Scientists at America's Environmental Protection Agency are arguing over the cancer causing potential of electromagnetic fields (EMF) from power lines and other sources.
A recent draft of a report entitled Evaluation of the Potential Carcinogenicity of Electromagnetic Fields, first called EMF a "probable carcinogen", which top level EPA officials have thus far toned down to "a possible but not proven cause of cancer in people". The science advisory board would like to exercise even greater caution, with a statement to the effect that there is limited information on the cancer causing potential of EMF.
The chair of the EPA panel, epidemiologist Genevieve Matanoski of Johns Hopkins University, is the principle author of a study that found unusually high cancer rates among linemen of the New York Telephone Company. She says that the entire notion of EMF as a carcinogen would seem to violate the laws of physics (ie, how can a non mutating agent cause cancer?). Nevertheless, she adds, "the evidence cannot be dismissed." The panel also allows that there are other non mutating influences on the growth of cancer, such as hormonal imbalance and nutrition.