Electricity, power lines and childhood leukaemia


sunset with houses and power lines in foreground
We are working with policy makers to raise awareness of the association between childhood leukaemia and high voltage power lines.

Power lines and leukaemia: The EMF Campaign

Electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) are created by the presence of electricity.

A house with a pylon behind itThey surround us in modern life and are produced in varying degrees and strengths by both the electricity appliances and the wiring in our homes.  High voltage power lines close to where people live, work or play present a significantly higher exposure level to EMFs.

In recent years, exposure to EMFs has come under closer scrutiny as a possible source of harm and has been cited in relation to a wide range of adverse health effects. 

A great deal of research has been carried out investigating these possible effects and the largest body of evidence relates to childhood leukaemia where there is now the strongest evidence of a link.

We are concerned by reports that suggest children living within 200m of high voltage power lines from birth have a 69 per cent increased risk of developing leukaemia in childhood (Draper et al. 2005).

This is the largest meta-analysis study published to date and echoes the findings of other research projects carried out during the preceding 20 years.

Our campaign

We campaign to ensure that Government adopts precautionary measures to reduce exposure to EMF whilst research continues to better explain this link.

  • We believe this precautionary principle should be applied to the development of homes and schools in relation to existing power lines.

  • We believe that, as a minimum requirement, new power lines should be sited away from homes and schools and where possible, undergrounded.

We have been lobbying Parliament throughout the passage of the Localism Bill in 2011 to ensure that communities have a greater say over the location of power lines and pylons in relation to their homes, schools and workplaces.

Background to the campaign 

As early as 1979, scientific research started to show evidence hinting at an association between ELF EMFs (extremely low frequency electric and magnetic fields) and childhood leukaemia.

Read more: Background to the campaign

Stakeholder Advisory Group

SAGE (Stakeholder Advisory Group on EMF/ELF)


Read more: Take action

Press releases


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NCRI AMRC