Intended for healthcare professionals


Childhood cancer in relation to distance from high voltage power lines in England and Wales: a case-control study

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 02 June 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:1290

Re: Childhood Cancer and distance from high-voltage power lines – what do the data mean?

Prof. Roman makes an interesting point but the distribution of
housing density with distances from power lines, which was produced
recently for the UKCCS, should not be applied over the timescale of the
Draper et al study.

The study considered data for the period 1962-95 and there have been
profound social, environmental and economic changes during this time.

The 400-kV electical network was developed during the 1960's and,
initially, much of it ran through industrial landscapes. Most of the heavy
manufacturing industry which these lines were designed to serve is long
gone and, as in London Docklands, for example, urban development has taken
its place. This has resulted in the construction of housing near to
existing over head power lines and, as a consequence the number of houses
near lines increases with time.

Mention is also made in some of the reponses to the effect of power
line corona on particulate pollution. The start of the study falls
between the Clean Air Act of 1956 and its extension in 1968. The early
stages of the period covered by the study would have seen a marked fall in
general pollution levels.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

21 July 2005
David E Jeffers
retired engineer (ex NGC)