Study type: Epidemiological study (observational study)

Adult mortality from leukemia, brain cancer, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and magnetic fields from power lines: a case-control study in Brazil. epidem.

Published in: Rev Bras Epidemiol 2011; 14 (4): 580-588

Aim of study (acc. to author)

A death certificate based case-control study was conducted in Brazil to investigate the association between magnetic fields from power lines and adult mortality from leukemia, brain cancer, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

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

Exposure

Assessment

Exposure groups

Group Description
Reference group 1 magnetic field exposure: ≤ 0.1 µT
Group 2 magnetic field exposure: > 0.1 - ≤ 0.3 µT
Group 3 magnetic field exposure: > 0.3 µT
Reference group 4 distance between residence and power line (all currents): > 400 m
Group 5 distance between residence and power line (all currents): > 200 - ≤ 400 m
Group 6 distance between residence and power line (all currents): > 100 - ≤ 200 m
Group 7 distance between residence and power line (all currents): > 50 - ≤ 100 m
Group 8 distance between residence and power line (all currents): ≤ 50 m
Reference group 9 distance between residence and power line < 200 kV: > 400 m
Group 10 distance between residence and power line < 200 kV: > 200 - ≤ 400 m
Group 11 distance between residence and power line < 200 kV: > 100 - ≤ 200 m
Group 12 distance between residence and power line < 200 kV: > 50 - ≤ 100 m
Group 13 distance between residence and power line < 200 kV: ≤ 50 m

Population

Case group

Control group

Study size

Cases Controls
Eligible 4,990 4,990
Participants 4,581 4,706
Other:

1,857 cases of leukemia, 2,357 of brain cancer, and 367 of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Statistical analysis method: (adjustment: )

Conclusion (acc. to author)

A statistically non-significant increased risk for mortality from leukemia among adults living at closer distances to transmission lines compared to those living further then 400 m was found. Risk was higher for subjects that lived within 50 m from power lines (OR 1.47; CI 0.99-2.18). Similarly, a statistically non-significant small increase in leukemia mortality was observed among adults living in houses with calculated exposure to magnetic fields > 0.3 µT (OR 1.61; CI 0.91-2.86).
No increased risk was observed for brain tumors or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
The authors conclude that their findings are suggestive of a higher risk for leukemia among subjects living closer to transmission lines, and for those living at homes with higher calculated magnetic fields, although the risk was limited to voltage lines < 200 kV.

Limitations (acc. to author)

No information about occupational exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields could be retrieved and included in the analysis.

Study funded by

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