Research Study Shows Power Lines Do Not Cause Leukemia

National Childhood Cancer Foundation
Monday, 20 January 2003

A large-scale study has shown that electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from power lines do not pose a cancer threat for children who live or go to school nearby. The research was undertaken in collaboration with the federal government's National Cancer Institute.

Rumors have long circulated about the possible effects of electromagnetic fields produced by power lines and electrical devices used in the home. Some studies have suggested they cause an increased risk of leukemia in children. A variety of research projects conducted during the past twenty years produced conflicting results, fueling the controversy and unduly alarming parents.

The recent study measured the actual EMFs in the current and former homes and schools of 638 children with leukemia and 620 children without leukemia living in nine different state. The study included homes where their mothers lived during pregnancy. The New England Journal of Medicine published the results of the study, which found that the risk of acute lymphoblastic leukemia is not correlated with exposure to electromagnetic field levels.

"This important study wouldn't have been possible without the close collaboration and commitment of the physicians, nurses, and researchers, and the cooperation of the families who participated," said Children's Oncology Group investigator Leslie L. Robison, Ph.D., professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. Dr. Robison is currently studying other possible leukemia risk factors, including maternal diseases and medication during pregnancy, childhood diseases, and parental occupation, with results expected within two years.

The incidence of acute lymphoblastic leukemia among children has increased by about 20% during the past two decades. Each year in this country, about 2000 children are diagnosed with this most common form of childhood cancer. It was once incurable, however medical research has made remarkable progress against the disease, and today 80% of the young patients survive five years or longer after diagnosis if they receive the best-known treatments.

For more information, or to contact National Childhood Cancer Foundation, see their website at:

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