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Study Raises Questions Over Air Pollution Link Between Childhood Leukemia And Power Lines

Update Date: Oct 31, 2014 02:40 PM EDT

A new study is raising questions on a theory that suggested a risk of leukemia among children born close to overhead power lines could be caused by an alteration to surrounding air pollution. 

The study found little evidence to support the 'corona-ion hypothesis' which has been cited as a possible explanation for the excess of childhood leukemia cases close to high-voltage overhead power lines in the UK prior to the 1980s, the press release added. 

The 'corona-ion hypothesis' is based on the fact that high-voltage overhead power lines create charged particles in the surrounding air by a process known as ionization. 

To weigh the importance of the theory, researchers used data from over 7,000 children in England and Wales who were born and diagnosed with leukemia between 1968 and 2008, and who lived within 600 m of a high-voltage overhead power line.

'We found in earlier studies that, for previous decades, childhood leukaemia rates were higher near power lines. This new paper seems to show that this wasn't caused by corona ions - but it leaves us still searching for the true cause and we are undertaking further investigations of the variation in risk over time,' study co-author Kathryn Bunch said in the press release. 

The study has been published in the Journal of Radiological Protection

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