Department of Health says no evidence power lines cause adverse health effects
Reilly made representations to Ministers on underground power cables in constituency
The Department of Health has said there is no evidence that power lines can cause long-term adverse effects on human, plant or animal health.
The department said yesterday that Ireland had taken a “precautionary approach” on the issue of potential health effects of electromagnetic fields. It said Ireland had adopted international guidelines for exposure to electromagnetic radiation developed by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection.
“National and international health and scientific agencies have reviewed more than 30 years of research into electromagnetic fields. None of these agencies has concluded that exposure to electromagnetic fields from power lines or other electrical source is a cause of any long-term adverse effects on human, plant or animal health.”
The Department of Health said that the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government had responsibility for potential health effects of electromagnetic fields.
The Department of Health issued its statement on foot of a report in the Sunday Times yesterday that its Minister James Reilly had in 2012 sent representations to cabinet colleagues Phil Hogan and Pat Rabbitte about the potential adverse health effects arising from power cables being laid underground in the town of Rush, in his Dublin North considtituency as part of the east-west electricity interconnector.
The Department of Health said yesterday: “The Minister for Health is advised on all matters relating to public health on an on-going basis by the chief medical officer, DrTony Holohan. ”
“The chief medical officer and his staff keep abreast of relevant national and international policy matters, research and data that have relevance to public health. The chief medical officer has advised the Minister that on the basis of international evidence, health considerations relating to electricity pylons do not warrant the involvement of the Minister.”
Dr Reilly had written to Mr Hogan and Mr Rabbittee regarding an opinion sent to him by Dr Anthony Staines, professor of health systems at Dublin City University which linked the electricity cables to an increased risk of childhood cancer.
The Sunday Times maintained that Dr Reilly in his representation to Mr Hogan and Mr Rabbitte had concluded: “I realise that this national infrastructure project is important but I cannot ignore the health concerns that are raised.”