HC Deb 19 February 1996 vol 272 cc31-2W
Mr. Tipping

To ask the President of the Board of Trade (1) what assessment he has made of the research undertaken by Professor Denis Henshaw, a copy of which has been sent to him, on child leukaemia and electromagnetic fields; and if he will make a statement; [15632]

(2) what research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated into the link between electromagnetic fields and child leukaemia; if he will place copies of that research into the Library; and if he will make a statement. [15631]

Mr. Page

[holding answer 16 February 1996]: My right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade receives advice from the National Radiological Protection Board on the issue of electromagnetic fields and any effects on human health, including the possibility of a link with childhood leukaemia.

Both the NRPB and other independent bodies conduct research into possible causes of leukaemia and other cancers, supported by funding from Government. An important five-year study into possible causes of childhood leukaemia is at present being conducted by the UK Co-ordinating Committee on Cancer Research, due to be completed in about two years' time. The Government are funding this research together with various bodies and, when complete, it will be evaluated by NRPB and its advisory group on non-ionising radiation and the findings will be published.

The NRPB acknowledges the link between randon deposition and electromagnetic fields but advise that the theory in recently published research, suggesting an increased risk of cancer due to the effects of fields on radon and its decay products, is speculative. There is still no convincing evidence that electromagnetic fields from power lines or domestic appliances are harmful to health and no biological mechanism has been established to change this view.