Residential Exposure to 60-Hertz Magnetic Fields and Adult Cancers in Taiwan

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We conducted a case-control study, using matching on date of birth, sex, and date of diagnosis, in northern Taiwan to evaluate the risks of adult leukemia, brain tumors, and female breast cancers in relation to residential exposure to 60-Hertz (Hz) magnetic fields. Cases were persons with newly diagnosed cancers reported to the cancer registry between 1987 and 1992, and controls were persons with cancers of sites other than those previously suspected of being associated with magnetic fields. Magnetic fields in the residences occupied by the study subjects at the time of diagnosis were estimated from high-voltage transmission lines. The results were based on the separate analysis of 870 cases of leukemia, 577 brain tumors, and 1,980 female breast cancers. We estimated the risk of leukemia among those exposed to magnetic fields of >0.2 microtesla (μT), relative to the risk among those exposed to fields of <0.1 μT; the odds ratio was 1.4 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.0–1.9]. For distance <50 meters relative to ≥100 meters, the relative risk was 2.0 (95% CI = 1.4–2.9). For brain tumors and female breast cancers, the odds ratios were close to unity.

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