Send to

Choose Destination
J Expo Anal Environ Epidemiol. 2001 Jan-Feb;11(1):41-9.

Household appliance use and residential exposure to 60-hz magnetic fields.

Author information

Environment Division, Electric Power Research Institute, Palo Alto, California 94304, USA.


We characterized the distribution of exposure to magnetic fields (MFs) during daily activities and during household appliance use, and estimated the relative contribution of various activities and appliances to total daily exposure. One hundred sixty-two subjects provided information on their patterns of appliance use and wore personal monitors for 24 h to collect MF exposure data. Of total exposure, 27% accumulated while subjects were in bed; 41% while at home but not in bed; 9% at work; and 24% elsewhere. Less than 2% of the total MF exposure accumulated during the use of each of the eight individual appliances considered, except computers, during the use of which 9% of the total exposure accumulated. Of the time subjects spent at exposure levels higher than 2 microT, 8% accumulated while they were using microwave ovens, and 4% and 3% while using computers and electric stoves, respectively. Mean MF measurements tended to be lowest when subjects were in bed and highest at work and during the use of microwave ovens, coffee grinders, hair dryers, and electric shavers. Results from questionnaires on household appliance use in the past year were not useful in predicting the total mean exposure level and over-threshold exposures measured by 24-h personal monitors. Significant MF exposure accumulates at home, at work, and elsewhere; therefore, accurate exposure assessment needs to consider residential, occupational, and other sources together. Questionnaire-based information on appliance use has limited value in the assessment of average and over-threshold exposure to MFs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center