TUESDAY September 18, 2007 (Foodconsumer.org) -- A new study found ever living near high-voltage power lines may dramatically increase risk of cancer, adding to a growing body of evidence showing that exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) is a cause for cancer.
The study led by Lowenthal R. M. from University of Tasmania School of Medicine in
Australia and colleagues meant to determine whether there is an increased risk of lymphoproliferative disorders (LPD) or myeloproliferative disorders (MPD) in those who have been ever exposed to high-voltage power lines.
In the study, the researchers enlisted 854 patients diagnosed with LPD or MPD including leukemia, lymphoma and related conditions aged 0 to 94 years who were diagnosed with a condition in
Tasmania between 1972 and 1980.
Enlisted were also sex and age matched controls.
Those who had ever lived within 50 meters from a power line were 106 percent more likely to develop LPD or MPD than those who lived more than 300 meters away from a power line.
Compared to those who lived more than 300 meters away from a power line, those who had lived between 50 and 300 meters away from a power line were 30 percent more likely to develop LPD or MPD, the study showed.
Adults who had lived within 300 meters of a power line during the first 15 years of life were 223 percent more likely to develop LPD or MPD compared to those who lived farther away from a power line.
Those who had lived wthin the same distance, but aged 0 to 5 years had a fivefold increase in risk.
When only those who had lived in
Tasmania all the time were included for the study, the associations were much stronger.
The authors concluded "although recognizing that this study has limitations, the results raise the possibility that prolonged residence close to high-voltage power lines, especially early in life, may increase the risk of the development of MPD and LPD later."
The study titled “Residential Exposure to Electric Power Transmission Lines and Risk of Lymphoproliferative and Myeloproliferative Disorders: a Case-Control Study” was reported in the September 2007 issue of Internal Medicine Journal.
What increases the risk of cancer might be EMF emitted from the power lines.
EMF has been extensively studied for its possible effects on cancer.
EMF from power lines, home wiring, airport, and military radar, substations, transformers, computers, and electric appliances were linked in previous studies to brain tumors leukemia, chest defects, miscarriage, cataracts, heart problems, nausea, chest pain, forgetfulness, cancer and many other health problems, according to Dr. Josef Mercola, the operator of mercola.com, a site that promotes natural health.
According to Dr. Mercola, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency initially intended to backlist EMF as a "probable human carcinogen", meaning that evidence from lab and animal studies are strong enough to list it as carcinogen, but studies on humans are not available because EMF can not be tested in humans.
Nevertheless, the EPA later changed its mind and did not list EMF as carcinogen as it heard the opposing voice from utility, military, and computer lobbyists.
The federal agency instead said "At this time such a characterization regarding the link between cancer and exposure to EMF's is not appropriate because the basic nature of the interaction between EMF's and biological processes leading to cancer is not understood," quoted by Dr. Mercola.
Dr. Mercola said experts tend to believe that EMF is a risk for cancer.
Even the World Health Organization acknowledged some acute conditions induced by EMF including headache, fatigue, stress, sleep disturbances and skin symptoms such as pricking burning sensation, rashes and muscle pains among others, according to Dr. Mercola.