Tue, Jul 28, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Electromagnetic wave levels disputed

By Meggie Lu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Members of environmental groups protest in front of the Environmental Protection Administration in Taipei yesterday to demand the government lower electromagnetic wave safety standards to a maximum of 1 milli-Gauss (mG). They say the agency’s proposal to lower the standard to a maximum of 83.3mG for areas such as schools, hospitals and residential areas is not enough.

PHOTO: CNA

Representatives of environmental groups gathered in front of the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) yesterday to urge the government to lower electromagnetic wave safety standards to a maximum of 1 milli-Gauss (mG).

The agency is considering lowering electromagnetic wave safety standards by 10 percent for “sensitive regions” such as schools, hospitals and residential areas, but the activists said that was not enough.

Taiwan Electromagnetic Radiation Hazard Protection and Control Association chairwoman Chen Chiao-hwa (陳椒華) said the EPA was considering lowering the standard for sensitive areas from 833mG to 83.3mG.

“From WHO data, we know that advanced countries such as the US and Switzerland have an electromagnetic wave safety limit of 1mG. We fear that as Hsiao is on the EPA’s expert panel, his statement could cause a public misunderstanding,” she said.

She was referring to a recent remark by National Taiwan University of Science and Technology electric engineering assistant professor Hsiao Horng-Ching (蕭弘清) that even if an environment or location had an electromagnetic wave level of 8,300mG, there would be little harm to human health.

“Even at 83.3 milli-Gauss, people are still exposed to high health risks and are likely to develop chronic illnesses such as cancer, or give birth to children with mental retardation or other birth defects,” Chen said.

The environmental groups urged the government to follow the example set by other countries and set the nation’s safety limit to 1mG.

Air Quality Protection and Noise Control Director-General Hsieh Yen-ju (謝燕儒) said the EPA was not ready to decide on whether to lower the limit.

“To make sure we cover all the bases, we will hold more meetings with environmental groups, the National Communications Commission, the Department of Health and media representatives soon,” Hsieh said.

As for the debate over 1mG and 83.3mG standards, Hsieh said that since every country is different, the EPA would collect more information to determine what was best for Taiwan.

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