The Sydney Morning Herald, 22/8/07
Research underlines powerline cancer risk
Bellinda Kontominas Medical Reporter
August 22, 2007
AdvertisementPEOPLE who live close to high-voltage powerlines during childhood are up to five times more likely to develop cancer, according to Australian research.
The Tasmanian study of more than 850 patients adds weight to the link between electromagnetic fields and cancers such as leukaemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma. It is still not known whether there is a cause and effect relationship.
Those who lived within 300 metres of a powerline up to the age of five were five times more likely to develop cancer, while those who lived that close to a powerline at any point during their first 15 years were three times more likely to develop cancer as an adult, according to the study published in the Internal Medicine Journal.
Researchers from the University of Tasmania and Bristol University in Britain compared an existing database of all patients in Tasmania diagnosed with lymphatic and bone marrow cancers between 1972 and 1980, with controls matched for sex and age. Residential histories were then gathered.
People who had lived within 50 metres of a high-voltage powerline at any time were at double the risk of developing cancer than those who had never lived within 300 metres of a powerline. For every year lived within 50 metres of a powerline, the risk of cancer increased by 7 per cent, the study found. There was also evidence the risk of cancer increased with higher voltages.
The lead researcher, Professor Ray Lowenthal, from the University of Tasmania, said the debate about possible carcinogenic effects of electromagnetic fields had been going for more than 20 years. "The evidence of detrimental long-term health effects is far from conclusive and international guidelines for limiting exposure to EMF are based on possible short-term effects rather than longer-term disease risks such as cancer," Professor Lowenthal said.
People who lived near powerlines tended to be from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, although the study had attempted to control for this and the occupational risk of cancer.
"Despite the limitations of this study ... our novel finding that the risks of adult leukaemia and lymphoma are most strongly associated with early childhood exposure to powerlines deserves further study at both the population and laboratory levels."
Bruce Armstrong, Professor of Public Health at Sydney University said the study was consistent with previous research.
"I think we are in a position where we have to say that there is a possibility that exposure to electromagnetic fields increases the risk of some cancers, but I don’t think we know yet whether powerlines actually cause cancer."
Ver lanoticia original AQUÍ