Maskarinec G, Cooper J, Swygert L

The authors report a cluster of twelve cases of leukaemia occurring in children in Waianae Coast in Oahu, Hawaii in the years 1979-1990. In fact, 7 cases occurred in the years 1982-1984. The population had expressed concerns about radio towers from a nearby military installation. The radio waves were transmitted at 23.4KHz. In a case-control study, each case was matched with 4 controls for age and sex. Risk factors examined included parents' occupations, x-ray exposure, domestic smoking, family and medical histories, and distance of the children's residence locations to the radio towers. The odds ratio for having lived within 2.6 miles of the radio towers was 2.0, although this was not statistically significant.

Exposure to radiofrequencies was not adequately assessed, and other possible risk factors, e.g. chemical exposure, were not included in the investigation. The authors state that since 1985 the incidence of leukaemia in the area has returned to an expected pattern of approximately one case every 2 years. This paper demonstrates the difficulty of interpreting a cluster of cases of a disease.



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