Objective Photoinduced radical reactions have a fundamental role in skin cancer induced by ultraviolet radiation, and changes in radical reactions have also been proposed as a mechanism for the putative carcinogenic effects of extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields (MFs). We assessed the association of melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma with residential MF exposure.
Methods All cohort members had lived in buildings with indoor transformer stations (TSs) during the period from 1971 to 2016. MF exposure was assessed based on apartment location. Out of the 225 492 individuals, 8617 (149 291 person-years of follow-up) living in apartments next to TSs were considered as exposed, while individuals living on higher floors of the same buildings were considered as referents. Associations between MF exposure and skin cancers were examined using Cox proportional hazard models.
Results The HR for MF exposure ≥6 month was 1.05 (95% CI 0.72 to 1.53) for melanoma and 0.94 (95% CI 0.55 to 1.61) for squamous cell carcinoma. Analysis of the age at the start of residence showed an elevated HR (2.55, 95% CI 1.15 to 5.69) for melanoma among those who lived in the apartments when they were less than 15 years old. This finding was based on seven exposed cases.
Conclusions The results of this study suggested an association between childhood ELF MF exposure and adult melanoma. This is in agreement with previous findings suggesting that the carcinogenic effects of ELF MFs may be associated particularly with childhood exposure.
- electromagnetic fields
- environmental Exposure
Data availability statement
Data may be obtained from a third party and are not publicly available.
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Contributors MWK, JJ and PR designed the study, acquired funding and analysed the data. PR acquired the data. MWK and JJ drafted the manuscript. All authors critically reviewed the draft for important intellectual content and agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
Funding This work was supported by University of Eastern Finland's Doctoral Programme on Environmental Physics, Health and Biology and Higher Education Commission Pakistan Overseas Scholarship (to MWK). Award/grant numbers not applicable.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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