- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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
- 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