Report power line concerns, cancer society urges B.C. residents

CBC News - Health & Science

Last Updated Tue, 11 Jul 2006 14:54:27 EDT

CBC News

The Canadian Cancer Society says it’s concerned about plans to upgrade high-voltage power lines through a residential neighbourhood in Tsawwassen, B.C.

A group in the Vancouver suburb is counting on the society’s advisory to bolster its case against a planned upgrade that could bring overhead high-voltage power lines through the community. The lines would form part of a link providing power to Vancouver Island from the Lower Mainland.

Last week, the B.C. Transmission Corporation received approval to upgrade lines running through backyards and across a sports field in Tsawwassen, saying the line is needed to meet expected demands for power on the Island.

The Canadian Cancer Society says the link between electromagnetic fields and cancer has neither been established nor ruled out, but it urges people to keep their distance from power lines.

Parents should not let children play underneath power lines, the group advised.

If people are concerned, they should call the Canadian Cancer Society, said Dr. Patricia O’Hagan, the group’s manager of health promotion for B.C.

“Certainly, because if it’s actually in backyards, if it’s close proximity where children are playing, it’s something that we would be concerned in,” said O’Hagan. “That’s why we are asking the parties to call in.”

The society can then raise the concerns with the B.C. Transmission Corporation, O’Hagan said.

The society’s stand is significant, said Maureen Broadfoot, who heads a Tsawwassen group that opposes the new power lines and has lobbied for an alternative route.

“It is in keeping with what other international health authorities are all starting to say.”

Studies suggest a link between childhood leukemia and high levels of exposure to electromagnetic fields, Broadfoot noted.

The province’s energy minister, Richard Neufeld, said the electromagnetic fields would be well within World Heath Organization guidelines, which is also the stance of the utilities commission.




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