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03/11/2004 - Power line Link with Childhood Leukaemia Confirmed

A long-awaited new report (due to be published in mid-November 2004) by Dr Gerald Draper and colleagues of Oxford University from a study by the Department of Health confirms previous international research findings that living near powerlines increases the risk of childhood cancer. Maureen Asbury, of the Trentham Environmental Action Campaign, wants the government to stop developers being able to build houses near powerlines, putting children at risk.

Layman's Summary

Children living within 100 metres of overhead high voltage electricity cables are twice as likely to suffer from leukaemia as children who live further away. The large study included 35,000 children with cancer. Gerald Draper, of the Childhood Cancer Research Group at Oxford was so surprised by what he found, that although he knew about the results for 18 months, he delayed publishing them as he wanted more time to check his findings.

Powerwatch CommentsThe link between powerfrequency electromagnetic radiation and childhood leukaemia was first found in 1979 by Nancy Wertheimer and Ed Leeper in the USA. Further research has concentrated on leukaemia to check these first findings. Links have also been found between electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and clinical depression, other types of cancer as well as leukaemia, miscarriages, ME and other immune system problems. The mechanism by which EMFs cause disease is not yet proven, but various theories are being investigated, and the link with the hormone melatonin seems particularly likely.