Occupational exposure to magnetic fields and brain tumours in Central Sweden

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Occupations with exposure to magnetic fields were studied in a population-based case-control study of male glioma and meningioma in Central Sweden. The study included 84 cases of glioma, 20 cases of meningioma and 155 controls. Information about job titles was obtained by means of a questionnaire. Three different methods were used to classify exposure 1) ‘electrical occupations’, 2) assessment of magnetic fields by an electrical engineer, 3) job values based on magnetic field measurements at work sites for occupational groups. When analyses were based on ‘electrical occupations’ a relative risk (RR) of 1.0 (95% CI: 0.4–2.4) was seen for glioma and 1.8 (95% CI: 0.3–3.6) for meningioma. When analyses were based on measurements a relative risk of 1.9 (95% CI: 0.8–5.0) was seen for glioma and 1.6 (95% CI: 0.3–10.2) for those ever in an exposed job of an average mean value of > 0.4μ T. A larger number of individuals was classified as exposed, when exposure was based on measurements. Information was available regarding several potential confounders, but none of them seemed to be of any importance. Our conclusion is that the results based on magnetic field measurements give some support to the hypothesis that magnetic fields exposure may play a role in the development of brain tumours.

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