Study type: Epidemiological study

Maternal proximity to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields and risk of birth defects. epidem.

Published in: Eur J Epidemiol 2019; 34 (7): 689-697

Aim of study (acc. to author)

A large retrospective study was conducted in Canada to investigate whether maternal residential proximity to electromagnetic fields from electrical power grids is associated with the risk of birth defects.

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

Type of risk estimation: (relative risk (RR))

Exposure

Assessment

Exposure groups

Group Description
Reference group 1 distance to power line: ≥ 200 m
Group 2 distance to power line: < 200 m
Reference group 3 distance to transformer station: ≥ 200 m
Group 4 distance to transformer station: < 200 m

Population

Study size

Type Value
Total 2,164,246

Conclusion (acc. to author)

The prevalence of birth defects within 200 m of a power line (579.4 per 10,000 live births) was only slightly higher compared with distances further away (568.7 per 10,000). A similar trend was seen for transformer stations. A distance of 50 m was not associated with the risk of birth defects for power lines (RR 1.00, CI 1.00–1.01) and transformer stations (RR 1.01, CI 1.00–1.03). There was no consistent association when birth defects were examined in different organ systems.
The authors concluded that they found no compelling evidence that residential proximity to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields from electrical power grids increases the risk of birth defects.

Study funded by

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