Risk of leukaemia not greater for children living near powerful
18 October 2008
Children living in the vicinity of powerful radio and television
transmitters are not significantly more at risk of leukaemia than
others. This is one of the main results of the Epidemiological study
on childhood cancer and proximity to radio and television transmitters,
conducted by the Institute for Medical Biometry, Epidemiology and
Informatics (IMBEI), the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany,
for the Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS).
The study included 1,959 children aged 0-14 years, diagnosed with
primary leukaemia between 1984 and 2003, living in the surrounding of 16
amplitude-modulated (AM) and 8 frequency-modulated (FM) transmitters (UKW-/TV-transmitters).
The leukaemia cases were registered at the German childhood cancer
registry. Three age-, gender-, and transmitter area-matched controls per
case were drawn from population registries. The study design was defined
as case-control study without conducting interviews.
One of the basic elements of this study was the development of
methods for the assessment of individual exposures to radio and
television transmitter radiation one year before the actual diagnosis.
These exposure estimates were calculated with a field strength
prediction program. In a validation study, the exposure
misclassification was analyzed by using field measures as gold-standard
that were collected independently from the model used for field strength
calculation. There was a good agreement between measured and calculated
"There is no statistical significant association between the exposure
to high frequency electromagnetic fields from radio and television
transmitters (RF-EMF) and childhood leukaemia," says Dr Joachim Schuez,
director of the study. Neither is there an association between exposure
to RF-EMF fields and childhood leukaemia when the analysis was conducted
separately for AM and FM transmitters. The exposure time period was
defined from 1983 to 2002, dividing the observation period into
1983-1991 and 1992-2002, representing time periods before and after the
widespread use of mobile telecommunication.
Full study (in German)
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