Study type: Medical/biological study (observational study)

Biomonitoring of estrogen and melatonin metabolites among women residing near radio and television broadcasting transmitters. med./bio.

Published in: J Occup Environ Med 2007; 49 (10): 1149-1156

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To test the hypothesis that radiofrequency or 60 Hz exposures reduce melatonin and increase estrogen production, the authors measured a urinary metabolite of each hormone among women living in a community with increased radiofrequency power densities from nearby radio and TV broadcasting antennae.

Background/further details

A total of 127 women aged 12 to 81 years participated. Each woman was studied for a 2.5-day period beginning in the evening on the initial day and ending in the morning on the final day. Each subject collected one overnight urine sample immediately after their first night of participation and a second overnight sample on their final participation night.



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 0.1–3,000 MHz
Exposure 2: 60 Hz

General information

The study area, participant population, and RF exposure characteristics have been described in [Burch et al., 2006]. Exposure assessment included RF spot measurements inside and outside the home, and continuous personal monitoring for 60-Hz magnetic field and ambient light exposures. Participants were recruited from 161 residences with high (>4.0 µW/cm²), medium (0.5 to 4.0 µW/cm²), or low (<0.5 µW/cm²) RF exposures.

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 0.1–3,000 MHz
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
power density 0.04 µW/cm² mean measured - quartile 1
power density 0.2 µW/cm² mean measured - quartile 2
power density 0.4 µW/cm² mean measured - quartile 3
power density 1.4 µW/cm² mean measured - quartile 4

Exposure 2

Main characteristics
Frequency 60 Hz
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 20 nT mean measured - quartile 1
magnetic flux density 30 nT mean measured - quartile 2
magnetic flux density 50 nT mean measured - quartile 3
magnetic flux density 130 nT mean measured - quartile 4

Reference articles

  • Burch JB et al. (2006): Radio frequency nonionizing radiation in a community exposed to radio and television broadcasting.
  • Burch JB et al. (2000): Melatonin metabolite levels in workers exposed to 60-Hz magnetic fields: work in substations and with 3-phase conductors.
  • Burch JB et al. (1999): Reduced excretion of a melatonin metabolite in workers exposed to 60 Hz magnetic fields.
  • Burch JB et al. (1998): Nocturnal excretion of a urinary melatonin metabolite among electric utility workers.

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated system:
Investigated organ system:
Time of investigation:
  • during exposure
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

An association between radiofrequency and 60 Hz exposures and increased estrone-3-glucuronide excretion was observed among postmenopausal but not premenopausal women. This association was strongest among postmenopausal women with low 6-hydroxymelatoninsulfate levels. Women with reduced nocturnal 6-hydroxymelatoninsulfate excretion may represent a sensitive subgroup.

Study character:

Study funded by

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