Effects of Electric and Magnetic Fields From High-Power Lines on Female Urinary Excretion of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin

Am J Epidemiol. 2001 Oct 1;154(7):601-9. doi: 10.1093/aje/154.7.601.


In 1998, the authors studied the effect of residential exposure to electric and magnetic fields from high-power lines on female urinary excretion of 6-sulfatoxymelatonin (6-OHMS) in the Quebec city, Canada, metropolitan area. A sample of 221 women living near a 735-kV line was compared with 195 women the same age living away from any power lines. Participants provided morning urine samples on 2 consecutive days and wore a magnetic dosimeter for 36 consecutive hours to measure personal magnetic exposure. The indoor electric field was assessed by spot measurements. After adjustment for other factors associated with low melatonin secretion, such as medication use or light exposure, nighttime concentration of 6-OHMS was similar in the two groups. When either 24-hour or sleep-time exposure to magnetic field or electric field measurements was used, no exposure-effect relation was evident. However, the trend of decreasing 6-OHMS concentration with age was more pronounced for women living near the lines, as was a lower 6-OHMS concentration in women with high body mass index. Chronic residential exposure to magnetic fields from high-power lines may accentuate the decrease in melatonin secretion observed in some vulnerable subgroups of the population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Circadian Rhythm
  • Electricity
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lighting
  • Magnetics
  • Melatonin / analogs & derivatives
  • Melatonin / urine*
  • Middle Aged
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Socioeconomic Factors


  • 6-sulfatoxymelatonin
  • Melatonin