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Am J Epidemiol. 1998 Sep 1;148(5):467-74.

Correlates of residential wiring code used in studies of health effects of residential electromagnetic fields.

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Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


The home wiring code is the most widely used metric for studies of residential electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure and health effects. Despite the fact that wiring code often shows stronger correlations with disease outcome than more direct EMF home assessments, little is known about potential confounders of the wiring code association. In a study carried out in southern Connecticut in 1988-1991, the authors used strict and widely used criteria to assess the wiring codes of 3,259 homes in which respondents lived. They also collected other home characteristics from the tax assessor's office, estimated traffic density around the home from state data, and interviewed each subject (2,967 mothers of reproductive age) for personal characteristics. Women who lived in very high current configuration wiring coded homes were more likely to be in manual jobs and their homes were older (built before 1949, odds ratio (OR) = 73.24, 95% confidence interval (CI) 29.53-181.65) and had lower assessed value and higher traffic densities (highest density quartile, OR = 3.99, 95% CI 1.17-13.62). Because some of these variables have themselves been associated with health outcomes, the possibility of confounding of the wiring code associations must be rigorously evaluated in future EMF research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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