT Building 108, Capalaba Post Office and a host of other buildings were excessive 50 Hz magnetic fields are found and concerns have been raised. "No need to worry as all levels are well below the safe limits". The most recent example in Australia is close to home in Tasmania. About a month ago I was contacted by two staff members from a special needs school concerned about the high level of cancer amongst the staff, with a further two breast cancer cases diagnosed after I was initially contacted. The situation was concerning. The school was built right next to transmission lines, with a large substation located under the building in the basement. Heavy corrosion on the water pipes indicated the possibility of electrical ground currents on the pipes which could give rise to unbalanced loads and high magnetic fields. I advised the principle of the concerns and recommended that a survey be conducted of the ! building by the education department. This was done with Aurora Energy taking various readings in the school. However my recommendations were not followed and the only readings taken were by the substation and switchboards, not where people worked. This made the survey worthless as far as finding out what people were actually being exposed too. Suspiciously Aurora's readings of 10 to 12 mG immediately below the transmission line were well less than half of my readings, taken at various times of the day, over several days. The Aurora report then stated: "All of the reading taken were well below the 1000 milligauss limit of exposure for the general public as published in the interim Guidelines on Limits of Exposure to 50/60 Hertz Electric and Magnetic Fields (1989)".
I replied to this with an email to the education department that reliance on these high levels was no longer justifiable as they were totally irrelevant to the cancer question, and gave reasons why. Their reply ask me that, if I thought 1000 mG was not acceptable, what level would I recommend. The following was my reply.
Why 4 mG is preferable to the NH&MRC´c 1000mG as a reference level for a health based environmental EMF exposure limit
Don Maisch Sept 7, 2006
Over the past decade there have been a number of buildings in Australia where concerns have been raised over apparent excess rates of cancer and other illnesses amongst the occupants. Examples are Ross House (Melbourne)(1) RMIT Building 108 (Melbourne)(2) and the Capalaba Post Office (Queensland)(3). In each case, in response to concerns that the illnesses may be due to 50 Hz extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields, and measurements were made, reassurance was given that the measured levels were well below the National Health & Medical Research Council´s Interim guideline reference level of 1000 milliGauss (mG) for residential exposures (4). The impression given was that the NH&MRC limits were designed to protect against the possibility of ill health as long as exposures were kept under that level.
In the example of RMIT Building 108, ELF magnetic field measurements were taken by EMC Technologies but it was stated in their initial report that "the extra [extremely] low frequency (ELF) magnetic field recommendations set by NH&MRC for the general population were used as limit recommendations" (5). Individual room ELF magnetic field measurements are given as well as the % of the NH&MRC´s 1000 mG public limit recommendation (6). The reader was to assume that compliance with the limits assured safety in relation to the apparent brain tumour cluster in the top floor of the building. However in the RMIT Final Report, they made a departure and used a reference level of 4 mG . Subsequent testing determined that there was no association with the brain tumour cases and occupancy of offices with ELF magnetic fields greater than 4 mG (7).
Another departure from the norm is seen in the current controversy over the ABC studies at Toowong, Qld., where a high incidence of breast cancer is reported. In this case, the expert panel conducting the environmental risk assessment on all possible factors in the building, has specifically stated, that in relation to ELF magnetic fields, comparisons with other workplaces should be made and not just assessed against the "accepted reference levels"(NH&MRC)(8).
This article briefly examines the foundation of the NH&MRC recommendation of 1000mG, what level of health protection it provides, and what may constitute a more realistic reference level in relation to providing a measure of protection against possible cancer and other illnesses in the built environment. The point being made is not that there may be a link between EMF exposure and cancer and other illnesses in the above mentioned cases, but that the NH&MRC Interim guidelines are irrelevant to environmental EMF exposures, do not address cancer and other illnesses, and therefore should not be used as a reference level in building EMF assessments.
The NH&MRC Interim guidelines for 50 Hz
The ELF limit recommendations in the NH&MRC Interim guidelines (1989) are based on the International Radiation Protection Association´s (IRPA) interim guidelines which also served as the basis for the current guidelines of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). The same rationale for setting exposure limits applies to the ELF guidelines set by the UK´s National Radiation Protection Board (NRPB). The rationale for all these guidelines is based on providing health protection only against immediate health hazards from high levels of exposure. This limitation was explained by the predecessor to ARPANSA, the Australian Radiation Laboratory in 1994, in discussing a 1994 Senate report criticising the limitations to the standards.
"The criticism of the IRPA interim guidelines (and consequently of the NH&MRC counterpart) derives from their ambiguity about what parts of the available evidence can be used in standard setting at present (and consequently what health effects can be confidently prevented by their implementation) and the expectation of the public. The NRPB has explicitly qualified the scope of their guidelines (based on the same rationale as the IRPA limits):
Restriction on exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields are expressed in terms of induced current density and are intended to avoid the effects of induced electric currents on function of the central nervous system such as the control of movement and posture, memory, reasoning and visual processing" (McKinlay, 1993)" (9).
Similar comments about the limitations and purpose of the NH&MRC guidelines were made in 1991 by Dr. Keith Lokan, from the Australian Radiation Laboratory, in a conference paper published in Radiation Protection in Australia:
"One thing which we have done, though it has little direct bearing on the issue of chronic low level exposure, is to adopt the (above) recommendations on field limits. These limits represent plausible field values, below which immediate adverse health effects are unlikely, and as such serve a useful purpose. They are not intended to provide protection against possible cancer induction by continued exposure at the lower field levels implicated in the studies..." (10).
As cancer takes many years to
develop after exposure to an environmental agent, such as asbestos (an obvious
example), the NH&MRC ELF limits are clearly not relevant to the above
mentioned cases. It is therefore deceptive to infer that compliance with such
limits removes the risk of cancer from exposure below these limits.
As clearly stated by Dr. Keith Lokan in 1991, the MH&MRC´s recommendation of 1000 mG is not relevant to the question of exposure levels and cancer so any reference to it in relation to cancer risk is not justified, to say the least. A far more useful level from both a public health and an occupational health and safety viewpoint would be one that is consistently related with an increase risk or incidence of cancer in humans. A level of 4 mG is recommended for the following reasons.
* On June 24, 1998, the National
Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Working Group voted to
classify ELF-EMF as a Group 2B possible carcinogen. The Working Group saw this
as "A conservative, public health decision based on limited evidence for
an increased occurrence of childhood leukemia and an increased occurrence of
chronic lymphocytic leukemia in occupational settings."
The NIEHS Working Group identified a magnetic field level range of 2 –5 mG in the scientific research literature as being related to an increased risk of leukemia. They recommended that "prudence would establish firm EMF limits below 2 mG by some reasonable margin of safety" (11).
* In 2001 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reviewed the scientific evidence on the potential carcinogenicity of ELF - EMFs and using the IARC classification system, classified power frequency EMFs as "possibly carcinogenic to humans", based on a fairly consistent statistical association between a doubling of risk of childhood leukemia and ELF magnetic field exposure above 4 mG. However, the IARC found no consistent evidence that ELF magnetic fields increased cancer risk in adults (12).
* The Advisory Group on Non-Ionizing Radiation (AGNIR) in March 2001 called a 4 mG level as a "relatively heavy" average exposure that is "associated with a doubling of the risk of leukaemia in children under 15 years of age" (13).
* In a summary of the overall evidence, Cindy Sage from Sage Associates, Santa Barbara, California, USA saw an increased risk of both childhood and adult cancers at exposure ranges associated with increased risk of cancer in the order of 2 –5 mG (Time Weighted Average-TWA) and up to 16 mG intermittent exposure levels (14).
* In an interview with Microwave News in May 2001, Dr. David Savatz, said that he was pessimistic about the value of conducting further epidemiological studies because he did not think that the public health threat was great enough to prioritize EMF work over other research. However he agreed with recommendations to follow a policy of prudent avoidance – reducing exposures when one can do so at low cost. He felt that "the epidemiological research suggests that limiting exposures to less than 0.4 – 0.5 uT (4 – 5 mG) could have a health benefit" (15).
* On 18th March 2002, a Queensland judge made a ruling that ELF-EMFs from a proposed substation next to a predominantly residential area, should not exceed 0.4 microtesla (4 mG). Energex, the power supply company named in the case accepted the decision. The judge´s precautionary ruling stated the following:
"The issues relating to the placement of the substation are significantly different from those that may have existed in the past, as research now available accepts that a possible risk to the surrounding community may exist. Not only were the magnetic field levels in and around the substation to be taken into account, but recognition of the fields from the infeed and distribution cables had to be limited, by undergrounding, and monitoring, to ensure compliance with the 0.4 microtesla maximum allowed magnetic flux density" (16).
According to Powerwatch News, Roger Lamb, a Melbourne based electrical engineer who sat in for the five day hearing, said it would hopefully provide a model for the resolution of similar situations in the future. In response to the level of scientific uncertainty as to the extent of a health hazard, which Energex´s expert witnesses couldn´t deny, the judge stated that "The supply of electricity must not only be reliable, it must be as safe as it reasonably can be" (17).
* In June 1995, the Australian Services Union and library equipment manufacturer RAECO signed an Australia wide agreement that the Union considered necessary to protect ASU library members from exposure to ELF-EMFs associated with some library security systems. The agreement stated that no ASU member should be exposed to a magnetic field of more than 4 mG averaged over a normal working day. As for the justification for using a 4 mG level the agreement stated that:
" Current studies indicate that Extra Low Frequencies (ELFs) increase susceptibility to cancers, they do not generate cancers. It is thought that ELF´s "degrade" the immune system. This susceptibility to cancers is only during the period of exposure; it doesn´t result in permanent degradation of the immune system. Therefore the longer the exposure, the longer the opportunity for the cancers to take hold. The current understanding is that the greatest exposure risk is to the head and torso. Current evidence suggests health problems could arise with prolonged exposure above 4 mG" (18).
* An important development in Europe has been the decision in 2004-5 by the he Dutch Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment to prepare a precautionary policy in setting a 4 mG (0.4 uT) exposure limit for new transmission lines, and banning the construction of buildings and developments that would expose people to prolonged magnetic fields of 4 mG and over (19).
In response to this precautionary policy, TenneT the administrator of the Dutch electrical grid, in tandem with Holland Railconsult, have designed a new high voltage transmission line concept featuring significantly reduced magnetic field intensity compared to existing lines. This will ensure that the maximum levels at the right-of-way boundary of the new transmission lines will conform to the 4 mG limit. (20)
As far as how common environmental exposures to 4 mG are in Australia, no comprehensive nation-wide estimations have yet been done. A small scale survey by the Australian Radiation Protection & Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) in Melbourne in 2005 found approximately 12%of homes surveyed had levels above 4 mG in areas where children were likely to spend large amounts of time, but this could not be extrapolated as typical in Australian homes (21). In the U.S. it has been estimated that about 4% of the US population is subjected to prolonged ELF-EMF levels at or greater than 4 mG (22). If we consider 1000mG however, it would be highly unlikely that any homes or workplaces (outside of electrical switchyards, aluminum smelters, etc.) in Australia would ever approach this high level.
So, in response to the concerns of people working in buildings where there are apparent cancer clusters or other illnesses, and EMFs are thought to be a possible issue, we might ask: Which is preferable as a reference level: The NH&MRC´s 1000 mG limit that is "not intended to provide protection against possible cancer induction" or one (4 mG) that has been classified as "possibly carcinogenic to humans"?
Accessed Sept 6, 2006.
2) http://www.emfacts.com/papers/rmit.pdf Accessed Sept 6, 2006.
3) http://www.emfacts.com/weblog/?p=480 Accessed Sept. 6, 2006.
4) For occupational settings the NH&MRC reference level is 5000mG.
5) NH&MRC Interim guidelines on limits of exposure to 50/60 Hz electric and magnetic fields, Radiation Health Series 30, 1989.
6) Radiofrequency Fields Survey at RMIT Building 108, EMC Technologies, Interim Report No. M060514_1 Ver 3, http://mams.rmit.edu.au/ypwsbsrq3q3p1.pdf Accessed June 12, 2006.
7) Medical Investigation of Tumours Detected in RMIT Building 108, Southern Medical Services Pty.Ltd., Final Repot, August 1, 2006.
8) Breast cancer cluster, ABC Toowong Queensland, First progress report of the independent Review and Scientific Investigation Panel: Outline of proposed approach to its task. http://22.214.171.124/search?q=cache:cCqFQEA2CjcJ:abc.net.au/corp/pubs/documents/ABC_Progress_report_1_final_060817.doc+ABC+studios+Toowong+Breast+cancer&hl=en&gl=au&ct=clnk&cd=1&ie=UTF-8 Accessed Sept. 6, 2006.
9) Australian Radiation Laboratory, ?Comments on the Maisch Report, Non-Ionizing Electromagnetic Fields and Human Health´, December 1994.
10) Lokan KH, Risk, ?Risk Perception and Regulation-What Should the Regulator Do?´ Radiation Protection in Australia, Vol. 9, No.4: 134-136, 1991.
11) ?Assessment of Health Effects from Exposure to Power-Line Frequency Electric and Magnetic Fields´, NIEHS EMF Working Group Report, National Institutes of Health, 1998.
12) Slesin L, ?IARC Panel Finds EMFs Are Possible Carcinogens´, http://www.mikeholt.com/mojonewsarchive/USEI-HTML/HTML/EMFsPossibleCarcinogens~20020519.htm Accessed June 15, 2006.
13) ?ELF Electromagnetic Fields and the Risk of Cancer: Report on an Advisory Group on Non-Ionizing Radiation´, Documents of the NRPB, vol. 12, no.1, March 6, 2001. http://www.hpa.org.uk/radiation/publications/documents_of_nrpb/abstracts/absd12-1.htm#concs Accessed June 12, 2006.
14) Sage CL, Sage SA, ?Briefing Report on Electromagnetic Fields (Health Effects/Policy/Site Planning´, unpublished, Jan. 2006
15) Savitz D, ?EMF Epidemiology Has Reached Its Limits´, Microwave News, vol. XXI, no. 3, page 3, May/June 2001.
16) As reported in Powerwatch News (UK), March 18, 2002, http://www.powerwatch.org.uk/news/20020506_emf.asp Accessed June 19, 2006.
18) Electromagnetics Forum, ?Agreement to limit EMF levels in libaries sets precedent, vol. 1, no. 1, Article 14, December 1996. http://www.emfacts.com/forum/issue1/mag_14.html Accessed June 24, 2006.
19) http://www.tennet.nl/english/projects/news/wintrack.aspx Accessed Sept. 6, 2006.
20) http://www.tennet.nl/english/images/050531_Wintrack_UK_DEF_tcm43-9884.pdf Accessed Sept. 6, 2006.
21) Karipidis KK, Martin L, "Pilot Study of Residential Power Frequency Magnetic Fields in Melbourne", ARPANSA Technical Report Series No. 142, 2005.
22) Kheifets L, Shimkhada R, ?Review-Childhood Leukemia and EMF: Review of the Epidemiological Evidence´, Bioelectromagnetics Supplement 7, S51-S59, 2005.