Study type: Epidemiological study

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, occupational exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields and electric shocks: a systematic review and meta-analysis. epidem.

Published in: Rev Environ Health 2021; 36 (1): 129-142

Aim of study (acc. to author)

The aim of the meta-analysis was to explore whether occupational exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields and/or electric shocks are risk factor for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Further details

Following 27 studies were included in the meta-analysis: Deapen et al. (1986), Gunnarson et al. (1991), Gunnarson et al. (1992), Strickland et al. (1996), Davanipour et al. (1997), Savitz et al. (1998a), Savitz et al. (1998b), Noonan et al. (2002), Feychting et al. (2003), Hakansson et al. (2003), Park et al. (2005), Weißkopf et al. (2005), Röösli et al. (2007), Fang et al. (2009), Parlett et al. (2011), Malek et al. (2014), Sorahan et al. (2014), Fischer et al. (2015), Huss et al. (2015), Vergara et al. (2015), Koeman et al. (2017), Pedersen et al. (2017), Dickerson et al. (2019), Peters et al. (2019), Chen et al. (2019), Buckley et al. (1983) (not in EMF-Portal because job title was given without explicit relation to electromagnetic fields) and Huisman el al. (2015, in preparation).

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

Type of risk estimation:

Exposure

Assessment

Population

Statistical analysis method:

Conclusion (acc. to author)

A weak association between occupational exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields and the risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis was found (RR 1.20; CI 1.05-1.38). No association was observed between occupational exposure to electric shocks and risk of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (RR 0.97; CI 0.80-1.17). A significant increased risk for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis was observed for electrical occupations (RR 1.22; CI 1.04-1.43) but not for welders, train drivers, and sewing machine operators.
The authors concluded that occupational exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields, but not electric shocks, might be a risk factor for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. However, given the moderate to high heterogeneity and potential publication bias, the results should be interpreted with caution.

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