Houstonian: Students endangered by 'high' radiation levels

From the Houstonian:
Are the residents of Sam Houston Village at a high risk of getting leukemia or brain cancer? Local entrepreneur and real estate mogul George Russell seems to think so.

According to Russell, the 138kv power lines running parallel to Sam Houston Village and Estill Hall along 16th Street are emitting dangerously high levels of electric and magnetic field (EMF) radiation that have potentially harmful, and even fatal effects.

"In recent years there has been substantiations from various scientific studies that indicate a much higher risk of childhood leukemia, adult leukemia, brain cancer, depression," Russell said. The EMF projected by these power lines is 875 percent higher than the "scientifically proven cancer risk threshold of .4 milligauss" and 17, 500 percent higher than the "prudent" safety level of .2 milligauss, he added. The EMF readings on the floors of Sam Houston Village and Estill Hall closest to the power lines are at 20 and 35 milligauss respectively. Russell also stated this danger could be easily avoided if the city would simply place all power lines underground.

"I have been very concerned and have attempted for 20 years to get the university concerned about the health and welfare of these children," Russell said, claiming the reason for the city and university's negligence as greed and apathy.

"They are interested in tuition and buildings with their name on plaques. Academics are usually the least important thing on their mind. They simply don't care about the health and welfare for their students."

However, SHSU President James Gaertner addressed Russell's accusations.

"There are certain codes and regulations that you have to follow, and we followed every regulation that was in front of us. I am absolutely confident that if the regulations constitute safety, then those dormitories are safe," he said. "Why would we do it? I cannot even fathom why we would put our students at risk. I care about the students and I would never put them [in danger]."

Granted, while Gaertner did not agree with Russell's claims, he did concede to putting into motion an investigation of the matter. "If he thinks that there is some kind of radiation being put out by those power lines, then we will certainly have it checked out," he said.

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