Study type: Epidemiological study

Exposure to extremely low-frequency magnetic fields and childhood cancer: A systematic review and meta-analysis. epidem.

Published in: PLoS One 2021; 16 (5): e0251628

Aim of study (acc. to author)

The association between extremely low frequency magnetic fields and childhood cancer was investigated in a meta-analysis.

Further details

Following 30 case-control studies were included in the meta-analysis: Savitz et al. (1988), Myers et al. (1980), London et al. (1991), Feychting et al. (1993), Olsen et al. (1993), <Preston-Martin et al. (1996), Linet et al. (1997), Michaelis et al. (1997), Tynes et al. (1997), Dockerty et al. (1998), Green et al. (1999), McBride et al. (1999), UK Childhood Cancer Study Investigators (1999), Kleinerman et al. (2000), Bianchi et al. (2000), Schüz et al. (2001), Kabuto et al. (2006), Feizi et al. (2007), Kroll et al. (2010), Malagoli et al. (2010), Saito et al. (2010), Does et al. (2011), Wünsch-Filho et al. (2011), Jirik et al. (2012), Ba Hakim et al. (2014), Bunch et al. (2014), Pedersen et al. (2014), Salvan et al. (2015), Kheifets et al. (2017) and Crespi et al. (2019).

Endpoint/type of risk estimation



Exposure groups

Group Description
Reference group 1 magnetic field strength: ≤ 0.1 µT
Group 2 magnetic field strength: > 0.2 µT
Group 3 magnetic field strength: > 0.3 µT
Group 4 magnetic field strength: > 0.4 µT


Study size

Type Value
Total 186,233

childhood leukemia: 45,029 cases and 55,376 controls; childhood brain tumor: 21,582 cases and 29,463 controls; any childhood cancer: 2,470 cases and 3,804 controls

Statistical analysis method:

Conclusion (acc. to author)

Children exposed to 0.2 μT, 0.3 μT, and 0.4 μT extremely low frequency magnetic fields had an increased risk for childhood leukemia (OR 1.26, CI 1.06-1.49; OR 1.22, CI 0.93-1.61; OR 1.72, CI 1.25-2.35, respectively). In childhood brain tumors, children exposed to 0.2 μT had a decreased risk (OR 0.95, CI 0.59-1.56), and those exposed to 0.4 μT had an increased risk (OR 1.25; CI 0.93-1.61). Children exposed to 0.2 μT and 0.4 μT had an increased risk of any childhood cancers (OR 1.10, CI 0.70-1.75 and OR 2.01, CI 0.89-4.52, respectively) .
The authors concluded that significant associations were observed between exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields and childhood leukemia. Furthermore, a possible dose-response effect was also found.

Study funded by

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