Cardiovascular mortality and exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields: a cohort study of Swiss railway workers

Röösli, Martin; Egger, Matthias; Pfluger, Dominik; Minder, Christoph (2008). Cardiovascular mortality and exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields: a cohort study of Swiss railway workers. Environmental health, 7, p. 35. London: BioMed Central 10.1186/1476-069X-7-35

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BACKGROUND: Exposure to intermittent magnetic fields of 16 Hz has been shown to reduce heart rate variability, and decreased heart rate variability predicts cardiovascular mortality. We examined mortality from cardiovascular causes in railway workers exposed to varying degrees to intermittent 16.7 Hz magnetic fields. METHODS: We studied a cohort of 20,141 Swiss railway employees between 1972 and 2002, including highly exposed train drivers (median lifetime exposure 120.5 muT-years), and less or little exposed shunting yard engineers (42.1 muT-years), train attendants (13.3 muT-years) and station masters (5.7 muT-years). During 464,129 person-years of follow up, 5,413 deaths were recorded and 3,594 deaths were attributed to cardio-vascular diseases. We analyzed data using Cox proportional hazards models. RESULTS: For all cardiovascular mortality the hazard ratio compared to station masters was 0.99 (95%CI: 0.91, 1.08) in train drivers, 1.13 (95%CI: 0.98, 1.30) in shunting yard engineers, and 1.09 (95%CI: 1.00, 1.19) in train attendants. Corresponding hazard ratios for arrhythmia related deaths were 1.04 (95%CI: 0.68, 1.59), 0.58 (95%CI: 0.24, 1.37) and 10 (95%CI: 0.87, 1.93) and for acute myocardial infarction 1.00 (95%CI: 0.73, 1.36), 1.56 (95%CI: 1.04, 2.32), and 1.14 (95%CI: 0.85, 1.53). The hazard ratio for arrhythmia related deaths per 100 muT-years of cumulative exposure was 0.94 (95%CI: 0.71, 1.24) and 0.91 (95%CI: 0.75, 1.11) for acute myocardial infarction. CONCLUSION: This study provides evidence against an association between long-term occupational exposure to intermittent 16.7 Hz magnetic fields and cardiovascular mortality.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)

UniBE Contributor:

Röösli, Martin; Egger, Matthias and Minder, Christoph Erwin






BioMed Central




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 15:04

Last Modified:

09 Jan 2015 02:02

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URI: (FactScience: 111507)

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