Occupational exposure to extremely low-frequency magnetic fields and risk for central nervous system disease: an update of a Danish cohort study among utility workers
- 439 Downloads
Evidence of whether exposure to extremely low-frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MF) is related to central nervous system diseases is inconsistent. This study updates a previous study of the incidence of such diseases in a large cohort of Danish utility workers by almost doubling the period of follow-up.
We investigated the risks for dementia, motor neurone disease, Parkinson disease, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy among 32,006 men employed at the 99 utility companies that supplied Denmark with electricity during the period 1900–1993. Cases were identified in the Danish National Patient Registry and the cohort was followed during 1982–2010. Exposure was estimated from a job-exposure matrix based on company records of job title and area of work and cohort members were allocated to one of three categories (<0.1, 0.1–0.99 and ≥1.0 µT).
For dementia, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy the incidence rate ratios (IRR) were close to unity, but higher for motor neurone disease [IRR 1.24, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.86–1.79] and lower for Parkinson disease (IRR 0.81, 95% CI 0.67–0.97) among workers exposed to ≥0.1 µT compared with the Danish population. For the highest level of exposure (≥1.0 µT), IRRs of 1.44, 1.78, 1.40 and 1.34 were observed for dementia, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy, respectively.
We observed elevated risks of dementia, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy and lower risks of Parkinson disease in relation to exposure to ELF-MF in a large cohort of utility employees.
KeywordsELF-MF Occupational exposure Central nervous system disease Cohort study
This work was supported by Danish Energy and by the Danish Cancer Society. We thank Lise Cronberg Salem for information regarding classification of central nervous system diseases and Andrea Meersohn for help in preparing the data.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Capozzella A, Sacco C, Chighine A, Loreti B, Scala B, Casale T, Sinibaldi F, Tomei G, Giubilati R, Tomei F, Rosati MV (2014) Work related etiology of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS): a meta-analysis. Ann Ig 26(5):456–472Google Scholar
- Feychting M, Jonsson F, Pedersen NL, Ahlbom A (2003) Occupational magnetic field exposure and neurodegenerative disease. Epidemiology 14(4):413–419Google Scholar
- Håkansson N, Gustavsson P, Johansen C, Floderus B (2003) Neurodegenerative diseases in welders and other workers exposed to high levels of magnetic fields. Epidemiology 14:420–426Google Scholar
- Kioumourtzoglou M-A, Seals RM, Himmerslev L, Gredal O, Hansen J, Weisskopf MG (2015) Comparison of diagnoses of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis by use of death certificates and hospital discharge data in the Danish population. Amyotroph Lateral Scler Front Degener 16(3–4):224–229. doi: 10.3109/21678421.2014.988161 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Röösli M, Lörtscher M, Egger M, Pfluger D, Schreier N, Lörtscher E, Locher P, Spoerri A, Minder C (2007) Mortality from neurodegenerative disease and exposure to extremely low-frequency magnetic fields: 31 years of observations on Swiss railway employees. Neuroepidemiology 28(4):197–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar