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0090 Magnetic field exposures and brain tumour and leukaemia risks in UK electricity generation and transmission workers, 1973–2010
  1. Tom Sorahan
  1. University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK

Abstract

Objectives To investigate whether brain tumour or leukaemia risks are related to occupational exposure to low-frequency magnetic fields.

Method Brain tumour and leukaemia risks experienced by 73 051 UK electricity supply industry workers were investigated for the period 1973–2010. All employees were hired in the period 1952–1982 and were employed for at least six months with some employment in the period 1973–1982. Detailed calculations had been performed to assess exposures to magnetic fields. Poisson regression was used to calculate relative risks (rate ratios) of developing a brain tumour (or glioma or meningioma) or leukaemia (or its sub-types) for categories of lifetime, distant (lagged) and recent (lugged) exposure.

Results Findings for gliomas, all brain tumours combined, and all leukaemia were unexceptional; risks were close to (or below) unity for all exposure categories. There were no significant dose-response effects shown for meningioma, but there was some evidence of elevated risks in the three highest exposure categories for distant exposures. There were no significant dose-response effects shown for the main leukaemia sub-types, but there was a significant positive trend for acute lymphocytic leukaemia (ALL). National comparisons indicated that the limited associations shown for meningioma and ALL were based, in the main, on unusually low risks in the lowest exposure category.

Conclusions The findings are consistent with the hypotheses that both distant and recent magnetic field exposures are not causally related to gliomas or to the main leukaemia sub-types. The limited positive findings for meningioma and ALL may be chance findings; national comparisons argue against a causal interpretation.

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