Evidence Grows Linking
EMF & Breast Cancer

Dateline: World Conference on Breast Cancer
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
July 15, 1997
The recent report in the New England Journal of Medicine by Linet and colleagues has been widely reported as showing no link between exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) and one type of leukemia in children. On the basis of this new study, some scientists and some news media organizations, including the major networks, have repeated the questionable claim that the link between EMF exposure and cancer risk is no longer an issue, and further research is unnecessary.
Such statements, based on a single study, are troubling. More disturbing still, is the fact that the data presented in the Linet study do not support the assertion that no link exists. Even a cursory review of the main data set shows a 53% increase in leukemia incidence at magnetic field exposure levels above 2 mG; a 72% increase (which is statistically significant) above 3 mG, and a more than 600% increase at exposures of between 4 and 5 mG. Above 5 mG, no link is shown, but there are too few cases in this range to yield any significant result.
Dr. Bary Wilson, who has co-authored a recent book on EMF and breast cancer, and several other speakers at the World Conference on Breast Cancer, including Dr. Kjell Hansson Mild of National Institute of Working Life in Sweden, have stated that a study which is apparently positive and limited only to leukemia should not be used to discount a possible link between EMF and cancer in its entirety.
Any statement claiming the demise of the EMF and cancer issue should be based on an analysis of all the available data and not one study, particularly one in which the reported data are apparently not reflected in the conclusions. In fact available data on the subject, provided by many scientists over more than a decade, do not support the hypothesis that there is no link between EMF exposure and increased risk for several types of cancer.
Cindy Sage of Sage Associates and Chair of the EMF program at the conference points out that, "even a small increased risk of breast cancer due to EMF exposure has enormous public health implications given the high incidence of this disease in developed countries."
Based on the Linet, et al. study, it is clearly not justified to call for the end of research into the possible !ink between EMF and cancer. Given the growing body of evidence for a possible link between EMF and breast cancer, in particular, cessation of research funding at this time would be reckless and scientifically indefensible.
Kjell Hansson Mild, Ph.D.
Natl lnst for Working Life, Sweden
Cindy Sage
Sage Associates, USA
Bary W. Wilson, Ph.D.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, USA

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