Power lines and
EMF's a closer look

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New information on EMF

For decades, power companies and official scientific entities such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the World Health Organization have been telling the public that there are almost no credible health risks from electromagnetic fields (EMFs) that emanate from power lines, power transformers and every single appliance that runs on electricity. The official public-health-agency position is that, aside from a small increased risk of childhood leukemia, consumers are perfectly safe no matter how many appliances litter their homes and offices, or how many power lines exist nearby. But a newly completed $8 million, seven-year study by the California Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMF) Program has something quite different -- and quite alarming -- to say.

A major new study found that children whose birth address was within 200 meters of an overhead power line had a 70% increased risk of leukemia. Children living 200 to 600 meters away from power lines had a 20% increased risk. This indicates the danger from power lines is appreciably further from the lines than had been identified in previous studies. The study, which was partially funded by the power-line industry, mapped how far each child lived from a high voltage overhead power line. It compared the children who had cancer with a control group of 29,000 children without cancer, but who lived in comparable districts, Appearing in the June 2005 British Medical Journal, the study concludes there is a statistical link between EMF from power lines and leukemia. The study a collaboration between the Childhood Cancer Research Group at the University of Oxford and National Grid owners, Transco looked at cancer data or children aged up to 15 years old in England and Wales between 1962 and 1995. [Related Press Report]

these are not my words, but the websites we were referred to.

From the IARC:

“Pooled analyses of data from a number of well-conducted studies show a fairly consistent statistical association between a doubling of risk of childhood leukaemia and power frequency (60 Hz) residential ELF magnetic field strengths above 0.4µT”


From the NRPB

“There is, however, some epidemiological evidence that prolonged exposure to higher levels [more than 0.4µT] of power frequency magnetic fields is associated with a small risk of leukaemia in children…… Unless, however, further research indicates that the finding is due to chance or some currently unrecognised artefact, the possibility remains that intense and prolonged exposures to magnetic fields can increase the risk of leukaemia in children.”

These conclusions are uniformly found in all government and health agency websites that have studied this issue. Every report, including the most conservative of government reports, acknowledges that the human data show a doubling of risk for childhood leukaemia (some also say for adult leukaemia). Each report also says that the risks cannot be explained and that more research is needed to clarify the issue

These websites are http://www.iarc.fr and http://nrpb.org

So if there is even the slightest risk what level is safe – how far away do we need to be from the powerlines?

On this subject there was a great deal of confusion and no one on the panel could tell us how far away you needed to be from a line to be under 0.4µT at least in the afternoon session. By the evening a figure on one graph seemed to indicate 150 metres would be sufficient. This is a great deal more than the 32 meters from the centre of a pylon which is currently proposed. http://www.notowers.co.nz/articles/information/medical/EMF_forum_report.htm

Recent human population studies from California which showed that EMF exposure at around 1.6µT can cause miscarriage; studies which are currently cited scientifically as being very important findings.

Corona ion emissions from high voltage powerlines and implications for human health - A paper from H. H. Wills Physics Laboratory, University of Bristol, UK. Authors: A. Peter Fews, Paul A. Keitch and Elizabeth A. Ainsbury

Summary of a paper published in Medical Hypotheses:
Does our electricity distribution system pose a serious risk to public health?
D.L. Henshaw, 2002, 59 No.1, 39-51

DOUBT Is Their Product

Question: Why, given all the above evidence, is there still a perception that power lines are not dangerous.

Answer: Because rich corporations handsomely reward lobbyists and scientists for distorting the scientific evidence in order to advance corporations' economic interests, as discussed in this June 2005 article in the Scientific American


A California Department of Health Sciences Evaluation concludes EMFs "can cause some degree of increased risk of childhood leukemia, adult brain cancer, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, and miscarriage" [emphasis added]. The Evaluation—which is the culmination of a 9 year, $7 million research effort—further concludes that magnetic fields may cause suicide and adult leukemia. The Final Evaluation is dated June 2002, but was only released about October 13, 2002. The Final Evaluation uses as a standard causation, which is a more rigorous test than the more common standard that seeks to demonstrate of an association between EMF and many of these diseases. Here is an analysis of this important report. In addition, the California Health Department also produced a relatively short analysis of the policy options implied by the Evaluation. The Department discusses the policy implications of its analysis it a separate report.

Microwave News, Wired.com, CNN, and The Electronic Daily, have already reported upon this important study. Here is a transcript of CNN's August 15 report on the final evaluation. On October 6-8, 2002, further information on the final report was reported in prominent foreign newspapers including London's Sunday Times and Sunday Telegraph and Canada's Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, and National Post. An October 17 article in the San Francisco Gate (the online arm of the San Francisco Chronicle) discusses the report's implication in length.

The average back ground magnetic field in homes without a nearby high voltage line does not usually exceed 0.1 micro-tesla. (10). Houshold electrical appliances can generate significant magnetic fields which decrease rapidly with distance eg. TV set 1.4 microtesla at 10 cm, 0.19 at 50 cm, electric drill 16.1 at 10 cm, 0.49 at 50 cm, PC computer 0.15 at 10 cm, 0.06 at 50 cm, vacuum cleaner 10.1 at 10 cm, 0.74 at 50 cm, electric toothbrush 0.25 at 10 cm, 0.04 at 50 cm.



Tools for Detecting harmfull magnetic fields

Evidence that there is increased risk

E.Sobel PhD and others at the Department of Preventative Medicine, University of Southern California School of Medicine,Los Angeles, conducted a study in 1995 on 326 people with Alzheimers and 152 control people with other mental degenerative problems looking at exposure to electromagnetic fields during work (3).They were able to stratify the exposure to high, medium or low. The study focussed on workers using electric motors considerably eg. machinists, seamstresses. Principal findings were:

1: significantly increased risk of Alzheimers in both sexes with high and medium exposure to electromagnetic fields. (Odds ratio 2.45, CI 1.11-5.37, p<0.02).

2: significantly increased risk for males with high and medium exposure to electromagnetic fields. (Odds ratio 3, CI 1.04-8.7, p<0.05)

Leukaemia and Other Cancers
Occupational Exposure:

Milham (22) reported the first evidence of a link between adult leukaemia and occupational exposure to magnetic fields in Washington state between 1950--79. Deaths from adult leukaemia were 1.63 times the normal rate there (p<0.01), a highly statistically significant finding.

Maria Feychting at the Karolinska Institute Stockholm, and colleaques studied 400,000 people living within 300 meters of 220 or 400 KV lines in Sweden between 1960 and1985. (47). They identified all 727 cases of breast cancer in this group. Magnetic field exposure was graded in three steps: less than 0.1 microteslas, 0.1—0.2, and more than 0.2. Results were:

For those less than 50 exposed to more than 0.2 micro-tesla the risk was increased to 1.8 times matched controls. (CI 0.7—4.3)

For those less than 50 exposed to higher doses of more than 3 micro-tesla years the risk was 3.1 times controls (CI 0.6—15.6)

For those less than 50 and with estrogen receptor –positive breast cancers the risk was 7.4 times control,

Fews (62) detailed that corona ions generated by powerlines increase deposition of pollutants eg. vehicle exhaust, smoke in peoples lungs up to 6 times normal. Corona ions can be significantly present up to 7 km from lines, but especially within 400 meters (75). McDowell (63) looked at cancer incidence near electrical installations, including substations and lines, and found a statistically significant increase in lung cancer 2.15 times normal (CI 1.18—3.61). Fews commented that there has been little research to date on this. Recent studies of occupational exposure to magnetic fields have corroborated a link to lung cancer (75).

Wertheimer and Leeper published the first study in 1979 of children living in Denver close to high voltage lines showing a three-fold increase in overall cancer risk.(7). This was the first study linking magnetic fields and cancer.


The Human Radiation Effects Group
carries out research into the effects on the human body of both ionising and non-ionising radiation. In addition to the environmental factors linked to childhood leukaemia, the Group is researching the role of corona ion emissiom from high voltage powerlines and of magnetic fields in the various health effects linked to electric and magnetic field exposures. The Group is supported by CHILDREN with LEUKAEMIA and the Department of Health

Transpower is proposing a new line of huge high voltage transmission towers from Auckland to Whakamaru, ranging across some of New Zealand’s most picturesque land. The line will have potentially huge effects on property values, health, and enjoyment of the environment by land owners

If Transpower railroads this through, in 20 years will we be having the same conversations about EMF as we are now having about dioxins. Transpower's solution is cheap because it doesn't take account of any of the cost which will be paid by all New Zealanders, in health, economic, and environmental damage.

Tools for Detecting harmfull magnetic fields

According to a March 22, 2003 newspaper report, the EU plans to limit power line magnetic field emissions. (Switzerland already has limited them to 10 mG and Spain has declared such emissions to violate human rights.) It also reports that the world’s largest insurance body, Lloyds of London, is now refusing insurance coverage to power generating companies against damage to workers and consumers’ health.


The document coincides with a decision by the world’s largest insurance body, Lloyds of London, to refuse insurance cover to cell phone and power generating companies against damage to workers and consumers’ health. It also comes at a time when the Dutch Parliament has called for an urgent investigation into the health dangers posed by EMF emissions.

A three-fold increase in overall spontaneous abortions and a six-fold increase in spontaneous abortions occurring before the 10th week of pregnancy is associated with even momentary exposure to magnetic fields greater than 16 mG. This is the conclusion of new research by Dr. De-Kun Li reported in the January 2002 issue of Epidemiology. Similar results were found in a separate paper on spontaneous abortions prepared for the project by G. M. Lee which is printed in the same issue.



"Everything in life is vibration"Albert Einstein


Tools for Detecting harmfull magnetic fields



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