Leukaemia (Draper report)

Charles asks the Health Secretary if she will meet the charity 'Children with Leukaemia'

Mr. Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will meet the charity Children with Leukaemia to discuss the implications of the Draper report; and if she will make a statement. [6190]

Caroline Flint: There are currently no plans to meet the charity Children with Leukaemia. The recent publication in the British Medical Journal by Dr. Draper and colleagues found a statistically increased incidence of leukaemia for children whose home address at birth was near power lines compared with those further away. The work was funded by the Department and has significantly added to the body of knowledge built up over the last few years regarding this very important subject. The work will continue with an investigation of the electromagnetic field (EMF) exposures at the addresses studied.

A number of population studies in the past have linked magnetic field exposure with a raised incidence of childhood leukaemia. This has led to the International Agency for Cancer Research to classify extremely low frequency fields or ELF, such as those associated with power lines and domestic wiring as a "possible carcinogen". The World Health Organisation and indeed the Health Protection Agency have recommended additional research and the need for further precautionary measures to be considered.

The stakeholder advisory group on electromagnetic ELF fields (SAGE) set up last year has already enabled Government officials to engage in detailed discussions with industry, regulators, professional bodies and interest groups about how to respond to this complex issue. The intention of the process is to offer carefully considered recommendations in the interests of society as a whole, which can be found on R.K. Partnership's website at: www.rkpartnership.co.uk/sage"