Study type: Epidemiological study (observational study)

Occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields and sex-differential risk of uveal melanoma. epidem.

Published in: Occup Environ Med 2010; 67 (11): 751-759

Aim of study (acc. to author)

A case-control study was conducted to investigate the sex-specific association between occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields and the risk of uveal melanoma.

Further details

Exposure to electromagnetic fields was assessed by questionnaires about the occupational history. Cumulative lifetime magnetic field strength was summed up for each occupation and duration based on two Scandinavian job-exposure matrices.
Data were analyzed separately for men and women as well as for eye color because dark eye color is commonly considered to be protective against uveal melanoma.

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

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



Exposure groups

Group Description
Reference group 1 unexposed to respective source of EMF
Group 2 exposure to electrical transmission installation (including group 3 and 4)
Group 3 - transformers and substations
Group 4 - overhead high-voltage power lines
Group 5 exposure to electrical machine (including groups 6 to 10)
Group 6 - machine tools
Group 7 - oven or furnaces
Group 8 - lifting trucks
Group 9 - other electrical machines
Group 10 - welding apparatus
Group 11 exposure in a room with complex electronic device (including groups 12 to 15)
Group 12 - computer rooms
Group 13 - control or computer rooms
Group 14 - telephone switchboard
Group 15 - rooms with complex medical equipment
Group 16 exposure to computer screens
Group 17 exposure to radar unit
Group 18 cumulative magnetic field exposure (µT-years): ≥ 5th percentile
Group 19 cumulative magnetic field exposure (µT-years): ≥ 10th percentile
Group 20 cumulative magnetic field exposure (µT-years): ≥ 20th percentile
Group 21 cumulative magnetic field exposure (µT-years): ≥ 30th percentile
Group 22 cumulative magnetic field exposure (µT-years): ≥ 40th percentile
Group 23 cumulative magnetic field exposure (µT-years): ≥ 50th percentile
Group 24 cumulative magnetic field exposure (µT-years): ≥ 60th percentile
Group 25 cumulative magnetic field exposure (µT-years): ≥ 70th percentile
Group 26 cumulative magnetic field exposure (µT-years): ≥ 80th percentile
Group 27 cumulative magnetic field exposure (µT-years): ≥ 90th percentile
Group 28 cumulative magnetic field exposure (µT-years): ≥ 95th percentile
Group 29 cumulative magnetic field exposure (µT-years): ≥ 97th percentile


Case group

Control group

Study size

Cases Controls
Eligible 323 3,372
Participants 293 3,198
Statistical analysis method: (adjustment: )

Conclusion (acc. to author)

Women exposed to electrical power transmission installations showed an increased risk of uveal melanoma (OR 5.8; CI 1.72-19.66). Elevated risks were observed with exposure to complex electrical environments. Stronger risk increase was observed for women with dark eye color compared to women with light eye color.
The authors conclude that occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields may possibly increase the risk of uveal melanoma, particularly among women with dark eye color.

Limitations (acc. to author)

The findings should be interpreted with great care because they are based on low numbers, particularly for women.

Study funded by

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