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J Pineal Res. 2000 Mar;28(2):97-104.

Nocturnal 6-hydroxymelatonin sulfate excretion in female workers exposed to magnetic fields.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Kuopio, Finland. jukka.juutilainen@uku.fi


The objective of this study was to determine whether daytime occupational exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields (MFs) suppresses nocturnal melatonin production. Sixty female volunteers were recruited. Thirty-nine worked in a garment factory, and 21 office workers served as a reference group. Exposure assessment was based on the type of sewing machine used and MF measurements around each type of machine. Eye-level MF flux density was used to classify the operators to higher (>1 microT) and lower (0.3-1 microT) exposure categories. A third group of factory workers had diverse MF exposures from other sources. The reference group had average exposure of about 0.15 microT. Urine samples were collected on Friday and Monday for three consecutive weeks. Melatonin production was assessed as urinary 6-hydroxymelatonin sulfate (6-OHMS) excretion. The ratio of Friday morning/Monday morning 6-OHMS was used to test the hypothesis that melatonin production is suppressed after 4 days of occupational MF exposure with significant recovery during the weekend. Possible chronic suppression of melatonin production was evaluated by studying exposure-related differences in the Friday values by multivariate regression analysis. The Monday/Friday ratios were close to 1.0, suggesting that there is no increase in melatonin production over the weekend. The average 6-OHMS excretion on Friday was lower among the factory workers than in the reference group, but no monotonous dose-response was observed. Multivariate regression analysis identified MF exposure, smoking, and age as significant explanatory variables associated with decreased 6-OHMS excretion.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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