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Kaune, William T.; Feychting, Maria; Ahlbom, Anders; Ulrich, R. M.; & Savitz, David A. (1998). Temporal Characteristics of Transmission-Line Loadings in the Swedish Childhood Cancer Study. Bioelectromagnetics, 19(6), 354-365.


A recent study conducted in Sweden reported that 1) leukemia risk in children who lived near 220 or 400 kV electric-power transmission lines was associated with calculated historical magnetic field levels; 2) children living within a distance of 50 m of transmission lines had an elevated risk of leukemia; and 3) there was no association between leukemia and residential magnetic fields measured many years after diagnosis. Subsequently, these investigators found through logistic regression analysis that disease was more strongly associated with calculated historical fields than with distance. Since the calculated historical fields in that study depended predominantly on distance and transmission-line load current, the logistic regression results suggest that historical load current plays an important role in the epidemiological results. Thus, we studied hourly 1974 load-current data for six transmission lines, and we examined 1958-1985 annual load-current data for 112 transmission lines. Most lines exhibited marked diurnal load-current rhythms during 1974, and all six showed systematic weekday-weekend differences. During 1958-1985, average loadings of Swedish 220 and 400 kV lines increased by about 1.3% year. Predictive-value and kappa-statistic analyses indicated that Swedish transmission-line load currents were not stable over long periods, so that contemporaneous load current (or a contemporary magnetic field measurement) was not a good surrogate for historical load current (or historical magnetic fields). The results provide a potential explanation of the failure of the Swedish Study to find an association between leukemia and contemporaneous magnetic field levels measured many years after the etiologic period, and suggest that the inclusion of load-current data could significantly improve the quality of historical field calculations.


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Kaune, William T.
Feychting, Maria
Ahlbom, Anders
Ulrich, R. M.
Savitz, David A.