High-voltage power lines increases the risk for childhood leukemia.

Over the past 26 years, there has been an ongoing debate as to whether living under or near &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/society/2001/12/14/23693.html ' target=_blank>high-voltage power lines increases the risk for childhood leukemia. Now a new, large British study finds a slight increased risk, but not necessarily due to power lines themselves.

"We found that there was a slight increase in leukemia within 200 meters of one of these power lines. And an even slighter increase within 600 meters," said lead researcher Gerald Draper, an Honorary Senior Research Fellow from the Childhood Cancer Research Group at the University of Oxford, reports the Forbes.

However, he said, this increase "cannot be a direct effect of magnetic fields. Our finding doesn't fit in with even the small amount of evidence that magnetic fields can cause childhood &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/usa/2001/04/20/3845.html ' target=_blank>leukemia."

Children living within 200 meters (656 feet) of transmission cables have a 69 percent greater risk than average of developing cancer, according to the study published in the British Medical Journal today. Children, who at birth lived between 200 and 600 meters from power lines, had a 23 percent higher risk.

Of the 400 to 420 cases of childhood leukemia occurring every year, about five would be associated with electricity lines, the researchers said, adding that this estimate was imprecise.

About four percent of all children in England and Wales live within 600 meters of high voltage lines at birth, according to the report that used records by National Grid Transco Plc, the owner and operator of Britain's gas and power network which provided a researcher for the team.

The case data was taken from the National Registry of Childhood Tumours at the Childhood Cancer Research Group.

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