Source: The Mercury, Thursday, 9 November, 1995, p.9


Powerline risks real: expert


By MATTHEW DENHOLM
in Canberra

A STATISTICAL link exists
between living close to
powerlines and child leu-
kaemia, a Senate inquiry
heard yesterday.

United States electro
magnetic fields expert
Richard Luben made the
claim, calling for more
research before the New
South Wales to Queensland
powerline is approved.

"There is some statistical
correlation between proximity
to powerlines and leukaemia
in children," Dr Luben told the
Senate inquiry into the
Eastlink powerline project.

"There have also been some
studies in recent years which
[make it] look like there is a
weak correlation with breast
cancer and possibly other tu-
mours."

However, Dr Luben's evi-
dence was rejected by a US
child cancer expert, who told
the inquiry such a link had
never been proved.

The Senate Economics Ref-
erences Committee is
investigating the health
social, environmental and
economic impact of the pro
posed 400-kilometre high volt-
age Eastlink powerline.

Dr Luben, brought to Aust-
ralia by groups concerned
about electro-magnetic fields
urged governments to be pru-
dent about exposure to
powerlines and mobile tele-
phone towers.

"Maybe we shouldn't make
any big decisions that are
irrecoverable until we know
what the facts are," he said.

An associate professor of
biomedical sciences and bio-
chemistry at the University of
California, Dr Luben said
Swedish studies suggested it
was unsafe for houses to be
within 50 to 100 metres of
high voltage powerlines.

However, child cancer ex-
pert Mark Israel, also from
the University of California
said there was no cause for
concern.

"The claimed associations
between childhood cancer and
EMF are not strong and not
consistent," he said.


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