Let the compass be your guide

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Editor,

I am becoming a tad weary of reading the comments of those "chicken-littles" and other alarmists who pepper the media these days with their unfounded blather about the dangers of high tension wires on the health of those who live, or pass near them.

People are starting to believe that they are in real danger of electrocution or something similar from these wires. We are even being told that the electro-magnetic field surrounding such high voltage wires can cause everything from cancer to still births.

Letter to the Editor - Editor,

I am becoming a tad weary of reading the comments of those "chicken-littles" and other alarmists who pepper the media these days with their unfounded blather about the dangers of high tension wires on the health of those who live, or pass near them.

People are starting to believe that they are in real danger of electrocution or something similar from these wires. We are even being told that the electro-magnetic field surrounding such high voltage wires can cause everything from cancer to still births.

Let's set the record straight. The alarmists look at such statistics as support for their outlandish claims. No others. Period. I lived in Toronto when they were able to find a neighbourhood, near the corridor for those lines, which had a higher than usual incidence of cancer. That neighbourhood extended for about half a mile along the corridor. The other 140 miles of high tension corridor was totally ignored by these people because the statistics for these areas did not bear out their claims. Especially those with lower than average cancer rates!

They totally ignored the fact that in any cluster of neighbourhoods - select by any means - one neighbourhood will have the highest incidence of cancer rates just as one will have the lowest. When all neighbourhoods have the same power lines passing near them, it is absolutely wrong to pick out the area with the highest rate of cancer, or hangnails or divorces or what-have-you and blame it on the power lines.

Now for a wee bit of real science. Magnetism, whether induced by electricity or "natural" (as in the Earth's magnetic field) is just that - magnetism.

I suggest that anyone who thinks that the minute portion of the magnetic field, put out by high tension wires and which reaches the few feet from the wires to the ground, will harm them, should try this test.

Take the compass from your camping kit and go and stand under those wires. If the needle of your compass is deflected in any way when you do so, then the field from the wires is greater than the natural magnetic field of the Earth.

Also, if it is deflected in any way, I'll eat that compass without barbecue sauce. Proof positive that the wholly natural magnetic field of our home planet is far greater than that of those power lines.

If Earth's magnetic field does us no harm, and it doesn't, what makes anyone think that the magnetic field generated by the power lines will?

Think, people, think!

Larry R. Lawson,

Tignish

Geographic location: Toronto

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