Background: Exposure to extremely low frequency electromagnetic field (ELF-EMF), especially among electronic equipment repairers may induce oxidative stress and affect sleep quality.
Aims: This study was carried out to (a) investigate the effect of exposure to ELF-EMF on the malondialdehyde (MDA) levels among electronic equipment repairers as an indicator of oxidative stress; and melatonin hormone levels; and (b) to study the prevalence of sleep insufficiency among electronic equipment repairers exposed to ELF-EMF.
Materials and methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out on 50 electronic equipment repairers at high risk of exposure to ELF-EMF, and a matched control group at lower risk of exposure to ELF-EMF. All the participants completed a self-administered questionnaire about medical and occupational histories; and sleep sufficiency. The plasma melatonin and MDA levels of the study subjects were assessed.
Results: The mean level of serum melatonin in the electronic equipment repairers was lower than that of the controls (P < 0.01). Moreover, serum MDA mean level of the electronic equipment repairers was higher than that of the controls (P < 0.01). Sleep insufficiency was more frequent among electronic equipment repairers (18.00%) in comparison with the controls (8.70%) (P > 0.05)
Conclusion: The electronic equipment repairers, exposed to ELF-EMF, are at a risk of oxidative stress and sleep insufficiency, which could be explained by lower plasma melatonin levels and higher MDA levels. Health education about the hazards of ELF-EMF, shortening of exposure time per day, and taking antioxidant vitamins should be done to ameliorate the oxidative effect of EMF on those workers.
Keywords: Electronic equipment; electromagnetic field; malondialdehyde; melatonin; sleep.