B.C. Hydro’s claim
“Health Canada and the World Health Organization have confirmed that there is no evidence of any health risks from magnetic field measurements below the recognized exposure limit of 2,000 milligauss (shortened as mG) or 200 Microtesla (shortened as µT).”
Source: seed—a power smart innovation
The scientific facts
In 2001, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a subsidiary of the World Health Organization, classified ELF magnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic based on studies that show an increased risk of childhood leukemia for chronic exposures above 4 mG (0.4 µT).
In 2008, the International Workshop of WHO/ICNIRP/BfS confirmed that “a consistent pattern of a two-fold increase in childhood leukemia is observed in epidemiological studies associated with average exposure to residential low-frequency magnetic fields above 0.3-0.4 µT [3-4 mG].”
Good to know
According to B.C. Hydro, “at Cathedral Square Park, above our existing underground substation in downtown Vancouver, measurements range from 2 mG to 100 mG (0.2 µT to 10 µT).” This means that ELF magnetic field exposure levels above an underground substation are in the range at which increased levels of childhood leukemia have been observed!
Recommendations by the latest research project on EMF and childhood leukemia
In the 2015 final report of the multicenter European research project ARIMMORA (Advanced Research on Interaction Mechanisms of electroMagnetic exposures with Organisms for Risk Assessment) looking specifically at childhood leukemia and magnetic fields, the researchers recommend that “the current concept of 'prudent avoidance' should be encouraged and reinforced. … regarding the risk of childhood leukaemia from ELF-MF exposure might include deciding to locate newly built child care centres, kindergartens, and schools at sufficient distance from high voltage power lines …”
The prudent conclusion
New schools and new daycare spaces do not belong where background levels of ELF magnetic fields are routinely above 1 mG (0.1 µT).
Provide sufficient distance and/or implement low-EMF design strategies for the location of major electrical facilities such as substations and power lines so that exposure levels of ELF magnetic fields in sensitive use areas can be kept below 1 mG (0.1 µT).