Raise awareness of environmental health issues in order to better protect our children and future generations.

EMF Studies

22 July 2016

New Jersey: Scientist Outlines Potential Risks of JCPL Power Lines

Dr. David Carpenter speaks at Raritan High School
in Hazlet on July 20.
Scientist Outlines Potential Risks Of JCPL Power Lines
by Carly Baldwin (Patch Staff), patch.com, 21 July 2016

"If you live near a high-voltage power line, you're going to be exposed (to radiation). There's nothing you can do unless you move."

Hazlet, NJ - For several months now, residents of Hazlet, Holmdel and Middletown who live near the proposed route of JCP&L's controversial power lines have been concerned about how radiation from the lines will affect their health. It's a concern JCP&L has downplayed, even presenting their own scientists who told residents their EMF fears are exaggerated.

But on Wednesday night, Dr. David Carpenter, an independent expert in electromagnetic field radiation, told residents they are indeed right to be worried.

"If you live near a high-voltage power line, you're going to be exposed (to radiation) as long as you're in your home. There's nothing you can do unless you move," said Dr. Carpenter. "Should this high-voltage power line be built? I can't answer that, because there may be a demand for that electricity. Should it be built above ground in a densely populated urban area? Absolutely not. You are right to do something about it."

Almost 300 Monmouth County residents gathered at Raritan High School Wednesday night to hear Dr. Carpenter speak. He is a Harvard-education scientist, a professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Albany and has worked with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the New York State Department of Health. He's also served as Dean of the University at Albany School of Public Health.

Alzheimer's, leukemia, low sperm count and low-grade headaches a risk from power lines, scientist says

Health risks from electric power lines should be taken seriously, he said.

"There are many sources of electromagnetic field exposure in our lives," Dr. Carpenter began his lecture, pointing out that cell phones, microwaves and even hair dryers all emit minor waves of radiation. "But you can control your exposure to those things. If you live in a house that's less than 100 meters from power lines, you will be exposed to EMF rays 24/7."

Jersey Central Power & Light wants to build ten miles of high-voltage transmission lines along the North Jersey Coast rail line. That's within 200 feet, or sometimes less, of the many homes that dot the track. Dr. Carpenter pointed to several studies, most from Sweden and England, that show an increased risk of Alzheimer's and leukemia from living near power lines. Other people simply report constant low-grade headaches from living near power lines, which sometimes emit a constant buzzing sound.

"Young men should be particularly concerned," said Dr. Carpenter. "There is very strong evidence that electromagnetic field radiation can reduce your sperm count."

Childhood leukemia a serious fear

Children are a particular concern: Children who are exposed to EMF radiation have a higher likelihood of developing childhood leukemia, studies have shown, he said.

"Children are much more vulnerable," to EMF radiation, Dr. Carpenter said. "Studies show 1 in 10,000 children will develop childhood leukemia. Exposure to EMF rays puts that up to 4 in 10,000 children. That's not insignificant, especially if it is your child or grandchild."

A buried transmission line carries almost no EMF rays, he said. "If you have to have a line go through, bury it," he advised.

Dr. Carpenter admitted not all the studies on EMF radiation are conclusive.

"Is the evidence rock solid, 100 percent? No, I wouldn't say that," he said. "But it is enough that people should be informed and be able to protect themselves."

However, "there are almost no studies that don't find evidence of leukemia," he added. Other studies that show no danger from EMF radiation were paid for by utility companies, he said.

State Assemblywoman Amy Handlin, a vocal opponent of the lines who helped bring Dr. Carpenter down to speak, has previously said, "There's never been definitive data that shows they're safe. On behalf of my community, I don't see why we should be guinea pigs," reports the Asbury Park Press.

JCP&L maintains EMF levels from their power lines are safe.

"We had an EMF expert at the Open Houses and will provide testimony as part of our filing with the Board of Public Utitlies (BPU) that will include a comprehensive analysis of existing and proposed EMF levels along the project corridor," said JCP&L spokesman Ron Morano in response to Dr. Carpenter. "Again, the project will meet New Jersey electric field guidelines."

Dr. Carpenter said state and federal guidelines are often out of sync with what he thinks are safe levels of EMF exposure. "Governments and agencies often don't get involved due to the high cost of burying the lines," he said.


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