Leukemia Linked To EMF

Leading Epidemiologists See Childhood Leukemia Linked to EMF

September/October 2000

A pooled analysis of raw data from nine different electromagnetic field (EMF) studies has found that children exposed to 4 mG or more were twice as likely to develop leukemia. There was no excess risk at lower exposures.

“The level of [statistical] significance that we see for the excess risk at high exposure makes chance an unlikely explanation,” an international team of leading epidemiologists writes in the September issue of the British Journal of Cancer (83,p.692-698, 2000).

Led by Dr. Anders Ahlbom of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, the study team includes Drs. Nicholas Day of the U.K., Maria Feychting of Sweden, Martha Linet of the U.S., Mary McBride of Canada, Jörg Michaelis of Germany, Jørgen Olsen of Denmark, Tore Tynes of Norway and Pia Verkasalo of Finland, each of whom has led an important study in his or her own country.

The new findings are similar to those announced last year by Dr. Sander Greenland of the University of California, Los Angeles (see MWN,S/O99), in an analysis that combined data from many of the same studies. “It’s a pretty consistent picture. It’s more consistent than one would have any right to expect, given the differences in how these studies were carried out,” Greenland told Microwave News this September. ” The main point is, you don’t see anything until you get into the higher categories.” Greenland’s findings will be published in the November issue of Epidemiology.

The Ahlbom and Greenland papers reflect a growing consensus on the apparent association between magnetic fields and childhood leukemia. But there is no consensus on what those data mean.