Study type: Medical/biological study (observational study)

DNA damage from long-term occupational exposure to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields among power plant workers. med./bio.

Published in: Mutat Res Genet Toxicol Environ Mutagen 2019; 846: 403079

Aim of study (acc. to author)

The genotoxic effects of occupational long-term exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields and electric fields of a power plant should be investigated.

Background/further details

Participants in this study were employees working in different sections of a thermal power plant. A total of 102 plant workers were included in the study as the exposure group and 136 office workers were included as the control group. For statistical analysis, the exposure group was further divided into the following sub-groups: low (< 11.3 µT; n=38), medium (11.3-18.9 µT; n=33) and high ( > 18.9 µT; n=31) exposure to magnetic field and low (< 14.7 V/m; n=38), medium (14.7-27.4 V/m; n=28), and high ( > 27.4 V/m; n=36) exposure to electric fields based on the 33rd and 66th percentiles of personal exposure measurements.
Blood samples were taken from all participants before the start of the work shift of the last working day of the week.

Endpoint

Exposure

Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1:
Exposure duration: at least two years work experience in a full-time job at the power plant
Exposure 2:
Exposure duration: at least two years work experience in a full-time job at the power plant
Exposure 3:
Exposure duration: at least two years work experience in a full-time job at the power plant
Exposure 4:
Exposure duration: at least two years work experience in a full-time job at the power plant
Exposure 5:
Exposure duration: at least two years work experience in a full-time job at the power plant
Exposure 6:
Exposure duration: at least two years work experience in a full-time job at the power plant

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency
Type
Exposure duration at least two years work experience in a full-time job at the power plant
Additional info low magnetic field exposure
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Setup each worker stated their working and non-working spots (e.g. their places of resting and eating lunch) during a normal work shift and the amount of time they spend at each spot; measurements were conducted at these spots at a height of 1 m above ground Ievel and for 2 min; the control group was mainly exposed to electric fields and magnetic fields generated by power lines, computers and appliances at the workplaces
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 11.3 µT maximum measured and calculated - -

Exposure 2

Main characteristics
Frequency
Type
Exposure duration at least two years work experience in a full-time job at the power plant
Additional info medium magnetic field exposure
Exposure setup
Exposure source
  • same setup as exposure 1
  • not specified
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 11.3 µT minimum measured and calculated - -
magnetic flux density 18.9 µT maximum measured and calculated - -

Exposure 3

Main characteristics
Frequency
Type
Exposure duration at least two years work experience in a full-time job at the power plant
Additional info high magnetic field exposure
Exposure setup
Exposure source
  • same setup as exposure 1
  • not specified
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 18.9 µT minimum measured and calculated - -

Exposure 4

Main characteristics
Frequency
Type
Exposure duration at least two years work experience in a full-time job at the power plant
Additional info low electric field exposure
Exposure setup
Exposure source
  • same setup as exposure 1
  • not specified
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
electric field strength 14.7 V/m maximum measured and calculated - -

Exposure 5

Main characteristics
Frequency
Type
Exposure duration at least two years work experience in a full-time job at the power plant
Additional info medium electric field exposure
Exposure setup
Exposure source
  • same setup as exposure 1
  • not specified
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
electric field strength 14.7 V/m minimum measured and calculated - -
electric field strength 27.4 V/m maximum measured and calculated - -

Exposure 6

Main characteristics
Frequency
Type
Exposure duration at least two years work experience in a full-time job at the power plant
Additional info high electric field exposure
Exposure setup
Exposure source
  • same setup as exposure 1
  • not specified
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
electric field strength 27.4 V/m minimum measured and calculated - -

Reference articles

  • Cam ST et al. (2011): Occupational exposure to magnetic fields from transformer stations and electric enclosures in Turkey.
  • (2010): IEEE C95.3.1-2010 - IEEE Recommended Practice for Measurements and Computations of Electric, Magnetic, and Electromagnetic Fields with Respect to Human Exposure to Such Fields, 0 Hz to 100 kHz.

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated system:
Time of investigation:
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

There was a significant increase in DNA damage and later apoptosis, as well as a significant decrease in early apoptosis in lymphocytes of workers from the subgroup of high magnetic field exposure compared to the control group. There were no significant differences between the other magnetic field subgroups or the electric field groups and the control group.
The authors conclude that long-term occupational exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields of a power plant may cause genotoxic effects.

Study character:

Study funded by

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