This article was taken from the DALLAS TIMES HERALD
On Thursday, November 30, 1989.
Which originated from the Associated Press.
WASHINGTON – A study by a leading U.S. health scientist has
found a statistically significant link between cancer and human
exposure to electromagnetic fields from the electrical wires that
crisscross the nation.
The unpublished findings by Dr. Genevieve Matanoski of Johns
Hopkins University add to concern in the American scientific
community that health risks from power distribution lines no
longer can be ruled out.
Matanoski, a professor of epidemiology, said Wednesday that
her findings are preliminary and require further testing but that
the results had changed her view of the theory about a cancer link
to power lines.
“I thought before that the theory was wrong,” she said. “I’m
not so sure any more.”
The major conclusions from her study of 50,000 New York state
telephone workers are that there may be an increased risk of
leukemia among active workers and that incidence rates for almost
all types of cancer are highest among linemen, whose exposure to
electromagnetic fields is the highest in the telephone worker
Her study found three cases of leukemia among 4,500 linemen,
an incidence rate seven times higher than among other telephone
Matanoski also found exceptionally high rates of breast
cancer among male technicians who work on central office telephone
switching equipment. Her study found two cases of breast cancer
among 9,000 central office technicians; ordinarily the incidence
rate for males would be about one in one million, she said.
(The study apparently did not address the effects, if any, on
people who live near power lines or towers.)
Matanoski reported on her study at a technical meeting
sponsored jointly by the Energy Department and the Electric Power
Research Institute in Portland, Ore., two weeks ago. She said she
expects to publish the findings early next year.
A few days before the meeting, officials of EPRI,
representing most electric utilities, sent letter to utility
executives noting that Matanoski’s results “may attract national
attention because they suggest an increased risk of cancer.”
*** Additional article ***
This article was taken from the Dallas Times Herald
On Sunday, December 3, 1989.
Which originated from the Associated Press.
NEW YORK – Two events last week called attention to a new
headache of the technological era: the cost of reducing human
exposure to electromagnetic radiation.
On Monday, International Business Machines Corp. confirmed
that it cut radiation from its new large-computer terminals to
comply with requests from European customers.
On Wednesday, a researcher from Johns Hopkins University said
she had found a link between cancer and human exposure to
electromagnetic fields from power lines.
The twin developments highlighted public concerns about
whether electricity – the lifeblood of modern society – could be
harming the people it intended to serve.
Most of the discussion so far has focused on whether
electromagnetic radiation really is harmful and in what amounts.
But even if the early warnings turn out to be overstated, a
movement to reduce human exposure to it seems to be well under
The questions are what steps can be taken to cut exposure and
how much will they cost? The reassuring answer is that many steps
can be taken easily and cheaply. Even daunting problems may prove
easier to solve than many think.
Louis Slesin, who began putting out Microwave News in New
York City a decade ago, said the latest developments carry
On the bad side, he said, the Johns Hopkins study indicated
biological effects from alarmingly low levels of electromagnetic
But on the good side, the new IBM displays show that cutting
radiation – at least in the case show that cutting radiation – at
least in the case of video display terminals does not always have
to be expensive. An IBM official said last week that the new
displays were built about as inexpensively as the old ones.
IBM, incidentally, says it produced the new displays only to
satisfy customer demands, not because of any health concerns. So
far no other companies have followed suit.
IBM’s new terminals don’t reduce radiation at a frequency of
60 hertz (cycles per second), the frequency that has been
implicated in several medical studies, including the one at Johns
Sixty hertz radiation is emitted by all kinds of electrical
devices, from hair dryers to coffee makers to larger electricity-
Fortunately, early studies indicate that any danger is mainly
from long-term exposure at sufficiently close ranges. The fields
of most devices drop off sharply a few inches away, and people
don’t spend all day with them.
Likewise, the hazard of video display terminals, if any, can
be minimized by keeping an arm’s length from the screen and a
greater distance from neighboring terminals.
There may even be relatively inexpensive ways to deal with
power lines, both the long-distance transmission lines and the
high-current distribution lines that go straight into populated
According to Slesin, one way to cut power lines’ fields is
disarmingly simple: Anchor two wires side by side, as in the
average extension cord. Their alternating current fields should
substantially cancel each other out.
Utilities have gotten interested because the public’s fear of
electromagnetic fields has contributed to long delays in building
transmission lines – even longer than the notorious delays in
building new generating plants.
Last month in `Consumer Report’ they issue a warning, that
children and pregnant women should not use electric blankets do to
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Submitted by : Ron Barker