Objectives: The goal of this study was to investigate whether the deficit of male births found among the offspring of Danish physiotherapists exposed to shortwave radiation during the first month of their pregnancy could be confirmed among the offspring of physiotherapists from Switzerland.
Methods: A self-administrated questionnaire was mailed (two mailings) to all of the 2846 female members of the Swiss Federation of Physiotherapists. It included questions on the gender and birth-weight of all children of the physiotherapists, as well as on the use of shortwave or microwave equipment during the first month of each pregnancy. The response rate was 79.5%, and the analysis was based on 1781 pregnancies.
Results: The gender ratio (the number of males per number of females x 100) was 107 with a 95% confidence interval (95% CI) of 89-127 for the 508 pregnancies exposed to shortwave radiation and 101 (95% CI 90-113) for the 1273 unexposed pregnancies. There was no trend in the gender ratio with increasing intensity or duration of exposure. The prevalence of low birthweight (< or = 2500 g) was not related to exposure to shortwave radiation for either the boys or the girls.
Conclusions: No atypical gender ratio was found for the children of female physiotherapists from Switzerland who had been exposed to shortwave radiation at the beginning of pregnancy. The findings of the Danish study could not be confirmed.