Pylons pose no major health threat to humans, says European Commission

Electromagnetic fields from pylons pose no major health threat to humans, according to a review by the European Commission.

The review of nearly 500 scientific reports and studies on electromagnetic fields (EMFs) by the commission will be published today and is keenly awaited by campaigners on both sides of the pylon debate.

Commission sources confirmed there would be “no surprises” in the five-year review and that preliminary results showed there was “no major health concerns” regarding EMFs.

The EC’s scientific committee on emerging and newly identified health risks examined reports since 2009 on the health risks to humans from EMFs.

Fine Gael MEP Mairead McGuinness will meet with Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, Tonio Borg, today and discuss the committee’s 200-page report, focusing specifically the issue of powerlines and pylons.

The report also examined electromagnetic waves coming from mobile phones, masts, electrical devices, and hospital equipment.

EMFs, in different ranges, emit from various sources, including power lines, satellites, phones, microwaves and from the Earth and sun.

The proposed construction of three overhead high-voltage networks,including hundreds of giant pylons, across the country has been met with widespread opposition.

Reviews of the Eirgrid projects in the south and west were ordered by the Government last week and a third route, in the north- east, may also be reviewed.

Parallel to the electrical power line reviews, two departments have also been asked to examine the most up-to-date information on the possible effects on people’s health.

That health review is expected to factor in the results of today’s European Commission report andreport back by mid-year,coinciding with the release of a separate World Health Organisation report on EMFs.

Following today’s release, member states, industry groups and the public will be given a number of weeks to reply, as well as participate in public hearings, in March, before a final commission report is written.

Meanwhile, Independent MEP Marian Harkin will host a public meeting in Meath next week where campaigners and scientists will outline concerns about EMFs.

Sinn Féin will also host anti-pylon protesters at its ard fheis in Wexford this weekend.

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