Study type: Epidemiological study (observational study)

Decreased survival for childhood leukemia in proximity to television towers. epidem.

Published in: Arch Environ Health 2003; 58 (9): 560-564

Aim of study (acc. to author)

In a previous study by Hocking et al. (1996), an increased risk of childhood leukemia was identified among children who resided in an inner ring (radius < 4 km) surrounding television towers, compared with children who lived in an outer ring (radius 4 - 12 km) surrounding the television towers, which are situated in North Sydney, Australia. Aim of the present study is to examine the survival experience of these children for all childhood leukemias, and for acute lymphatic leukemia.

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

Exposure

Assessment

Exposure groups

Group Description
Reference group 1 outer area: municipalities in a distance of ≥ 4 - 12 km from a TV tower; power density: < 0.2 µW/cm²
Group 2 inner area: municipalities in a distance of < 4 km from a TV tower; power density: 0.2 - 8.0 µW/cm²

Population

Study size

Type Value
Total 160
Statistical analysis method: ( adjustment: )

Conclusion (acc. to author)

29 out of 123 children with acute lymphatic leukemia (16 of whom died) were in the inner ring of municipalities nearest the television towers, and 94 cases (34 of whom died) occurred in the outer, more-distant ring. There was a significant difference in survival rates between the 2 groups. The 5-year survival in the inner ring of municipalities was 55 %, and in the outer ring was 71 % (i.e., subjects in the inner ring were 23 % less likely to survive than those in the outer ring); at 10 years, survival in the inner and outer rings was 33 % and 62 %, respectively.
The authors concluded that there was an association between residential proximity to the television towers and decreased survival among cases of childhood leukemia in North Sydney, Australia.

Study funded by

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