Objectives: The association between occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) and the risk of uveal melanoma was investigated in a case-control study in nine European countries.
Methods: Incident cases of uveal melanoma and population as well as hospital controls were included and frequency matched by country, 5-year birth cohort and sex. Subjects were asked whether they had worked close to high-voltage electrical transmission installations, computer screens and various electrical machines, or in complex electrical environments. Measurements of two Scandinavian job-exposure matrices were applied to estimate lifelong cumulative EMF exposure. Unconditional logistic regression analyses, stratified by sex and eye colour were calculated, adjusting for several potential confounders.
Results: 293 patients with uveal melanoma and 3198 control subjects were interviewed. Women exposed to electrical transmission installations showed elevated risks (OR 5.81, 95% CI 1.72 to 19.66). Positive associations with exposure to control rooms were seen among men and women, but most risk increases were restricted to subjects with dark iris colour. Application of published EMF measurements revealed stronger risk increases among women compared to men. Again, elevated risks were restricted to subjects with dark eye colour.
Conclusion: Although based on a low prevalence of exposure to potential occupational sources of EMF, our data indicate that exposed dark-eyed women may be at particular risk for uveal melanoma.