Extremely low-frequency magnetic field exposure, electrical shocks and risk of Parkinson's disease

Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2015 Feb;88(2):227-34. doi: 10.1007/s00420-014-0949-2. Epub 2014 Jun 18.


Purpose: Previous studies did not provide strong evidence for an increased Parkinson's disease (PD) risk after exposure to extremely low-frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MF), but were limited in their scope to address other exposures related to the use of electricity such as electrical shocks. We evaluated the associations of PD with exposure to ELF-MF, electrical shocks and having worked in "electrical occupations."

Methods: We conducted a hospital-based case-control study, including 444 PD patients and 876 age- and sex-matched controls. Occupational histories were collected in telephone interviews and were linked to job-exposure matrices on ELF-MF exposure and on electrical shocks. In addition, questions on use of household appliances involving ELF-MF exposure, experienced electrical shocks and potential confounders were asked.

Results: No association of PD risk with any of the evaluated exposures related to electricity was observed. We did, however, observe quite consistently reduced risk estimates across the majority of the exposure categories explored. Given the results of the previous studies and the absence of any postulated mechanism, this is unlikely to represent a true protective effect of ELF-MF or electrical shocks on the occurrence of PD.

Conclusions: The results of this study suggest that no association exists between PD and exposure to ELF-MF, electrical shocks or having worked in "electrical occupations."

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Occupational / statistics & numerical data
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Electric Injuries / complications*
  • Electric Injuries / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Industry
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Logistic Models
  • Magnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Occupational Exposure / analysis
  • Occupational Injuries / complications
  • Parkinson Disease / epidemiology
  • Parkinson Disease / etiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Smoking / epidemiology