Study type: Epidemiological study (observational study)

Health Effects of Electromagnetic Fields on Reproductive-Age Female Operators of Plastic Welding Machines in Fuzhou, China. epidem.

Published in: J Occup Environ Med 2016; 58 (2): 148-153

Aim of study (acc. to author)

A cross-sectional study was conducted in China to investigate the health effects of electromagnetic fields among female operators of plastic welding machines in shoe factories.

Further details

Female workers were recruited from supermarkets near the factories as the unexposed control group.

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

Type of risk estimation:

Exposure

Assessment

Exposure groups

Group Description
Reference group 1 control group: not exposed
Group 2 factories with low exposure: < 150 V/m
Group 3 factories with high exposure: ≥ 150 V/m
Reference group 4 cumulative exposure level: 0 years-V/m
Group 5 cumulative exposure level: 0 - 499 years-V/m
Group 6 cumulative exposure level: 500 - 999 years-V/m
Group 7 cumulative exposure level: ≥ 1000 years-V/m

Population

Study size

Type Value
Total 529
Other:

180 female operators in shoe fabrics and 349 female workers in supermarkets

Statistical analysis method:

Conclusion (acc. to author)

No electric fields were detectable in the supermarkets (≥ 1 V/m). The mean electric field strengths in the frequency range from 25 MHz to 30 MHz in the vicinity of the welding machines in the five factories ranged from 51.3 to 368.9 V/m and exceeded the national standard of 25 V/m. The levels of magnetic field strength ranged from 0.02 A/m to 0.06 A/m below the reference values.
The prevalence of neurovegetative symptoms increased with higher electric field exposures. The prevalence of menstrual disorder was 12.0% in the unexposed group, but was significantly increased in the low exposure group < 150 V/m (26.8%) and in the high exposure group ≥ 150 V/m (33.8%). In the groups with cumulative exposure, the prevalence of most neurovegetative symptoms and menstrual abnormalities increased with higher cumulative exposure. No significant associations between adverse reproductive outcomes and occupational exposure were observed among the female workers. Serum progesterone was significantly lower in the exposed groups compared to the control group.
The authors concluded that occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields of plastic welding machines in shoe factories was associated with adverse health effects, including subjective symptoms, menstrual disorder and low level of serum progesterone among female operators.

Study funded by

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