Study Shows No Link Between Electromagnetic Fields and Childhood Cancers

A new British study fails to support the theory that exposure to electromagnetic fields generated from power lines, electrical wiring and appliances causes childhood cancers. The latest finding, reported in the Dec. 4 issue of The Lancet, contradicts some earlier research that suggested a weak association between electromagnetic fields and childhood leukemia.

The U.K. Childhood Cancer Study, led by University of Cambridge professor Nick Day, involved several British investigators, including eminent epidemiologist Sir Richard Doll. Researchers examined a total of 4,452 children aged 14 and younger. Half the participants had been diagnosed with cancer within four years of the start of the study. Children with and without cancer were compared to assess whether exposure to electromagnetic fields was associated with a higher risk of malignancy.

Investigators measured electromagnetic field exposures from the participants’ homes, schools or other childcare centers, and from nearby power lines. Children with higher electromagnetic field exposures (greater than 0.2 microtesla) were no more likely than those with lower electromagnetic field exposures (less than 0.1 microtesla) to have childhood cancer. Furthermore, increases in the electromagnetic energy exposure dosages were not associated with increases in cancer risk.

The results of this latest and largest study of its kind are consistent with other similar studies from Scandinavia.

Compared to studies from the United States and Canada, the majority of the electromagnetic field exposures in the British study were low. Indeed, less than 1 percent of the British study participants had exposures of 0.4 or higher.

This is one reason why the World Health Organization believes that the UKCCS is not the final word on electromagnetic fields and childhood cancer.

Still, despite the dispute about uncommon, high level exposures to electromagnetic fields, researchers concluded that the weight of evidence shows no significant association between exposure to electromagnetic fields and cancer in children.

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