Objective: To investigate the risk of early childhood cancers associated with the mother's exposure to radiofrequency from and proximity to macrocell mobile phone base stations (masts) during pregnancy.
Design: Case-control study.
Setting: Cancer registry and national birth register data in Great Britain.
Participants: 1397 cases of cancer in children aged 0-4 from national cancer registry 1999-2001 and 5588 birth controls from national birth register, individually matched by sex and date of birth (four controls per case).
Main outcome measures: Incidence of cancers of the brain and central nervous system, leukaemia, and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas, and all cancers combined, adjusted for small area measures of education level, socioeconomic deprivation, population density, and population mixing.
Results: Mean distance of registered address at birth from a macrocell base station, based on a national database of 76,890 base station antennas in 1996-2001, was similar for cases and controls (1107 (SD 1131) m v 1073 (SD 1130) m, P=0.31), as was total power output of base stations within 700 m of the address (2.89 (SD 5.9) kW v 3.00 (SD 6.0) kW, P=0.54) and modelled power density (-30.3 (SD 21.7) dBm v -29.7 (SD 21.5) dBm, P=0.41). For modelled power density at the address at birth, compared with the lowest exposure category the adjusted odds ratios were 1.01 (95% confidence interval 0.87 to 1.18) in the intermediate and 1.02 (0.88 to 1.20) in the highest exposure category for all cancers (P=0.79 for trend), 0.97 (0.69 to 1.37) and 0.76 (0.51 to 1.12), respectively, for brain and central nervous system cancers (P=0.33 for trend), and 1.16 (0.90 to 1.48) and 1.03 (0.79 to 1.34) for leukaemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (P=0.51 for trend).
Conclusions: There is no association between risk of early childhood cancers and estimates of the mother's exposure to mobile phone base stations during pregnancy.