Leukemia risk in kids tied to electricity use


SAN FRANCISCO -- Magnetic fields from household wiring and appliances such as hair dryers, black and white televisions, and electric blankets may increase risk of childhood leukemia, according to a partial report revealed by a utility-supported research agency.

The report seems certain to intensify public confusion and worry over magnetic fields that arise from everyday electric currents in power lines, transformers, motors in appliances, televisions and computer video display terminals.

Among the conclusions:

* Certain kinds of wiring systems used in and around homes, especially if high-voltage power lines and transformers are nearby, seem to increase childhood leukemia risk.

* Frequent use of some household appliances by children, including hair dryers and black and white television, increases risk.

The Electric Power Research Institute released a summary after a closed-door meeting for occupational health experts in Carmel, Calif. The report's lead author, Dr. John Peters, director of the occupational health division at the University of Southern California, would not discuss its details outside the meeting.

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