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Case-control Study of Mobile Phone Base Stations and Early Childhood Cancers

Elliott, Paul; Toledano, Mireille B.; Bennett, James E.; Beale, Linda; de Hoogh, Kees; Best, Nicky; Briggs, David J.

doi: 10.1097/01.ede.0000391823.58224.ce
Abstracts: ISEE 22nd Annual Conference, Seoul, Korea, 28 August–1 September 2010: Noise, Emerging Environmental Problems and Health

Small Area Health Statistics Unit, Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, MRC-HPA Centre for Environment and Health, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom.

Abstracts published in Epidemiology have been reviewed by the societies at whose meetings the abstracts have been accepted for presentation. These abstracts have not undergone review by the Editorial Board of Epidemiology.


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There are public concerns and scientific uncertainties about possible health risks associated with living near mobile phone base stations. This study aims to investigate risk of early childhood cancers associated with macrocell mobile phone base station exposures during pregnancy.

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This national case-control study across Great Britain, 1999–2001, included 1397 cancer cases ages 0–4 from the national cancer registry and 5588 birth controls from the national birth register, individually matched by sex and date of birth (4 controls per case). Three exposure metrics were estimated for the birth address of each case and control: (1) Distance (m) from the nearest mobile phone base station; (2) Total power output (kW) from summation across all base stations within 700 m; (3) Modeled power density (dBm) computed at each birth address for base stations within 1400 m, using a semi-Gaussian propagation model. The main outcome measures were brain and central nervous system cancers (International Classification of Disease C71–C72), leukemia and nonHodgkin lymphomas (C91–C95, C82–C85), and all cancers combined (C00–C96), adjusted for small-area measures of education level, socioeconomic deprivation, population density, and population mixing.

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Preliminary results indicated that mean distance of birth address from a macrocell base station based on a national database of 76,890 base station antennas, 1996–2001, was similar for cases (1107 [SE: 30] m) and controls (1073 [SE: 15] m, P = 0.31), as was total power output of base stations and modeled power density. Full results will be presented at the conference.

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Preliminary results suggested no association between risk of early childhood cancers and estimated mobile phone base station exposure during pregnancy.

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