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FW: ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH INSTITUTE REPORT CONCLUDES EVIDENCE IS WEAK'THAT ELECTRIC and MAGNETIC FIELDS CAUSE CANCER]





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Subject:	[Fwd: ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH INSTITUTE REPORT CONCLUDES EVIDENCE IS
WEAK'THAT ELECTRIC and MAGNETIC FIELDS CAUSE CANCER]


> NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
>
> National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
>
> NEWS RELEASE
>
> EMBARGOED FOR RELEASE:
> Tuesday, June 15, 1999
> Noon EST
>
> Contact:
> Bill Grigg  (301) 402-3378
> or Tom Hawkins(919) 541-1402
>
> ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH INSTITUTE REPORT CONCLUDES EVIDENCE IS
> 'WEAK' THAT ELECTRIC and MAGNETIC FIELDS CAUSE CANCER
>
> After six years of accelerated, Congressionally mandated
> research, the National Institute of Environmental Health
> Sciences today announced it has concluded that the evidence
> for a risk of cancer and other human disease from the
> electric and magnetic fields (EMF) around power lines is
> "weak."
>
> NIEHS' review and analysis of the existing data came in a
> report to Congress, released today.  The report applies to
> the extremely low frequency electric and magnetic fields
> surrounding both the big power lines that distribute power
> and the smaller but closer electric lines in homes and
> appliances.
>
> While sections of the report say EMF exposure "cannot be
> recognized as entirely safe," the report concludes:  "The
> NIEHS believes that the probability that EMF exposure is
> truly a health hazard is currently small.  The weak
> epidemiological associations and lack of any laboratory
> support for these associations provide only marginal
> scientific support that exposure to this agent is causing
> any degree of harm."
>
> Research continues on some "lingering concerns," the report
> says, and efforts to reduce exposures should continue.
>
> NIEHS said that the "strongest evidence" for health effects
> comes from statistical associations observed in human
> populations with childhood leukemia and chronic lymphocytic
> leukemia in occupationally exposed adults such as electric
> utility workers, machinists and welders.  "While the
> support from individual studies is weak," according to the
> report, "these epidemiological studies demonstrate, for
> some methods of measuring exposure, a fairly consistent
> pattern of a small, increased risk with increasing exposure
> that is somewhat weaker for chronic lymphocytic leukemia
> than for childhood leukemia."
>
> However, laboratory studies and investigations of basic
> biological function do not support these epidemiological
> associations, according to the report.  It says,
> "Virtually all of the laboratory evidence in animals and
> humans and most of the mechanistic studies in cells fail to
> support a causal [cause and effect] relationship."
>
> NIEHS Director Kenneth Olden, Ph.D., said, "The lack of
> consistent, positive findings in animal or mechanistic
> studies weakens the belief that this association is
> actually due to EMF, but it cannot completely discount the
> epidemiological findings.  For that reason, and because
> virtually everyone in the United States uses electricity
> and therefore is routinely exposed to EMF, efforts to
> encourage reductions in exposure should continue.  For
> example, industry should continue efforts to alter large
> transmission lines to reduce their fields and localities
> should enforce electrical codes to avoid wiring errors that
> can produce higher fields."  An interagency committee
> established by the President will make a subsequent report
> to Congress about the findings of this report and whether
> any remedial actions are needed to minimize exposures.
>
> Dr. Olden said NIEHS would continue to support some
> research on EMF, though not at the high levels Congress
> provided in special legislation and appropriations.
>
> The NIEHS report follows a six-year research program and a
> two-year review by the institute and by outside scientists.
> For the effort, Congress appropriated $23 million that the
> electrical industry matched.   The industry had no control
> over what research was conducted.  The funds were
> administered by the Department of Energy and a portion was
> transferred to NIEHS, targeted for health effects research.
> NIEHS also added $14 million of its own appropriated funds
> to support additional research.  The total expenditure was
> about $60 million.
>
> The studies reviewed and conducted by NIEHS and its
> grantees focused on the possibility of a link to cancer - a
> reaction to a leukemia study in Denver, Colo., in 1979,
> and to subsequent attempts to duplicate or refute it in
> Denver and elsewhere.  But the report said NIEHS also found
> inadequate evidence of any link to such non-cancer diseases
> as Alzheimer's, depression and birth defects.   Christopher
> Portier, Ph.D., the associate director of the Environmental
> Toxicology Program at NIEHS who coordinated the evaluation
> effort, said, "This risk assessment gains strength and
> reliability from the conduct of extensive new research
> focused to support the evaluation and through obtaining the
> opinion of hundreds of scientists who participated in the
> evaluation.  The novel methods used in this risk assessment
> can serve as a blueprint for resolving other difficult
> issues."
>
> To assist NIEHS in reaching its conclusions, several panels
> of scientists reviewed the data in open, public hearings.
> A major panel of scientists - many of them EMF researchers
> - was assembled in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minn., last
> June to advise NIEHS.  The panel rejected EMF as a "known"
> or proven, or even "probable" carcinogen but a majority of
> the panel said a role in cancer could not be ruled out and
> so it should be regarded as  "possible" carcinogen.  The
> NIEHS report today also recommends that the fields continue
> to be recognized as a "possible" cancer hazard, but
> emphasizes the weakness of the data and the low risk that
> may be involved.  The NIEHS report says the evidence does
> not seem to meet the standard for listing  as a known or
> even "anticipated" human carcinogen in the National
> Toxicology Program's "Report on Carcinogens".
>
> NIEHS is one of the National Institutes of Health.  NIEHS'
> headquarters and laboratories in Research Triangle Park,
> N.C., are also the headquarters of the National Toxicology
> Program, and they have the same director.
>
> The report may be found on the Internet via
> www.niehs.nih.gov/emfrapid/ at noon EDT
> June 15, 1999.  Printed copies of the report can be ordered
> by calling (919) 541-7534, or e-mailing
> emf-rapid@niehs.nih.gov.   To order by fax: (919) 541-0144.
> Or write EMF-RAPID Program, NIEHS PO Box 12233, Mail drop
> EC-16, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709.

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