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||Magnetic fields produced by hand held hair dryers, stereo headsets, home sewing machines, and electric clocks.
||Kaune WT, Miller MC, Linet MS, Hatch EE, Kleinerman RA, Wacholder S, Mohr AH, Tarone RE, Haines C
||A recent epidemiologic study reported associations between leukemia risk in children and their personal use of television (TV) sets, hair dryers, and stereo headsets, and the prenatal use by their mothers of sewing machines. To provide exposure data to aid in the interpretation of these findings, extremely and very low frequency (ELF and VLF) magnetic fields produced by a sample of each type of appliance were characterized in a field study of volunteers conducted in Washington DC and its Maryland suburbs. Questionnaire data regarding children's or mothers' patterns of usage of each type of appliance were also collected. ELF magnetic fields measured 10 cm from the nozzles of hair dryers were elevated over the ambient by a mean factor of 17 when these devices were in use. Fields near headsets being used to listen to music were not distinguishable from ambient levels except at frequencies below and well above 60 Hz and, even then, field levels were < 0.01 microT. Home sewing machines produced ELF magnetic fields that were elevated by a factor of 2.8 over ambient levels at the front surfaces of the lower abdomens of mothers. Estimated mean daily times of usage of hair dryers, stereo headsets, and sewing machines were 2.6, 19, and 17 minutes, respectively. These data and previously published data on TV sets, do not provide a consistent picture of increased (or decreased) leukemia risk in relation to increasing peak or time weighted average (TWA) ELF magnetic field exposure. The data could, however, conceivably be compatible with some more complex biophysical model with unknown properties. Overall, the results of this study provide little evidence supporting the hypothesis that peak or TWA ELF magnetic fields produced by appliances are causally related to the risk of childhood leukemia in children.