Powerlines and risk of childhood leukaemia: British Journal Cancer PR spin is misleading
In an embargoed Press release (to Fri.7th Feb 00:01 hrs) the BJC have a headline claiming “OVERHEAD POWERLINES DON’T RAISE LEUKAEMIA RISK IN CHILDREN”.
Their important new paper by Bunch, et al 1, does not show this. The authors have analysed a great deal of data for all high-voltage powerlines of 132,000 volts (132 kV) and above. The main association of electrical power and incidence of child leukaemia (CL) has been the magnetic fields (EMFs) from all sources that are associated with our use of electricity. A recent large meta-analysis by Zhao, et al, 2 has confirmed an approximate doubling at 0.4 microteslas, as does the new EC SCENIHR draft report 3.
An earlier paper by the same research centre (CCRG) by Draper, et al 4, showed an association of childhood leukaemia CL with proximity to 275 kV and 400 kV lines. The CCRG later reported that the EMFs had fallen off within 100 metres from the powerlines to levels below those produced by other electrical causes (including underground cables running under our pavements and house wiring)