Study type: Epidemiological study (observational study)

Childhood cancer and overhead powerlines: a case-control study. epidem.

Published in: Br J Cancer 1990; 62 (6): 1008-1014

Aim of study (acc. to author)

A case-control study was conducted in the UK to investigate the occurence of childhood cancer in relation to the proximity and the calculated magnetic field strenghts of overhead power lines.

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

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

Exposure

Assessment

Exposure groups

Group Description
Reference group 1 distance of child's home at birth to powerlines: ≥ 100 m
Group 2 distance of child's home at birth to powerlines: < 100 m
Group 3 distance of child's home at birth to powerlines: ≥ 75 - < 100 m (subgroup of group 2)
Group 4 distance of child's home at birth to powerlines: ≥ 50 - < 75 m
Group 5 distance of child's home at birth to powerlines: ≥ 25 - < 50 m
Group 6 distance of child's home at birth to powerlines: < 25 m
Reference group 7 magnetic field strength: ≤ 0.01 µT
Group 8 magnetic field strength: > 0.01 µT
Group 9 magnetic field strength: ≥ 0.01 - < 0.1 µT (subgroup of group 2)
Group 10 magnetic field strength: ≥ 0.1µT
Group 11 magnetic field strength: ≥ 0.01 - < 0.03 µT
Group 12 magnetic field strength: ≥ 0.03 µT

Population

Case group

Control group

Study size

Cases Controls
Eligible 419 656
Evaluable 374 588
Statistical analysis method:

Conclusion (acc. to author)

Only 10 % of the cases and controls have lived in a distance of less than 100 m to power lines. 16 out of 374 cases and 21 out of 588 controls have been exposed to magnetic fields strengths of more than 0.01 µT.
No statistically significant increased risk for child cancer in the proximity of power lines was observed by both methods of exposure assessment. The authors conclude that the results indicate no association between the occurence of childhood cancer and either the proximity or the magnetic field strenghts of overhead power lines.

Limitations (acc. to author)

The results are limited by the small number of children living close to overhead powerlines.

Study funded by

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