Canada Newswire, September 12, 2006


[Rachel's introduction: "In the absence of 'hard science,' the [Canadian Cancer] Society promotes the precautionary principle, which recognizes the value of taking common sense steps to prevent harm to human health or the environment."]

VANCOUVER, Sept. 12 -- The Canadian Cancer Society, B.C. [British Columbia] and Yukon Division, has submitted a letter to the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) and the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) to clarify its position on electric and magnetic fields (EMF) and its possible link to cancer. The BCUC accepted public input until September 8 on the Vancouver Island Transmission

Reinforcement Project running through the community of Tsawwassen to Vancouver Island; the EAO is accepting comments until September 15, 2006. In July, the BCUC approved a plan to install overhead power lines along a right-of-way through central Tsawwassen despite concerns raised by residents over health and safety risks to children, posed by the power lines' EMF [electro-magnet field].

Critics of the project have pointed to advice on EMF available on the Canadian Cancer Society's website. "There is insufficient scientific evidence to either rule out or confirm a definitive link between exposure to EMF and childhood leukemia," says

Barbara Kaminsky, CEO for the Canadian Cancer Society, B.C. and Yukon Division. "But we absolutely understand the public concern generated by potential carcinogens, particularly where children are involved. We recommend the EAO revise the transmission plan, if it is practical, in relation to power line routes directly over private residential property and school property."

The Canadian Cancer Society also suggests individuals limit their exposure to EMF by taking precautionary actions, which include limiting the amount of time children spend playing directly beneath power lines, updating household wiring in an older home, and sitting at arms length from a computer terminal.

"In many cases we don't know how cancer develops and we need more information," says Kaminsky. "In the absence of 'hard science,' the Society promotes the precautionary principle, which recognizes the value of taking common sense steps to prevent harm to human health or the environment."

The Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) is a provincial agency that coordinates assessment of the impacts of major development proposals in British Columbia.

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is to eradicate cancer and to enhance the quality of life of people living with cancer. In British Columbia and the Yukon, the Society works with approximately 20,000 volunteers in over 80 communities, funded nine new research grants in 2006/07 worth more than $4.6 million, and recently established the Canadian Cancer Society Research Chair in Primary Prevention at UBC. For more information, visit, or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1-888-939-3333.

For further information: Media contact: Marcelo Dominguez, Communications Officer, Canadian Cancer Society, B.C. and Yukon Division, T: (604) 675-7340, C: (778) 999-2592,

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