Thursday, January 04, 2007

Curious Science

From the Beaufort Gazette
A power line study published in the British Medical Journal in 2005 examined more than 29,000 children with cancer who were born between 1962 and 1995, including 9,700 childhood leukemia patients. Those 29,000 patients were then compared with 29,000 healthy children who had similar demographic characteristics. Data showed that children whose homes at birth were within about 650 feet of a high-voltage line were 69 percent more likely to develop leukemia than those who lived more than 1,970 feet from a line. Those who lived between 650 and 1,970 feet from a line were 23 percent more likely to have leukemia than those who lived more than 1,970 feet from a line. The study authors, however, said they were not convinced that any cases of leukemia were actually caused by electromagnetic fields.

According to a 1996 report from the National Academy of Sciences, studies including actual magnetic field measurements consistently fail to show linkage with cancer, while those based on distance from lines sometimes suggest a link. A report to Congress from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in 1999 said studies indicating links between cancer and power lines cannot be wholly discounted, but the overall evidence for an increased risk of cancer is "weak."


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