Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Electromagnetic Fields in Homes Carry Leukaemia Risk for Children, WHO Agency Says

Academic journal article Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Electromagnetic Fields in Homes Carry Leukaemia Risk for Children, WHO Agency Says

Article excerpt

Electromagnetic fields, in particular the 50- or 60-Hz magnetic fields generated by household appliances, are possibly carcinogenic to children, WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has concluded after a review of dozens of studies conducted over the past two decades. Children with the highest exposure experienced a twofold risk for leukaemia, but no significant association between electromagnetic fields and other childhood or adult cancers was found. Nor was there evidence of an increased risk to children living near high-tension power lines.

The review was conducted by an IARC scientific working group, which examined data from hundreds of laboratory and animal studies conducted since 1979, when the first scientific reports appeared suggesting a link between cancer in children and exposure to residential magnetic fields. Dr Robert Baan, who coordinated the group's deliberations, said that the research does not prove that low-level electromagnetic fields actually cause leukaemia. "One of the intriguing problems with this evaluation is that there is no scientific explanation for the association between magnetic fields and childhood leukaemia," he said.

But the group did find that two recent analyses provided consistent evidence of an increased leukaemia risk. The most convincing study, published last year in the British Journal of Cancer, pooled data from nine studies on a total of 3247 leukaemia cases and 10 400 controls. Children exposed daily to magnetic fields higher than 0. …

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