Occupational Extremely Low-Frequency Magnetic Field Exposure and Selected Cancer Outcomes in a Prospective Dutch Cohort

Cancer Causes Control. 2014 Feb;25(2):203-14. doi: 10.1007/s10552-013-0322-x. Epub 2013 Nov 16.

Abstract

Purpose: To investigate the association between exposure to occupational extremely low-frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MF) and the risk of a priori selected cancer outcomes within the prospective Netherlands Cohort Study.

Methods: 120,852 men and women aged 55-69 years at time of enrollment in 1986 were followed up (17.3 years) for incident lung, breast and brain cancer, and hemato-lymphoproliferative malignancies. Information on occupational history and potential confounders such as sex, age, smoking, alcohol use, and attained educational level were collected at baseline through a self-administered questionnaire. Occupational ELF-MF exposure was assigned with a job-exposure matrix. Using a case-cohort approach, associations with cancer incidence were analyzed with Cox regression stratified by sex, using three exposure metrics: (1) ever had a job with low or high exposure to ELF-MF versus background, (2) duration of exposure, and (3) cumulative exposure.

Results: None of the exposure metrics showed an effect on incidence for lung, breast, and brain cancer, nor any of the assessed subtypes in men and women. Of the hemato-lymphoproliferative malignancies in men, ever high exposed to ELF-MF showed a significant association with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) [hazard ratio (HR) 2.15; 95 % confidence interval (CI) 1.06-4.35] and follicular lymphoma (FL) (HR 2.78; 95 % CI 1.00-5.77). Cumulative exposure to ELF-MF showed a significant, positive association with FL but not AML among men.

Conclusions: In this large prospective cohort study, we found some indications of an increased risk of AML and FL among men with occupational ELF-MF exposure. These findings warrant further investigation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cohort Studies
  • Electromagnetic Fields*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Neoplasms / etiology
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Occupational Exposure / statistics & numerical data*
  • Proportional Hazards Models
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome