Feeds

Power lines linked to childhood leukaemia

Or is it just wonky stats?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
FORGET the CLIMATE: FATTIES are a MUCH BIGGER problem - study
Fat guy? Drink or smoke? You're worse than a TERRORIST
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball
That's it for God, then – if Comet 67P has got complex molecules
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
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.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.