November 13, 2006

It’s Official: Mike Repacholi Is an Industry Consultant

And He’s Already in Hot Water


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Just months after leaving his post as the head of the EMF project at the World Health Organization (WHO), Mike Repacholi is now in business as an industry consultant. The
Connecticut Light and Power Co. (CL&P), a subsidiary of Northeast Utilities, and the United Illuminating Co. (UI) have hired Repacholi to help steer the Connecticut Siting Council away from a strict EMF exposure standard.

The siting council is in the process of revising the state's EMF policies. Last year, it hired its own industry consultant,
Peter Valberg of the Gradient Corp., to review the current state of EMF health research. Valberg's report, submitted in January, proposes a "screening level" of 100 mG to protect against any adverse health effects "even in a hypothetically more sensitive sub-population" —that is, it would also protect young children. (What's a screening level? See below.)

The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), on the other hand, is backing a limit of 6-to-10 mG, based on epidemiological studies pointing to a childhood leukemia risk at magnetic field levels above 3-4 mG.

The DPH has been sharply critical of Valberg's report. In a May 31 submission to the siting council, the DPH advised that it provided "simplistic reviews of the science that lead to an ill-conceived mG target level." Valberg's proposed 100 mG level simply does not give "adequate protection" for children, according to the DPH. (The department filed additional comments on October 25. These
latter comments, but not those filed on May 31, are available on the council's Web site.)