Cancer Causes & Control

, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp 267–276 | Cite as

Extremely low-frequency electric and magnetic fields and cancer

  • Charles Poole
  • Dimitrios Trichopoulos

Key words

Brain cancer central nervous system cancers childhood cancer ELF-EMF leukemia 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Wertheimer N, Leeper E. Electrical wiring configurations and childhood cancer. Am J Epidemiol 1979; 109: 273–84.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Savitz DA, Calle EE. Leukemia and occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields: review of epidemiological surveys. J Occup Med 1987; 29: 47–51.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ahlbom A. A review of the epidemiologic literature on magnetic fields and cancer. Scand J Work Environ Health 1988; 14: 337–43.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Coleman M, Beral V. A review of epidemiological studies of the health effects of living near or working with electricity generation and transmission equipment. Int J Epidemiol 1988; 17: 1–13.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Nair I, Morgan G, Florig HK. Biological Effects of Power Frequency Electric and Magnetic Fields. Washington, DC: Office of Technology Assessment, 1989.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Savitz DA, Pearce NE, Poole C. Methodological issues in the epidemiology of electromagnetic fields and cancer. Epidemiol Rev 1989; 11: 59–78.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Brodeur P. Currents of Death: Power Lines, Computer Terminals, and the Attempt to Cover up Their Threat to Your Health. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Becker RO, Selden G. The Body Electric: Electromagnetism and the Foundation of Life. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1985.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Huber P. Electrophobia. Forbes 4 September 1989: 313.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Tomatis L, ed. Cancer: Causes, Occurrence and Control. Lyon: International Agency for Research on Cancer, 1990; IARC Sci. Pub. No. 100: 164.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Pool R. Flying blind: The making of EMF policy. Science 1990; 250: 23–5.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Tomenius L. 50-Hz electromagnetic environment and the incidence of childhood tumors in Stockholm County. Bioelectromagnetics 1986; 7: 191–207.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Savitz DA, Wachtel H, Barnes FA, John EM, Tvrdik JG. Case-control study of childhood cancer and exposure to 60-Hz magnetic fields. Am J Epidemiol 1988; 128: 21–38.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Savitz DA. Case-control Study of Childhood Cancer and Residential Exposure to Electric and Magnetic Fields. Contractor's Final Report, New York State Power Lines Project, Contract 218217, 30 March 1987.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Savitz DA. Supplement to the Contractor's Final Report: Case-control Study of Childhood Cancer and Residential Exposure to Electric and Magnetic Fields. New York State Power Lines Project, Contract 218217, 28 March 1988.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Savitz DA, John EM, Kleckner RC. Magnetic field exposure from electrical appliances and childhood cancer. Am J Epidemiol 1990; 131: 763–73.Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Wertheimer N, Leeper E, Adult cancer related to electrical wires near the home. Int J Epidemiol 1982; 11: 345–55.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Wertheimer N, Leeper E. Health effects of power lines (Letter). Science 1983; 222: 712–3.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Willett WC; Nutritional Epidemiology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Kaune WT, Stevens RG, Callahan NJ, Severson RK, Thomas DB. Residential magnetic and electric fields. Bioelectromagnetics 1987; 8: 315–35.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Barnes F, Wachtel H, Savitz D, et al. Use of wiring configuration and wiring codes for estimating externally generated electric and magnetic fields. Bioelectromagnetics 1989; 10: 13–21.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    World Health Organization. Environmental Health Criteria 35: Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) Fields. Geneva: WHO, 1984.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Edison Electric Institute. Historical Statistics of the Electric Utility Industry through 1970. EEI Publication No. 73-74, 1974.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Blakeslee S. Electric currents and leukemia show puzzling links in new study. The New York Times 8 February 1991: A16.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Savitz DA, Feingold L. Association of childhood cancer with residential traffic density. Scand J Work Environ Health 1989; 15: 360–3.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    John EM, Savitz DA, Sandler DP, Prenatal exposure to parents' smoking and childhood cancer. Am J Epidemiol 1991; 133, 123–32.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Davis MK, Savitz DA, Graubard BI. Infant feeding and childhood cancer. Lancet 1988; ii; 365–8.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Savitz DA, Zuckerman DL. Childhood cancer in the Denver metropolitan area. Cancer 1987; 59: 1539–42.Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Peterson GR, Milham SJ. Occupational Mortality in the State of California 1959–61. Cincinnati, OH: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1980, DHEW (NIOSH) Pub. No. 80–104.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Milham S Jr. Mortality from leukemia in workers exposed to electrical and magnetic fields (Letter). New Engl J Med 1982; 307: 249.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Wright WJ, Peters JM, Mack TM. Leukemia in workers exposed to electrical and magnetic fields (Letter). Lancet 1982; ii: 1160–1.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Coleman M, Bell J, Skeet R. Leukemia incidence in electrical workers (Letter). Lancet 1983; i: 982–3.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    McDowall M. Leukemia mortality in electrical workers in England and Wales (Letter). Lancet 1983; i: 246.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Swerdlow AJ. Epidemiology of eye cancer in adults in England and Wales, 1962–1977. Am J Epidemiol 1983; 118: 294–300.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Calle EE, Savitz DA. Leukemia in occupational groups with presumed exposure to electrical and magnetic fields (Letter). New Engl J Med 1985; 313: 1476–7.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Milham S. Jr Silent keys: leukemia mortality in amateur radio operators (Letter). Lancet 1985; i: 812.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Milham S. Jr Mortality in workers exposed to electromagnetic fields. Environ Health Perspec 1985; 62: 297–300.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    Gallagher RP, McBride ML, Band PR, Spinelli JJ, Threlfall WJ, Yang P. Occupational electromagnetic field exposure, solvent exposure, and leukemia (Letter). J Occup Med 1990; 32: 64–5.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Miettinen OS, Wang JD. An alternative to the proportionate mortality ratio. Am J Epidemiol 1981: 114: 144–8.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Wang JD, Miettinen OS. Occupational mortality studies. Principles of validity. Scand J Work Environ Health 1982; 8: 153–8.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Lin RS. Cancer mortality patterns among employees of telecommunication industry in Taiwan. (Meeting abstract) Biological effects from electric and magnetic fields, air ions, and ion currents associated with high voltage transmission lines: contractors review. 1–4 November 1987. Kansas City, MO. US Department of Energy and Electric Power Research Institute, 1988.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Dubrow R, Wegman DH. Occupational Characteristics of Cancer Victims in Massachusetts, 1971–1973. Cincinnati, OH: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1984; DHHS (NIOSH) Pub. No. 84–109.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Pearce NE, Sheppard RA, Howard JK, Fraser J, Lilley BM. Leukemia in electrical workers in New Zealand (Letter). Lancet 1985; i: 811–2.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Gilman PA, Ames RG, McCawley MA. Leukemia risk among US white male coal miners. J Occup Med 1985; 27: 669–71.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Lin RS, Dischinger PC, Conde J, Farrell KP. Occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields and the occurrence of brain tumors. J Occup Med 1985; 27: 413–9.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Stern FB, Waxweiler RA, Beaumont JJ, et al. A casecontrol study of leukemia at a naval nuclear shipyard. Am J Epidemiol 1986; 123: 980–92.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Flodin U, Fredriksson M, Axelson O, Persson B, Hardell L. Background radiation, electrical work, and some other exposures associated with acute myeloid leukemia in a case-referent study. Arch Environ Health 1986; 41: 77–84.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Thomas TL, Stolley PD, Stemhagen A, et al. Brain tumor mortality risk among men with electrical and electronics jobs: a case control study. JNCI 1987; 79: 233–8.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Magnani C, Coggon D, Osmond C, Acheson ED. Occupation and five cancers: a case-control study using death certificates. Br J Ind Med 1987; 44: 769–76.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Speers MA, Dobbins JG, Miller VS. Occupational exposures and brain cancer mortality: a preliminary study of East Texas residents. Am J Ind Med 1988; 13: 629–38.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Obrams GI. Leukemia in Telephone Linemen. University of Michigan Dissertation Service, 1988.Google Scholar
  52. 52.
    Preston-Martin S, Mack W, Henderson BE. Risk factors for gliomas and meningiomas in males in Los Angeles County. Cancer Res 1989; 49: 6137–43.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    Loomis DP, Savitz DA. Brain cancer and leukemia mortality among electrical workers (Abstract). Am J Epidemiol 1989: 130: 814.Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Reif JS, Pearce N, Fraser J. Occupational risks for brain cancer: a New Zealand cancer registry-based study. J Occup Med 1989: 10: 863–7.Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Pearce N, Reif J, Fraser J. Case control studies of cancer in New Zealand electrical workers. Int J Epidemiol 1989 18: 55–9.Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Verreault R, Weiss NS, Hollenbach KA, Strader CH, Daling JR. Use of electric blankets and risk of testicular cancer. Am J Epidemiol 1990; 131: 759–62.Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Lewis J. Employment in Electrical Occupations and the Risk of Neurological Tumors. Doctoral dissertation, University of Texas School of Public Health, 1990.Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Guralnick L. Mortality by Occupation and Cause of Death among Men 20 to 64 Years of Age: United States 1950. Us Government Printing Office, 1963: Vital Statistics: Special Reports, Vol. 52, No. 3.Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Wiklund K, Einhorn J, Eklund G. An application of the Swedish Cancer-Environment Registry. Leukemia among telephone operators at the Telecommunications Administration in Sweden. Int J Epidemiol 1981; 10: 373–6.Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Vagerö D, Olin R. Incidence of cancer in the electronics industry: using the new Swedish Cancer Environment Registry as a screening instrument. Br J Ind Med 1983; 40: 188–92.Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    Howe GR, Lindsay JP. A follow-up study of a tenpercent sample of the Canadian Labor Force. 1. Cancer mortality in males. JNCI 1983; 70: 37–44.Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Olin R, Vagerö D, Ahlbom A. Mortality experience of electrical engineers. Br J Ind Med 1985; 42: 211–2.Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    Blair A, Walrath J, Rogot E. Mortality patterns among U.S. veterans by occupation. I. Cancer. JNCI 1985; 75: 1039–47.Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    Vägerö D, Ahlbom A, Olin R, Sahlsten S. Cancer morbidity among workers in the telecommunications industry. Br J Ind Med 1985; 42: 191–5.Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    Barregard L, Jarvholm B, Ungethum E. Cancer among workers exposed to strong static magnetic fields (Letter). Lancet 1985; ii: 892.Google Scholar
  66. 66.
    Törnqvist S, Norell S, Ahlbom A, Knave B. Cancer in the electric power industry. Br J Ind Med 1986; 43: 212–3.Google Scholar
  67. 67.
    McLaughlin JK, Malker HSR, Blot WJ, et al. Occupational risks for intracranial gliomas in Sweden. JNCI 1987; 78; 253–7.Google Scholar
  68. 68.
    Milham S Jr. Increased mortality in amateur radio operators due to lymphatic and hematopoietic malignancies. Am J Epidemiol 1988; 127: 50–4.Google Scholar
  69. 69.
    Milham S Jr. Mortality by license class in amateur radio operators (Letter). Am J Epidemiol 1988; 128: 1175–6.Google Scholar
  70. 70.
    Linet MS, Malker HSR, McLaughlin JK, et al. Leukemias and occupation in Sweden: a registry-based analysis. Am J Ind Med 1988; 14: 319–30.Google Scholar
  71. 71.
    Juutilainen J, Pukkala E, Laara E. Results of an epidemiological cancer study among electrical workers in Finland. J Bioelectricity 1988: 7: 119–21.Google Scholar
  72. 72.
    De Guire L, Theriault G, Iturra H, Provencher SCD, Case BW. Increased incidence of malignant melanoma of the skin in workers in a telecommunications industry. Br J Ind Med 1988; 45: 824–8.Google Scholar
  73. 73.
    Guberan E, Usel M, Raymond L, Tissot R, Sweetnam PM. Disability, mortality, and incidence of cancer among Geneva painters and electricians. Br J Ind Med 1989; 46; 16–23.Google Scholar
  74. 74.
    Törnqvist S, Knave B, Ahlbom A, Persson T. Incidence of leukemia and brain tumours in some “electrical occupations”. Br J Ind Med (in press).Google Scholar
  75. 75.
    Garland FC, Shaw E, Gorham ED, Garland CF, White MR, Sinsheimer PJ. Incidence of leukemia in occupations with potential electromagnetic field exposure in United States Navy personnel. Am J Epidemiol 1990; 132: 293–303.Google Scholar
  76. 76.
    Flegal KM, Brownie C, Haas JD. The effects of exposure misclassification on estimates of relative risk. Am J Epidemiol 1986; 123: 736–51.Google Scholar
  77. 77.
    Hsieh C-c, Walter SD. The effect of non-differential exposure misclassification on estimates of the attributable and prevented fraction. Stat in Med 1988; 7: 1073–85.Google Scholar
  78. 78.
    Armstrong BG, Whittemore AS, Howe GR. Analysis of case-control data with covariate measurement error: application to diet and colon cancer. Stat in Med 1989; 8: 1151–63.Google Scholar
  79. 79.
    Rosner B, Willett WC, Spiegelman D. Correction of logistic regression relative risk estimates and confidence intervals for systematic within-person measurement error. Stat in Med 1989; 8: 1051–69.Google Scholar
  80. 80.
    National Institutes of Health. Cancer Statistics Review 1973–87. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, 1990; NIH Pub. No. 90–2789.Google Scholar
  81. 81.
    Doll R, Peto R. The causes of cancer: quantitative estimates of avoidable risks of cancer in the United States today. JNCI 1981; 66: 1191–308.Google Scholar
  82. 82.
    Devesa S, Silverman DT, Young JL, et al. Cancer incidence and mortality trends among whites in the United States, 1947–84. JNCI 1987; 79: 701–70.Google Scholar
  83. 83.
    Parkin DM, Stiller CA, Bieber A, Draper GJ, Terracini B, Young JL eds., International Incidence of Childhood Cancer. Lyon: International Agency for Research on Cancer, 1988; IARC Sci. Pub. No. 87.Google Scholar
  84. 84.
    Morgenstern H. Uses of ecologic analysis in epidemiologic research. Am J Public Health 1982; 72: 1336–44.Google Scholar
  85. 85.
    Juutilainen J. Liimatainen A. Mutation frequency in Salmonella exposed to weak 100-Hz magnetic fields. Hereditas 1986; 104: 145–7.Google Scholar
  86. 86.
    Blackman CF, Benane SG, Kinney LS, Joines WT, House DE. Effects of ELF fields on calcium-ion efflux from brain tissue in vitro. Rad Res 1982; 92: 510–20.Google Scholar
  87. 87.
    Blackman CF, Benane SG, Elliott DJ, House DE, Pollock MM. Influence of electromagnetic fields on the efflux of calcium ions from brain tissue in vitro: a threemodel analysis consistent with the frequency response up to 510 Hz. Bioelectromagnetics 1988; 9: 215–27.Google Scholar
  88. 88.
    Welker HA, Semm P, Willig RP, Commenty JC, Wiltschko W, Volbrath L. Effects of an artificial magnetic field on serotonin in N-acetyltransferase activity and melatonin content of the rat pineal gland. Exp Brain Res 1983; 50: 426–32.Google Scholar
  89. 89.
    Szmigielski S, Szudzinski A, Pletraszek A, Blelec M, Janiak M, Wrembel JK. Accelerated development of spontaneous and benzopyrene-induced skin cancer in mice exposed to 2,450 MHz microwave radiation. Bioelectromagnetics 1982; 3: 179–91.Google Scholar
  90. 90.
    Spitz MR, Johnson CC. Neuroblastoma and paternal occupation. A case-control analysis. Am J Epidemiol 1985 121: 924–9.Google Scholar
  91. 91.
    Wilkins JR, Koutras RA. Paternal occupation and brain cancer in offspring: a mortality-based case-control study. Am J Ind Med 1988; 14: 299–318.Google Scholar
  92. 92.
    Nasca PC, Baptiste MS, MacCubbin PA, et al. An epidemiologic case-control study of central nervous system tumors in children and parental occupational exposures. Am J Epidemiol 1988; 128: 1256–65.Google Scholar
  93. 93.
    Johnson CC, Spitz MR. Childhood nervous system tumors: an assessment of risk associated with paternal occupations involving use, repair or manufacture of electrical and electronic equipment. Int J Epidemiol 1989; 18: 756–62.Google Scholar
  94. 94.
    Bunin GR, Ward E, Kramer S, Rhee CA, Meadows AT. Neuroblastoma and parental occupation. Am J Epidemiol 1990; 131: 776–80.Google Scholar
  95. 95.
    Wilkins JR, Hundley VD. Paternal occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields and neuroblastoma in offspring. Am J Epidemiol 1990; 131: 995–1008.Google Scholar
  96. 96.
    Food and Drug Administration. Overview of the Literature on Electrical Bone Repair and Growth Stimulation. Rockville, MD: US Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, 1989; HHS Pub. FDA 90–8277.Google Scholar
  97. 97.
    Stuchly MA. Applications of time-varying magnetic fields in medicine. Biomedical Engineering 1990; 18: 89–124.Google Scholar
  98. 98.
    Monson RR. Editorial commentary: epidemiology and exposure to electromagnetic fields. Am J Epidemiol 1990; 131: 774–5.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Rapid Communications of Oxford Ltd 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles Poole
  • Dimitrios Trichopoulos

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations