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Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 1996 Jan;10(1):32-8.

Case-control study on maternal residential proximity to high voltage power lines and congenital anomalies in France.

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Registry of Congenital Malformations, Institut Europeen des Genomutations, Lyon, France.


The literature indicates that exposure to electro-magnetic fields (EMF) may result in an increased incidence of cancer and spontaneous abortion. The aim of the present study was to determine whether living closer to high voltage power lines (HVPL) increased the risk of congenital anomalies. We studied residential exposure in any municipality in the Central-East Region of France where there was at least one residence within 500 metres of a HVPL. This was a matched case-control design. The cases consisted of all children with congenital anomalies, identified to the population-based registry in Central-East France between 1988-91. We chose two random controls, matched for birth year and municipality, for each case. For every case and control, we measured the distance from the HVPL to the maternal residence at the time of birth of the child as a surrogate for EMF exposure. Using 100 metres from an HVPL as the cut-point between exposure and non-exposure to electro-magnetic fields produced by HVPL, yielded an odds ratio of 0.95 (95% (confidence interval) CI: 0.45-2.03). Using 50 metres as the cut-point, yielded an OR of 1.25 (95% CI: 0.49-3.22). Among the 11 cases within 100 metres, there were 2 children with chromosomal anomalies, but otherwise there was no pattern in the occurrence of specific anomalies. These data indicate a lack of association between distance to HVPL and the total number of congenital anomalies. This study does not have enough statistical power to determine whether the prevalence of a specific congenital anomaly is significantly increased as a result of living near a HVPL.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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