A cohort study on adult hematological malignancies and brain tumors in relation to magnetic fields from indoor transformer stations

Muhammad Waseem Khan, Jukka Juutilainen, Anssi Auvinen, Jonne Naarala, Eero Pukkala, Päivi Roivainen

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Abstract

Extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields (MF) have been classified as possibly carcinogenic. This classification was mainly based on studies indicating increased risk of leukemia in children living near power lines. Increased risks of adult hematological malignancies and brain tumors have also been reported, but the results are mixed. We assessed incidence of adult hematological malignancies and brain tumors associated with residential MF exposure. All cohort members had lived in buildings with indoor transformer stations (TS). MF exposure was assessed based on apartment location. Out of the 256,372 individuals, 9,636 (165,000 person-years of follow-up) living in apartments next to TSs were considered as exposed. Associations between MF exposure and neoplasms were examined using Cox proportional hazard models. The hazard ratio (HR) for MF exposure ≥ 1 month was below one for most hematological neoplasms (HR for any hematological neoplasm: 0.75; 95% CI: 0.54–1.03), and decreased with increasing duration of exposure (HR for exposure ≥ 10 years: 0.47; 95% CI: 0.22–0.99). However, the HR for acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) was 2.86 (95% CI: 1.00–8.15), based on 4 exposed cases; the risk increased with duration of exposure (HR for exposure ≥3 years: 3.61; 95% CI: 1.05–12.4) and was particularly associated with childhood exposure (2 exposed cases, HR for exposure during the first two years of life: 11.5; 95% CI: 1.92–68.9). The HR for meningioma was 0.46 (95% CI: 0.19–1.11), with no evidence of exposure-response gradient with increasing duration of exposure. The HR for glioma was 1.47 (95% CI: 0.84–2.57). The hypothesis of a positive association between ELF MFs and adult hematological malignancies was supported only for ALL. The results suggested decreased rather than increased risk of most hematological neoplasms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113712
JournalINTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HYGIENE AND ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Volume233
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Glioma
  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Meningioma
  • Residential ELF MF exposure

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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