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Study finds possible link between cancer and power lines
It is something that has been debated for years; whether living next to high-voltage power lines can lead to cancer.

Now an Australian study returns what could be the best evidence yet that it can.

Scientists from the University of Tasmania looked at more than 850 patients with cancer.

Tasmanian Cancer Council spokesman Lawson Ride says the study uncovered some interesting results.

"They discovered that people who lived within 300 metres of a powerline had a three-fold increase in their risk," he said.

But that risk increased to five-fold for people who lived near the cables during childhood.

The Internal Medicine Journal said the study found prolonged residence close to high-voltage power lines - especially early in life - may increase the risk of leukaemia, lymphoma and related conditions later.

The risk also increased to double for patients who had lived 50 metres or nearer to the transmission lines.

The University of Sydney's Bruce Armstrong is one expert who feels the study found a credible connection.


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 "What this study shows is what I would consider moderately strong evidence of an association," he said.

However, the electricity industry says the lines are kept at a safe distance from schools and houses and that exposure to low-level radiation is safe.

"If you happen to sleep on an electric blanket for example, you would be in a magnetic field the same strength as standing under a transmission line. So we live with electro magnetic fields and their effects every day," Transend spokesman Richard Bevan said.

Cancer researchers say what is needed is a wide ranging study to resolve the safety questions over powerlines once and for all.


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