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Am J Epidemiol. 2014 Apr 1;179(7):843-51. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwt442. Epub 2014 Feb 19.

Exposure to radio-frequency electromagnetic fields from broadcast transmitters and risk of childhood cancer: a census-based cohort study.


We investigated the association between exposure to radio-frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) from broadcast transmitters and childhood cancer. First, we conducted a time-to-event analysis including children under age 16 years living in Switzerland on December 5, 2000. Follow-up lasted until December 31, 2008. Second, all children living in Switzerland for some time between 1985 and 2008 were included in an incidence density cohort. RF-EMF exposure from broadcast transmitters was modeled. Based on 997 cancer cases, adjusted hazard ratios in the time-to-event analysis for the highest exposure category (>0.2 V/m) as compared with the reference category (<0.05 V/m) were 1.03 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.74, 1.43) for all cancers, 0.55 (95% CI: 0.26, 1.19) for childhood leukemia, and 1.68 (95% CI: 0.98, 2.91) for childhood central nervous system (CNS) tumors. Results of the incidence density analysis, based on 4,246 cancer cases, were similar for all types of cancer and leukemia but did not indicate a CNS tumor risk (incidence rate ratio = 1.03, 95% CI: 0.73, 1.46). This large census-based cohort study did not suggest an association between predicted RF-EMF exposure from broadcasting and childhood leukemia. Results for CNS tumors were less consistent, but the most comprehensive analysis did not suggest an association.


broadcast transmitters; central nervous system tumors; childhood leukemia; childhood neoplasms; electromagnetic fields; radio waves

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