Don't Wait for Full Facts to Act
Posted on: Tuesday, 6 May 2008, 00:00 CDT
By S.M. Mohamed Idris
THE Consumers' Association of Penang (CAP) views with concern a recent press report making reference to a study conducted by UiTM medical faculty Associate Professor Dr Adlina Suleiman.
This study found that more than eight per cent of residents interviewed in Taman Subang in Kelana Jaya were suffering from cancer.
According to Dr Adlina, most of the cases appeared after a telecommunications tower was put up in this residential area 10 years ago.
In general, there is already sufficient global evidence pointing towards the possible harmful effects, especially on children, arising from exposure to electro-magnetic fields (EMFs).
In some countries, laws control the presence of transmission wires and other sources of non-ionising radiation in residential and other areas due to health concerns.
In June of 2001, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organisation, had announced that extremely low-frequency magnetic fields could cause cancer in humans, based on the association found between residential EMF exposure, childhood leuk-aemia and two types of adult cancers.
The Health Ministry and other ministries should act immediately to initiate laws and other measures to protect the Malaysian public from exposure to electro-magnetic radiation from sources such as power lines, sub-stations and telecommunication towers.
This should include removing telecommunication towers from vulnerable areas and refusing approval for residential areas or workplaces near power transmission lines and other sources of EMFs.
Rather than wait for all the scientific evidence to come in, government response should be based on the precautionary principle which, among others, states that "when an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause-and-effect relationships are not fully established scientifically".
S.M. MOHAMED IDRIS
for Consumers' Association of Penang
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Source: New Straits Times
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