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Epidemiological study (observational study)

Preterm birth among women living within 600 meters of high voltage overhead Power Lines: a case-control study.

Published in: Rom J Intern Med 2017; 55 (3): 145-150

Aim of study (acc. to author)

A case-control study was conducted in Iran to investigate whether the risk of spontaneous preterm birth was increased in women living in a distance within 600 m to power lines.

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

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



Exposure groups

Reference group 1 distance between maternal residence and power line: ≥ 600 m
Group 2 distance between maternal residence and power line: < 600 m


  • Group:
    • women
    • children in utero
  • Observation period: 2013 - 2014
  • Study location: Iran (Babol)

Case group

  • Characteristics: spontaneous preterm birth

Control group

  • full-term birth
  • Matching:

Study size

Cases Controls
Total 155 155
Evaluable 135 150
Statistical analysis method:
  • conditional logistic regression
( adjustment:
  • parity, urban or rural residence, educational status and jobs of parents

Conclusion (acc. to author)

Overall 20 mothers with preterm birth (14.8%) and 8 mothers of the control group (5.3%) lived within 600 meters of a high voltage power line.
Increased risks for spontaneous preterm birth and birth defect were observed in women who were living in less than 600 meters from high voltage power lines compared to those living in farther distance (OR 3.28, CI 1.37-7.85 and OR 5.05, CI 1.52-16.78, respectively). Newborn death did not differ between those living close to high voltage power lines compared with those living farther than 600 m away during pregnancy.

Study funded by

  • Babol University of Medical Sciences, Iran

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  • de Vocht F et al. (2014): Maternal residential proximity to sources of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields and adverse birth outcomes in a UK cohort.
  • Mahram M et al. (2013): The effect of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields on pregnancy and fetal growth, and development.
  • Auger N et al. (2011): The relationship between residential proximity to extremely low frequency power transmission lines and adverse birth outcomes.
  • Grajewski B et al. (1997): Work with video display terminals and the risk of reduced birthweight and preterm birth.
  • Savitz DA et al. (1994): Residential magnetic fields, wire codes, and pregnancy outcome.
  • Nielsen CV et al. (1992): Fetal growth, preterm birth and infant mortality in relation to work with video display terminals during pregnancy.