Risks of leukaemia among residents close to high voltage transmission electric lines

Occup Environ Med. 1997 Sep;54(9):625-8. doi: 10.1136/oem.54.9.625.


Objectives: To reassess the risk of leukaemia associated with residential exposure near high voltage transmission electric lines of 49 kV and above in view of the recent publications.

Methods: Through a review of papers considering the risk of leukaemia among people living near high voltage transmission lines, the combined risks of leukaemia were calculated for distances < or = 50 m and < or = 25 m and for exposures at 2 mG, 3 mG, 4 mG, and 10 mG.

Results: The combined analysis of the contributive studies indicated an estimate of risk (odds ratio (OR)) for exposure > or = 2 mG of 1.3, 95% confidence interval (95%CI) 1.0 to 1.7. The ORs increased with exposures at 3 mG, 4 mG, and 10 mG. The risks were also increased for distances of 50 and 25 m from the lines.

Conclusions: This meta-analysis tends to confirm the presence of an association between exposure to magnetic fields and leukaemia among people who reside in the vicinity of high voltage transmission electric lines of > or = 49 kV. There is consistency across studies. Measures of exposure used in the studies were either distance from the lines or calculated fields estimated from pertinent line features. The results apply to adults as well as to children.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Electric Wiring*
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Leukemia, Radiation-Induced / etiology*
  • Odds Ratio