A Report on Non-Ionizing Radiation

Claim: U.K. Study Linking Power Lines to Childhood Leukemia Withheld for Three Years

October 30, 2004

On October 29, Sky News disclosed that the U.K. Department of Health kept a study linking power lines to childhood leukemia under wraps for three years. Children under 15 who lived within 100 meters of a power line had double the risk of developing leukemia, according to the report.

In an interview with the Independent, published on October 30, Dr. Gerald Draper of the Childhood Cancer Research Group in Oxford, denied that he had suppressed the results of his study that had looked at 35,000 cases of childhood leukemia between 1962 and 1995. Draper did concede that he had presented his preliminary results at a “private workshop” 18 months ago. He said that at that time the results were “fuzzy.”

Immediately after Sky News began broadcasting word of the new study, the Conservative party issued a press release calling on the Blair Labor government to explain when it first learned of this finding and what action has been taken. The Conservatives said that that if the report had indeed been kept secret for three years, “that would be a disgrace.”

The Trentham Environmental Action Campaign, an activist group, first disclosed word that the Department of Health was sitting on this study in early September, but its press release was not picked up by the mainstream media.