• 06 JUL 05
    • 0

    Power line health concerns in New Zealand widens

    The issue of siting transmission lines and outmoded standards is continuing to widen in New Zealand as the following two articles indicate. I’m expecting a similar response in Australia when the Aust. Radiation Protection & Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) soon issues a draft proposal that maintains the existing paradigm of 1000 mG/5000 mG as per ICNIRP. I wouldn’t put it past them to release it on Dec 15 with a closing date of 15 Jan.

    Much is riding on this for the trolls at ICNIRP. For their purposes, it is vital that Aust. and NZ maintain the mantra, which is looking more & more like the Emperior’s new clothes – transparent for all to see whom they are really protecting.

    Don

    Two articles follow, sent by Sylvie & Penny Hargreaves

    1) Health effect of mega-lines needs review

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0507/S00088.htm

    Tuesday, 5 July 2005, 11:53 am
    Press Release: Green Party

    Health effect of mega-lines needs independent review

    A US study indicating a link between heightened exposure to electromagnetic fields and increased miscarriages shows the need for an independent review of the standards, Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.

    The report, by De-Kun Li of Oakland’s Kaiser Foundation Research Institute, shows an 80 percent higher rate of miscarriage amongst women exposed to more than 1.6 micro-teslas of magnetic forces. It was presented at a weekend health forum in Hamilton organised by opponents of Transpower’s Waikato mega-lines.

    “The public health risks of the high-voltage lines issues must be taken very seriously. Given the escalating health system costs from chronic diseases that may have environmental causative factors, it is high time that risks to human health were given precedence over short-term economic interests,” Ms Kedgley says.

    “The present inter-agency Advisory Committee on the Health Effects of Electromagnetic Fields has members of the electricity and telecommunications industries on it. Those industries have a vested interest in retaining the current standard.

    “We need a review which includes genuinely independent persons who have a public health perspective. It can then focus on the health risks and review all the scientific evidence available. The current standard setting the maximum level for exposure to EMFs is arbitrary, so the review should consider whether, if a precautionary approach is taken, it is appropriate or not.

    “This latest report follows a UK study which found a significantly increased risk of leukemia in children living near big pylons. More and more evidence is emerging that exposure to EMFs around high-voltage lines may pose a risk of various cancers such as leukemia.

    “We can’t just put our head in the sand and try to avoid these findings. We need a group of independent experts to review all the research and see whether the New Zealand standard for acceptable exposure should be lowered as a precautionary measure. It is crucial that we do this before any decision is made on whether to put these 400Kvh lines near residential dwellings.”

    Claims that there may even be a biological effect from exposure to electro-magnetic radiation at levels below the current standard, first made by New Zealander Dr Neil Cherry many years ago, should be looked at, Ms Kedgley says.

    “There are other precautionary steps that New Zealand needs to consider, such as requiring high voltage power lines to be shielded and not built within a 500 metres radius of residential homes.”

    ******************************************************

    2) And from the New Zealand Herald:

    July 4, 2005

    Power line opponents say radiation standard too high

    Miscarriage rates could nearly double if Transpower’s electricity line through the Waikato goes ahead in its planned form, according to a scientific study.

    A United States study showing an 80 per cent likelihood of increased miscarriages was presented by video link at a health forum organised by power line opponents at the University of Waikato at the weekend.

    Excessive exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) has also been linked to childhood leukaemia, brain cancer, Lou Gehrigs motor neuron disease, and depression.

    De-Kun Li, of Oakland’s Kaiser Foundation Research Institute, studied 969 pregnant women in San Francisco about three years ago and found they had an 80 per cent greater chance of miscarriage if exposed to more than 1.6 microteslas of magnetic forces.

    That level of exposure would occur about 50 metres away from the 400kV transmission line proposed by Transpower.

    Transpower’s proposed 65-metre wide easement for the Whakamaru-Otahuhu transmission line would see landowners getting exposure of 7-8 microteslas.

    At the forum, attended by about 100 people, New Era Energy (NEE), a lobby group opposing the power line, launched a proposed new standard for EMF of 0.1 microteslas, a thousand times less than the current New Zealand standard of 100 microteslas.

    New Era Energy vice-chairman Bob McQueen said if the Electricity Commissioner agreed to adopt the new standard, it would force Transpower to buy 600 metres of land for easements compared to the present 65 metres.

    Power line opponents believe the extra land compensation costs would make Transpower’s plan uneconomic.

    New Zealand’s 100 microtesla maximum exposure limit is based on recommendations from the Health Ministry’s National Radiation Laboratory.

    Transpower has said it will stick with its 65-metre easements.
    Also at the forum, Californian doctor Raymond Neutra summarised the results of an evaluation he and other scientists had done as part of a $7 million study on behalf of the Californian Department of Health Services (DHS).

    “To one degree or another, all three of the DHS scientists are inclined to believe that EMFs can cause some degree of increased risk of childhood leukaemia, adult brain cancer, Lou Gehrigs disease and miscarriage,” he said.

    South Auckland surgeon Robin Smart, whose Clevedon property is affected by the power line plan, said he believed the health concerns related to EMF were now proven.
    “Since 1979 there’s been a huge number of well-conducted studies which have statistically proven arguments about the health risks.”

    Mr Smart said New Zealand’s current maximum exposure level was completely arbitrary. He said no one could actually live with an exposure of 100 microteslas as it would be about 30cm away from a transmission line.

    “If people are going to have these lines inflicted upon them, then given the weight of scientific studies, they should be no closer than 0.1 microtesla exposure which in this case means a 600-metre easement.”
    – nzpa

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