The Taiwan Electromagnetic Radiation Hazard Protection and Control Association (TEPCA) will hold a rally on May 14 urging the government to establish stricter regulations against radiation hazards.
The association hopes the rally will help to raise awareness about the need to protect against electromagnetic radiation
As part of this effort, a fund raising banquet was held yesterday to release a documentary titled “I don’t want electromagnetic -radiation in my home,” which illustrated the health risks associated with electromagnetic radiation exposure and the importance of prevention and control.
The documentary featured alleged victims of long-term exposure to electromagnetic radiation from Wufeng Township (霧峰) in Greater Taichung and Chiku Township (七股) in Greater Tainan, which are home to a high-voltage sub-station and a weather radar station respectively.
Although the long-term health effects of electromagnetic radiation exposure have yet to be -confirmed, alleged victims recounted how an increasing number of people in their neighborhoods suffered from physical and mental illnesses, including chronic headaches, insomnia, miscarriages and cancer after the stations became operational.
One woman living near the Wufeng high-voltage substation said she has to wear a radiation protection helmet at home and sleep with her head in a tinfoil-covered box to prevent chronic headache.
In the documentary, TEPCA founder and chairperson Chen Jiau-hua, (陳椒華) said that the safe level for exposure to extremely low frequency (ELF) emissions suggested by the Environmental Protection Administration is 833mG, but that is based on guidelines set by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) for transient or very short-term peak fields, she added, and should not, therefore, be used to regulate long-term exposure.
Cheng Tse-chou (鄭哲舟), a doctor at Chi-Mei Hospital, said many people only think of biological and chemical hazards as posing health risks, because symptoms are usually more sudden and apparent, yet radiation leaves no visual signs and can take many years before -symptoms start to show.
Cheng said because susceptibility to such ailments varies among people, the problem is often dismissed and in some cases its very existence is questioned. He urged the government to take the issue more seriously.
Hsu Li-min (許立民), a doctor at National Taiwan University Hospital, said that people in the late 1980s underestimated the health effects of X-ray exposure. Because technology always runs ahead of our proper understanding of it, people should be more cautious of electromagnetic radiation than they currently are and the government should tighten regulations governing such emissions, he said.
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