Two new reports in British medical journals suggest that choosing the right place to raise your children can have a major impact on their health and well-being.

“Duh,” you say. But let’s look at the details.

One study says living within 650 feet of a power line may significantly increase a child’s likelihood of developing leukemia, the most common type of childhood cancer. It’s a question that’s been debated for a while now, and some researchers say the link is still weak.

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Another study says exposure to aircraft noise may impair reading comprehension, while road traffic noise may actually improve (!) memory recall abilities in schoolchildren. However, a combination of both aircraft noise and traffic noise was associated with additional stress and a reduced quality of life.

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So, to recap: living near power lines = bad; living near a busy airport = bad; living near a busy road = good (?); living on busy road near airport = bad.

Below the fold, tips on finding environmentally friendly communities: Check out the Green Guide for the 2005 list of America’s Top 10 Green Cities, or peruse the geographical goods at Green Map System, which offers maps of certain cities dotted with icons representing eco-cultural resources ranging from public transit to farmers markets to composting sites.

Or, if you really want to get depressed, check out all the Superfund sites located nearest your neck of the woods.

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