Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Reading between the power lines / Federal-Provincial-Territorial Radiation Protection Committee – Canada

Reading between the power lines

According to recent reports, Tsawwassen residents along the ROW and students attending SDSS must feel very relieved by FHA's Dr. Guaspirini's assurances that the power lines through their yards and playgrounds are safe and will never cause them any negative health effects or physical dangers.

Assuming this is based on the very limited EMF measurements taken by Delta School District's consultants ACM Environmental Corporation, this conclusion is misleading, and Dr. Guasparini and the School District should be aware of the following.

One of ACM's EMF reading locations is under the power line next to the pole in the parking lot. Since the location of the conductors at this point is much higher than under the sag of the lines over Dennison Park where the students primarily gather, the EMF exposure level at Dennison Park would be almost twice the level recorded by ACM near the pole.

The EMF levels at SDSS and other areas in Tsawwassen are frequently monitored by Tsawwassen residents. At approximately the time of the ACM readings on Jan. 2, 2009, readings monitored at the SDSS wall closest to the power line indicated levels almost twice those reported by ACM.

Tsawwassen residents monitoring the EMF have suggested readings should be taken concurrently with ACM to determine any discrepancies.

BCTC frequently varies the energy loads on these lines, particularly on the new 230kV circuit.

Vancouver Island presently only requires power transmission on the VITR 230kV line for testing purposes or under emergency situations.

Consequently, sometimes for days, very little load, if any, is carried on the 230kV circuit. Monitoring to date has not indicated that the VITR 230kV circuit has been fully energized to its maximum 600MW capacity.

It is therefore critical that EMF readings are correlated with the line loads. Repeated requests for line load records from BCTC have so far not been met.

Even when only the 138kV circuit is energized, a direct comparison with old EMF levels is in effect meaningless because of the variations in, and unknown energy loads.

According to BCTC's latest projections, with the VITR 230kV fully energized, the EMF level under the lines will be 149mG (milligauss), and at the SDSS wall 13mG.

Already, monitoring of EMF has recorded a level exceeding 15mG at the SDSS wall, correlating with 53mG under the lines.

What will the EMF level at the SDSS wall become when the VITR is fully energized resulting in an EMF of 149mG under the lines? 40+mG?

The electromagnetic radiation is only one aspect of the potential transmission line hazards.

The corona ionization health hazard and the physical danger due to the proximity to homes and school cannot be ignored.

The residents must not be mislead about the VITR EMF being lower than expected.

Karsten Holmsen,




The statement below is outrageous.  It appears that the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Radiation Protection Committee (FPTRPC),  do not like people getting EMF facts from the internet.   




Note regarding article below - From the scientific research that I have read, it would seem that these people should not be in charge of a light switch, never mind a radiation protection committee.  They seem to be quite ignorant of a great amount of scientific information which indicates severe harm to health, by electrical and electro magnetic fields.  How dare these people put the lives of Canadians in danger with such irresponsible statements.




Federal-Provincial-Territorial Radiation Protection Committee – Canada

Response Statement to Public Concerns Regarding Electric and Magnetic Fields (EMFs) from Electrical Power Transmission and Distribution Lines

- Issued on November 8, 2008 -

The Federal-Provincial-Territorial Radiation Protection Committee (FPTRPC) is aware of public concerns about possible health risks from exposure to EMFs in living and school environments, arising from electrical power lines located nearby.  The FPTRPC developed both a Position Statement* on the health effects of EMFs and a Response Statement concerning childhood leukemia, to help address these issues. 

Public concerns appear to arise from periodic media reports and from dubious Internet websites which contain inaccurate, unsubstantiated, controversial or contradictory statements regarding EMF-health issues.  Concerns may result in public opposition to the proposed construction of new high-voltage power lines or upgrades of existing ones.  Opposition to such proposals is often influenced by factors other than health issues (e.g. aesthetics).  In addition, some individuals and organizations are promoting precaution by advising the public to limit their time spent near power lines or to avoid being near lines.

Like household electrical appliances, power lines emit power-frequency EMFs. The intensity of the EMFs from such lines depends on wiring and tower configurations, as well as the line voltage, the current being carried and distance from the lines.  EMFs from power lines and electrical appliances diminish rapidly with increasing distance. For magnetic fields, the contribution from power lines to the levels in most homes and other buildings is very small to negligible when compared to the fields in close proximity to operating electrical appliances and building wiring.

During the past three decades, a large number of scientific studies have been carried out throughout the world.  These studies include laboratory investigations with biological organisms, and epidemiological analyses that examine the possible link between ill health and EMF exposure.  The conclusion by the majority of experts in this subject area is that, while some epidemiological studies suggest a weak statistical link between EMFs and certain types of cancer, other epidemiological studies and the bulk of laboratory studies do not substantiate this link.  Based on the weak epidemiological evidence from childhood leukaemia studies, the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified power-frequency magnetic fields as "possibly carcinogenic to humans" (the same classification applied to, for example, coffee and pickled vegetables).

International EMF exposure guidelines based on established findings have been developed in order to protect against immediate (acute) effects on nervous system functions.  Science-based guidelines for protection against possible health effects such as cancer that may result from long-term (chronic) exposure have not been established. Given the lack of convincing scientific evidence on such effects, there are no national guidelines in Canada limiting exposure of the public to power-frequency EMFs. 

Public concern over the EMF-health issues has led to recent demands for power line regulators to apply the Precautionary Principle (PP) to proposed construction of new high-voltage power lines or to the upgrade of existing ones.  PP is a public policy approach for risk management of possible but unproven adverse health effects.  The extent of PP approaches range from monitoring scientific developments and providing information to stronger measures such as action for lowering exposures.  Any precautionary measures to be taken should be proportional to the level of risk and its associated uncertainty, the severity of the health outcome and the level of societal benefit.  In the context of power-frequency EMFs, health risks to the public from such exposures  have not been established; therefore, it is the opinion of FPTRPC that any precautionary measures applied to power lines should favour low cost or no cost options. 

Most power lines and electrical facilities in Canada fall within provincial jurisdictions.  The federal government involvement is for authorization of the construction and operation of international power lines and designated inter-provincial lines coming under federal jurisdiction.  On request, the federal government participates in environmental assessment reviews for the proposed construction of new high-voltage power lines or upgrade of existing ones by providing expert information or knowledge.  The possible effects of EMFs on human health are one of several environmental issues considered when conducting these reviews.

In summary, it is the opinion of the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Radiation Protection Committee that there is insufficient scientific evidence showing exposure to EMFs from power lines can cause adverse health effects such as cancer. Therefore, a warning to the public to avoid living near or spending time in proximity to power lines is not required.

* Position Statement for the General Public on the Health Effects of Power-frequency (60 Hz) Electric and Magnetic Fields; issued by the Federal Provincial Territorial Radiation Protection Committee – January 20, 2005

Response Statement to the Issue of Power-Frequency Magnetic Fields and Childhood Leukemia – Issued on January 20, 2005.