Childhood Cancer, Leukaemia & Electromagnetic Field Study

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The Paul O'Gorman Childhood Leukaemia Research Centre

The Childhood Cancer, Leukaemia and Electromagnetic Field (CCLEF) Study commenced in 1997. Children with Leukaemia funded this research in order to assess the role of magnetic and electric field exposure in childhood brain tumours and leukaemia. Thus deriving further information on the aetiology of cancer and adding to the debate on whether a policy of “prudent avoidance” is desirable for electromagnetic fields.

A case-control design format was used to recruit children diagnosed with leukaemia or a brain tumour, under the care of one of the two Regional Paediatric Oncology Centres (Southampton General Hospital and Bristol Children’s Hospital) in the South West of England, along with healthy control children from general practitioner lists.

By the end of the recruitment period, 128 case children and 102 controls had been enrolled onto the study. A comprehensive survey of the electromagnetic (EM) field environment in the home was completed in all relevant homes (where possible) along with a detailed questionnaire concerning EM field exposures and health related issues.

Analysis of the data collected has been concerned primarily with investigating the possible relationship between EM exposure and the incidence of childhood leukaemia and brain tumours. Our results show no significant association between Time Weighted Average (TWA) magnetic field based on the location of the child’s bed and any of the disease sub-types, but the leukaemia pair (and the acute lymphoblastic leukaemia pairs in particular) results suggest a trend towards high exposures and risk.

No association could be detected between tumour and leukaemia occurrence and magnetic field levels in any of the other rooms measured.

Time Weighted Average Magnetic Field Exposures

Although not significant at the 0.05 level, these results can be tentatively interpreted to support the hypotheses that leukaemia (and A.L.L in particular) could be associated with elevated magnetic fields. An extended data collection period and recruitment of larger numbers could assist in clarifying the suggested association.

Analysis of the data is ongoing, and a paper is currently being prepared for submission to a peer-reviewed journal.

For further information please contact Liz Dunn (