Feeds

Power lines linked to childhood leukaemia

Or is it just wonky stats?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

Children living close to overhead power lines might be at an increased risk of developing leukaemia, according to scientists at Oxford University. The researchers stress that they do not have a causal mechanism - there is no known biological reason for the finding - and so the results may be a statistical fluke.

The study looked at more than 29,000 children with cancer, born between 1962 and 1995, of whom 9,700 suffered from leukaemia, and found that those who lived within 200m of high voltage power lines at birth were 70 per cent more likely to suffer from leukaemia than those who lived more than 600m away. Children living between 200m and 600m away from pylons had a 20 per cent higher risk of developing the disease, the researchers found.

However, this could be a case of the statistics leading everyone to irrelevant conclusions, the BBC reports. The research team says that while the statistical trend is definite, the actual cause could be entirely different. There could, for example, be something about the kind of person who lives near pylons, or something else in the local environment, and the researchers plan to investigate further.

In the meantime, Professor John Toy, medical director at Cancer Research UK, says that there is no cause for panic. "The triggers that cause childhood leukaemia are most likely a random course of events over which a parent has no control," he told the BBC.

But campaigners at the charity Children with Leukaemia say that there is now a clear case for government action. They are calling for planning controls to stop houses and schools being built too close to high voltage power lines.

The research was carried out by the Childhood Cancer Research Group at Oxford University and Dr John Swanson, a scientific adviser at National Grid Transco. It was published in the British Medical Journal. ®

Related stories

Magnetic fields may cause childhood cancer
Kids phone pulled over safety concerns
Mobile phone risk to kids

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
ANU boffins demo 'tractor beam' in water
The current state of the art, apparently
China to test recoverable moon orbiter
I'll have some rocks and a moon cheese pizza please, home delivery
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
Vulture 2 spaceplane autopilot brain surgery a total success
LOHAN slips into some sexy bespoke mission parameters
Another step forward for diamond-based quantum computers
Square cut or pear-shaped, these qubits don't lose their shape
LOHAN acquires aircraft arboreal avoidance algorithm acronyms
Is that an ARMADILLO in your PANTS or are you just pleased to see me?
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.