After Dr. Bruce Arnstrong refused to release the ARPANSA ELF report on Toowong several weeks ago (Message# 651) his committee has come under pressure to release it. As one ABC reporter said to me “alot of people would like to see what is in it”. Having a change of heart Armstrong has now released the ARPANSA report, available at:
The survey, conducted over a year after since it was recommended by the Panel (why the delay?) consisted simply of a two hour walk through of the building with spot measurements taken at various areas. Three ABC volunteers wore data loggers for 4 hours as they went thought their daily activities. Note where it is stated in the ARPANSA report, ” It is unknown how representative their work patterns (volunteers) were of the women suffering health effects” (page 2). Wouldn’t it have been better to try and replicate, as far as possible, some of the women’s work pattens?
Nothing is mentioned about the request mentioned in the April 2005 EMC report to specifically measure the fields next to a cable tray near Jo-Anne Youngleson’s desk. In fact nothing is clearly stated about the specific areas where the women worked. I would have thought that the survey would have concentrated on the work desks of the women who developed breast cancer and individual exposure levels given for each desk, for each woman with their identity kept confidential. A data logger placed on Jo-Anne’s desk would have been thoughtful at least.
Looking at the work desk photos on page 7 it appears that most of the equipment was off when the work desks were photographed and the desks are all neat and tidy with nothing out of place. Does this mean that the equipment was off during the measurements? A staged event? Was there any attempt to replicate the woman’s daily work environment? Apparently not.
I also find the measurements remarkably low, given all that electrical equipment.
Considering the importance of a thorough investigation I would have thought a far better survey of the ELF magnetic fields could have been conducted. Unfortunely the hallmark of good science – replication of the ARPANSA survey will never be done because Dr. Armstrong has decreed, that in light of the ARPANSA ELF report, there is no need to make further measurements at the Toowong studios. Case closed and ABC does not have to worry about a class action.
Based on the findings made by ARPANSA, Professor Armstrong made the following assessment:
“We conclude from these comparisons that exposure to low frequency electromagnetic fields, including extremely low power frequency fields (ELF), of staff working in the TV building at Toowong is very unlikely to have been materially different from what is common in residences and probably workplaces in Australia. On this basis we reiterate our previous conclusion that the excess of cases of breast cancer in women employed at the ABC studios at Toowong is highly unlikely to have been due to exposure to ELF in their workplace.”
Sorry, Dr Armstrong but that isn’t good enough.
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