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12-09-2017 | Pediatric leukemia | Article

Residential magnetic fields exposure and childhood leukemia: a population-based case–control study in California

Cancer Causes & Control

Authors: Leeka Kheifets, Catherine M. Crespi, Chris Hooper, Myles Cockburn, Aryana T. Amoon, Ximena P. Vergara

Publisher: Springer International Publishing



Studies have reported an increased risk of childhood leukemia associated with exposure to magnetic fields. We conducted a large records-based case–control study of childhood leukemia risk and exposure to magnetic fields from power lines in California.


The study included 5,788 childhood leukemia cases (born in and diagnosed in California 1986–2008) matched to population-based controls on age and sex. We calculated magnetic fields at birth addresses using geographic information systems, aerial imagery, historical information on load and phasing, and site visits.


Based on unconditional logistic regression controlling for age, sex, race/ethnicity, and socioeconomic status using subjects geocoded to a basic standard of accuracy, we report a slight risk deficit in two intermediate exposure groups and a small excess risk in the highest exposure group (odds ratio of 1.50 (95% confidence interval [0.70, 3.23])). Subgroup and sensitivity analyses as well as matched analyses gave similar results. All estimates had wide confidence intervals.


Our large, statewide, record-based case–control study of childhood leukemia in California does not in itself provide clear evidence of risk associated with greater exposure to magnetic fields from power lines, but could be viewed as consistent with previous findings of increased risk.

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