A recent study examining the relationship between distance to nearby power lines and childhood cancer risk re-opened the debate about which exposure metrics are appropriate for power frequency magnetic field investigations. Using data from two large population-based UK and German studies we demonstrate that distance to power lines is a comparatively poor predictor of measured residential magnetic fields. Even at proximities of 50 m or less, the positive predictive value of having ahousehold measurement over 0.2 μT was only 19.4%. Clearly using distance from power lines, without taking account of other variables such as load, results in a poor proxy of residential magnetic field exposure. We conclude that such high levels of exposure misclassification render the findings from studies that rely on distance alone uninterpretable. Bioelectromagnetics 30:183-188,2009.
- Childhood cancer
- Exposure assessment