Study type: Epidemiological study (observational study)

Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields; male infertility and sex ratio of offspring. epidem.

Published in: Eur J Epidemiol 2008; 23 (5): 369-377

Aim of study (acc. to author)

The association between between men's occupational exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields in the Navy and infertility and sex ratio of the offspring was investigated in a cross-sectional study in Norway.

Further details

Six types of exposure with possible effects on reproductive health were considered, three of them concerning electromagnetic fields. Infertility was determined by the question whether the man and his partner have ever tried to become pregnant without success for more than one year.

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

Type of risk estimation: (odds ratio (OR))

Exposure

Assessment

Exposure groups

Group Description
Reference group 1 work closer than 10 m from high-frequency aerials: not at all
Group 2 work closer than 10 m from high-frequency aerials: low
Group 3 work closer than 10 m from high-frequency aerials: some
Group 4 work closer than 10 m from high-frequency aerials: high
Group 5 work closer than 10 m from high-frequency aerials: very high
Reference group 6 work closer than 3 m from communication equipment: not at all
Group 7 work closer than 3 m from communication equipment: low
Group 8 work closer than 3 m from communication equipment: some
Group 9 work closer than 3 m from communication equipment: high
Group 10 work closer than 3 m from communication equipment: very high
Reference group 11 work closer than 5 m from radar: not at all
Group 12 work closer than 5 m from radar: low
Group 13 work closer than 5 m from radar: some
Group 14 work closer than 5 m from radar: high
Group 15 work closer than 5 m from radar: very high

Population

Study size

Type Value
Total 17,756
Participants 11,216
Participation rate 62 %
Evaluable 10,497
Statistical analysis method: ( adjustment: )

Conclusion (acc. to author)

22 % of the participants reported a working distance closer than 10 m from high-frequency aerials to a high or very high degree, 19 % worked closer than 3 m from communication equipment and 21 % closer than 5 m from radar. The risk for infertility was significantly increased for men who reported a working distance closer than 10 m from high-frequency aerials to a high or very high degree (OR 1.86; CI 1.46-2.37). In all age groups there were signficant linear trends with higher prevalence of involuntary childlessness with higher self-reported exposure to radiofrequency fields. However, the number of children and degree of exposure to radiofrequency radiation were not associated. The sex ratio of offspring showed a significant linear trend with lower ratio of boys to girls at birth when the father reported a higher degree of exposure to high-frequency aerials and communication equipment.

Related articles