Leading childhood leukaemia charity, CHILDREN with LEUKAEMIA, has welcomed a new report from a Cross-Party Inquiry of senior backbench MPs, which they say adds unprecedented political support to the growing international scientific, medical and professional consensus that a precautionary building moratorium should be introduced to protect children’s health.
The report, being launched in Parliament at 10.30am on Wednesday 18 July, will recommend that Government introduce a building moratorium within at least 60 metres of existing High Voltage Overhead Transmission Lines.
CHILDREN with LEUKAEMIA's Chief Executive said “This report really gives Government the green light it needs to introduce precaution in the UK. Precautionary measures have already been introduced in Europe (Switzerland, Italy, Sweden and the Netherlands) and as far afield as Australia - it’s now time for us to follow suit. This report clearly comes down in favour of precaution now and it does so solely on the basis of preventing childhood leukaemia. "
The Inquiry, made up of five MPs with a particular interest in health, is one of a number of groups and individuals who have called for the introduction of precautionary measures to reduce EMF exposure following the publication of the Draper Report in 2005, which reported an association between children living near power lines and a 70% increase in risk of leukaemia.
Over 220 MPs signed an Early Day Motion demanding that the Government supports CHILDREN with LEUKAEMIA’s call for an immediate moratorium on new homes being built near power lines, the Government’s Stakeholder Advisory Group (SAGE) concluded in April that a building ban was the ‘best available option’ to reduce exposure and recommended more information be given to the public on the potential health risks of EMF exposure. In response to the recommendations in the SAGE Report, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) called on the Government to legislate to restrict the building of new homes and schools next to existing power lines and most recently, a new Report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that implementing ‘very low-cost precautionary procedures to reduce [EMF] exposure is reasonable and warranted’.
Eddie O’Gorman, Chairman of CHILDREN with LEUKAEMIA, who lost a son to leukaemia and a daughter to cancer, has campaigned for 20 years for a better understanding of the effects of EMF and power lines. He said “This report is yet another example of the weight of opinion on this issue, not only from families affected, but well respected politicians, scientists and the general public. Action needs to be taken and taken now”.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Case studies available for interview include:
Eddie & Marion O’Gorman
In 1987 Eddie O’Gorman, Chairman of CHILDREN with LEUKAEMIA, lost a son to leukaemia aged 14 and, 9 months later, lost a daughter to breast cancer aged 29. Eddie and his wife Marion began searching for answers, and after researching the dangers of electro magnetic fields are convinced an electricity substation near the family home in Barnet, London was to blame for Paul and Jean’s deaths.
Linda Tatton's son David Smith, 7, died from leukaemia while she was living in the shadow of a pylon in the Trentham area of Stoke in 1979. Linda currently lives in Stoke on Trent.
Charity spokespeople are available for interview.
A copy of the DRAPER Report and SAGE Report can be found at http://www.leukaemia.org/what-we-do/campaigning/151
CHILDREN with LEUKAEMIA is Britain’s leading charity dedicated exclusively to the conquest of childhood leukaemia through pioneering research, new treatment and support of leukaemic children and their families.
Power lines and/or exposure to EMF have also been linked with a number of other serious health conditions including depression, miscarriage, adult brain cancer and the degenerative brain disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
BACKGROUND TIMETABLE OF EVENTS LEADING UP TO MPs REPORT:
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Extremely Low Frequency Magnetic Fields (ELF EMF) are defined as ‘possibly carcinogenic to humans’ and classified as a 2b carcinogen.
The National Radiological Protection Board recommended that the Government should ‘consider the need for further precautionary measures in respect of exposure of people to EMF’.
The Stakeholder Advisory Group on EMF (SAGE) was established, funded by the Department of Health, National Grid and CHILDREN with LEUKAEMIA.
The Draper report published in the BMJ (British Medical Journal). The largest single study of childhood cancer, conducted by the Oxford Childhood Cancer Research Group in collaboration with National Grid, it used the records of almost 30,000 children with cancer in England and Wales. The study found that children living within 200m of high voltage power lines had a 70% higher risk of leukaemia than those living 600m or more away.
Responding to Draper Report, CHILDREN with LEUKAEMIA called for a moratorium on new homes being built near power lines and an Early Day Motion (EDM) in support of this has been signed by 223 MPs, ranking it one of the most widely supported backbench motions.
Dr Howard Stoate MP chaired the first meeting of the Cross-Party Inquiry into Childhood Leukaemia and Extremely Low Frequency Electric and Magnetic Fields (ELF EMF). The secretariat of the Inquiry was supported and funded by CHILDREN with LEUKAEMIA.
The SAGE First Interim Assessment was published. It identified a building moratorium (on the building of new homes and schools within 60 metres of existing 275 kV and 400 kV power lines and the building of new power lines within the same distance of homes and schools) as ‘the best-available option for obtaining significant exposure reduction’. For lower voltages – 132 kV, 110kV and 66 kV lines, SAGE suggested 30 metres would be the appropriate distance for such a moratorium.
View the SAGE Report (PDF) at www.rkpartnership.co.uk
Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) called on the Government to legislate to restrict the building of new homes and schools next to existing power lines.
World Health Organisation (WHO) Environmental Health Criteria Monograph on Extremely Low Frequency Fields (No.328) was published, and concluded that ‘provided that the health, social and economic benefits of electric power are not compromised, implementing very low-cost precautionary procedures to reduce exposure [to ELF EMF] is reasonable and warranted.’
In answer to a parliamentary question, the Government stated that they had referred the SAGE Report to the Health Protection Agency for it’s advice. The HPA is currently considering the SAGE report, and is expected to report their recommendations back to Government later in the summer.
Government response to the Stakeholder Advisory Group on extremely low frequency electric and magnetic fields (ELF EMFs) (SAGE) recommendations
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