EMF Health-effects Research

Cancer incidence near radio and television transmitters in Great Britain. II. All high power transmitters.

Dolk H, Elliott P, Shaddick G, Walls P, Thakrar B,

Am J Epidemiol 145(1):10-17, 1997

All high power transmitters. Am J Epidemiol 145(1):10-17, 1997. A small area study of cancer incidence, 1974-1986, near 20 high power television (TV) and frequency modulation (FM) radio transmitters in Great Britain was carried out to place in context the findings of an earlier study around the Sutton Coldfield transmitter. The national database of postcoded cancer registrations was used with population and socioeconomic data from the 1981 census.

Cancers examined were adult leukemias, skin melanoma, and bladder cancer, following the findings in the earlier study of significant declines in risk of these cancers with distance from the Sutton Coldfield transmitter. Childhood leukemia and brain cancer were also examined. Statistical analysis was performed for all transmitters combined, four overlapping groups of transmitters defined by their transmission characteristics, and for all transmitters separately. There were 3,305 adult leukemia cases from 0-10 km (observed/expected (O/E) ratio = 1.03, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.00-1.07).

A decline in risk of adult leukemia was found for all transmitters combined (p = 0.05), two of the transmitter groups, and three of the single transmitters; for all transmitters combined, observed excess risk was no more than 15% at any distance up to 10 km, and there was no observed excess within 2 km of transmitters (O/E ratio = 0.97, 95% CI 0.78-1.21). For childhood leukemia and brain cancer, and adult skin melanoma and bladder cancer, results were not indicative of a decline in risk with distance from transmitters.

The magnitude and pattern of risk found in the Sutton Coldfield study did not appear to be replicated. The authors conclude that the results at most give no more than very weak support to the Sutton Coldfield findings.

Additional Web Notes

This is the second of the Dolk studies which only provided very low level support for the first. See also the first

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