Study type: Epidemiological study (observational study)

Effects of electromagnetic fields exposure on plasma hormonal and inflammatory pathway biomarkers in male workers of a power plant. epidem.

Published in: Int Arch Occup Environ Health 2016; 89 (1): 33-42

Aim of study (acc. to author)

A case-control study was conducted in China to evaluate the effects of occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields on levels of plasma hormones and inflammatory pathway biomarkers in male workers of a power plant.

Further details

The results on serum lipids investigated in a subgroup of same study population were published by Wang et al (2015).
A blood sample was taken from each participants to analyze hormonal and biomarker levels.
Remark EMF-Portal: The classification into 'low occupational EMF exposure' and 'high occupational EMF exposure' is not clear.

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

Type of risk estimation:

Exposure

Assessment

Exposure groups

Group Description
Reference group 1 low occupational exposure: no walkie-talkies use, daily exposure < 4 h, employment duration < 15 years
Group 2 high occupational exposure: walkie-talkies use, daily exposure ≥ 4 h, employment duration ≥ 15 years
Reference group 3 low occupational exposure, employment duration: < 23 years
Group 4 low occupational exposure, employment duration: ≥ 23 years
Group 5 high occupational exposure, employment duration: < 23 years
Group 6 high occupational exposure, employment duration: ≥ 23 years
Reference group 7 low occupational exposure, daily duration: ≤ 4 hours/day
Group 8 low occupational exposure, daily duration: > 4 hours/day
Group 9 high occupational exposure, daily duration: ≤ 4 hours/day
Group 10 high occupational exposure, daily duration: > 4 hours/day
Reference group 11 low occupational exposure and mobile phone use: ≤ 12 years
Group 12 low occupational exposure and mobile phone use: > 12 years
Group 13 high occupational exposure and mobile phone use: ≤ 12 years
Group 14 high occupational exposure and mobile phone use: > 12 years
Reference group 15 low occupational exposure and mobile phone fee: < 60 yuan/month
Group 16 low occupational exposure and mobile phone fee: ≥ 60 yuan/month
Group 17 high occupational exposure and mobile phone fee: < 60 yuan/month
Group 18 high occupational exposure and mobile phone fee: ≥ 60 yuan/month
Reference group 19 low occupational exposure and monthly electric fee: ≤ 150 yuan/month
Group 20 low occupational exposure and monthly electric fee: > 150 yuan/month
Group 21 high occupational exposure and monthly electric fee: ≤ 150 yuan/month
Group 22 high occupational exposure and monthly electric fee: > 150 yuan/month

Population

Study size

Type Value
Total 2,138
Participants 747
Evaluable 154
Statistical analysis method:

Conclusion (acc. to author)

The average measured intensity of occupational exposure was 316.3±1212.3 V/m for electric field and 6.17±14.71 µT for magnetic fields in high exposure group, which far outstripped that in low exposure group (3.9±0.3 V/m and 60.6±16.9 nT, respectively).
Significantly lower levels of testosterone and NF-KB and a significantly reduced testosterone/estradiol ratio were observed in workers with higher occupational exposure (group 2) in comparison to the reference group 1. No significant associations were found for estradiol, melatonin, or for the inflammatory pathway biomarkers HSP70, HSP27, or TET1. High exposure groups with longer employment duration, longer mobile phone use, higher mobile phone fee or higher electric fee per month showed lower levels of testosterone and testosterone/estradiol ratio compared to the respective reference groups.
The authors concluded that chronic exposure to electromagnetic fields could decrease male plasma testosterone and testosterone/estradiol ratio.

Study funded by

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