Scientists have found no link between electromagnetic fields and breast cancer, according to a recent study in Long Island, New York, U.S.

This month, the National Cancer Institute released the results of the “Electromagnetic Fields and Breast Cancer on Long Island Study,” a population-based case-control study conducted to evaluate whether EMFs are associated with increased risk for breast cancer among women in Nassau and Suffolk counties, New York.

The study consisted of 576 women (cases) who were newly diagnosed with breast cancer between Aug. 1, 1996, and June 20, 1997, and 585 women (controls) who did not have the disease. All of the women were under 75 years of age and had resided in their current homes in Nassau and Suffolk counties for at least 15 years before the time of diagnosis of breast cancer (cases), or at the time they were identified (controls) for the study. The study included a comprehensive in-home assessment of exposure to EMFs

A part of the Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project, this study found no association between residential exposure to EMFs and breast cancer. Levels of in-home spot, 24-hour, ground-current measurements, and wire codes did not differ between women who were diagnosed with breast cancer (cases) and women who did not have the disease (controls). Further, differences in risk were not observed between the two groups when the data were analyzed controlling for age, family history of breast cancer, personal history of benign (non-cancerous) breast disease, number of children (parity), and education. The findings are reported by the research team in the July 1 issue of the American Journal of Epidemiology. These findings are similar to those reported last year by scientists at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Both of these studies included a comprehensive set of in-home measurement of EMF exposure and wire codes. This new study led by Stony Brook University scientists included ground-current magnetic field measurements, which were not included in the earlier study. In addition, the study included only long-term residents, with the objective of assessing exposures over an extended time period.

The Long Island Breast Cancer Study Project seeks to explain the high rate of breast cancer on Long Island. But some scientists say the clusters have more to do with the people, not their surroundings. Studies have suggested breast cancer is more likely to strike women who have children late in life or take hormone supplements, according to an Associated Press story.