Press Release 11 March 2015

Latest News

11 March 2015                 GRID LINK ACTION GROUP      PRESS RELEASE

EU study yet again confirms link between electromagnetic fields (EMF) from pylons and an increased risk of childhood leukaemia. 

Pylon campaigners, Grid Link Action Group claim Minister Kelly should insist on minimum pylon separation distances from homes  

An EU study on the potential health effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) has again confirmed a link between EMF exposures above a certain limit and an increased risk of childhood leukaemia.   The report is a final opinion from the European Commission’s Science committee (SCENIHR) and confirms a two-fold risk increase when exposure is above 0.3 – 0.4 microtesla (μT).

In February Environment Minister Alan Kelly’s department used its power of veto under the planning acts to remove a Kildare County Development Plan proposal which set down minimum pylon distances from homes.  The proposal was a protection from any cancer risks associated with electro-magnetic fields from high voltage pylons and reflected standard practice in Germany, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands.

Grid Link Action spokesperson, Kieran Connors said today, “This latest EU health report confirms that our Kildare County Council Development Plan health protection was the right one.”

“Minister Kelly has committed to introducing national pylon planning guidelines following publication of the Government-commissioned review of the health effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF), which is due at the end of March.  However this EU health report on the potential health effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields re-confirms our campaign position that pylons need clear separation distances from homes.”

“What we need now is a clear timeline for the new pylon guidelines, an open and detailed public consultation process and a moratorium on any EirGrid submissions to An Bord Pleanala until their introduction.”

Mr Connors pointed out that the report claimed that there was little progress made in explaining the finding.  “They have not come up with what they term a plausible mechanism for a causal relationship with magnetic field nor in identifying alternative explanations.   However it must be pointed out that they found a link between tobacco smoking and cancer as far back as the 1950s, yet only produced the actual evidence of the causal link in the last few years.”


Link to report:

Kieran Connors                                                                 087 241 1203
Steve Rawson                                                                   087 235 7551


Final opinion on Potential health effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) -January 2015  (released March 2015)

EU Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR)

Page 156
The previous SCENIHR statement, released in 2009, had endorsed the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) assessment of classifying ELF magnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans due to consistently observed increased childhood leukaemia risk in epidemiological studies and claimed that ‘the latter stems mainly from two pooled analyses based on studies completed before the year 2000, showing a two-fold risk increase with ELF magnetic fields above 0.3-0.4 μT.’The results of current scientific research show that there are no evident adverse health effects if exposure remains below the levels recommended by the EU legislation.

Page 158
The previous assessment of the 2009 SCENIHR Opinion on a possible association between long-term exposure to ELF magnetic fields and an increased risk of childhood leukaemia remains valid.  A positive association has been observed in multiple studies in different settings at different points in time. Little progress has been made in explaining  the finding, neither in terms of a plausible mechanism for a causal relationship with magnetic field nor in identifying alternative explanations.

Page 219 Epidemiological studies indicate an increased risk of leukaemia in children exposed to magnetic fields, although there is a lack of support for such an effect from laboratory studies. Further studies using recently-developed mouse models of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia are recommended as a high priority . These should include exposures during gestation when the initiating events are considered to occur.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *