EU study finds no link between high voltage power lines and risks to health




A European Commission Committee has found no evidence of a link between electromagnetic fields (EMF) from high voltage power lines and adverse effects to health, however it does suggest a need for further research.

Eirgrid, the company behind plans to construct a high voltage line from Dunstown, Kilcullen to Cork, via Wexford, said yesterday (February 4); “a Scientific Committee assembled by the European Commission published a draft opinion for public consultation on extremely low frequency electric and magnetic fields (EMF) that are associated with the use of electricity and potential health effects. The remit of the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR) was to update its opinion issued in 2009, taking into account new human and experimental studies.

“The Committee reported that new epidemiology studies do not shed light on a previously reported association with childhood leukaemia and that shortcomings in these studies and a lack of experimental support from animal studies or cellular evidence for mechanisms prevent a causal interpretation of this statistical association.”

The power company said the committee reported that recent results don’t provide “convincing evidence of neurodegenerative diseases or dementia, or show evidence of adverse pregnancy outcomes, related to EMF.” The opinion contained no recommendations for precautionary measures to limit exposure to EMF.

“EirGrid is committed to monitoring the latest research and developments in relation to EMF and public health and welcomes the review conducted by the Scientific Committee. EirGrid designs and operates the transmission network to the highest safety standards and complies with scientifically established national and international guidelines,” it said.

“National and international health and scientific agencies have reviewed more than 30 years of research into EMF. None of these agencies has concluded that exposure to EMF from power lines or other electrical sources is a cause of adverse effects on humans, plants, or animals. The European Union and the Irish Government recommend compliance with the ICNIRP guidelines to ensure public safety in relation to EMF generated by electricity.”

Eirgrid reiterated its commitment to the forthcoming review on EMF and public health commissioned by the government.

“We will continue to monitor the latest research and developments in the area of EMF and public health in order to respond to public concerns about EMF and to enhance information in this area,” it concluded.




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