Medicine And The Media

Does electricity give you cancer?

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.312.7029.517 (Published 24 February 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:517
  1. Gerald Draper

    Ionising radiation causes cancer; in particular, radiation produced as a result of the radioactive decay of radon gas causes lung cancer, though it is not generally accepted that it causes other cancers. It is not clear that the non-ionising radiation associated with power frequency electromagnetic fields (that produced by the production and transmission of electricity) causes cancer. Professor Denis Henshaw and his colleagues have just published a paper in the International Journal of Radiation Biology saying that the reported associations between such electromagnetic fields and cancer might be explained by their finding that the radioactive disintegration products of radon are concentrated in the vicinity of such fields.

    Using Henshaw's paper as a starting point, Dispatches dealt not only with this new suggestion but also with some of the more general issues concerning the possible risks of exposure to this type of electromagnetic field. The paper commands respect; the same cannot be …

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