The journal Environmental Research has published a new study entitled “Residential proximity to power lines and risk of brain tumor in the general population” which found an increased risk of brain tumors was associated with living near power lines. Powerlines are a source of residential exposure to magnetic field electromagnetic radiation (EMF)  and repeated research studies for decades have associated magnetic field  power-line frequency ELF-EMF  from power lines to a type of childhood leukemia. 

In 2001 the  International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that exposure to power-line frequency ELF-EMF is a “possible” human carcinogen- a decision based largely evidence of an increased risk for childhood leukemias with residential exposure . 

Kaiser Permanente researchers have published several studies linking pregnant women’s exposure to magnetic field electromagnetic fields to not only increased miscarriage and but also increased ADHDobesity and asthma  in the woman’s prenatally exposed children.  

Two published studies by the Ramazzini Institute  “Carcinogenic Synergism of S-50 Hz MF Plus Formaldehyde in Rats” (2016) and “Life-span exposure to sinusoidal-50 Hz magnetic field and acute low-dose γ radiation induce carcinogenic effects in Sprague-Dawley rats” (2016) found that  ELF exposed rats had statistically significant increased incidence of several type of malignant tumors when combined with a known carcinogen. 

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Over a dozen countries already have some level of protective policy in place regarding this type of electromagnetic radiation. The countries of Croatia, Finland, France, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Belgium (Wallonia, Flanders) Denmark, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Lithuania, Poland have a magnetic field radiation limit for  “sensitive areas” far far lower than ICNIRP.  Sensitive areas are generally defined as areas where children live and play such as schools, kindergartens or recreation areas. Sometimes the definition includes hospitals and residential areas. These countries’ magnetic field EMF limits are 3 or 4 milligauss, the level of milligauss associated with childhood leukemia in repeated published studies. However ICNIRP recommends a residential magnetic field exposure limit of 2,000 milligauss (mG) and an occupational exposure limit of 10,000 mG. 

The United States has no limit on legal levels of milligauss electromagnetic radiation. However the California Department of Education enacted a regulation to  require minimum distances between new schools and the edge of a transmission line “right-of-way.”

Environmental Health Trust has resources on how to reduce magnetic field EMFs HERE. 

In this study, ELF-MF exposure was estimated from power line location and exposure to power lines was assessed by a lifetime geographical index. 

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Camille Carles, Yolande Esquirol, Maxime Turuban, Clément Piel, Lucile Migault, Camille Pouchieu, Ghislaine Bouvier, Pascale Fabbro-Peray, Pierre Lebailly, Isabelle Baldi, Residential proximity to power lines and risk of brain tumor in the general population, Environmental Research, Volume 185, 2020, 109473, ISSN 0013-9351,

Excerpts from the study;

  • “Despite this study’s limitations, our results strongly suggest that the risk of brain tumor, and particularly gliomas could be associated with residential ELF-MF exposure estimated by proximity of power lines, as several previous studies have already pointed out.”
  • “Our main results are consistent with previous studies on environmental exposure to ELF-MF and brain tumors (Marcilio et al., 2011; Baldi et al., 2011; Elliott et al., 2013) although the risk levels found in our study are higher.”
  • “We observed significant association for the highest exposure to cumulative duration at less than 50 m to any line and high voltage lines but not for very high voltage lines…”
  • “3.3.1. All brain tumors (Table 4) Concerning the cumulative duration at less than 50 m from any power line, a significant association was observed with brain tumors for people exposed for 15 years (OR 4.33, 95%CI 1.11–16.9), but not for people ever exposed or exposed for 5 and 10 years.”
  • “We observed some significant positive associations between cumulative duration at less than 50 m to any line for exposure above 15 years and brain tumors (OR 4.33, 95%CI 1.11–16.9) and meningioma (OR 8.53, 95%CI 1.48–49.17). Gliomas were also significantly associated with cumulative duration at less than 50 m but only for ever/never exposure to any line (OR 3.23, 95%CI 1.33–7.82) and high voltage lines (OR 4.96, 95%CI 1.56–15.77). No association was found between brain tumors, gliomas or meningiomas and cumulative duration in exposure corridors.”
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News Report from over a decade ago.