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30/06/2002 - Various Old Power Frequency News

Don Maisch and colleagues have just had a paper published called "Changes in Health Status in a Group of CFS and CF patients Following Removal of Excessive 50 Hz Magnetic Field Exposure" in the Journal of the Australasian College of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine (JACNEM, Vol.21 No.1, April 2002). They are also producing a poster on "Reducing the Level of 50 Hz Magnetic Fields Lessens Symptoms of Chronic Fatigue and Improves Sleep" at the 2nd International Workshop On Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Fields 7-11 October 2002, Rhodes, Greece.

Levels of occupational exposure to high magnetic fields have again been shown to increase the risk of developing aggressive types of brain tumours. Dr Paul Villeneuve, of Ottawa University adds his finding to that of Feychting and the combined analysis of various studies by Kheifets. Villeneuve says in the International Journal of Epidemiology 31, pp. 210-217 (reported in Microwave News, that his new study results are "consistent with the hypothesis that magnetic fields act at the promotional stage" of brain cancer.

The late Martin Gardner who battled for the recognition that there was a link between paternal radiation of Sellafield employees and the incidence of leukaemia among their children, has now been vindicated. After the nuclear industry were vehemently denying and putting interesting 'slants' on research into Sellafield cancer risks, a new study by Heather Dickson and Louise Parker from the University of Newcastle, supported by the nuclear industry, appear to back claims he made about such a link 12 years ago. The children of men exposed to radiation at the Sellafield nuclear plant in Cumbria have twice the normal risk of leukaemia and Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. The incidence was 15 times as great in Seascale, a small village next to the power plant, New Scientist magazine said. Crucially, the risk to children rose in line with the radiation dose received by their fathers.

The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) is relaxing its conflict-of-interest rules for authors of its most comprehensive articles because it cannot find qualified experts with no financial ties to drug companies. Medical journal editors estimate that 95 percent of academic researchers looking at which drugs and treatments work and are safe have financial relationships with pharmaceutical companies. In 2000, after a series of articles in the Los Angeles Times, the journal was forced to acknowledge it had violated its own conflict-of-interest policy 19 times over the previous three years when choosing doctors to review new drug treatments. Only last week, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published studies criticizing itself and its rival publications--as well as the media--for presenting some material to the public that isn't true or is stained by conflicts of interest. "I'm dismayed," said Harvard's Dr. Arnold Relman, who edited the publication from 1977 to 1991. "I think it's a sad commentary on the state of academic medicine that you can't find top-flight experts who aren't connected to industry". The policy change does not affect original studies in the publication--3,500 to 3,800 are submitted each year, of which only 5 to 7 percent are selected. Those will still contain disclosures of who sponsored the research being presented and any financial stakes the authors might have. From now on, the journal will forbid only a "significant" financial stake, as defined by the National Institutes of Health and the Association of American Medical Colleges: Payments of up to $10,000 a year are not considered significant. It reminds us somewhat of research into the potential health hazards of electromagnetic radiation, mobile phones, masts and powerlines!

Allan and Beverly Hoffman own a farm in New London, Wisconsin. In the mid-1980s, the Hoffmans' cows started producing less milk, behaving oddly and not consuming as much feed and water as previously After investigation, they believed the changes observed in the dairy herd were a result of stray voltage from power lines. Stray voltage is electricity that leaks from a utility's electrical distribution system or farm wiring and may decrease milk production or cause animal health problems. The 4th District Court of Appeals upheld a jury's May 2000 verdict, awarding a $1.2 million judgment, in favour of the Hoffmans, who claimed the utility was negligent in permitting an underground utility system to serve their farm. The utility argued that it had relied on the state Public Service Commission findings that its manner of distributing electricity could only harm livestock if it passes through the animal. The state Supreme Court have agreed to hear an appeal from Wisconsin Electric Power Co., recently renamed We Energies. Attorney Scott Lawrence said that if the court finds in the Hoffmans' favour, utilities will be compelled to fix stray voltage problems, regardless of what levels the Public Service Commission says are harmful.

Toxic Chemicals Contribute To Increased Childhood Illness

The reported incidence of cancer and other diseases among America's children is rising. Too little is known about possible relationships between childhood disease and an environmental "soup" of thousands of mostly untested industrial chemicals that didn't even exist a half-century ago, they said. Virtually all of the 85,000 chemicals registered with the Environmental Protection Agency for commercial use in America did not exist before the 1960s and less than half have been properly tested for their effects on human beings, and certainly combinations of exposures have not been investigated. But cancer remains the largest cause of disease death among children. There has been a 25 percent rise in the incidence of childhood leukaemia since the 1960s and a 21 percent increase in brain cancer. In view of the concentration of chemicals deposited around powerlines and other sources of electric fields, and recent research showing that mobile phone exposure reduces the protective barrier that prevents toxic chemicals from reaching the brain; chemical and electromagnetic pollution are putting the lives of our children at risk.