Research ArticleOpen Access

Mortality in workers exposed to electromagnetic fields.

    Published: by:87

    In an occupational mortality analysis of 486,000 adult male death records filed in Washington State in the years 1950-1982, leukemia and the non-Hodgkin's lymphomas show increased proportionate mortality ratios (PMRs) in workers employed in occupations with intuitive exposures to electromagnetic fields. Nine occupations of 219 were considered to have electric or magnetic field exposures. These were: electrical and electronic technicians, radio and telegraph operators, radio and television repairmen, telephone and power linemen, power station operators, welders, aluminum reduction workers, motion picture projectionists and electricians. There were 12,714 total deaths in these occupations. Eight of the nine occupations had PMR increases for leukemia [International Classification of Diseases (ICD), seventh revision 204] and seven of the nine occupations had PMR increases for the other lymphoma category (7th ICD 200.2, 202). The highest PMRs were seen for acute leukemia: (67 deaths observed, 41 deaths expected; PMR 162), and in the other lymphomas (51 deaths observed, 31 deaths expected; PMR 164). No increase in mortality was seen for Hodgkin's disease or multiple myeloma. These findings offer some support for the hypothesis that electric and magnetic fields may be carcinogenic.