Guest Column: Beware: GBE would create health risks

By Jeanette Carothers

In light of the ongoing concern with Clean Line Energy Partners, LLC (CLEP)’s proposed long-haul High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission lines, citizens need to be made aware of newly-found health reports that link HVDC to cancer.

In 2012, scientists gathered to independently review more than 1,800 new studies done in five years prior to their meeting. Not all were related to the effects of HVDC lines. However, there were enough studies and evidence-based results to cause them to make some serious conclusions regarding HVDC. These reports refute Clean Line’s claim of no negative health effects associated with the company’s proposed Grain Belt Energy (GBE) transmission line. Please see Once you are there, click on the left side (Bioinitiative Report) to open the document.

Actual health findings based on the evidence state, “Power lines and other sources of ELF (extremely low frequency radiation) are consistently associated with higher rates of childhood leukemia” as resulted in the International Agency for Cancer Research (an arm of the World Health Organization). There is little doubt that exposure to ELF causes childhood leukemia.

The report also states, “Increased risk for childhood leukemia starts at levels almost 1,000 times below the safety standard.” The World Health Organization ELF Health Criteria Monograph No. 322 (2007) says that other childhood cancers “cannot be ruled out.”

Another study looked at what risks for cancer a child would have later in life, if that child was raised in a home within 300 meters of a high-voltage electric power line. For children who were raised for their first five years of life within 300 meters, they have a lifetime risk that is 500 percent higher for developing some kinds of cancers.

A study by Lowenthal et al. investigated leukemia in adults in relation to residence near to high-voltage power lines. The study provides support for two important conclusions: adult leukemia is also associated with EMF (electromotive force) exposure, and exposure during childhood increases risk of adult disease.

GBE is being proposed by a private group of investors seeking eminent domain in multiple states. They wish to acquire 200-foot-wide easements across the Midwest for what they claim will be a transmission line unlike anything seen before in the U.S. With massive support pole structures designed to carry three times the electricity of the Hoover Dam in direct current (DC) form, not traditional AC, this is a project that would greatly impact not only those along the proposed routes, but also set precedence for use of eminent domain by a private company. This transmission project is proposed by an LLC with foreign investors and not a public utility planning to improve infrastructure.

The GBE project would impose health and economic hardships upon residents, and even though the company claims they are “clean,” there are no guarantees they would transmit only clean wind-generated electricity.

I urge citizens to become informed. Go to or for links to the most recent health research on HVDC lines and further information as to why thousands across multiple states are opposing these dangerous and unnecessary transmission projects. No environmental studies have been done, and people’s health would be put at risk for the economic benefit of a select group.

Jeanette Carothers is a retired nurse who lives close to the proposed Illinois RICL (Rock Island Clean Line) route. She is an active member of Block RICL. CLEP is a group of private investors who want to acquire easements through the various states via eminent domain and sell the easements before building transmission lines. Grain Belt Energy is a transmission line going through Missouri and southern Illinois.

From the July 23-29, 2014, issue

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