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Revista Brasileira de Epidemiologia

Print version ISSN 1415-790X


MARCILIO, Izabel; GOUVEIA, Nelson; PEREIRA FILHO, Mário Leite  and  KHEIFETS, Leeka. Adult mortality from leukemia, brain cancer, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and magnetic fields from power lines: a case-control study in Brazil. Rev. bras. epidemiol. [online]. 2011, vol.14, n.4, pp.580-588. ISSN 1415-790X.

Recent publications renewed interest in assessing potential health risks for subjects living close to transmission lines. This study aimed at evaluating the association of both distance of home address to the nearest overhead transmission line and of the calculated magnetic fields from the power lines and mortality from leukemia, brain cancer, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. We carried out a death certificate based case-control study accessing adult mortality in the Metropolitan Region of São Paulo, in Brazil. Analysis included 1,857 cases of leukemia, 2,357 of brain cancer, 367 of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and 4,706 as controls. An increased risk for mortality from leukemia among adults living at closer distances to transmission lines compared to those living further then 400 m was found. Risk was higher for subjects that lived within 50 m from power lines (OR=1.47; 95% CI=0.99-2.18). Similarly, a small increase in leukemia mortality was observed among adults living in houses with higher calculated magnetic fields (OR=1.61; 95% CI=0.91-2.86 for those exposed to magnetic fields >0.3 µT). No increase was seen for brain tumours or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Our findings are suggestive of a higher risk for leukemia among subjects living closer to transmission lines, and for those living at homes with higher calculated magnetic fields, although the risk was limited to lower voltage lines.

Keywords : Electromagnetic fields; Leukemia; Brain cancer.

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