Study type: Epidemiological study (observational study)

Radio-frequency radiation exposure from AM radio transmitters and childhood leukemia and brain cancer epidem.

Published in: Am J Epidemiol 2007; 166 (3): 270-279

Aim of study (acc. to author)

A case-control study was conducted in South Korea to investigate the association between residential exposure to amplitude modulation (AM) radio transmission and childhood leukemia and brain cancer.

Further details

31 of 109 AM radio transmitters and 49 of 144 antennas in South Korea were included in the study. All selected transmitters had a power of 20 kW or more. The exposure assessment comprised evaluation of the distance from the residence to the nearest AM radio transmitter and calculation of the total radio-frequency radiation from all radio transmitters.

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

Type of risk estimation: (odds ratio (OR))



Exposure groups

Group Description
Reference group 1 distance to nearest AM radio transmitter: > 20 km
Group 2 distance to nearest AM radio transmitter: > 10 - 20 km
Group 3 distance to nearest AM radio transmitter: > 8 - 10 km
Group 4 distance to nearest AM radio transmitter: > 6 - 8 km
Group 5 distance to nearest AM radio transmitter: > 4 - 6 km
Group 6 distance to nearest AM radio transmitter: > 2 - 4 km
Group 7 distance to nearest AM radio transmitter: ≤ 2 km
Reference group 8 total radio-frequency radiation exposure, 1st quartil: < 518.41 mV/m
Group 9 total radio-frequency radiation exposure, 2nd quartil: 518.41 -< 624.35 mV/m
Group 10 total radio-frequency radiation exposure, 3rd quartil: 624.35 -< 916.96 mV/m
Group 11 total radio-frequency radiation exposure, 4th quartil: ≥ 916.96 mV/m


Case group

Control group

Study size

Cases Controls
Eligible 3,369 3,369
Evaluable 2,884 3,082

1,928 children with leukemia and 956 with brain tumor

Statistical analysis method: (adjustment: )

Results (acc. to author)

A significantly higher risk for all types of leukemia was found for children residing within 2 km of the nearest AM radio transmitter. However, no trend of increasing leukemia risk with decreasing distance from residence to the nearest radio transmitter was observed. A significantly increased risk for lymphocytic leukemia for children with total radio-frequency radiation exposure in the second and third quartiles was found; the trend was borderline-significantly positive, but not a linear dose-response relation. No association was found for myelotic leukemia, brain cancer, and infantil cancer (diagnosed at age less than one year).

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