Study type: Epidemiological study (observational study)

Adult cancers near high-voltage overhead power lines. epidem.

Published in: Epidemiology 2013; 24 (2): 184-190

Aim of study (acc. to author)

A case-control study was conducted in the UK to investigate risks of adult cancers in relation to distance and extremely low-frequency magnetic fields from high-voltage overhead power lines using National Cancer Registry Data in England and Wales, 1974-2008.

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

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

Exposure

Assessment

Exposure groups

Group Description
Reference group 1 distance between residential address and closest power line: 600 - 1000 m
Group 2 distance between residential address and closest power line: 500 - 599 m
Group 3 distance between residential address and closest power line: 400 - 499 m
Group 4 distance between residential address and closest power line: 300 - 399 m
Group 5 distance between residential address and closest power line: 200 - 299 m
Group 6 distance between residential address and closest power line: 100 - 199 m
Group 7 distance between residential address and closest power line: 50 - 99 m
Group 8 distance between residential address and closest power line: 0 - 49 m
Reference group 9 estimated magnetic field: < 0.1 µT
Group 10 estimated magnetic field: 0.1 - 0.199 µT
Group 11 estimated magnetic field: 0.2 - 0.299 µT
Group 12 estimated magnetic field: 0.3 - 0.399 µT
Group 13 estimated magnetic field: 0.4 - 0.999 µT
Group 14 estimated magnetic field: ≥ 1.0 µT

Population

Case group

Control group

Study size

Cases Controls
Eligible 82,161 164,095
Statistical analysis method: (adjustment: )

Conclusion (acc. to author)

Overall, 7823 leukemia cases, 6781 brain/central nervous system cancers, 9153 malignant melanoma cases, and 58,404 breast cancer cases as well as 79,507 controls were included in the study.
There were no clear patterns of excess risk for adult cancers with distance between residential address at the time of diagnosis and power lines within 1000 m. For distances between residential address and closest power line (0-49 m) compared with distances of 600 to 1000 m, odds ratios (ORs) ranged from 0.82 (CI 0.61-1.11) for malignant melanoma to 1.22 (CI 0.88-1.69) for brain tumor and central nervous system cancer. No meaningful excess risks and no trends of risk with magnetic field strength were observed for the four investigated cancer types. ORs ranged from 0.68 (CI 0.39-1.17) for malignant melanoma to 1.08 (CI 0.77-1.51) for breast cancer at the highest estimated field strength (≥ 1.0 µT) compared with < 0.1 µT.
The authors conclude that the results do not support an epidemiologic association of adult cancers with residential magnetic fields in proximity to high-voltage overhead power lines.

Study funded by

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