The Power of Pylons

The medical profession isn’t yet convinced that people living in the shadow of high –tension power lines are in danger.

Society, says the group has not found any relationship between occurrence of asthma and power lines. "This came up a few years ago and we collected data on where asthma was occurring geographically in New Zealand and internationally.

We found no difference in areas around power lines, so we threw that theory out the window.

"It is known though that people with metal fillings living near power lines can feel temperature changes and get headaches."This may be related to the shape of the filling so that when they go near an electrical field they generate a small amount of electricity."All of this is of interest but a lot more work needs to be done to get some hard data."I don’t like to see these possibilities being thrown around before we know the hard facts."A lot of people will get frightened unnecessarily and that alone can bring asthma on"Dr David Mauger, a paediatric oncologist says some like have been shown between child cancer and power lines.

"There are good reasons to be suspicious about the connections between high tension power lines and cancer in children, but that connection is not yet conclusive," says Dr Mauger.

EAST and BAYS folk at risk

East and lays residents living beneath big tension power lines are being exposed to many health risks says, Professor Ivan Beale.

Professor Beale, from the psychology department at Auckland University, released a study which say people within 20m of power lines are three time as likely to suffer from asthma and twice as likely to have depression or some form of skin disease than their neighbors.

But they were the only risk factors we are studied, there rare many say. Professor Beale. "It’s a very difficult issue - we are just looking at a few health among many – but I do believe there is a

Significant exposure to health risks for people living under those towers." Professor Beale says other studies have demonstrated a link with leukaemia in children."I don't think anyone likes to be exposed to in-voluntary risk. It's not like choosing to smoke or bad eating habits. People living under towers have been put at risk without being aware of it".

Re says an English study has also shown the fields generated by power lines attract radon, a naturally occuring radioactive gas which is related to some cancers."The idea there is that very strong electric fields attract radon and very small airborne particles such as pollen. The field charges them, making them oscillate so they are more likely to stick to skin.Particular allergies may be related to this effect.

While Professor Beale says people exposed to a continuous high energy fields can be at risk, he doesn’t believe electrical appliances pose the same danger.You would only get any appreciable effect when they are turned on and you are within a foot of them.

East and bays residents living under power lines aren't sure if their health is affected - but they are well aware of the effect on their property values.

Four lines of towers emerge from Pakuranga and run to a substation in Mt Wellington.In places the cable are only about 6m above the ground.Bryden Lebon a barber in Mt works directly underneath the towers and has heard all the stories about their effects."One guy up the road has tried to sell his home three times but no one is interested because of the power lines. That's a common story.A few people worry that they might be giving off radiation and the possible effects on their children, but they don't have any information on it.

"But whatever the effect they have, they do make a lot of noise when It rains and they are definitely an eyesore". –Doug Peters, an 8O-year-old pensioner, says the main feed line from Huntly runs directly over his flat."A guy living nearby reckons he's lost a lot of weight since he's been here and a woman's doctor said it could affect you in some way.

"I have wondered about them, but I'm a lay man and I don't know the facts. But I think you wouldn't know about it until you get sick and then it's too late". "I'm not thinking of moving. The only problem we get is induced voltage. We need to earth the gutters before working on them or get a shock."