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Name: Neiter Day
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Question:
Is there new information about the high power lines and its effect on the human body?



Replies:
It depends on what you mean by "new." The best all-around summary I have seen is now several years old. If you are really interested, check out the series of articles in Science: September 7, 1990 (page 1096); 9/21/90 (page 1378); and 10/5/90 (page 23). This series of articles is a fairly complete, non- biased overview that is still very pertinent even though it is now more than 3 years old. There continue to be reports that more evidence has been found that exposure to 60 Hz fields is somehow linked to various types of cancer. However, the links are extremely weak and the relative risks that are found are quite low.

This is a very complex issue that has been clouded by sensationalistic news reports. Although I do not have the actual "score," it appears that the number of major studies that have found a link are about offset by the major studies that have found no such link. When reading or watching the news, it is well to keep the following in mind: (1) it is IMPOSSIBLE to prove that anything is completely safe; (2) studies that find a positive effect are more likely to receive attention from both the press and the scientific community, and indeed, are more likely to be published in the first place, than studies which find no effect. It appears that if there is a risk, it is very small, so we should keep on studying the concern, but we should not panic.

Gary E Meyers



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