Radiation levels in Auckland suburb shock expert

New Zealand Herald - Auckland, New Zealand

An independent medical expert has found radiation readings taken near power lines in an Auckland suburb at the centre of a cancer cluster scare are 10 times ...


Radiation levels in Auckland suburb shock expert


by Kirsty Wynn

An independent medical expert has found radiation readings taken near power lines in an Auckland suburb at the centre of a cancer cluster scare are 10 times higher than the levels accepted elsewhere in the world.

Dr Robin Smart has studied the relationship between high voltage lines and health and found evidence of exceedingly high radiation levels in the West Auckland suburb of Massey.

While some overseas countries have dropped the suggested level of electo-magnetic field (EMF) radiation to 0.1 microtesla, New Zealand's limit - set by the Ministry of Health - is 10,000 times higher at 100 microtesla.

Dr Smart, who conducted tests yesterday in the area with an EMF reader, found on the playing field of Lincoln Heights School the reading reached 1.0 microtesla - 10 times the accepted limit in other countries.

Two children from the same family in a nearby street, who are both pupils at the school, have leukaemia. Their mother has recently suffered two miscarriages.

One metre from the edge of the school field - directly under a high voltage powerline - the EMF rating jumped to 1.5 microtesla.

At the former home of Cameron Duncan, the young Kiwi film-maker who died last year from cancer, an EMF reading in the lounge was recorded at 1.4 microtesla. Dr Smart said he was shocked at the readings.

"The kids are playing on the field all the time, so they are getting this level of exposure all the time."

He said there was very good evidence to show that at 0.4 of a microtesla you would be looking at increased rates of childhood leukaemia.

Cameron's mother, Sharon Duncan, who has moved from the house, said she wants the matter taken seriously.

"I have always been suspicious of the power lines over the house and I am not surprised at the high reading," Mrs Duncan said.

Last year it was revealed Cameron and two friends - Charles Hetaraka and Jeffrey Thumath - were diagnosed with cancer within two months of each other.

Charles and Cameron both died in 2003, at age 17. Jeffrey is still fighting the disease.

Since then, dozens more people have come forward with their stories of cancer and other health problems.

National Radiation Laboratory scientists in Christchurch said residents living in areas with high voltage pylons had nothing to fear.

NRL scientist Martin Gledhill said there was no research finding a link between cancer and power pylons.


Informant: Sylvie

Cancer Cluster


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