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Reviews on Environmental Health

Editor-in-Chief: Carpenter, David O. / Sly, Peter

Editorial Board: Brugge, Doug / Edwards, John W. / Field, R.William / Garbisu, Carlos / Hales, Simon / Horowitz, Michal / Lawrence, Roderick / Maibach, H.I. / Shaw, Susan / Tao, Shu / Tchounwou, Paul B.

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Volume 33, Issue 3


A meta-analysis on residential exposure to magnetic fields and the risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Martin Röösli
  • Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Socinstrasse 57, P.O. Box, CH-4002 Basel, Switzerland
  • University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Hamed Jalilian
  • Corresponding author
  • Facility of Public Health, al-zahra Street, Shiraz, Iran, Phone: +987137251009, Fax: +987132299694
  • Student Research Committee, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran
  • Research Center for Health, Safety and Environment, Alborz University of Medical Sciences, Karaj, Iran
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2018-06-06 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/reveh-2018-0019


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is caused by the gradual degeneration and death of motor neurons, with mostly unknown etiology. Some risk factors have been suggested for this disease including extremely low frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MF) exposure. This meta-analysis assesses the association of residential exposure to ELF-MF with the risk of ALS. Five studies have addressed the risk of ALS in relation to overhead power lines. A pooled relative risk (RR) of 0.71 [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.48, 1.07] for the most exposed population group (either <200 m distance from high voltage power lines or >0.1 μT) was found. Little heterogeneity (I2=0.00%, p=0.67) and indication for publication bias (PBegg’s test=0.22; PEgger’s test=0.19) was seen. Overall, we found no evidence for an association between residential exposure to ELF-MF and the risk of ALS, although the number of exposed cases is low.

Keywords: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; magnetic fields; power line; residence


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About the article

Received: 2018-03-26

Accepted: 2018-05-07

Published Online: 2018-06-06

Published in Print: 2018-09-25

Research funding: Authors state no funding involved. Conflict of interest: Authors state no conflict of interest. Informed consent: Informed consent is not applicable. Ethical approval: The conducted research is not related to either human or animal use.

Citation Information: Reviews on Environmental Health, Volume 33, Issue 3, Pages 309–313, ISSN (Online) 2191-0308, ISSN (Print) 0048-7554, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/reveh-2018-0019.

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