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Residential exposure to electromagnetic fields during pregnancy and risk of child cancer: A longitudinal cohort study

Auger, Nathalie, Bilodeau-Bertrand, Marianne, Marcoux, Sophie, Kosatsky, Tom
Environmental research 2019 v.176 pp. 108524
childhood, children, cohort studies, confidence interval, electromagnetic field, neonates, neoplasms, power lines, pregnancy, regression analysis, risk, Quebec
We assessed whether exposure to electromagnetic fields during pregnancy increases the risk of childhood cancer.We studied a retrospective cohort of 784,944 newborns in Quebec, Canada between 2006 and 2016 who were followed for cancer one decade after birth. The exposures were residential distance to the nearest high voltage power transformer station and transmission line. We determined the incidence of childhood cancer, and estimated hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals (CI) in Cox proportional hazards regression models adjusted for maternal and birth characteristics.There were 1114 incident cases of cancer during 4,647,472 person-years of follow-up. Residential proximity to transformer stations was associated with a somewhat greater risk of cancer, but there was no association with transmission lines. Compared with 200 m, a distance of 80 m from a transformer station was associated with a hazard ratio of 1.08 (95% CI 0.98, 1.20) for any cancer, 1.04 (95% CI 0.88, 1.23) for hematopoietic cancer, and 1.11 (95% CI 0.99, 1.25) for solid tumours.Residential proximity to transformer stations is associated with a borderline risk of childhood cancer, but the absence of an association with transmission lines suggests no causal link.