Study type: Epidemiological study (observational study)

Everyday exposure to power frequency magnetic fields and associations with non-specific physical symptoms. epidem.

Published in: Environ Pollut 2014; 196: 224-229

Aim of study (acc. to author)

A cross-sectional study was conducted in the Netherlands to investigate the association between exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields (ELF MF) and non-specific physical symptoms.

Further details

Non-specific physical symptoms were assessed by the Somatization scale of the Four-Dimensional Symptom Questionnaire (4DSQ) consisting of 16 items experienced in the past week with a maximum score of 32. The scores were divided into following clinically relevant severity classes: low (0-10), moderately high (11-20) and very high (21-32).

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

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

Exposure

Assessment

Exposure groups

Group Description
Reference group 1 arithmetic mean of magnetic flux density: ≤ 0.09 µT (80th percentile)
Group 2 arithmetic mean of magnetic flux density: > 0.09 µT (80th percentile)

Population

Study size

Type Value
Participants 100
Evaluable 99
Statistical analysis method:

Conclusion (acc. to author)

The arithmetic mean of the time-weighted average 24 h personal exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields over 99 participants is 0.13 µT.
As only one man scored moderately high on the somatization scale against nine women, the analyses were restricted to the 48 women. The odds ratio for women was 8.50 (CI 1.73-46.75), suggesting that for women the exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields is associated with an increased score on non-specific physical symptoms. No conclusions regarding causality can be drawn as this is an exploratory cross-sectional study in a relatively small sample.

Study funded by

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