Validation of a job-exposure matrix for assessment of utility worker exposure to magnetic fields

Appl Occup Environ Hyg. 2002 Apr;17(4):304-10. doi: 10.1080/10473220252826619.


The aim of this study was to evaluate a 50-Hz electromagnetic field job-exposure matrix used in epidemiological studies of a nationwide cohort of utility workers in Denmark. We compared a job-exposure matrix that distinguished four categories of exposure to 50-Hz time-weighted average (TWA) magnetic fields: low (< 0.1 microT), medium (0.1-0.29 microT), high (0.3-0.99 microT) and very high (> 1.0 microT) of utility company employees with 196 measurements of 8-h exposure for 129 workers in this industry. The 129 workers were selected from the following five main work environments: generation facilities, transmission lines, distribution lines, substations, and other electrically and non-electrically relates jobs. This study shows that the job-exposure matrix can be expected to introduce misclassification mainly between adjacent categories of exposure. Thus, the distribution of measurements of exposure to 50-Hz magnetic fields was similar for workers in the medium and the high exposure matrix categories. But the two extreme categories satisfactorily separate low and very highly exposed workers. The study shows that epidemiological use of this job-exposure matrix might combine the two intermediate categories of exposure. If the sample size in extreme categories provides enough power, a study in which this job-exposure matrix is used should allow detection of a true association between exposure to 50-Hz magnetic field and disease.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Denmark
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Environmental Monitoring / methods*
  • Humans
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis*
  • Occupations
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Task Performance and Analysis