The United Kingdom Childhood Cancer Study (UKCCS) is the world’s largest ever study of its type into childhood cancer. It was originally designed to look at a number of things other than EMFs which were thought to be possible causes of cancer. The UK Electricity Industry provided the funding necessary (around £4M in total) to allow the study to include magnetic fields as well during the 1990s. The funding was provided via an intermediate organisation, the Leukaemia Research Fund, to preserve independence of the researchers from industry, and under a contract which guaranteed that industry would have no influence over the conduct of the study.
The study generated three papers relevant to EMFs (see the complete abstracts):
The first result was for magnetic fields and was published in the Lancet in 1999. It concluded:
“This study provides no evidence that exposure to magnetic fields associated with the electricity supply in the UK increases risks for childhood leukaemia, cancers of the central nervous system, or any other childhood cancer.”
Proximity to power lines
The second result was for proximity to power lines and was published in the British Journal of Cancer in 2000. It concluded:
“There was no evidence that either proximity to electrical installations or the magnetic field levels they produce in the UK is associated with increased risk of childhood leukaemia or any other cancer.”
Note that the CCRG study in 2005 also looked at proximity to power lines and did find an effect.
The third result was for electric fields and was published in the British Journal of Cancer in 2002. It concluded:
“In summary, this pilot study provides no support for the hypothesis that residential exposure to EMF electric fields is associated with childhood cancer…. Efforts to uncover the causes of childhood malignancy appear better targeted in other directions.”
- See complete abstract
- The response statement issued at the time by the NRPB (note 2014: with the migration to the .gov.uk website, this appears no longer to be available)