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European Journal of Epidemiology

, Volume 20, Issue 8, pp 677–681 | Cite as

All-Cause Mortality Among Belgian Military Radar Operators: A 40-Year Controlled Longitudinal Study

  • Etienne Degrave
  • Philippe Autier
  • André-Robert Grivegnée
  • Martin Zizi
Article

Abstract

Background: It has been suggested that exposure to radiofrequency/microwaves radiations could be associated with greater health hazards and higher mortality. Methods: The all-cause mortality of 27,671 Belgian militaries who served from 1963 until 1994 in battalions equipped with radars for anti-aircraft defence was studied over the period 1968–2003. End of the seventies, technical modifications brought to the shielding of the micro-wave generators resulted in a reduction in irradiations. A control group was formed by 16,128 militaries who served during the same period in the same military area but who were never exposed to radars. Administrative procedures for identifying militaries and their vital status were equivalent in the radar and the control groups. Results: The age-standardized mortality ratio (SMR) in the radar battalions was 1.05 (95% CI: 0.95–1.16) in professional militaries, and 0.80 (95% CI: 0.75–0.85) in conscripts. In professional militaries no difference in mortality was found according to duration (less than, or five years or more) or to period of service (before 1978 or after 1977). Conclusions: During a 40-year period of observation, we found no increase in all-cause mortality in Belgian militaries who were in close contact with radar equipments of anti-aircraft defence battalions.

Keywords

epidemiology mortality radar radiofrequency 

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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Etienne Degrave
    • 1
    • 4
  • Philippe Autier
    • 2
  • André-Robert Grivegnée
    • 2
  • Martin Zizi
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Unit of Epidemiology and BiostatisticsMilitary HospitalBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Unit of Epidemiology and PreventionJules Bordet InstituteBrusselsBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Physiology, FYSP-NeuroVrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)BrusselsBelgium
  4. 4.Department of Well-BeingBelgian Ministry of DefenceBrusselsBelgium

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