We conducted a study to examine the risk of leukemia between 1987 and 1992 among children living near high-voltage transmission lines (HVTL) in three urban districts of northern Taiwan. Twenty-eight cases of leukemia among some 120,696 children aged 14 years or less were reported to the national cancer registry between 1987 and 1992. Compared with children living in households more than 100 meters away from HVTL, children living in households less than 100 meters from HVTL experienced an essentially elevated risk of leukemia (7 versus 2.88, standardized incidence ratio [SIR] = 2.43, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.98-5.01). The elevated risk stands when compared with all children of Taiwan alternatively (7 versus 2.60, SIR = 2.69, 95% CI = 1.08-5.55). Such elevated risk was particularly noteworthy among children aged 5-9 years. The findings suggest that children living near HVTL tend to experience an elevated risk of leukemia. Further investigations are undoubtedly needed to unveil whether such tendency may have implied the putative association between exposure to elevated magnetic fields and risk of childhood leukemia.
From the Department of Public Health, College of Medicine, Fu-Jen Catholic University, Taipei Hsien, Taiwan (Dr Li); the Institute of Epidemiology, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan (Mr Lee, Dr Lin).
Address correspondence to: Chung-Yi Li, PhD, Department of Public Health, College of Medicine, Fu Jen Catholic University, 510, Chung Cheng Rd, Hsinchuang, Taipei Hsien, 24205 Taiwan.