Pylons Major Health Hazard Inquiry Told
Thursday, September 13th 2007
Living near high-voltage power lines increases the risk of childhood leukaemia, miscarriage and other ill health, a medical expert has told a board of inquiry.
However, the Ministry of Health and Transpower are comfortable with existing standards and are pushing for "no change" to Government policy.
Auckland urologist Dr Robin Smart presented documented evidence from around the world about ill health effects from exposure to electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) from power lines to a public hearing in Hamilton. On the back of 83 epidemiological studies he appealed for a tightening of current regulations by a factor of 300.
Such a move would have wide-ranging ramifications, the biggest of which could be the scuttling of Transpower's controversial 400KV pylon project on the grounds that it would be uneconomic.
Opponents say the current 65m-wide easement proposed by Transpower is too narrow to ensure the safety of public health. They believe the corridor across 190km of Waikato farmland should instead be expanded to 600m.
Dr Smart, speaking on behalf of anti-pylon lobby group New Era Energy, said the New Zealand standard regulating electric and magnetic field exposure to 100 microtesla was "a joke". He believed exposure should be limited to 0.3 microtesla.
The Ministry of Health and Transpower, along with the Government, were using a standard that was so high that in effect there was no limit on human exposure to power lines, Dr Smart said.
The Government and Transpower were relying on outdated standards, first outlined in 1997 by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).
That standard had been applied poorly by Government decision-makers, he said.
It was originally drafted as a guideline for schools and homes for "short-term immediate health effects such as stimulation of nerves and muscles, shocks and burns ... during exposure to electric and magnetic fields".
But the commission "covered itself" by adding a cautionary note: "These guidelines are not intended to be a complete system to protect the public."
In his submission presented yesterday Dr Smart said the commission's recommendation was "clearly reckless".
"Indeed it is impossible to imagine any human living permanently in a place where there is constantly 100 microtesla.
"It has never been done and is totally unproven as a standard."
International studies of the effects of electricity line exposure were cited by Dr Smart, which showed increased rates of child leukaemia, miscarriage, motorneurone disease, headache, suicide and depression.
A 1997 New Zealand study by Ivan Beale of Auckland University was also quoted, in which 540 Aucklanders living in homes near high voltage lines were studied against a control group.
Sourced from NZ Herald, 21 August 2007 written by Simon O'Rourke,
Footnote from Ideal Health:
The following supplements are all useful for optimum nutrition:
Age Defence Resveratrol
Clean Lean Protein
Good Green Stuff
Hi Strength Liquid Fish Oil
Immune Booster for Kids
Family C Powder
Hi Strength Fish Oil
Olive Leaf Complex
Vitamin and Mineral Boost
Related health information can be found here:
Related articles can be found here:
If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.
Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.
Previous news itemBroccoli proves to be ally in prostate cancer fight
7 Sep 2007
Next news itemSerum Testosterone Linked to Fracture Risk in Elderly Men
17 Jan 2008