The relationship between residential proximity to extremely low frequency power transmission lines and adverse birth outcomes

Nathalie Auger, Dominique Joseph, Marc Goneau, Mark DANIEL

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Background Occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields has been linked to adverse birth outcomes. This study evaluated whether maternal residential proximity to power transmission lines was associated with adverse birth outcomes.

Methods Live singleton births in the Montréal and Québec census metropolitan areas from 1990 to 2004 were extracted from the Québec birth file (N=707 215). Proximity was defined as residing within 400 m of a transmission line. Generalised estimating equations were used to evaluate associations between residential proximity to transmission lines and preterm birth (PTB), low birth weight (LBW), small-for-gestational age (SGA) birth and infant sex, accounting for maternal age, education, marital status, ethnicity, parity, period of birth, and neighbourhood median household income.

Results There was no association between residential proximity to transmission lines and PTB, LBW and infant sex in unadjusted and adjusted models. A lower likelihood of SGA birth was present for some distance categories (eg, adjusted OR 0.88, 95% CI 0.81 to 0.95 for 50–75 m relative to ≥400 m).

Conclusion Residential proximity to transmission lines is not associated with adverse births outcomes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-85
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Epidemiology Community Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


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