This study aimed to evaluate the effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF) exposure on levels of serum lipids in workers of an electric power plant. A cross-sectional study was carried out in an electric power plant in Zhejiang province, China, from August to September 2011. All participants were divided into two groups with high occupational EMF exposure and low occupational EMF exposure. The occupational EMF exposure included radiofrequency EMF and extremely low-frequency EMF. Occupational EMF exposure was associated with an increased level of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c; β = 0.17 mmol/L, P = 0.022). High EMF exposure group with longer employment duration, longer daily EMF exposure duration, and more mobile phone or electric fee per month had significantly higher levels of total cholesterol, LDL-c, or triglyceride than the corresponding reference group. However, significantly decreased level of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol was only observed in high EMF exposure group with more mobile phone fee per month. Similar results were also found in 544 participants with available data of serum lipids in 2010. The findings showed that chronic EMF exposure was associated with the change of serum lipid levels. EMF exposure might modulate the process of lipid metabolism.
Keywords: Cholesterol; Electromagnetic fields; HDL-c; LDL-c; Lipids; Triglyceride.