A pilot study was conducted in Finland to assess the feasibility of a large-scale study on reproductive effects of occupational exposure to intermediate frequency magnetic fields among cashiers working near electronic article surveillance systems.
|Reference group 1||cashiers working in grocery stores without EAS-systems: unexposed|
|Group 2||cashiers working in supermarkets with EAS systems: exposed|
536 births and 38 miscarriages
All magnetic fields measured were clearly below the ICNIRP occupational reference levels and the reference levels for the general public. Cashiers were found to be exposed to 8.2 MHz magnetic fields only when passing by the EAS gates at short distance. Static fields of about 0.1 mT were measured at cashier’s seat. Extremely low frequency magnetic fields were higher at stores without EAS devices compared to supermarkets with EAS devices.
No differences on the risk of miscarriage, reduced birth weight or preterm birth were observed between cashiers in different store types.
The authors concluded that any further studies should attempt to include study subjects working near EAS systems that produce stronger IF MFs at kHz frequencies. Exposure to ELF MFs should be assessed as a possible confounding factor.
A limitation of the study was lack of information about the exact duties of the workers, such as working hours as cashiers.