Study type: Epidemiological study (observational study)

Childhood leukemia and electromagnetic fields: results of a population-based case-control study in Germany. epidem.

Published in: Cancer Causes Control 1997; 8 (2): 167-174

Aim of study (acc. to author)

The association between residential extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields and childhood leukemia was investigated in a population-based case-control study in Germany.

Further details

Exposure to magnetic fields were estimated by two different methods of exposure assessment: measurement of the magnetic field over a period of 24 hours in the child's bedroom at the residence where the child had been living for the longest period before date of diagnosis, and spot measurements at all residences where the child had been living for more than one year. Exposure was categorized in high (0.2 µT and more) and low ( below 0.2 µT).

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

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

Exposure

Assessment

Exposure groups

Group Description
Reference group 1 median of 24h-measurement in the child's bedroom: < 0.2 µT
Group 2 median of 24h-measurement in the child's bedroom: ≥ 0.2 µT
Reference group 3 mean of 24h-measurement in the child's bedroom: < 0.2 µT
Group 4 mean of 24h-measurement in the child's bedroom: ≥ 0.2 µT
Reference group 5 median during night: < 0.2 µT
Group 6 median during night: ≥ 0.2 µT
Reference group 7 mean of medians of 24h-measurements in the child's bedroom and livingroom: < 0.2 µT
Group 8 mean of medians of 24h-measurements in the child's bedroom and livingroom: ≥ 0.2 µT
Reference group 9 spot measurement at residence where the child lived longest: < 0.2 µT
Group 10 spot measurement at residence where the child lived longest: ≥ 0.2 µT
Reference group 11 maximum of spot measurement at all residences where the child lived for > 1 year: < 0.2 µT
Group 12 maximum of spot measurement at all residences where the child lived for > 1 year: ≥ 0.2 µT

Population

Case group

Control group

Study size

Cases Controls
Eligible 219 -
Evaluable 129 328
Statistical analysis method: (adjustment: )

Conclusion (acc. to author)

The median of the 24h-measurement in the child's bedroom was regarded as the most valid exposure variable.
A non-significantly elevated risk for the median of the 24h-measurement in the child's bedroom above 0.2 µT was observed, based on 4 cases and 3 controls. The results, although not statistically significant, may indicate a positive association between magnetic fields and childhood leukemia.

Limitations (acc. to author)

Only 1.5 % of the study population were exposed to magnetic fields above 0.2 µT.

Study funded by

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