ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Health : Area of Concern


Infrastructure, especially the generation and distribution of   power, is very likely to be a major focus of attention in the coming budget’s developmental concerns. The availability of power is not only a concern for industry but for the expansion of the rapidly growing white goods sector too, including information technology products. There has also been a paradigm shift – for one, in this new impetus for growth, conservation of power resources appears to be only a long-term concern. Immediately the focus is almost entirely on increasing the availability of power by expanding generation capacity and improving the efficiency of distribution systems.

In this context of emphatic optimism, it may appear blasphemous to mention concerns which are as yet ill-defined although they have been under discussion for the last two decades. The causes of childhood malignancies have attracted much attention among health and medical researchers. Some years ago childhood cancer clusters close to nuclear power plants had generated much public concern that had prompted public inquiries and also systematic research. While these studies have failed to show a significant positive link, there is a growing body of opinion which points to the lack of a large enough body of such systematic studies as would be needed even to refine methodologies for studying this phenomenon. That issue remains unresolved. Yet another, much deeper, concern has been the possible link between such malignancies and exposure to power-frequency magnetic fields. In several countries, the US, New Zealand, Australia and the UK, this has prompted systematic studies. The latest report is of the UK Childhood Cancer Study set up in the l990s to examine the link between exposure to power-frequency magnetic fields and risk of childhood cancer, especially leukaemia that has just been published in the Lancet.

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