• 16 JUN 07
    • 0

    #745: More on the half-hearted ABC Toowong breast cancer investigation

    Previous messages to this list have highlighted the poor quality investigation of a possible ELF-EMF connection with the breast cancer cluster at the ABC Toowong Studios. – How the expert panel took over two years to even get around to having ELF measurements taken and then all they got was a brief half-day walk-through that failed to even check out the actual exposures the women may have been exposed to. Now the final report by the so-called Expert Panel has been released and they conclude that – “we believe that we have considered and excluded all plausible environmental explanations for such an increase”.

    Another issue, besides half-hearted expert panels, is the failure of the unions concerned, both with ABC Toowong and at RMIT, to actively ensure that all possible factors in the cancer clusters were adequately investigated by the experts. Their error was in placing their faith in expert committees to do the right thing when in reality the experts’ primarily concern was to protect management against litigation. With both RMIT and ABC Toowong there were many important issues never examined. I was told by a senior union rep. from one of the unions that they were not happy with the outcome but were reluctant to kick up a fuss because most of their members worked for the organisation and were afraid further action would threaten their jobs.

    When it comes to seriously investigating EMFs in Australian cancer cluster cases it seems incompetance is the norm.



    ABC cancer probe to widen June 14, 2007 – 6:04AM

    The ABC plans to examine the frequency of breast cancer among staff in all capital city sites, widening a study launched at the broadcaster’s Brisbane studios. The decision came after independent experts were unable to rule out work practices as the cause of a cancer cluster among Brisbane employees. ABC managing director Mark Scott released the results of the panel’s 12-month investigation, News Limited reported. “We don’t have any suspicion that we have a cluster in another part of the country,” Mr Scott said. The experts found women who worked at the Toowong studios between January 1994 and July 2006 had a six times greater risk of developing breast cancer than other Queensland women. During that time 13 women were diagnosed with breast cancer. “While we have not been able to find a cause for the increase in risk of breast cancer … we believe that we have considered and excluded all plausible environmental explanations for such an increase,” the report said “If there is a currently unknown or undetected aspect of work or the working environment at the ABC Toowong that could have contributed to the observed increase in risk of breast cancer, it might also be present in similar ABC studio complexes elsewhere in Australia,” it said. Mr Scott said the ABC used the same practices as other broadcasters worldwide. He said the ABC planned to sell the Toowong site.

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