Power Lines and Leukemia

Originally Posted By: jbushart
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Power lines and leukemia: study highlights risk to babies
By Julie Robotham, Medical Editor
June 3, 2005 - 10:29AM

Babies who live near high-voltage power lines are almost twice as likely as others to develop leukemia during childhood, according to the largest study ever to be conducted into the long-standing question.

But despite detailed analysis of more then 9000 childhood cases of leukemia over three decades, the Oxford University scientists who led the research say there is still insufficient evidence to establish with any certainty whether the magnetic fields around the cables actually cause some cases of the cancer.

Gerald Draper, Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the university's Childhood Cancer Research Group, identified the birth records of children born between 1962 and 1995 who later developed cancer, and mapped the addresses listed on the children's birth certificates against the national electricity grid in England and Wales.

The same was done for a control group of children who did not have cancer - each matched to one of the cancer patients for date of birth, sex and birth registration district.

Draper found the 9700 children with leukemia - the most common childhood cancer - were 70 per cent more likely than the others to have lived within 200 metres of a high voltage powerline. The link grew weaker the further away from power lines children lived.

Among the 20,000 children who developed cancers other than leukemia, there was no extra likelihood of having lived near overhead cables.

Despite the findings, Dr Draper was reluctant to suggest power lines might cause leukemia.

Magnetic fields from power lines were "the most obvious explanation". But at a distance of 200 metres, these forces were typically lower than other sources of magnetism within the home, such as household electrical wiring and applicances, he said.

"We have no satisfactory explanation for our results in terms of causation, and the findings are not supported by convincing laboratory data or any accepted biological mechanism," Dr Draper wrote in the British Medical Journal.

Brad Page, chief of the Energy Supply Association of Australia, said Australia uses the same 400, 275 and 132 kilovolt transmission cables considered in the UK research, but it was unclear whether similar proportions of Australian children lived near them.

"People should not place themselves in unreasonable proximity to these things," Mr Page said.

Home Inspection Services of Missouri

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Originally Posted By: jhagarty
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Joseph Hagarty

HouseMaster / Main Line, PA

Phone: 610-399-9864
Fax : 610-399-9865

HouseMaster. Home inspections. Done right.

Originally Posted By: escanlan
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I would only list it as a concern if the EMF caused issues of one type or another and they were readily apparent to me. For example EMI to electrical appliances can indicate high EMF fields which will cause homeowner anguish when they try to use their $20,000 AV system. Or, and don’t laugh I experienced this before, high EMF fields causing potential differences on ungrounded metal objects (i.e. metallic fencing components isolated from ground, childs metal swing set isolated from ground) causing even small and consistent shocks (similar to static buildups).

I would certainly look for these conditions with a home sitting underneath or very close to a high voltage power line. What is apparent to me is lost in the dreamy eyes of a potential buyer.

Whereas I agree with many of the studies out today that there are concerns, for me to list what might happen would be an invitation to trouble. In Texas I would be, at the very least, bordering on expressing an opinion reserved for a Licensed Engineer.

Manny (Emmanuel) Scanlan

Knowledge is power, but sharing knowledge brings peace!

Originally Posted By: apightling
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You are very close to the edge of scientifically supportable statements when you say living near power lines causes illness in humans and therefore constitutes a home inspection defect.

It is known that ionizing radiation damages cells directly by breaking cell components and indirectly by the product of some of those breakages attacking other parts of the cell. EM fields are not ionizing radiation so this doesn't apply

It is also known that high levels of electromagnetic radiation (eg microwave oven) can cause heating at the molecular level. However, this is a very high level of EM radiation concentrated in a small area.

As stated the EM radiation causes heating at high levels. There have been experiments in England and LA where 450MHz energy was used to treat specific melanoma quite successfully. So this would tend to reinforce the concept that RF energy can damage cells. In this case unwanted cells but you get the picture.

Every test of exposure to lower levels of EM radiation (eg. cell towers and normal proximity to transmission lines.) that I have heard of has been inconclusive. Yes, there is a link suspected between childhood leukemia and proximity to transmission lines. However, it is weak and cannot be statistically validated as separate from other environmental or heredetary elements. If we ask the question: are there populations living near power lines that do not exhibit increased leukemia in children? The answer is yes, there are. Additionally, if we ask if there are population hot spots where leukemia is more prevalent that are not exposed to transmission line EM fields. Again, the answer is yes.

My sense is this goes well beyond the scope of the home inspector and I think you may be getting into uncharted and possibly dangerous waters.

Originally Posted By: bkelly2
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Generally I would not tell people anything about nearby power wires, flouride in the water, the health benifits of a vegatarian diet or to put sunscreen on when they go outside here in the desert.

I am a Home Inspector.

But far be it for me to tell anyone else how to do their report.

"I used to be disgusted, Now I try to Be amused"-Elvis Costello

Originally Posted By: wdecker
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finding, but a political one. As such, there are now laws against smoking in all kinds of places. But there is NO scientific causality even hinted at, much less proven.

That said, I would think that having your home built under high tension lines (as opposed to the regular power lines in a neighborhood) whoule pose a hazard, but not from EMF. Think of the rukles for over roof power line placement and extrapolate that to the kind of power that high tension lines have. That is why homes are not (usually) built ubnder or very near these types of power lines.

Hoep this helps.

Will Decker
Decker Home Services
Skokie, IL 60076