• 18 JUN 09
    • 0

    #1077: Eileen O’Connor’s response to John Lincoln on the draft Australian standards

    From Eileen O’Connor:

    I would like to thank John Lincoln from ARPANSA’s ELF working group committee (Australia’s national radiation protection agency) for his response to my open letter which can be viewed
    at: http://www.emfacts.com/weblog/?p=1098 copy of John”s response to my open letter can be viewed at http://www.emfacts.com/weblog/?p=1099

    I do understand that electrical induction is as relevant as tissue heating effects with regards to the current guidelines on non ionising electromagnetic fields generally. I understand that this guidance is specifically for ELF but I used the term “thermal” as that is more familiar to many. I look forward to ARPANSA urgently addressing their RF guidelines as well, as it is an area of great concern to members of the public and policy makers. I apologise for not making it clear that this was the point of the open questions.

    I’m very pleased to see that ARPANSA have recognised the difference between chronic and acute ELF exposure, but there is an indication that the chronic exposure situation has been deliberately left as ambiguous due to “current scientific uncertainties”. Are ARPANSA going to define what precautionary measures they have considered, that can be advocated whilst research fills in the remaining gaps? Is there going to be any mention in the executive summary of the report that ELF EMFs are considered by IARC to be “possible human carcinogens” (with reference primarily to childhood leukaemia), and is the report going to highlight the existence of replicated associations between ELF EMFs and both ALS and Alzheimer’s?

    Past president of the Bioelectromagnetics Society Martin Blank has recently stated that “Cells in the body react to EMFs as potentially harmful, just like to other environmental toxins, including heavy metals and toxic chemicals. The DNA in living cells recognizes electromagnetic fields at very low levels of exposure; and produces a biochemical stress response. The scientific evidence tells us that our safety standards are inadequate, and that we must protect ourselves from exposure to EMF due to power lines, cell phones and the like, or risk the known consequences. The science is very strong and we should sit up and pay attention.”

    Many of those suffering from electrosensitivity based issues with regards to ELF EMFs (such as the earlier studies on VDUs) appear to suffer both from short term and long term exposures to low levels of EMFs (not just ambient background levels, but certainly typical exposures from appliances, electricity distribution and internal house wiring). Are ARPANSA planning on recognising any of these potential effects within the final document?

    I’m sure John would agree that there is still a lot to be done with regards to addressing precaution on the low chronic exposures to ELF fields, and it is great that these issues are being addressed. However, RF exposure sources such as mobile phones, phones masts, Wi-Fi, etc WIMAX, tetra are rapidly proliferating with little to no systems controlling low level chronic exposures, and we feel that the time has come to revise RF guidance as a matter of urgency.

    I would like to thank John once again for raising some useful points and have now included ELF within my list of 10 questions and would be most grateful if John could share this information with his colleagues at ARPANSA and the Australian Government officials. The same questions apply to all Governments throughout the world and standard setting groups such as ICNIRP and Health Protection Agencies such as WHO and the UK Health Protection Agency. They all have a duty of care to protect public health and I and many people throughout the world would truly appreciate receiving answers to these questions.

    Should we sit back and let it happen? Here are a few questions:

    1) Has the Australian Government or any other Government taken people who suffer with electrosensitivity (ES) into consideration?

    2) Has any account been given to the unique susceptibility of growing children to ELF and RF/MW?

    3) What do you do if you have a phone mast next to your home or suffer as a result of exposure to mobile phones, Wi-Fi, WIMAX or DECT phones?

    4) Should our children and the world”s workforce be forced to go to school and work surrounded in a sea of untested and unregulated radiation?

    5) Have we given our Government and the Industry permission to include us in this experiment?

    6) Hasn”t the Government got a duty of care to alert the public to the non-thermal biological effects?

    7) What are the long term consequences?

    8) Is financial gain more important than health?

    9) Do we really want to leave a legacy of enormous proportions with regards to health and the economic consequences for our children?

    10) Is it ethical?

    The public deserve protection and look towards people in authority especially our elected official”s to protect public health. However, history has shown that time and time again nothing is done until compelled to take action by the courts. A recent legal Judgment has been taken in Belgium banning the installation of a 28-metre phone mast in Drongen. In its judgement, the court recalled a decision taken by a justice of Peace in 2000, who declared: “As long as it has not been scientifically proven that radiation is without danger, it should be considered that it is probably dangerous.”
    Go to the Radiation Research Trust website to view further judgements: http://www.radiationresearch.org/legal.asp

    The time has come for the Governments, regulators and health agencies to engage with the public, doctors and scientists voicing precaution approach such as the Bioinitiative team amongst many others and hopefully find a safer way forward together.

    Kind Regards,


    Eileen O’Connor
    Radiation Research Trust

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