Power lines linked to cancer, study claims

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The Independent Online
Scientists say they have obtained evidence of how high-voltage power cables might cause certain types of cancer, threatening to fuel the controversy surrounding the issue.

A team of radiation experts led by Professor Denis Henshaw of Bristol University are to publish their findings next week in the International Journal of Radiation Biology.

A statement from the university yesterday said the team had found "new evidence linking electro-magnetic fields, surrounding both power lines and domestic mains leads, to certain types of cancer ... Evidence of how these fields could cause cancer has previously baffled scientists - until now".

Prof Henshaw was not available for comment yesterday but the team is to make an announcement in London to coincide with the journal's publication and a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary.

Prof Henshaw's team, which is funded by the Medical Research Council, has previously published studies into the radioactive gas, radon, and into radiation levels among children living near motorways.

Controversy has long surrounded the statistical link between cancers and high-voltage power lines, although the Government's radiation watchdog, the National Radiological Protection Board, recently said there did not seem to be a long-term risk from the lines.

Concern first arose over a health risk from power cables in the early 1970s.

Residents in Fishpond, Dorset, complained about a high incidence of illnesses and studies have pointed to a link between power cables and childhood leukaemia. Legal action is being brought.

A High Court case is pending in which a couple from Bolton, Greater Manchester, claim the death of their 13-year-old son from leukaemia is linked to his bedroom being next to an electricity sub-station.

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