Study type: Epidemiological study (observational study)

Residential magnetic fields and the risk of breast cancer. epidem.

Published in: Am J Epidemiol 2002; 155 (5): 446-454

Aim of study (acc. to author)

A case-control study was conducted in the USA to investigate whether the risk of breast cancer is associated with exposure to residential magnetic fields.

Further details

Magnetic field exposure was assessed by 48-h measurements in the home at diagnosis, wiring configurations of all homes occupied 10 years prior diagnosis, and self-reported use of electric house-hold appliances.

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

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

Exposure

Assessment

Exposure groups

Group Description
Reference group 1 mean nighttime magnetic field: < 0.020 µT
Group 2 mean nighttime magnetic field: 0.020 - 0.037 µT
Group 3 mean nighttime magnetic field: 0.037 - 0.073 µT
Group 4 mean nighttime magnetic field: ≥ 0.073 µT
Reference group 5 any measurements ≥ 0.2 µT: no
Group 6 any measurements ≥ 0.2 µT: yes
Reference group 7 Wertheimer-Leeper scheme, current residence: very low current configuration (VLCC)
Group 8 Wertheimer-Leeper scheme, current residence: underground
Group 9 Wertheimer-Leeper scheme, current residence: ordinary low current configuration (OLCC)
Group 10 Wertheimer-Leeper scheme, current residence: ordinary high current configuration (OHCC)
Group 11 Wertheimer-Leeper scheme, current residence: very high current configuration (VHCC)
Reference group 12 Wertheimer-Leeper scheme, 5-year category: very low current configuration (VLCC)
Group 13 Wertheimer-Leeper scheme, 5-year category: underground
Group 14 Wertheimer-Leeper scheme, 5-year category: ordinary low current configuration (OLCC)
Group 15 Wertheimer-Leeper scheme, 5-year category: ordinary high current configuration (OHCC)
Group 16 Wertheimer-Leeper scheme, 5-year category: very high current configuration (VHCC)
Reference group 17 Wertheimer-Leeper scheme, 10-year category:: very low current configuration (VLCC)
Group 18 Wertheimer-Leeper scheme, 10-year category: underground
Group 19 Wertheimer-Leeper scheme, 10-year category: ordinary low current configuration (OLCC)
Group 20 Wertheimer-Leeper scheme, 10-year category: ordinary high current configuration (OHCC)
Group 21 Wertheimer-Leeper scheme, 10-year category: very high current configuration (VHCC)
Reference group 22 all household appliances, in 10 years prior diagnosis: < 0.0062 T
Group 23 all household appliances, in 10 years prior diagnosis: 0.0062 - 0.0105 T
Group 24 all household appliances, in 10 years prior diagnosis: 0.0105 - 0.0171T
Group 25 all household appliances, in 10 years prior diagnosis: ≥ 0.0171 T
Reference group 26 bed-warming appliances, ever use: no
Group 27 bed-warming appliances, ever use: yes
Reference group 28 use of bed-warming appliances: 0 hours
Group 29 use of bed-warming appliances: < 511 hours
Group 30 use of bed-warming appliances: 511 - 1217 hours
Group 31 use of bed-warming appliances: 1217 - 2149 hours
Reference group 32 use of bed-warming appliances: ≥ 2149 hours

Population

Case group

Control group

Study size

Cases Controls
Eligible 1,039 1,053
Participants 813 793
Participation rate 78 % 75 %
Statistical analysis method: (adjustment: )

Conclusion (acc. to author)

More than 90 % of cases and controls had mean nighttime magnetic field levels of less than 0.16 µT.
No increased risk of breast cancer was found with measures of nighttime bedroom magnetic fields, with the wire code configuration of the home at diagnosis or weighted summary measures of wire codes of all homes occupied 10 years prior diagnosis, and self-reported use household electric appliances, including bed-warming devices.
The results of the study do not support the hypothesis that exposure to residential magnetic fields is associated with an increased risk of developing breast cancer.

Study funded by

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