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[Characteristics of infrasound and its influence on workers in working environment of certain thermoelectricity works and department].

[Article in Chinese]

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The Institute of Mental Health, Peking University, 100083 Beijing, China.



To study the characteristics of infrasound and its effects on the workers at power plants.


The audible noise and infrasound in three thermoelectricity plants were measured and by using Symptom Checklist 90 (SCL-90), the subjective sensation, and the physiological indices were compared between exposed workers and controls.


The infrasound levels were different at different measure sites of the three thermoelectricity works ranging from 40 to 98 dB. There was still 40 approximately 80 dB infrasound even when the soot blower stopped running. Different apparatus produced different infrasound levels with the highest ranging from 62 to 115 dB. A single frequency (16 Hz) infrasound was produced in certain department during working hour with sound pressure levels of 110 to 120 dB, but the audible noise sound pressure level was less than 70 dB. There was no significant difference in the indices representing vision fatigue and neurobehaviour function between exposed workers and controls. Workers at certain department experienced evident subjective sensation of neurobehavioral dysfunction, and the scores of somatization, depression, hostility, phobic anxiety, and psychotism in the SCL-90 were significantly higher in the exposed group than in the control and the norm in China (P < 0.05).


Infrasound is ubiquitous in the working environment, but usually, the noise levels are less than 120 dB. In some special production department, there is persistent infrasound above 110 to 120 dB. No obvious health effects are found among those who are exposed to infrasound below 100 dB. However, the workers who are chronically exposed to infrasound above 110 to 120 dB present notable subjective sensation of autonomic neurobehavioral dysfunction, and their psychological health status is not as good as those in the control and those in the domestic normal pattern.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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