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High voltage power lines and risk of cancer

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 25 January 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:305

Conclusions are unjustified

  1. M J O'Carroll, Emeritus professora
  1. a University of Sunderland, Sunderland SR2 7EE
  2. b Department of Public Health, PO Box 41, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
  3. c Finnish Cancer Registry, Institute for Statistical and Epidemiological Cancer Research, FIN-00170 Helsinki, Finland
  4. d Department of Public Health, University of Turku, FIN-20520 Turku, Finland

    Editor–Pia K Verkasalo's study of the magnetic fields of high voltage power lines and the risk of cancer in Finnish adults goes some way to assuring adults who live about 100 m from high voltage power lines that they may not thereby be at an increased risk of cancer in general.1 In their analysis, however, the authors did not isolate the more highly exposed residents, such as those living within 25 m of high voltage power lines. Possible effects on them are lost by dilution in the much wider pool of the authors' highest category of exposure.

    The authors measured cumulative exposure over 20 years in µT years. There were five categories of exposure, ranging from<0.2 µT years in the lowest category …

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