Study type: Epidemiological study (observational study)

Residential exposure to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields and the risk of ALS. epidem.

Published in: Neurology 2014; 83 (19): 1767-1769

Aim of study (acc. to author)

A population-based case-control study was conducted in the Netherlands to investigate the association between residential exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields from power lines and the risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

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

Exposure

Assessment

Exposure groups

Group Description
Group 1 distance between residence and power line (220-380 kV): 0 - < 50 m
Group 2 distance between residence and power line (220-380 kV): 50 - < 200 m
Group 3 distance between residence and power line (220-380 kV): 200 - < 600 m
Reference group 4 distance between residence and power line (220-380 kV): ≥ 600 m
Group 5 distance between residence and power line (50-150 kV): 0 - < 50 m
Group 6 distance between residence and power line (50-150 kV): 50 - < 200 m
Group 7 distance between residence and power line (50-150 kV): 200 - < 600 m
Reference group 8 distance between residence and power line (50-150 kV): ≥ 600 m

Population

Case group

Control group

Study size

Cases Controls
Eligible 1,139 2,864
Statistical analysis method: (adjustment: )

Conclusion (acc. to author)

Six cases and 14 controls have been living at a distance up to 50 m to a high voltage power line of 50-150 kV, no case and only one control have been living at the same distance to a power line of 220 kV and 380 kV.
No increased risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis was observed in persons living in close vicinity of a power line compared to persons who had always lived at a distance of at least 600 meters. Cumulative exposure showed no dose-response relationship. Survival analysis in patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis showed a nonsignificant hazard ratio of 1.27 (CI 0.87-1.86). No association between distance from a power line and age at onset was found (HR 1.22, CI 0.89-1.67).
The authors conclude that exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields from power lines does not increase the risk of developing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Limitations (acc. to author)

Only a few participants have been living in close vicinity to power lines (< 200 m).

Study funded by

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