Testicular cancer and electromagnetic fields (EMF) in the workplace: results of a population-based case-control study in Germany

Cancer Causes Control. 2002 Dec;13(10):895-902. doi: 10.1023/a:1021999000651.


Objectives: In a population-based case-control study, we examined the association of testicular cancer and electromagnetic fields (EMF) in the workplace.

Methods: Incident cases (n = 269) were recruited between 1995 and 1997. A total of 797 controls matched on age and region were randomly selected from mandatory registries of residents. EMF exposure was assessed for five categories in standardized face-to-face interviews using closed questions. For each exposure category, odds ratios (OR) were calculated, stratified by age and region, and in a more complex model weighted by duration and distance using conditional logistic regression. Subgroup analyses were conducted for seminoma and non-seminoma and for blue- and white-collar workers. Additionally, potential radar exposure was individually assessed by experts based on all available information including free text.

Results: There was no excess risk for cases who reported to have ever worked near the following: radar units (OR = 1.0; 95% CI = 0.60-1.75); radiofrequency emitters (OR = 0.9; 95% CI = 0.60-1.24); electrical machines (OR = 1.0; 95% CI = 0.72-1.33): high-voltage lines or high-voltage electrical transmission installations (OR = 0.7; 95% CI = 0.38-1.18); or visual display units or complex electrical environments (OR = 0.9; 95% CI = 0.67-1.21). The results for the weighted exposure and subgroup analyses did not differ substantially. For radar exposure as assessed by the experts, the OR was 0.4 (95% CI = 0.13-1.16).

Conclusions: EMF exposure in the workplace does not seem to be a relevant risk factor for testicular cancer in our study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Testicular Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Testicular Neoplasms / etiology