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Original article
Occupational exposure to extremely low-frequency magnetic fields and cardiovascular disease mortality in a prospective cohort study
  1. Tom Koeman1,
  2. Pauline Slottje1,
  3. Hans Kromhout1,
  4. Leo J Schouten2,
  5. R Alexandra Goldbohm3,
  6. Piet A van den Brandt2,
  7. Roel Vermeulen1,4
  1. 1Environmental Epidemiology Division, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Epidemiology, GROW School for Oncology and Developmental Biology, Maastricht University MedicalCentre, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  3. 3Netherlands Organization for Applied Research (TNO), Leiden, The Netherlands
  4. 4Julius Centre for Public Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Centre, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Dr Roel Vermeulen, Division of Environmental Epidemiology, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, P.O. Box 80.178, Utrecht 3584 TD, The Netherlands; r.c.h.vermeulen{at}


Objectives Although a study among utility workers found an increased risk for acute myocardial infarction and arrhythmia-related deaths associated with occupational extremely low-frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MF) exposure, later studies largely failed to replicate these findings. This study investigated the association between occupational ELF-MF exposure and cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality within a community-based prospective cohort study.

Methods The Netherlands Cohort Study is a prospective cohort study among 120 852 men and women aged 55–69 years at baseline. Participants were followed-up for CVD mortality over a period of 10 years, resulting in 8200 CVD deaths. Information on occupational history and potential confounders, such as educational level, smoking and alcohol use were collected at baseline through a self-administered questionnaire. Occupational ELF-MF exposure was assigned using a job-exposure matrix. Associations with CVD mortality were analysed using Cox regression.

Results Ever low or high exposure to ELF-MF showed no association with total CVD mortality (HR of 1.02, 95% CI 0.99 to 1.06), nor with any cause-specific subtypes of CVD mortality. Other ELF-MF exposure metrics showed no increased risks either.

Conclusions In this study, we found no indication of an association between occupational ELF-MF exposure and risk of CVD mortality.

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