High Voltage Power Cables Have Been Linked to Cancer

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Article Archive - 6/3/2001

Hi everyone.

The following article was sent to me by Neal (thanks Neal). Unfortunately, for anyone who understands a little about electromagnetic fields, you will appreciate that undergrounding the cables will not solve the problem, since ionisation is not the only cause of the health problems which go way beyond leukaemia to include birth defects and a number of other disorders that occur at all ages.

The fields radiating from an electric power line have two components:

Thus undergrounding the cables would reduce the electrical component of the fields (as well as any ionisation which might be occurring in air), but not affect the magnetic field component. The only protection against this is distance. Magnetic field strength reduces according to the square of the distance from it. For example, the field strength at 2 metres is 4 times less than at 1 metre, the field strength at 10 metres is 100 times less than at 1 metre, etc.

The problem is that overhead pylon power lines carry enormous voltages (typical lines in New Zealand are 200,000 volts with the biggest lines at 500,000 volts), and thus have very strong fields associated with them. Even at distances of 20-30 metres (the average height of these pylons), the fields are still quite significant as far as the human body is concerned. Distances of 100-200 metres (and possibly more) are more appropriate for this size of field to be reduced down to safe levels.

Any undergrounding project is not likely to place the cables more than a few metres below the surface, thus putting them closer to people, if anything. Thus, if mass distribution of power is to be continued, it can only work by zoning those areas as non-residential, or more accurately, non-inhabitable by either man or beast (since animals are every bit as susceptible to problems as humans). There are well documented cases of cows not producing milk or producing calves with birth defects in pastures where pylons run.

This is partly due to the electromagnetic fields, but also due to a common phenomenon where the ground itself becomes electrified by leakage currents from the pylons. Any such electrification of the ground results in an electrical current heading back towards its ultimate source, the power station, so that electrical balance can be achieved. It is not uncommon for there to be voltage differences of 100 volts over just a few metres of ground in some areas where this leakage occurs.

What is the real solution? Allow the various suppressed free-energy technologies to be be released. The idea of any government, corporate, or privately owned institution (which all amount to the same thing in most cases) owning the rights to exploit so-called natural resources (the very name "resource" defines it as something to be used up) and then setting up mass distribution of this power, selling it through various middlemen, destroying the health of all and sundry (as well as the environment) in the process is quite horrendous, when the reality is that there are a number of devices known to extract energy directly from the sea of energy we live in without any need for mass reticulated distribution.

Anyway, I've had my say, enjoy the attached article and feel free to distribute this far and wide.

Graham Bennett



Top scientists establish link: Pylons are cancer risk - official

Jonathan Leake Science Editor, the Sunday Times, London

March 4, 2001

HIGH voltage power cables have been officially linked to cancer for the first time. A study shows that children living near them run a small but significant increased risk of falling victim to the disease.

Sir Richard Doll, the epidemiologist who discovered the link between smoking and lung cancer in the 1960s, will this week warn that children living near electricity power lines are at an increased risk from leukaemia.

He is also expected to say that there may be a link with adult cancers but that this is unproven. His work was commissioned by the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB), the government's radiation watchdog.

Doll is chairman of its Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation (AGNIR). He has spent months analysing the results of studies on cancer among people living near power cables.

It is the first time a British government body has accepted the link between cancer and power lines.

It raises the possibility of multi-million-pound claims by families who have blamed their children's illnesses on the cables. It could also reopen campaigns by local groups to have power lines buried underground or moved away from homes.

Professor Colin Blakemore, a member of Doll's group, said: "The evidence is that there is a slightly elevated risk of cancer near to power lines. We are going to acknowledge that evidence exists indicating an association between power lines and cancer."

Blakemore said the mechanism was uncertain but could be due to the high voltage lines emitting charged particles called ions which may then be inhaled.

Blakemore added: "It's important to acknowledge that there is a link and we need to do more research on it. Putting power lines underground would be a possibility. The cost would be enormous if we did this to existing power lines, but it is something that we may have to take into account for future development and especially new housing."

Doll's report will emphasise that more research is needed to confirm the mechanism. Previous studies - which have been considered by Doll's expert committee - have suggested that tens of thousands of people in Britain live close enough to power lines to be affected by strong electromagnetic fields.

The analysis in the new report suggests that a small number of children each year could develop cancer.

The link between overhead power lines and cancer was first made in America in 1979. By 1990 several independent British studies had also suggested that electromagnetic fields could damage health. However, successive reports ruled out the connection and legal action by sufferers against electricity companies was abandoned.

The NRPB oversees safety research and regulation for all kinds of radiation. It has always taken a cautious approach to claims that power lines affect health, but this weekend insiders were acknowledging that it may have to revise its policies.

Martyn Day, the solicitor who in the mid-1990s pursued unsuccessful claims on behalf of leukaemia victims, believes that the findings could enable legal action to reopen.

"This is probably the most significant step forward for 10 years," he said. "I was forced to back off, pack away the files and put them into archives, but this may well mean I will start to dust them off once more."

The Electricity Association, which represents many of Britain's power generators and distributors, said there was no concrete evidence that the electric and magnetic fields generated by power lines caused cancer. "Any suggestion of a health risk, however weak, needs to be taken seriously," it added.


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