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The role of dwelling type when estimating the effect of magnetic fields on childhood leukemia in the California Power Line Study (CAPS).



The type of dwelling where a child lives is an important factor when considering residential exposure to environmental agents. In this paper, we explore its role when estimating the potential effects of magnetic fields (MF) on leukemia using data from the California Power Line Study (CAPS). In this context, dwelling type could be a risk factor, a proxy for other risk factors, a cause of MF exposure, a confounder, an effect-measure modifier, or some combination.


We obtained information on type of dwelling at birth on over 2,000 subjects. Using multivariable-adjusted logistic regression, we assessed whether dwelling type was a risk factor for childhood leukemia, which covariates and MF exposures were associated with dwelling type, and whether dwelling type was a potential confounder or an effect-measure modifier in the MF-leukemia relationship under the assumption of no-uncontrolled confounding.


A majority of children lived in single-family homes or duplexes (70%). Dwelling type was associated with race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status but not with childhood leukemia risk, after other adjustments, and did not alter the MF-leukemia relationship upon adjustment as a potential confounder. Stratification revealed potential effect-measure modification by dwelling type on the multiplicative scale.


Dwelling type does not appear to play a significant role in the MF-leukemia relationship in the CAPS dataset as a leukemia risk factor or confounder. Future research should explore the role of dwelling as an effect-measure modifier of the MF-leukemia association.

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