Skip to main content


Kaune, William T.; Dovan, T.; Kavet, Robert; Savitz, David A.; & Neutra, Raymond R. (2002). Study of High- and Low-Current-Configuration Homes from the 1988 Denver Childhood Cancer Study. Bioelectromagnetics, 23(3), 177-188.


An epidemiological study conducted by Savitz et al. reported that residential wire codes were more strongly associated with childhood cancer than were measured magnetic fields, a peculiar result because wire codes were originally developed to be a surrogate for residential magnetic fields. The primary purpose of the study reported here, known as the Back to Denver (BTD) study, was to obtain data to help in the interpretation of the original results of Savitz et al. The BTD study included 81 homes that had been occupied by case and control subjects of Savitz et al., stratified by wire code as follows: 18 high current configuration (HCC) case homes; 20 HCC control homes; 20 low current configuration (LCC) case homes; and 23 LCC control homes. Analysis of new data acquired in these homes led to the following previously unpublished conclusions. The home-averaged (i.e., mean of fields measured in subjects' bedrooms, family/living rooms, and rooms where meals normally eaten) spot 60 Hz, 180 Hz, and harmonic (i.e., 60-420 Hz) magnetic fields were associated with wire codes. The 180 Hz and harmonic components, but not the 60 Hz component, were associated with case/control status. Measured static magnetic fields were only weakly correlated (rapproximately 0.2) between rooms in homes. The BTD data provide little support for, but are too sparse to definitively test, the 1995 resonance hypothesis proposed by Bowman et al. Case and control homes had similar concentrations of copper in their tap water. Copper concentration was not associated with wire codes nor with the level of electric current carried by a home's water pipe. These results of the BTD study suggest that future case/control studies investigating power frequency magnetic fields might wish to include measurements of 180 Hz or harmonic magnetic fields in order to examine their associations (if any) with disease status.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title



Kaune, William T.
Dovan, T.
Kavet, Robert
Savitz, David A.
Neutra, Raymond R.