High voltage power lines have come under scrutiny in the past, and researchers have examined health risks, especially the cancer risk. Several reports exist that either contradict or support that the magnetic fields associated with power lines can cause cancer. There have been publications that pointed out a link to childhood leukemia, and new research has re-examined the link between childhood leukemia and high voltage power lines.
Under the leadership of Dr. Gerald J. Draper from the University of Oxford new studies have been made available and published in the British Medical Journal. The researchers examined the population living within 1 km from 275 to 400 kV power lines. Dr. Draper’s group found no association between the distance from power lines and the overall incidence of cancer.
One finding however was different: children who lived within 200 m of high voltage power lines had a relative risk for leukemia of 1.69-fold as compared to those who lived 600 m away, who had no elevated risk. The relative risk for those living 200 to 600 m away from the lines was still elevated at 1.23-fold (where 1-fold is no risk). The research group points out that the increased risk cannot only be explained by the presence of magnetic fields, and some of the reasons are at this point unknown. Dr. Heather O. Dickinson from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne writes in an accompanying editorial that the magnetic fields surrounding the power lines amount to “about 1% of the earth’s magnetic field, which affects all of us at all times.”
According to Dr. Draper’s research there are only 5 cases of childhood leukemia per year associated with the presence of power lines, and researchers agree that there is a link, however it remains a weak one.
More information about leukemia: http://nethealthbook.com/cancer-overview/leukemia/leukemia-acute-leukemia/childhood-leukemia/
Reference: BMJ 2005:330:1279-1280,1290-1293
Last edited October 28, 2014