Adult Glioma in Relation to Residential Power Frequency Electromagnetic Field Exposures in the San Francisco Bay Area

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In a population-based study, we examined residential power frequency electromagnetic field exposures for 492 adults newly diagnosed with histologically confirmed glioma between August 1, 1991 and April 30, 1994, in the San Francisco Bay area and 462 controls, obtained through random-digit dialing frequency, matched to cases for age, gender, and race. Residential exposure assessment consisted of spot measures with EMDEX (Enertech Consultants, Campbell, CA) meters and wire codes based on characterization and location of nearby power lines. We considered the index residence at the time of the case's diagnosis or the control's interview and all other California residences of each subject for 7 years before study entry. We obtained wire codes for eligible residences of 76% and for index residences of 99% of subjects. Using the Kaune-Savitz wire code classification, the relative risk for longest held residences coded as “high” compared with “low” was 0.9 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.7–1.3], while relative risk and 95% CIs for front door spot measures of 1.01–2 milligauss, 2.01–3 milligauss, and higher than 3 milligauss compared with ≤1 milligauss were 1.0 (0.7–1.4), 0.6 (0.3–1.1), and 1.7 (0.8–3.6). Adjustment for age, gender, race, and whether the subject owned the residence did not meaningfully alter these findings, nor did comparisons using index or highest coded residence. Because of potential exposure misclassification and the unknown pertinent exposure period, these data cannot provide strong support against, but clearly do not support an association between, adult glioma and residential power frequency electromagnetic field exposures.

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