Extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields and cancer: How source of funding affects results.
Environ Res. 2019 Nov ;178:108688. Epub 2019 Aug 24. PMID: 31476684
David O Carpenter
While there has been evidence indicating that excessive exposure to magnetic fields from 50 to 60 Hz electricity increases risk of cancer, many argue that the evidence is inconsistent and inconclusive. This is particularly the case regarding magnetic field exposure and childhood leukemia. A major goal of this study is to examine how source of funding influences the reported results and conclusions. Several meta-analyses dating from about 2000 all report significant associations between exposure and risk of leukemia. By examining subsequent reports on childhood leukemia it is clear that almost all government or independent studies find either a statistically significant association between magnetic field exposure and childhood leukemia, or an elevated risk of at least OR = 1.5, while almost all industry supported studies fail to find any significant or even suggestive association. A secondary goal of this report is to examine the level of evidence for exposure and elevated riskof various adult cancers. Based on pooled or meta-analyses as well as subsequent peer-reviewed studies there is strong evidence that excessive exposure to magnetic fields increases risk of adult leukemia, male and female breast cancer and brain cancer. There is less convincing but suggestive evidence for elevations in several other cancer types. There is less clear evidence for bias based on source of funding in the adult cancer studies. There is also some evidence that both paternal and maternal prenatal exposure to magnetic fields results in an increased risk of leukemia and brain cancer inoffspring. When one allows for bias reflected in source of funding, the evidence that magnetic fields increase risk of cancer is neither inconsistent nor inconclusive. Furthermore adults are also at risk, not just children, and there is strong evidence for cancers in addition to leukemia, particularly brain and breast cancer.