Subject RADIATION STORIES DON'T MAKE NEWS Written 435 pm Feb 25, 1991 by christic in cdpch
Subject: RADIATION STORIES DON'T MAKE NEWS
Written 4:35 pm Feb 25, 1991 by christic in cdp:christic.news
MEDIA'S VDT RADIATION STORIES THAT STILL DON'T MAKE THE NEWS
Project Censored: Nomination for the "Ten Best Censored Stories of 1990"
The fact that display monitors emit significant and dangerous radiation
was known more than eight years ago. In October, 1982, Dr. Karel Marha, a
biophysicist at the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
(CCOHS) in Hamilton, Ontarioa, warned that there was scientific evidence to
suggest that pulsed electric and magnetic fields could be more harmful than
nonpulsed fields and recommended that workplaces be redesigned so that VDT
operators do not sit close to their display monitors or to neighboring
Marha's warning was ignored by government health officials in Canada and
the United States and the CCOHS press releases were not picked up by any
major newspaper in the United States or Canada. In fact, a year later, the
medical director of the New York Times told a congressional subcommittee
that he was aware of "no medical evidence of serious VDT-related health
effects." By then, of course, newspapers everywhere had become highly
dependent upon computer technology.
Thus, it is not surprising that, according to a July 1990 article in the
Columbia Journalism Review (CJR), it is only in recent months that the press
has gotten around to paying attention to the VDT radiation story but "the
context--research delays, bad information, government complacency--continues
to go uncovered."
Further, research from Sweden, Spain, and Canada adds that the magnetic
fields are most harmful during the very early stages of pregnancy. This
suggests that there is little point to a proposed policy of alternative work
during pregnancy because by the time a woman knows, or can prove to her
employers, that she is pregnant, the period of greatest risk has already
passed. More than ten years after the reproductive-risk issue first emerged,
not a single animal study on VLF fields has ever been attempted in the U.S.
Meanwhile, the American Newspaper Publishers Association (ANPA) has
dismissed radiation risks. According to the CJR story, "Last summer (ANPA)
announced that surveys of 10,000 VDTs indicated that there was no VDT
radiation hazard." The ANPA has yet to make public any substantiation for
its "not hazardous" claims.
Paul Brodeur, a staff writer at the New Yorker, specializes in medical and
science writing, and has won many national awards for his reporting on the
effects of electromagnetic emissions and other health hazards. His 1989
book, Currents of Death, is considered the classic on the hazards of
Brodeur concludes a recent article, which warned readers of MACWORLD that
computer monitors may post a very real threat to users, with the following
"One does not need to be a medical doctor to appreciate that such
electromagnetic phenomena, which have no counterpart in man's evolutionary
history, may well prove hazardous to health."
It is a warning that the ANPA, and the media as a whole, have continued to
SOURCE: MACWORLD, July 1990, "The Magnetic-Field Menace," by Paul Brodeur,
pp 136-145; COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW, Jul/Aug 1990, "Uncovering Radiation:
VDT Stories That Still Don't Make the News," by Louis Slesin, pp 4,6.
End of text from cdp:christic.news
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