Back in January 2007 ‘we’ (see: http://www.emfacts.com/papers/toowong.pdf) submitted a paper to the expert panel headed by Professor Bruce Armstrong who was investigating the breast cancer cluster at the ABC studios in Toowong, Queensland. That paper called for a proper investigation of the ELF magnetic fields in the building as well as recommending preserving the building’s electrical environment for thorough testing. As numerous previous messages to this list show, our advice was totally ignored.
Now, after all this time, with the building just an empty shell the ABC is to conduct further tests!! Sorry guys but that horse bolted over half a year ago! Read on for the continuing sad saga of incompetence that has long been the hallmark of the the ABC Toowong expert investigation. Dr. Benke seems the only one on the panel who has seriously considered the ELF issue. Lets hope he doesn’t leave the measuring to ARPANSA who did their best not to find anything at Toowong. (See messages 682, 684).
Tuesday November 6, 11:32 PM
ABC to conduct more cancer tests
The ABC has agreed to further environmental health tests at its former Brisbane headquarters, as well as its main new temporary site.
The move follows concerns raised by staff that earlier independent tests were not comprehensive enough.
ABC staff were moved out of their headquarters in Toowong, in Brisbane’s inner west, just before Christmas last year after the discovery of a cluster of breast cancer cases six times higher than the average incident rate.
The newsroom was moved to temporary quarters at the Ten Network studios on Mount Coot-tha, while other staff have been scattered around nine other locations until a new permanent home is found.
A number of staff have since expressed concern that the independent testing conducted at the Toowong site was not finalised and there was still the possibility of an undetected environmental agent that caused the breast cancer cluster.
An independent review panel sought the advice of Monash University environmental health expert Dr Geza Benke, who has now found further magnetic field testing at the Toowong site could not produce “any meaningful results in relation to the cluster of breast cancers” because the former site had been “gutted” of equipment. [We warned you!]
However, Dr Benke has recommended the Mount Coot-tha site should be tested because it bore a strong similarity, in terms of equipment and working conditions, to the original Toowong site.
“The similarities between the new newsroom at Mt Coot-tha and the old newsroom at Toowong are sufficient to warrant ELF magnetic field measurements at the Mt Coot-tha site to address the lack of measurements from Toowong during the 3pm to 8pm time window when TV news personnel are at their busiest,” Dr Benke reported, in a document circulated to staff and obtained by AAP.
Dr Benke also recommended new types of tests for the Toowong site, including surveying for ionizing radiation contamination and soil sampling for chemical contaminants.
ABC managing director Mark Scott said, in an email to staff, the corporation had accepted the expert panel’s recommendation that it follow Dr Benke’s advice and commission the tests.
Mr Scott said staff would be briefed on the results of the new tests when they were completed.
Over the past 12 years, 15 women who worked at the studios contracted breast cancer.
Last month, it was announced the National Breast Cancer Foundation would fund a two-year research project to investigate the genetic make-up of breast tumours from women who worked at the ABC studios in Toowong.
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