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GPs will be braced for a new wave of worried parents after researchers found children born close to overhead powerlines could be at increased risk of leukaemia.

A study of 29,081 children with cancer, published in this week's BMJ, found those living within 200m of a high-voltage overhead powerline were at 69 per cent greater risk of leukaemia than those more than 600m away. There was also a significant trend between the size of risk and the distance from the nearest powerline.

Dr Graham Archard, vice-chair of the RCGP, said GPs should assure parents the risk was tiny, representing just five extra cases in the UK a year.

'Concerned parents should be assured they have taken a much greater risk by driving their child to the surgery.'

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