A cross-sectional study was carried out to assess the growth of 780 children of both sexes, aged between 0-12 years, and living at two different areas in Ismailia, Egypt, with approximately similar socioeconomic standards. Based on a designed questionaire, the exposed group was formed of 390 children from the Abu Sultan area. They were chosen from families living within 50 meters nearby high voltage electric power lines. Another 390 children from the El-Sheikh Zayed area were chosen as the control group. Standard anthropometric measurements were carried out for each child. Plain X-ray was done on the hands of 200 randomly selected children from both groups (100 each) to assess their bone maturation. In the exposed group the weight was significantly decreased only at birth, while the circumferences of the head and chest as well as the height were significantly reduced at all studied ages. The radiological study revealed a significant delay in carpal bone ossification of the exposed children.
In conclusion: Exposure to low frequency electromagnetic fields emerged from high voltage electric power lines increases the incidence of growth retardation of children. Isolating these power lines in a scientific way in order to shield both the magnetic and electric fields or removing them far away from the inhabitant areas is recommended.