Source: The Mercury, 10 March, 2001, p.19
Many will be aware of the new powerline/cancer report by Sir Richard Doll, chairman of the British advisory group on non- ionizing radiation. This report acknowledges that children living near powerlines have a "a smal1 but significant" increased risk of falling victim to childhood leukemia where exposed to a magnetic field of 4 mG (milliGauss) and more. This report was an analysis of results of previous powerline studies. Media reporting of the Doll riport gives the impression that this is a major scientific breakthrough. For instance, the British Sunday Times, which broke the report on March 4, armounced that, "High voltage power ¢ables have been officially linked to cancer for the first time". Well, is it really7' In September last year, an international team of the world's leading epidemiologEsts, published a paper in the British Journal of Cancer on their review of the research literature from eight European countries. They concluded that children exposed to powerline magnetic fields of 4 mG or more were twice as likely to develop leukemia. In January this year a major German study was published on the Web site of the International Journal of Cancer that found an increased risk of 3.21 for childhood leukemia in children exposed to elevated power frequency magnetic fields at night-time in the order of 2 mG and more. An important, but largely ignored French hospital study was also published late last year that found that cancer was not the only possible adverse health outcome to consider. Published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine, the researchers discovered a new blood condition they called "pseudo Iron deficiency" that apparently was a result of prolonged powerline EMF exposure. Associated with this condition were symptoms of chronic fatigue, headaches, insomnia (especially in children), hyperactivity, depression, nausea, dizziness and vision problems. Considering the information now available, it is clear that this is an environmental health issue that both the regulatory authorities and the medical profession, especially those treating childhood leukemia patients, need to act upon. Don Maisch Lindisfarne
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