A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

The Australian Cluster Report that Wasn’t There

May 19, 2006

As the investigation of the RMIT University brain tumor cluster continues in Melbourne (see our May 13 post), we are reminded of another cancer cluster, which was also much in the news down under about this time last year. In this earlier case, some ten women working in the Australian Broadcasting Co.'s (ABC) offices in Brisbane developed breast cancer and, as at RMIT, power-frequency EMFs and RF radiation were under suspicion because there were antennas on the roof of the ABC building.

EMC Technologies, a test and measurement consulting company, was called in to survey the entire ABC site. Soon afterwards, ABC Queensland director Chris Wordsworth told the Sydney Morning Herald that testing had shown "nothing adverse." That April, Chris Zombolas, the technical director of EMC Technologies, confirmed to us what Wordsworth had already told the local newspapers: He had not found high levels of any electromagnetic signals. But, Zombolas added, he was not in a position to release the report —that would be up to ABC. Figuring there was nothing much more to the story, we moved on and did not give it much thought until the RMIT cluster became news.

With nothing official or specific yet available on the RMIT investigation, we turned our attention back to the ABC cluster. A Google search quickly uncovered a report from the Queensland Department of Health. To call it flimsy would be generous. The text runs only seven pages and is devoid of any specifics. For instance, with respect to the possible environmental contaminants, it simply states: "The assessment did not reveal any significant suspicious or unusual exposures." That's it. Nothing is quantified. EMFs and RF radiation are not even mentioned. The conclusion is, well, there is no conclusion, other than that if something new turns up, the health department will reopen the investigation.

We recently contacted Zombolas again and he told us that he is still not at liberty to give us the ABC report. We then asked ABC directly. So far we have not heard back.

EMC Technologies has once again been hired to do the electromagnetic measurements at RMIT.