The ongoing controversy over mobile phones and their base stations, power frequency transmission lines, powerlines and the human health implications of EMF exposure generally, has finally been answered in a ground breaking paper just published in Archives of Diseases in Childhood – the Journal of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH). Apparently we have been judging the risks all to harshly in comparison to other risks in the modern world. AND taking a precautionary approach only exaserbates the problem – making people overly worried and fearful.
Of course this must be true because it is published in a “peer review journal for health professionals and researchers covering conception to adolescence.” Cell phone use by children and childhood leukaemia risks with EMFs are also given the okay as this is published in a journal about childhood diseases. No need to further needlessly worry!
The author of this paper, Dr. Andrew Woods, is the chair of a working group within the Australian Radiation Protection & Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) that will soon release for public comment their draft power frequency human exposure standard – so his paper is particularly illuminating as to what approach that draft standard will take. I would imagine that this paper will be widely distributed to the Australian media through the AusSMC about the time for public comment. Good PR move.
Dr. Woods is also one of the independent experts on the WHO’s Environmental Health Criteria task group that Microwave News has written about in relation to industry involvement in the group’s risk assessment for power frequency standards. The task group’s advice will then be used by ICNIRP for its soon to be published revised guidlines for power frequency electric and magnetic fields. So the Woods paper may be a little fortaste of what is to come from ICNIRP. (Reference #1 and 2)
Dr. Woods is well qualified to write about this issue. For example, he is a regular contributor to “EMF Update”, the quarterly newsletter of the Electricity Supply Association of Australia (ESAA). From 1991-1998 he has served as a “Scientific Consultant” to the ESAA on the subject of possible health and safety issues in regard to EMF. He has also lectured on “Electromagnetic Fields and Health” for the ESAA’s Residential School. He has been a member and conducted research for the Australian Electricity Supply Industry Research Board (AESIRB) and the power industry organisation, the International Council on Large Electric Systems (CIGRE). He has written”Reports in Confidence” that list, among other things, a “Report for 6 Electrical Utilities”(2004), a “Report for 3 Electrical Utilities” (2004), and three reports for Powerlink, Queensland, Australia. (Reference #3)
Here’s the abstract to the Woods paper:
Arch Dis Child. 2006 Apr;91(4):361-6.
How dangerous are mobile phones, transmission masts, and electricity pylons?
Faculty of Life and Social Sciences, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn, Vic 3122, Australia. firstname.lastname@example.org
Electrical power and mobile communications deliver enormous benefit to society, but there are concerns whether the electric and magnetic field (EMF) emissions associated with the delivery of this benefit are linked to cancer or other health hazards. This article reviews the strength of the available epidemiological and laboratory evidence and notes that this falls short of what is normally required to establish a causal link. However, because of scientific uncertainty, a cautious approach is often advocated, but here, too, there may be a tendency to judge these risks more harshly than those in other areas with similar strength of evidence.
PMID: 16551794 [PubMed – in process]
NOTE: For anyone wishing to send a letter to the editor of the Archives of Diseases in Childhood the address is : email@example.com
WHO and Electric Utilities: A Partnership on EMFs, October 1, 2005
WHO Welcomes Electric Utility Industry To Key EMF Meeting, Bars the Press, September 22, 2005