Investigation of increased incidence in childhood leukemia near radio towers in Hawaii: preliminary observations

J Environ Pathol Toxicol Oncol. 1994;13(1):33-7.


Twelve children from the Waianae Coast, Hawaii, were diagnosed with acute leukemia from 1979 to 1990. The standardized incidence ratio (SIR) of 2.09 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.08 to 3.65) indicates a significant increase. Seven cases occurred between 1982 and 1984 and were unusual in terms of sex, age, and type of leukemia. A case-control study (12 cases, 48 matched controls) explored risk factors, including parents' occupation, X-ray exposure, domestic smoking, family and medical histories, and distance of children's residence locations to low frequency radio towers. The odds ratio (OR) for having lived within 2.6 miles of the radio towers before diagnosis was 2.0 (95% CI 0.06 to 8.3). The clustering may have been a chance event, but because of its peculiar characteristics, we feel it should be noted.

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hawaii / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / epidemiology*
  • Leukemia, Myeloid, Acute / etiology*
  • Male
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / epidemiology*
  • Precursor Cell Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Lymphoma / etiology*
  • Radio Waves / adverse effects*
  • Registries
  • Risk Factors