Study type: Epidemiological study

Proximity to overhead power lines and childhood leukaemia: an international pooled analysis. epidem.

Published in: Br J Cancer 2018; 119 (3): 364-373

Aim of study (acc. to author)

A pooled analysis based on raw data from eleven studies was performed to investigate the association between childhood leukemia risk and distance to power lines.

Further details

Following publications of the studies are available in the EMF-Portal: Wünsch-Filho et al. (2011), Pedersen et al. (2014),
Sermage-Fauce et al. (2013), Bianchi et al. (2000), Malagoli et al. (2010), Tynes et al. (1997), Feychting et al. (1993), Lowenthal et al. (2007), Bunch et al. (2014)and Crespi et al. (2016). The publication by Spycher et al. (2011) is not included in the EMF-Portal because the association with nuclear power plants was investigated.

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

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

Exposure

Assessment

Exposure groups

Group Description
Reference group 1 distance to power line: ≥ 300 m
Group 2 distance to power line: 150 - < 300 m
Group 3 distance to power line: 50 - < 150 m
Group 4 distance to power line: < 50 m
Reference group 5 distance to ≥ 200 kV power line: ≥ 300 m
Group 6 distance to ≥ 200 kV power line: 150 - < 300 m
Group 7 distance to ≥ 200 kV power line: 50 - < 150 m
Group 8 distance to ≥ 200 kV power line: < 50 m

Population

Case group

Control group

Study size

Cases Controls
Total 30,500 69,594
Evaluable 27,143 65,265
Statistical analysis method: (adjustment: )

Conclusion (acc. to author)

There was no association between childhood leukemia and distance to nearest overhead power line of any voltage (groups 2-4). Among children living < 50 m from 200 + kV power lines, a non-significant increased risk was found (group 8: OR 1.33, CI 0.92-1.93) which was higher among children diagnosed before age 5 years. This association was not explained by exposure to higher magnetic field strength (≥ 0.4 µT) or by other confounders.
The authors concluded that in this first comprehensive pooled analysis of childhood leukemia and distance to power lines, they found a small and imprecise risk for residences < 50 m of 200 + kV power lines that was not explained by high magnetic fields. Reasons for the increased risk, found in this and many other studies, remains to be elucidated.

Study funded by

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