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Overhead powerlines, miscarriage and depression

Press release issued: 11 October 2002

Media release
Overhead powerlines, miscarriage and depression

Comment on the article on page 6 of The Sun newspaper, 11 October 2002

An article on page 6 of today's Sun newspaper reports the results of a private study of the health of residents living close to a high voltage powerline in Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, carried out by a Trentham resident, Mrs Maureen Asbury. The article reports an increased number of cases of miscarriage and depressive illness in residents living with 25 metres of the powerline compared with a control group living further away. The article also cites the California Health Department report into the health effects of exposure to magnetic fields associated with the electricity supply and goes on to suggest that Bristol scientists have associated these effects, which include miscarriage, to radon gas and electrically charged pollutants near powerlines.

Professor Denis Henshaw of the Physics Department at Bristol University wishes to point out the following:

* That the increased risk of certain illnesses reported in the California Health Department Report, which include childhood and adult leukaemia, adult brain cancer and miscarriage, concern exposure to magnetic fields from the electricity supply. The research at Bristol into how high-voltage powerlines emit corona ions, which attach to and electrically charge particles of air pollution, is an entirely separate electric field effect. Therefore, the report in The Sun is wrong to link miscarriage to radon exposure or to electrically charged particles of air pollution. Full details of the possible health consequences of exposure to magnetic fields and the entirely separate electric fields may be found on our website

* That the final California Health Department Report has now been published and will be posted on the California Health Department website either later today or early next week. This may be accessed via our website above.

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Copyright: 2002 The University of Bristol, UK
Updated: Friday, 11-Oct-2002 14:54:00 BST

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