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power lines and cancer

Here is the statement from APS on the power line and cancer connection
that you brought up.  You can also download a rather extensive background
paper on the topic at http://www.calpoly.edu/~dhafemei/background2.html.

Mike Baker ... mcbaker@lanl.gov


(Adopted by APS Council 23 April 1995)
CONTACT: Robert Park (202) 6628700; email: opa@aps.org 

Physicists are frequently asked to comment on the potential dangers of cancer 
from electromagnetic fields that emanate from common power lines and
appliances. While recognizing that the connection between power line fields
cancer is an area of continuing study by research workers in many disciplines 
in the United States and abroad, we believe that it is possible to make 
serveral observations based on the scientific evidence at this time. We also 
believe that, in the interest of making the best use of the finite resources
available for environmental research and mitigation, it is important for 
professional organizations to comment on this issue. 

The scientific literature and the reports of reviews by other panels show no 
consistent, significant link between cancer and power line fields. This 
literature includes epidemiological studies, research on biological systems,
and analyses of theoretical interaction mechanisms. No plausible biophysical 
mechanisms for the systematic initiation or promotion of cancer by these
line fields have been identified. Furthermore, the preponderance of the 
epidemiological and biophysical/biological research findings have failed to 
substantiate those studies which have reported specific adverse health
from exposure to such fields. While it is impossible to prove that no 
deleterious health effects occur from exposure to any environmental factor,
is necessary to demonstrate a consistent, significant, and causal
before one can conclude that such effects do occur. From this standpoint, the 
conjectures relating cancer to power line fields have not been scientifically

These unsubstantiated claims, however, have generated fears of power lines in 
some communities, leading to expensive mitigation efforts, and, in some
to lengthy and divisive court proceedings. The costs of mitigation and 
litigation relating to the power line cancer connection have risen into the 
billions of dollars and threaten to go much higher. The diversion of these 
resources to eliminate a threat which has no persuasive scientific basis is 
disturbing to us. More serious environmental problems are neglected for
lack of 
funding and public attention, and the burden of cost placed on the American 
public is incommensurate with the risk, if any.