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Am J Epidemiol. 2001 May 1;153(9):825-35.

Leukemia, brain tumors, and exposure to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields in Swiss railway employees.

Author information

1
Institute for Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Berne, Berne, Switzerland. minder@ispm.unibe.ch

Abstract

Railway engineers provide excellent opportunities for studying the relation between exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields and leukemia or brain tumors. In a cohort study of Swiss railway personnel with 2.7 x 10(5) person-years of follow-up (1972--1993), the authors compared occupations with high average exposures (line engineers: 25.9 microT) to those with medium and low exposures (station masters: 1 microT). The mortality rate ratio for leukemia was 2.4 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.0, 6.1) among line engineers (reference category: station masters). The mortality rate ratio for brain tumors was 1.0 (95% CI: 0.2, 4.6) among line engineers and 5.1 (95% CI: 1.2, 21.2) among shunting yard engineers (compared with station masters). Two exposure characteristics were evaluated: cumulative exposure in microT-years and years spent under exposure to magnetic fields of > or =10 microT. There was a significant increase in leukemia mortality of 0.9% (95% CI: 0.2, 1.7) per microT-year of cumulative exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields. The increase by years spent under exposure of > or =10 microT was even stronger: 62% per year (95% CI: 15, 129). Brain cancer risk did not show a dose-response relation. This study contributes to the evidence for a link between heavy exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields and leukemia. Its strengths include reliable measurements and reliable historical reconstruction of exposures.

PMID:
11323311
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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