Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Power Lines and Leukemia

There has been an ongoing debate as to high power lines and cancer, especially leukemia amongst children. A recent study from France alleges a correlation, apparently without causation.

The study in BJC states:

The present study, free from any participation bias, supports the previous international findings of an increase in AL incidence close to VHV-HVOL. In order to investigate for a potential role of ELF-MF in the results, ELF-MF at the residences close to HVOL are to be estimated, using models based on the annual current loads and local characteristics of the lines.

Increased odds ratios (ORs) were observed for AL occurrence and living within 50m of a VHV-HVOL (OR¼1.7 (0.9–3.6)). In contrast, there was no association with living beyond that distance from a VHV-HVOL or within 50m of a HV-HVOL....

In conclusion, the present study has generated additional findings, based on a recent nationwide unselected population-based study, that support the hypothesis that living o50m from a 225 or 400 kV HVOL may be associated with an increased incidence of childhood AL. No increase in risk was  observed further from those lines and no increase in childhood AL risk was detected within 50m of the 63–150 kV HVOL. Model-based estimates of ELF-MF exposures will be used to investigate for potential involvement of ELF-MF in the observed association.

It does leave one wondering what the cause is. One is always concerned about correlation and causation. Especially here.