Study: No Link Between Utility Work, Cancer

According to the results of a study conducted in Denmark, electromagnetic fields do not pose health hazards to workers in the electrical energy supply industry.

The study, to be published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, was conducted in response to various epidemiological studies suggesting that leukemia, brain cancer and breast cancer are caused by occupational exposure to low-frequency electromagnetic fields of 50 to 60 Hz.

Researchers used the health and employment records of 28,000 utility workers from 99 different electrical energy supply companies in Denmark, and when the data was linked to the Danish Cancer Registry – where all new cases of cancer in the country have been recorded since 1942 – “no compelling evidence” for an increased risk of leukemia, breast cancer or brain cancer were found.

According to the study, there were no excess cases of leukemia among men or of breast cancer among female employees who had been exposed to medium- to high-frequency magnetic fields.

The study did that find that women exposed to medium-frequency electromagnetic fields were more likely to develop brain cancer than women with background-frequency levels. However, this was not true of men who had been exposed to high-frequency magnetic fields, who were less likely to develop the disease.

The researchers concluded that their findings agree with those of the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2002, in that “there was no consistent exposure–response relationship across studies and no consistent association with specific subtypes of leukemia and brain cancer” as well as breast cancer.

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