Children Leukemia Specialist Charlestown MA

Electricity keeps our lives humming, but since the late 1970s, scientists have been concerned that magnetic fields generated by electrical power lines may cause cancer—particularly childhood leukemia.

Therese M Mulvey, MD
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The Hidden Danger of Electrical Power Lines

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Electricity keeps our lives humming, but since the late 1970s, scientists have been concerned that magnetic fields generated by electrical power lines may cause cancer—particularly childhood leukemia.

The latest electromagnetic study reveals a shocking possibility: Children who live within 200 meters (about 220 yards) of high-voltage power lines at birth have a 69 percent higher risk of leukemia than those who live farther than 600 meters (656 yards) from the lines. Infants who lived between 200 and 600 meters had a 23 percent higher risk of leukemia.

The study’s authors, from the University of Oxford’s Childhood Cancer Research Group, readily admit that their results, while important, could be due to chance since they did not factor in any socioeconomic or environmental factors other than magnetic fields. Still, it’s the largest power-line study to date. Between 1962 and 1995, the researchers statistically analyzed the health records of more than 29,000 English and Welsh children with cancer (9,700 of whom had leukemia) and cross-referenced that information with Britain’s National Grid records.

Little is understood about how or why magnetic fields pose health risks, yet there appears to be a correlation between childhood cancer and high-voltage power lines.

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