This might be a really short article. I could just create “no, strength lines don’t cause cancer"—but the wouldn"t define why so numerous people believe otherwise. And also it won’t aid people who space thinking about buying a house that has actually power lines nearby. So let’s look in ~ this question a bit more closely.

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For the past century or more, humans have been bordering ourselves through an ever-growing array of electrical devices. Every one of these devices create electrical or magnetic fields, often referred to as EMFs. Yes no doubt that our exposure come EMFs has actually increased substantially in contemporary times. No surprisingly, many world have worried the this is a bad thing. The belief is for this reason pervasive that NIH contends least two websites devoted to this topic,one by NIEHSandone through NCI, together does theMedical college of Wisconsin. Realtors havecreated webpagesto inform residence buyers around how strength lines might impact the value of their home. No surprisingly, you deserve to easily find companies on the web that will market you devices (such asSafeSpaceandEMFshield) to protectyour body from the supposed perils the EMF.


“There is no well-known mechanism through which magnetic areas of the form generated through high voltage strength lines can play a duty in cancer development. Nevertheless, epidemiologic research has rather consistently discovered associations in between residential magnetic field exposure and cancer.”

Scientifically, the inquiry at the time was, were these associations genuine or coincidental? If they were real, those the mechanism? Clearly, further studies to be needed. Well, twenty years later, the data room in: power lines perform not reason cancer.

In 2002, the who commissioneda vast (339 pages) and very thorough reportonall the species of electrical and magnetic fields on the planet and also how this EMFs might effect ours health. Among its result were:


“There is small experimental or theoretical proof that mutations can be directly caused by ELF magnetic fields…. There is tiny evidence that ELF electric or magnetic areas can cause malignant transformation of cell in culture.”

The last conclusion the the that commission was that

“Static electric and also magnetic fields and extremely low-frequency electric fields are not classifiable regarding their carcinogenicity to people (Group 3).”

Group 3 way we don’t have any type of positive evidence that EMFs cause cancer. The only reduced category, team 4, would average we have evidence that electromagnetic areas do NOT cause cancer, yet such evidence is very difficult to produce. In various other words, lock concluded that the proof didn"t support a link, but an ext studies might yet discover something.

After the 2002 report by the WHO, a research in 2005 raised the alert again.In the study, Gerald Draper and colleagues claimed to discover an association in between the distance to the nearest high voltage power line and also childhood leukemia. Draper found that living less than 200 meter from these power lines (in England and Wales) increased the hazard of leukemia significantly compared to life at least 600 meter away.

The scientific reaction to the Draper study immediate and also highly critical.Hepworth and colleaguespointed out that the outcomes did not assistance a causal function for electromagnetic fields (which were not measured), however at ideal a geographical correlation.Kheifets and colleaguesdemonstrated the end that the result disappeared as soon as the control groups to be analyzed differently. Various other critiques quickly emerged as well: a sign that science was functioning to self-correct, together it often does. However Draper’s examine was widely reported, when the objections were not. The critiques, though, repaint a compelling photo that Draper’s occupational was seriously flawed.

One that the many recent researches is indigenous 2013 byElliott et al.who looked at end 50,000 situations of cancer, including leukemia, mind cancer, breast cancer, skin cancer, and others. They discovered no boosted risk for any type of of this cancer varieties and concluded

“Our results execute not assistance an epidemiologic association of adult cancers through residential magnetic fields in proximity come high-voltage overhead power lines.”

This dispute sounds very familiar. Many false hypotheses, such as the concept that vaccines cause autism, or that acupuncture have the right to reduce pain, display the same pattern: a few small studies produce weak optimistic evidence, yet then larger, much better studies fail to ago them up. Proponents constantly call for an ext studies, yet if the effect is real, it doesn"t disappear as soon as you do a enlarge study. If anything, the effect should appear stronger.

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A significant problem that the EMF alarmists have, which no one of the supporters have ever answered, is among mechanism: just how is the very weak EMF native a power line supposed to reason cancer? many theories have been suggested: perhaps EMFs impact the movement of magnetic particles within cells, or alter the voltages throughout cell membranes—but as the editor that BMJ, Geoff Watts, put itin his responseto the 2005 Draper study:

“Evidence to support these and other concepts is at finest thin and at worst non-existent.”

So no, electric power lines do not cause cancer. Yet they"re still ugly. We must bury them all underground.


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I"m the Bloomberg identified Professor that Biomedical Engineering, computer system Science, and Biostatistics at Johns Hopkins University. From 2005-2011 i was the Horvitz Professor of computer Science and Director that the center for Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at the college of Maryland, university Park. Before joining UMD, ns was in ~ The Institute because that Genomic Research, wherein I sequenced the genomes of countless bacteria, including those supplied in the 2001 anthrax attacks. In ~ TIGR ns was part of the human being Genome Project and also the co-founder the the influenza virus sequencing task (which is when I very first learned that the anti-vaccine movement). My study group develops software because that DNA sequence analysis, and also our (free) software application is supplied by clinical laboratories roughly the globe. Ns did mine B.A. And also M.S. At Yale University, and my Ph.D. In ~ Harvard University, and also I have published end 250 clinical papers. Monitor me on on facebook or Twitter (