April 29, 2006

Cancer from electromagnetic radiation? Power lines and children

The UK government announced yesterday that no more homes should be built near high voltage overhead power cables, following a report suggesting that the risk of leukaemia in children is significantly greater amongst those living under or near power lines.

If it is true - uncertain still - then the mechanism remains unknown. While it could be a direct effect of electromagnetic radiation, it could also be linked to ionisation of molecules in the air around the cables.

Expect more research into this - as well as more studies into whether mobile phone radiation, or mobile phone masts also cause health risks in humans. Some studies already show quite convincing effects on living tissue and on other animals when subjected to high radiation levels for long periods. However the risk to humans is probably very small.


Anonymous said...

We live in Farmville, North Carolina, approximately 40 m from a very large CP&L substation with power lines running everywhere. Now, the town is planning to build a new substation 20-30 m from our back porch! I have 4 children-8,7,4 and 8 months. I have read so much, I don't know what to beleive. Do you have any suggestions? Do you think I have a snowballs chance to fight the new substation or should I just go ahead and pack our bags?


Patrick Dixon said...

Well the risk is probably very very small and will be influenced by the way the substation is built, as this could influence the amount of electromagnetic radiation emitted.

The UK government study was not of substations, but of highest voltage overhead power cables.