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Am J Ind Med. 1996 Dec;30(6):702-4.

Increased incidence of cancer in a cohort of office workers exposed to strong magnetic fields.


A small cohort of 410 office workers (263 men and 147 women, ever employed) exposed to strong magnetic fields by three 12 kV transformers located beneath their first-floor office developed eight incident cancers over a 15 year exposure period. Only one cancer was ascertained in the 254 workers employed for less than 2 years, compared to seven cancer cases ascertained in the 156 workers employed for 2 years or more (p = 0.0057; Fisher's exact test). An analysis of linear trend of cancer incidence using average years employed as an exposure score was positive (p = 0.00337) with an odds ratio of 15.1 in workers employed over 5 years. A positive trend of cancer cases with duration of employment is seen for males and females separately and together (p < 0.05). For workers employed more than 2 years, the standardized cancer incidence ratio was 389 (95% confidence interval 156-801). Cumulative magnetic field exposure may be of etiologic importance in explaining the cancer incidence pattern in this cohort.

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