The breast cancer cluster at the ABC building in Toowong, Queensland has often been examined on this list. In addition, a detailed submission was sent to the ABC expert panel that highlighted the reasons why ELF magnetic fields needed to be thoroughly investigated.
http://www.emfacts.com/papers/toowong.pdf ) All this information was sent to David Waters, Secretary of the Queensland Branch of the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), the union representing the interests of the women with breast cancer at the site. At all stages David Waters was kept informed as to what needed to be done in investigating the possibility of ELF magnetic fields being a factor in the cluster. Mr Walters would have also seen the TV interview with John Lincoln who expressed similar concerns over the ELF possibility.
In spite of the claim that the Alliance had been calling for a thorough investigation since February 2005, Mr. Walters is now saying that the union is satisfied with the thoroughness of the investigation (see article below). In addition, Mr. Waters gives ABC managing director Mark Scott a good pat on the back for his role in the investigation.
I am amazed that Mr. Waters can make this claim when he is well aware that the investigation into ELF magnetic fields was far from adequate and therefore the ELF question at Toowong still remains unanswered. For the sake of women at Toowong who were dealing with breast cancer the Alliance should have been far more pro-active in insisting that all possible causitive issues be fully investigated, especially when they had the information at hand what needed to be done. The Alliance could also have insisted that they have a representative on the expert panel to represent the interests of the affected women, but unfortunately this was not the case. The Alliance and Mr. Walters have simply taken the expert panel’s final report at face value and sold out their previous call for a thorough investigation. Perhaps to dare question the experts risked repercussions the union did not want to face?
One wonders what benefit there is for ABC employees to be paying dues to the Alliance if this is an example of how the MEAA sticks up for the health of its members.
ABC employees still fear cancer, union says
The media union says ABC employees still fear cancer after an investigation was unable to find the cause of
a cancer cluster at the broadcaster’s Toowong studios in Brisbane.
A report released yesterday concluded that there was a real increase in the risk of breast cancer in women
working at the ABC Toowong site that was related to length of employment and may have been contributed to by some aspect of work or the working environment at Toowong.
The panel said it was highly unlikely that the
increase was caused by exposure to radiofrequency
electromagnetic fields, extremely low frequency
electromagnetic fields, ionising radiation or
chemicals known or suspected to cause breast cancer.
David Waters, Queensland secretary of the Media,
Entertainment and Arts Alliance, told ABC Brisbane’s
Chris O’Brien everyone involved would have preferred a
more conclusive outcome.
“It’s probably difficult to convince many of the
employees that worked at the Toowong studios site that
the cancer cluster was always unrelated to the site,”
“I guess that’s as a consequence of the statistics
that established there was a cancer cluster at the
site, but also that we are unaware of a cancer cluster
at any other newsroom in the country,” he said.
He says staff remain concerned, despite the end of
scientific investigations into the Toowong site.
“There remains a lot of anxiety and fear among female
employees in particular about breast cancer as a
direct consequence of working at the site and the
finding of the investigation that the duration of
service at the site was linked to an increasing risk
of breast cancer,” he said.
Mr Waters says the union is satisfied with the
thoroughness of the investigation and with managing
director Mark Scott’s handling of the matter since he
started with the ABC in mid-2006.
“The union’s been calling for a thorough investigation
since February 2005 and relocation from the Toowong
site since mid-2006, so relocation really was the only
acceptable option in the circumstances,” he said.
At the recommendation of the investigating panel, the
ABC will now conduct a study into the frequency of
breast cancer among staff at sites in capital cities
across the country.