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Epidemiology. 2003 Sep;14(5):514-20.

Electric blanket use and breast cancer on Long Island.

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Department of Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY, USA.



Exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) has been hypothesized to increase the risk of breast cancer by inhibiting the normal nocturnal rise in melatonin levels.


Information on electric blanket use was collected in a large, 2-stage, population-based, case-control investigation of breast cancer, The Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project (LIBCSP) and the EMF and Breast Cancer on Long Island Study (EBCLIS). The LIBCSP used a comprehensive questionnaire, including questions about electric appliance use, with responses available on 1354 cases diagnosed between mid-1996 and mid-1997 and 1426 control subjects. EBCLIS enrolled 576 cases and 585 control subjects who had participated in the LIBCSP and who had lived in their current homes for at least 15 years. EBCLIS participants were interviewed to obtain additional information on EMF exposures, including detailed questions on electric blanket use.


Analyses of both the EBCLIS and the LIBCSP groups showed no association with breast cancer for ever-use of electric blankets, current or former use, use directly on the body, or use throughout the night in either pre- or postmenopausal women (range of adjusted odds ratios for ever vs. never use: 0.9-1.2). Furthermore, there was no trend in risk with increased duration of use, frequency of use, or other indicators of more intense exposure to EMF. Electric blanket use was not associated with hormone receptor status of the tumor.


The results of this large investigation are consistent with those of most previous studies, and do not support the hypothesis that electric blanket use is associated with increased breast cancer risk.

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