Study type: Epidemiological study (observational study)

Maternal residential proximity to sources of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields and adverse birth outcomes in a UK cohort. epidem.

Published in: Bioelectromagnetics 2014; 35 (3): 201-209

Aim of study (acc. to author)

The association between maternal residential proximity to sources of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields and adverse birth outcomes was investigated in a cohort study in UK.

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

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

Exposure

Assessment

Exposure groups

Group Description
Reference group 1 distance from maternal residence and power line: > 50 m
Group 2 distance from maternal residence and power line: ≤ 50 m
Reference group 3 distance from maternal residence and power line: > 100 m
Group 4 distance from maternal residence and power line: ≤ 100 m
Reference group 5 distance from maternal residence and power line: > 200 m
Group 6 distance from maternal residence and power line: ≤ 200 m

Population

Study size

Type Value
Evaluable 140,356
Statistical analysis method: ( adjustment: )

Conclusion (acc. to author)

Less than one percent of women lived within 200m of a high voltage cable, power line, substation or tower.
No statistically significant increased risks for any clinical birth outcomes with maternal residential proximity of 50 m or less to sources of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields were observed. Reduced average birth weight of 212 g (CI: - 395 to -29 g) was found for close proximity to a source, and was largest for female births (-251 g; CI: -487 to -15 g).
The authors concluded that living close (50m or less) to a residential source of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields during pregnancy is associated with suboptimal growth in utero, with stronger effects in female than in males. However, only a few pregnant women live this close to high voltage cables, overhead power lines, substations or towers, likely limiting its public health impact.

Limitations (acc. to author)

Exposure was not assessed by measurement.

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