Power-Frequency Electric and Magnetic Fields and Risk of Childhood Leukemia in Canada

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In a case-control study of childhood leukemia in relation to exposure to power-frequency electric and magnetic fields (EMF), 399 children resident in five Canadian provinces who were diagnosed at ages 0-14 years between 1990 and 1994 (June 1995 in British Columbia and Quebec) were enrolled, along with 399 controls. Exposure assessment included 48-hour personal EMF measurement, wire coding and magnetic field measurements for subjects' residences from conception to diagnosis/reference date, and a 24-hour magnetic field bedroom measurement. Personal magnetic fields were not related to risk of leukemia (adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 0.95, p for trend = 0.73) or acute lymphatic leukemia (OR = 0.93, p for trend = 0.64). There were no clear associations with predicted magnetic field exposure 2 years before the diagnosis/reference date or over the subject's lifetime or with personal electric field exposure. A statistically nonsignificant elevated risk of acute lymphatic leukemia was observed with very high wiring configurations among residences of subjects 2 years before the diagnosis/reference date (OR = 1.72 compared with underground wiring, 95% confidence interval 0.54-5.45). These results provide little support for a relation between power-frequency EMF exposure and risk of childhood leukemia.

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