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Epidemiology. 2002 Jan;13(1):45-9.

Childhood leukemia and magnetic fields in infant incubators.

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  • 1Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


In studies of magnetic field exposure and childhood leukemia, power lines and other electrical installations close to the children's homes constitute the most extensively studied source of exposure. We conducted a study to assess whether exposure to magnetic fields in infant incubators is associated with an increased leukemia risk. We identified all children with leukemia born in Sweden between 1973 and 1989 from the national Cancer Registry and selected at random one control per case, individually matched by sex and time of birth, from the study base. We retrieved information about treatment in infant incubators from medical records. We made measurements of the magnetic fields inside the incubators for each incubator model kept by the hospitals. Exposure assessment was based on measurements of the magnetic field level inside the incubator, as well as on the length of treatment. For acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the risk estimates were close to unity for all exposure definitions. For acute myeloid leukemia, we found a slightly elevated risk, but with wide confidence intervals and with no indication of dose response. Overall, our results give little evidence that exposure to magnetic fields inside infant incubators is associated with an increased risk of childhood leukemia.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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