Saturday, October 4, 2008

National Gallery AU

Hi All

The story below illustrates what seems to be a lack of vision and understanding, by the Australian health authorities, on the adverse health effects of electro magnetic radiation. As a former investigator, I immediately noted that there are five security employees with cancer and that the amount of bowel cancer for them was quite elevated. I would expect that these employees carry radio communications devices for their security duties. I would also expect them to carry those devices on their hip belts.

The radios would be located very close to the victims bowels where elevated cancer levels were reported. The radios would also expose the rest of the body to high levels of radiation. Walkie talkie radios are very strong sources of electro magnetic radiation. Emissions from those radios and others sources would be bouncing around the building and re-radiating from any metal objects, such as the heating system and metal framing of the building.

Electro magnetic radiation is known to cause cancer and many other adverse health effects, see - .

Because of the communications system and other security systems in use by the gallery, the staff and visitors are probably exposed to quite high levels of electro magnetic radiation. Why is this not mentioned by the investigators as a possible cause of cancer and investigated by experts in that field?

An art gallery should be a very healthy place to work, with little pollution, little chemical contamination and a fair restful environment when compared with industry. It would seem to me that it is not the building that is sick, but it is the electro magnetic environment inside that building which is sick and should be thoroughly investigated and cleaned up.

Martin Weatherall

National Gallery not a 'sick building'


3/10/2008 12:00:00 AM

A two-year investigation into an alleged cancer cluster at the National Gallery of Australia has found the building is not likely to have been the source of the cancers among staff.

The investigation, led by epidemiologist Tim Driscoll, found little difference in the rates of cancer among gallery employees and the general population.

Dr Driscoll agreed investigations of clusters such as that alleged at the gallery, and at the ABC studios in Brisbane, were ''inherently problematic''.

''I told the staff at the beginning, and again today, that at the end of this investigation we might not have all the answers: all you can do is piece together all the information you can get and give a considered opinion'' he said. ''It's very tricky to investigate these clusters.''

But Dr Driscoll said he was satisfied with the investigation's results.

''The top five cancers we found were the top five cancers in Australia generally, and the ages at which they occurred were the sorts of age you would expect, so there is nothing in there to set off alarm bells.''

The investigation found staff had possibly been exposed to potentially dangerous carcinogens. But Dr Driscoll said these exposures were not great enough to have increased the risk of gallery staff, visitors or volunteers contracting cancer.

The report found cancer rates among present and former gallery staff were 14 per cent lower than the national average.

Allegations about the gallery's being a ''sick building'' first emerged eight years ago. Some staff alleged a link between the building's air-conditioning system and staff illness rates.

That allegation was followed by another that the building had spawned a cancer cluster when it was revealed five security staff and up to nine other employees had contracted various forms of cancer.

No link was found in the original investigation, led by Robert Wray, but then Dr Driscoll was brought in when it emerged Mr Wray had not been told about five cancer cases among security staff.

Dr Driscoll found the rate of bowel cancer among security staff was 23 per cent higher than the national average. But he said he was confident this was not linked to the building.

''... there is nothing about the way the cancers have occurred, or the age at which they have occurred, that would make us worry,'' he said.

The gallery's deputy director, Alan Froud, chaired the steering committee established to assist the investigation. He said staff, volunteers and visitors should be reassured.

''We have encouraged people to speak to the expert team and to express their views,'' Mr Froud said.

''I would think that the thorough and comprehensive manner in which this work has been undertaken ... is such that I would expect that this issue is effectively concluded.''

Mr Froud said the recommendations from the first report on managing exposure risks had been carried out, and Dr Driscoll's second report had not recommended further safety measures.

The former gallery employee and whistleblower Bruce Ford who first dubbed the gallery a sick building said he was pleased to hear the investigation had found the gallery was not responsible for employee cancer.

''I'm happy that that cloud no longer hangs over employees, I'm happy the gallery did finally investigate this matter properly,'' he said.

''What I am still unhappy about is the manner in which the gallery initially handled these concerns ...''