Source: The Mercury, Friday, 13 October, 1995, p.9


Hydro cancer-link study

By MARY ROSE

THE results of a Tasmanian
study into exposure to Hydro-
Electric Commission trans-
mission lines and leukaemia and
similar cancers are expected to
be available by the middle of
next year.

Royal Hobart Hospital cancer
specialist Ray Lowenthal, who
was in charge of the study, said
Tasmania was ideal for such
research because it had a stable
population.

"We are looking at the hypoth-
esis that if you live close to
power lines, you have an in-
creased risk of developing leu-
kaemia and Lymphoma," he said.

The study has looked at 855
people diagnosed with leu-
kaemia, Lymphoma and similar
cancers in Tasmania from 1972
to 1980.

It also studied 855 other
people, matched by age and sex,
to compare with the cancer
patients. The study looked at
where the subjects had lived in
their lives and their proximity to
Hydro-Electric Commission
transmission lines of 88,000
volts or more.

Nearly 10,000 addresses have
been checked for the study.

Professor Lowenthal, the hos-
pital's director of medical on-
cology, said the results of the
study were nearly ready to be
analysed.

"I honestly don't know what to
expect," he said.

"There have been lots of differ-
ent results from different
studies around the world.

"More studies have produced a
negative result, shown no link
(between cancers and trans-
mission lines), than positive.

"I think the jury's still out."

The study began nearly three
years ago.

* The HEC has offered the
Greens a special briefing on the
electric and magnetic field
(EMF) issue.

Tasmanian Greens Denison
MHA Peg Putt had called for the
Hydro to make public infor-
mation it had on any risk to
people's health from EMF radi-
ation from power lines and
household appliances.

She welcomed news of the
briefing and said it would be
good to get first-hand infor-
mation on the issue.

The Hydro's acting chief
executive Gary Baker said a
meeting could be set up with the
assistant director and manager
of the Electricity Supply Associ-
ation of Australia's EMF advis-
ory group, Michael Dolan.

The meeting could be held in
early November, following Mr
Dolan's return from a trip to the
United States for conferences on
the latest information available
on the issue.


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