Power lines don't raise risk of leukaemia in children

Power lines don't raise risk of leukaemia in children
A previous study suggested there was an increased risk of leukaemia for children born near overhead power lines Credit: Shutterstock)

(Medical Xpress)—Children who live near overhead power lines in early life do not have a greater risk of developing childhood leukaemia, researchers from the Childhood Cancer Research Group at the University of Oxford have found.

Their study in the British Journal of Cancer found no increased risk of in children born since the 1990s whose mother lived within a kilometre of overhead .

The study included nearly 16,500 children who were diagnosed with leukaemia in Britain between 1962 and 2008.

An earlier study using information on diagnosed between 1962 and 1995 had suggested that there was an elevated risk for children born within 600 metres of overhead power lines. This new study includes children diagnosed up until 2008, and finds that children born after the 1980s don't have an increased risk.

This strongly suggests that there is no direct biological effect of power lines on leukaemia risk.

The previous findings could be explained by changes in the characteristics of people living near power lines, be down to chance or problems with the study design.

Lead author Kathryn Bunch said: 'It's very encouraging to see that in recent decades there has been no increased risk of leukaemia among children born near overhead power lines.

'More research is needed to determine precisely why previous evidence suggested a risk prior to 1980, but parents can be reassured from the findings of this study that overhead power lines don't increase their child's risk of leukaemia.'

The study used cancer information drawn from the National Registry of Childhood Tumours, which has kept records of nearly all children diagnosed since 1962, linked with birth records for those born in Britain. The registry is estimated to be more than 99% complete for leukaemia over the many decades included in this study.

Overall, leukaemia is the 11th most common cancer in the UK, but it accounts for around a third of all cancers diagnosed in children. Around 460 new cases of leukaemia are diagnosed in children under the age of 15 each year in Great Britain.

Dr Julie Sharp, Cancer Research UK's head of health information, said: 'There has been a lot of concern that overhead power lines could increase the risk of , particularly leukaemia, in children.

'This study is reassuring for anxious parents, as it indicates that overhead power lines don't cause leukaemia or other cancers in children.'

More information: "Residential distance at birth from overhead high-voltage powerlines: childhood cancer risk in Britain 1962–2008." K J Bunch, T J Keegan, J Swanson, T J Vincent and M F G Murphy British Journal of Cancer, (6 February 2014). DOI: 10.1038/bjc.2014.15

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Benni
3 / 5 (4) Feb 07, 2014
Missing here are the effects of poorly maintained mechanical connectors causing radio influence voltages (RIV). It is not the magnetic field that surrounds conductor cables that cause problems, it is the micro-wave transmission that occurs at corroded & mechanically loose connections along the power grid which can be especially elevated at the higher voltages power transmission lines operate.

Next time you are driving your vehicle beneath a power line turn on your radio, if you hear static that is what is called radio influence voltage (RIV). This RIV mostly emanates from mechanical connectors & includes frequencies in the micro-wave range at which your micro-wave oven operates, and we know what that range of frequencies will do to water or anything with water in it, it cooks it, and this lack of proper maintenance is the danger encountered living in the presence of high voltage areas, you can literally be slowly cooked to death living under those flux fields.
Benni
3 / 5 (4) Feb 07, 2014
Cont'd.........it costs a lot of money to maintain high voltage installations, not to speak of money lost & inconveniences caused when transmission lines are not conducting power to customers. Therefore it is more convenient to ignore known RIV until there are "cluster points" of ill health reports in close proximity to high voltages. As soon as such reports come in, engineers quickly move in to locate the RIV source & have line mechanics fix it before public health officials can investigate, so by the time public health officials get around to investigating the cause of the "cluster point", it has been fixed & nobody is to the wiser as to the real cause of the problem.

I'm a Nuclear/Electrical Engineer, I won't live within sight of a power transmission line because I know how sloppily power companies can maintain their installations based upon how much they calculate they can get away with.
antialias_physorg
4 / 5 (4) Feb 07, 2014
Reminds me of a conference a professor of mine attended:
He report6ed the stroy of someone talking about increased risks of leukemia due to powerlines. As support the author put up a map of the US, the map of prevalence of leukemia cases, and the national powergrid map. Lo and behold they matched.

Next talk was from someone showing that leukemia increases when exposed to car exhausts. As support the presenter put up a map of the united states, the same map of leukemia prevalence, and a map of the highway system.

Turns out: high power lines are constructed along major highways.
tadchem
1 / 5 (1) Feb 07, 2014
Reminds me of a conference a professor of mine attended:
He report6ed the stroy of someone talking about increased risks of leukemia due to powerlines. As support the author put up a map of the US, the map of prevalence of leukemia cases, and the national powergrid map. Lo and behold they matched.

Next talk was from someone showing that leukemia increases when exposed to car exhausts. As support the presenter put up a map of the united states, the same map of leukemia prevalence, and a map of the highway system.

Turns out: high power lines are constructed along major highways.


It turns out power lines are also strung near where people live, and major highways are constructed to serve places where people live.
Correlation is not causation. One cause with multiple effects can create a very high correlation, but if one looks at the effects and ignores the cause, wrong conclusions are never very far from hand.
Benni
3 / 5 (4) Feb 07, 2014
Correlation is not causation. One cause with multiple effects can create a very high correlation, but if one looks at the effects and ignores the cause, wrong conclusions are never very far from hand.


...........you sure don't know very much about what elevated micro-wave flux fields can do to the human body 100% of the time if you think the "correlation" of living in such flux fields may not have a high probability of causing ill effects on the human body. Health Physics is a course I was required to take in my six years of engineering school education, you learn a lot about the differing effects of radiation in these courses. I'm well qualified to give you lectures, but don't think for moment you know something here that I don't.
Sinister1812
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 07, 2014
Power lines don't raise risk of leukaemia in children


Maybe not. Just every other type of cancer you can think of!
antialias_physorg
3.5 / 5 (4) Feb 08, 2014
Correlation is not causation.

That's the point.

My story does not say whether power lines are the cause or not, by the way It just illustrates that in this case you need a multivariate study to distinguish what is a major factor and what isn't. That means you need a lot more data to get good statistical power than if you are doing a study that only looks at one variable.
Benni
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 08, 2014
Correlation is not causation.


My story does not say whether power lines are the cause or not


.......and your "story" is just that, a pathetically ignorant response to data which reveals what can be proven in your kitchen via your microwave oven that micro-wave frequencies are 100% detrimental to the human body 100% of the time.

....by the way It just illustrates that in this case you need a multivariate study to distinguish what is a major factor and what isn't


What? That microwave frequencies are detrimental to living tissues? That "multivariate study" was completed before I was born. I'm guessing you were born so far back in the Stone Age that you still haven't caught on to microwave ovens yet. Get out of that retirement enclave you live in over there in Statist Europe & invest in a micro-wave technology oven.

That means you need a lot more data to get good statistical power than if you are doing a study that only looks at one variable


Micro-waves?
The Shootist
2 / 5 (4) Feb 08, 2014
Benni? That's quite the axe you're trying to grind.

Leukemia, and high tension wires, similar to people being "allergic" to MSG. It doesn't happen.

Benni
1 / 5 (1) Feb 09, 2014
Benni? That's quite the axe you're trying to grind.

Leukemia, and high tension wires, similar to people being "allergic" to MSG. It doesn't happen.


@ Shootist

The difference between me & you is that I deal with these kinds of data everyday. My first job out of college was Meter Engineering for a major U.S. mid-west power company. It was part of the job of our small group of Engineers to locate & fix the problems I have described in the above posts. I have been there, done it, needless to say I'm no longer in that job, but I won't tell you when I left.

The position I'm in now partially involves product design to monitor & fix dangerous emissions problems such as those I've described above. The world of energy generation is far from perfect, what with smokestack pollution that must be controlled & constantly monitored to the more sophisticated monitoring of nuclear power plants. I know where the dangers are & I know all too well how they are often ignored.

Eikka
not rated yet Feb 09, 2014
Benni, the microwave radiation harm is yet another unproven assertion. It pops up in the form of cellphone radiation scare every couple years, and it has never been proven, nor does it have any plausible mechanism of action.

The difference between your microwave and the alleged radiation from powerlines is that your microwave concentrates nearly 1 kiloWatts of power inside a small enclosed resonant chamber to absorb nearly all of it into the item you put inside.

Under free open air conditions, even a microwave magnetron has trouble cooking things because most of the radiation just passes through the item, and the radiation weakens at the cube of distance: a meter away the power is 1000 times less, and 100 meters from that a billionth per volume of space.

But you're still suggesting that stray radiation from powerlines "cooks people alive"; if this effect was real, it would have shown up in the study that took account of nearly all children diagnosed with leukemia up until 2008.
Eikka
not rated yet Feb 09, 2014
The difference between me & you is that I deal with these kinds of data everyday.

The position I'm in now partially involves product design to monitor & fix dangerous emissions problems such as those I've described above.

I'm a Nuclear/Electrical Engineer

As soon as such reports come in, engineers quickly move in to locate the RIV source & have line mechanics fix it before public health officials can investigate, so by the time public health officials get around to investigating the cause of the "cluster point", it has been fixed & nobody is to the wiser as to the real cause of the problem.

Methinks you're merely a liar and a kook.

By your own admission, it appears as if you're a part of a gigantic conspiracy coverup where the energy industry knows these "RIV"s are causing ill health, yet nobody else has ever noticed anything strange going on and all this has remained a secret for a hundred years.
Eikka
not rated yet Feb 09, 2014
The failure of logic on your part, Benni, is that if power lines were causing "cluster points" of illness due to stray radio emissions, then surely somebody would have noticed somewhere along the line that these cluster points correlate in proximity with power lines.

Although it is far more likely that someone would have spilled the beans on the whole story 50 years ago, if the energy companies truly knew it was happening to the point of sending men in vans to fix the issues before anyone else notices.
Benni
1 / 5 (1) Feb 09, 2014

@ Eikka

"Methinks you're merely a liar and a kook."
Benni
1 / 5 (1) Feb 09, 2014
Benni.......Under free open air conditions, even a microwave magnetron has trouble cooking things because most of the radiation just passes through the item, and the radiation weakens at the cube of distance: a meter away the power is 1000 times less, and 100 meters from that a billionth per volume of space.


......and it's precisely the remaining emissions based upon the cube of the distance that do make it to ground which is what you hear as static on your radio when passing through flux concentrations that reach ground level from any RIV source.

But you're still suggesting that stray radiation from powerlines "cooks people alive"; if this effect was real


You know it's real you imbecile because the first clue of is that YOU CAN HEAR IT ON YOUR CAR RADIO !!!!!!!



julianpenrod
not rated yet Feb 09, 2014
Note the tactics of deceit used to mask a lie.
They talk about the new "study" being conducted on individuals living "within a kilometer of overhead power lines". How far inside a kilometer did they live? Did they live at 950 meters from a power line? How much of their "early life" did the children spend there? Were the power lines active or old? Or, as the article specifics, were they children only "born" within a kilometer of power lines then swiftly moved far away? And note the eminently revealing phrase "no increased risk"/ "No increased rick" over what, children born in 1800, or children born since the 1980's, since, frankly, there isn't a single square foot of the developed world that isn't within one kilometer of power lines!
antialias_physorg
not rated yet Feb 09, 2014
.......and your "story" is just that, a pathetically ignorant response to data which reveals what can be proven in your kitchen via your microwave oven that micro-wave frequencies are 100% detrimental to the human body 100% of the time.

Again. I did not make a comment about whether the results of study A ob B were true Personally I'm inclined to agree that EM is detrimentral in some way, but that this is highly specific to the frequencies we're talking about (Powerlines do not emit microwaves, the ferquencies on powerlines are in the 50-60Hz ranges. Microwaves are in the GHz ranges.) The mechanisms that affect cells are completely different

The only thing I'm saying is that you need different population sizes for different kinds of studies. That's just simple statistics. I DON'T agree that you can use different standards when saying that one statistic is meaningful and another isn't just because the topic is one of your hot buttons.
IronhorseA
4 / 5 (4) Feb 09, 2014


You know it's real you imbecile because the first clue of is that YOU CAN HEAR IT ON YOUR CAR RADIO !!!!!!!



Radios are sensitive to fields in the micro volt range, and what you are hearing is only in the AM band, far below the microwaves you're worried about. Also keep in mind that with increasing harmonics, power decreases. Try a Fourier analysis before posting.
Benni
not rated yet Feb 09, 2014
You know it's real you imbecile because the first clue of is that YOU CAN HEAR IT ON YOUR CAR RADIO !!!!!!!


Radios are sensitive to fields in the micro volt range, and what you are hearing is only in the AM band, far below the microwaves you're worried about. Also keep in mind that with increasing harmonics, power decreases.


You still aren't getting it are you? The AM static is the first clue OTHER FREQUENCIES ARE PRESENT..........!!!!!!

When RIV is present from sparking across gaps at high voltage, so are microwaves 100% of the time. The AM band is simply the one range of frequencies that can be readily picked up on your radio. Voltages sparking across the gaps of pitted, corroded, & loose connection points emit MORE THAN just AM frequency wavelengths & those are the ones I'm talking about, micro-waves. If the voltages are high enough even gamma wavelengths MAY be present.

Benni
1 / 5 (1) Feb 09, 2014
....... but that this is highly specific to the frequencies we're talking about (Powerlines do not emit microwaves, the ferquencies on powerlines are in the 50-60Hz ranges. Microwaves are in the GHz ranges.) The mechanisms that affect cells are completely different


.......proving you are completely clueless about what it is that is under discussion here.
Ojorf
not rated yet Feb 10, 2014
It's no use debating with Benni, I have tried to explain some basic physics to him, he seems incapable of comprehending anything that does not conform to his world view.
meBigGuy
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 10, 2014
""""You know it's real you imbecile because the first clue of is that YOU CAN HEAR IT ON YOUR CAR RADIO !!!!!!! """

WOW --- what an idiot

1. AM radios are extremely sensitive. EXTREMELY sensitive. I can pick up a 5000 watt station 2000 miles away.

2. Power lines cause shielding which causes static. It isn't neccesarily RF interference you are hearing.

3. AM radios are sensitive in bands unrelated to microwaves. Put the AM radio near your AC outlet. Put it near your TV (if you have an old CRT). Put it near a working Microwave.

4. You have no data correlating microwave radiation from "bad connections" with AM frequencies from "bad connections". What data do you have regarding the spectrum supposedly being emitted?

You are, of course, an expert, so no one else's information will matter. You have way too much ego invested in "knowing the truth". Too bad people like you cause the unknowledgeable to be frightened for no reason.

Eikka
not rated yet Feb 10, 2014
Voltages sparking across the gaps of pitted, corroded, & loose connection points emit MORE THAN just AM frequency wavelengths & those are the ones I'm talking about, micro-waves. If the voltages are high enough even gamma wavelengths MAY be present.


Yes, that is basically the principle of a spark gap emitter, which produces broadband radio energy. The reason for the action is arcing across the contacts and isulators, which happens every cycle as the voltage crosses zero for brief moments and a potential builds up before a breakdown occurs. The rapid release of energy partially converts into EM radiation.

The most energy it emits is at or near the grid frequency of 50/60 Hz and the rest are higher and lower harmonics, which diminish the further away in frequency you go.

So if a car radio can pick it up in the AM band, which is already at levels of one billionth or trillionth of a Watt, whavever energy you get at the microwave band or higher is yet a billion times less.
Eikka
4.2 / 5 (5) Feb 10, 2014
You know it's real you imbecile because the first clue of is that YOU CAN HEAR IT ON YOUR CAR RADIO !!!!!!!


No, I don't know it's real. You're mentally confused to think that the presence of static noise on the radio proves microwaves are cooking people alive.

Whether microwave radiation is harmful to humans below a level of power that would actually burn you is yet another unproven assertion on your part. Which btw. has been studied world over and no conclusive evidence has been found to support the idea that low levels of microwave radiation do anything to anything.

But if you wish you may panic at the idea that every day you're standing under the biggest microwave emitter radiating deadly deadly radiation down on you - the sun.
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Feb 10, 2014
To understand what happens with the spark emission, you have to consider that the power line that feeds the discharge has a certain inductance and capacitance due to its physical construction and proximity to the ground. When a discharge breaks across an insulator or a bad electrical contact, the energy stored in the potential starts to oscillate through the ionized air at a fundamental frequency determined by this resonant circuit. Other frequencies are present, but they are dampened by the resonant system like a tuning fork that converges to a single note.

The resulting emission may look like this:

http://www-emt.tu...trum.jpg

The difference with power lines is that the system is very large with large capacitances and inductances involved, so the fundamental frequency is very low. Problems arise if a resonance with the 50/60 Hz current forms, because then the arc will not extinguish between cycles and will quickly melt the wires.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Feb 10, 2014
OTHER FREQUENCIES ARE PRESENT

Yes they are. You must, however, understand that effects on cells/molecules are due to field differentials(!).
If the wavelength is much larger than the cell then that is not causing an appreciable differential in the cell. For anything that you are hearing on your AM radio (i.e. that is being amplified by your AM rig) we're talking wavelengths in the hundreds of meters. From this you can see that the differential accross a cell will be very small at any one time. Unless, you're very close to a transmitter where the power is large enough to be of concern.

.......proving you are completely clueless about what it is that is under discussion here.

Since biomedical electronics is my specialty - I'd argue otherwise.

But to get back to the point: The point was NOT to have a story about leukemia/EM waves. the point was to show that a study can have less statistical power than assumed.
Benni
1 / 5 (1) Feb 10, 2014
To those with family members you suspect have been affected from radiation hazards emanating from high voltage power: You have just witnessed from the below listed posters of the manner of disinformation you will encounter from conflicted entrenched as they seek to defend the title of this article, "Power lines don't raise risk of leukaemia in children". I have several small children............

Special Thanks to the these below listed posters:

antialias_physorg
Eikka
meBigGuy
IronhorseA
The%20Shootist
tadchem

.........and especially Eikka. The quantity of time you've spent presenting your disinformation was not an exercise in futility. The public is now well armed for the type of disinformation nausea that conflicted parties will use to defend their conflicts of interest.
RealScience
not rated yet Feb 10, 2014
you can literally be slowly cooked to death living under those flux fields

If you cannot feel the warmth, you CANNOT be slowly cooked to death. The body gets rid of ~100W of heat continuously, so the heat does not accumulate endlessly.
(There might be OTHER detrimental effects from non-ionizing radiation, but even if there are, that's different from cooking, which is a thermal process.)

... weakens at the cube of distance.

The field from a POINT-source dipoles drops with the cube of the distance (after the distance is a few times dipole separation distance).

The field from linear dipoles like power lines only drops with the SQUARE of the distance.

(However that does not change your basic argument that the fields are tiny - even a major power line typically radiates less than a milliWatt per kilometer).
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Feb 11, 2014
The field from linear dipoles like power lines only drops with the SQUARE of the distance.


That's assuming the whole line is the source of radio emission, and not just the tiny arc gap.

The whole section of line would be resonant at extremely low frequencies and not in the microwave range, which it would actually absorb and attenuate. The point contact arc or localized corona discharge etc. is indeed a point source when observed from meters away.

Benni:

the reason why the crews in vans go around fixing these faults is that they waste energy and further damage the equipment as well as interfere with regular radio communications, which means the power company loses money if they leave it like that. They're pretty simple to detect by measuring the power leakage of the line.

You claim the power companies monitor people's health to see when there's a fault, which is a bald lie you invented yourself. You've never actually worked in the field a day in your life.
RealScience
not rated yet Feb 11, 2014
@Eikka -

You are correct that the field from a single arc gap would drop with the cube of the distance.

The study was on children living within 600 meters, which is many times the distance between pylons, and my experience is that I almost always get radio noise when crossing under a high-voltage power line so most pylons must emit radio noise. Thus I assumed many point sources strung out along a line, and after several times the point-source spacing the intensity would drop with the square of the distance.

So if it is an occasional strong point source, or if one is even tens of meters away, then the 'danger' does indeed fall with the cube of the distance. However in the hundreds of meters away, if many pylons have such arc gaps the sum of total effect drops with the square of the distance.

But I agree that your answer is better because by the time one is more than tens of meters away the fields are too small to even be worth discussing!
Eikka
not rated yet Feb 12, 2014
I almost always get radio noise when crossing under a high-voltage power line so most pylons must emit radio noise


Although you could be just getting electrostatic interference through the antenna, because you're basically driving through a charged capacitor in a vehicle which has a pointy metal stick on the roof.

Kinda like how condenser microphones work. You and your antenna are moving through a strong electric field while bumping and vibrating every which way, which is analogous to a moving microphone diaphragm.
RealScience
not rated yet Feb 13, 2014
You and your antenna are moving through a strong electric field while bumping and vibrating every which way, which is analogous to a moving microphone diaphragm.

The frequency of macroscopic motion during 'bumping along' is much lower than the frequency of the radio noise (even in pot-hole season), and at a distance of even a few meters from the field source, the field would be smooth enough that motion through variations in it at highway speeds would be well below the range of the noise.
60-cycle and audible harmonics also don't account for all of the radio noise (although there are certainly some cases where it is a significant part of it).

But science is about experiments, so next convenient opportunity I'll take the time to to qualitatively map the noise around a few pylons and see how it varies from pylon to pylon.
RealScience
not rated yet Feb 27, 2014
@Benni - I checked last trip to the city.
With FM I got no detectable noise driving beside the line.
With most AM stations the biggest noise on the radio was from my own engine, but I found some stations that were immune to this. I chose one with a 5 kW transmitter ~110 km away on the opposite side of the road from the power line. With a ~3x ground-level gain from a 1/4-wave mast, that's about 10^-7 W/m2.

With this station there was a very consistent increase in noise near each pylon.
However there was far more noise when passing under a non-transmitting bridge, and the consistency of the noise made it clear that it was interference with the radio signal from reflections off the pylons rather than an added signal from a spark gap.

I could detect no powerline RF noise that wasn't associated with reflection.

Conclusion: the RF noise that you detect under the power lines is not RF from the power lines, but is the long metallic lines interfering with the signal from the radio station.
RealScience
not rated yet Feb 27, 2014
@Eikka:
There was no car-radio-detectable RF emission from the powerline (other than a 60-cycle modulation of the interference), so I was unable to determine whether such emissions diminish with 1/r3 from a single-point source or 1/r2 from sources distributed on the power line.