Childhood leukemia and the power system

Dr Neil Cherry, Associate Professor of Environmental Health at Lincoln University New Zealand, recently produced a new paper that reviews the effects of exposures from the electrical system.

Entitled, “The Causal relationship between residential electromagnetic field exposures and Childhood Cancer”, it argues that “The causal relationship is robustly well-established.”

In his paper Dr Cherry described EMR from electrical sources as a “new leukemia disease agent”. He stated that the introduction of electricity has been shown to have caused a peak in cases of leukemia (mainly Acute Lymphoblastic leukemia) in children aged two to four that did not exist previously and that this disease trend has continued with the increasing electrification of homes. “The early childhood leukemia (<5 years) increased from 1900 to 1995, from less than 10 per million to more than 77 per million in 1995, an increase by a factor of 7.7, a factor of at least 5, and possibly as much as 7, is attributable to household EMF [electromagnetic field] exposures.”

Dr Cherry also provided data from around 40 epidemiological studies which shows a dose-response relationship between exposure and disease. He argued, “This is much stronger evidence of a causal relationship than that accepted for many other disease agents”.

Dr Cherry argued that the evidence he presents suggests the value of “energy efficiency approaches to reduce … electrical energy requirements.”

He stated that “The direct outcome of … significantly reducing domestic and occupational exposures to electromagnetic fields could be at least a fivefold decrease in the childhood cancer rate, as well as adult cancer rates and many other health effects that are strongly associated with electromagnetic fields in multiple independent epidemiological studies.”

EMR News June 2003, Vol 2 No 2