Journal Article

Risk of Severe Cardiac Arrhythmia in Male Utility Workers: A Nationwide Danish Cohort Study

Christoffer Johansen, Maria Feychting, Mogens Møller, Per Arnsbo, Anders Ahlbom and Jørgen H. Olsen

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 156, issue 9, pages 857-861
Published in print November 2002 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online November 2002 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI:
Risk of Severe Cardiac Arrhythmia in Male Utility Workers: A Nationwide Danish Cohort Study

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To address concern about the potential cardiovascular effects of occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields in the 50- to 60-Hz frequency band, the authors launched an epidemiologic study of the incidence of severe cardiac arrhythmia, as indicated by the need for a pacemaker, in a nationwide cohort of Danish utility workers. The cohort of 24,056 men employed at utility companies between 1900 and 1993 was linked to the nationwide, population-based Danish Pacemaker Register, and the numbers of persons who had undergone pacemaker implantation between 1982 and 2000 were compared with corresponding numbers in the general population. In addition, the data on the utility workers were fitted to a multiplicative Poisson regression model in relation to estimated levels of exposure to 50-Hz electromagnetic fields. Overall, based on 135 men with pacemakers (140 expected), there was no increased risk of severe cardiac arrhythmia among the utility employees; the risk estimate was 0.96 (95% confidence interval: 0.81, 1.14). No clear dose-response pattern emerged with increasing levels of exposure to electromagnetic fields or with duration of employment. These results are largely reassuring, since they do not support the hypothesis of a link between occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields and an excess risk of severe cardiovascular arrhythmia leading to permanent implantation of a pacemaker.

Keywords: arrhythmia; electricity; electromagnetic fields; occupational exposure; pacemaker, artificial

Journal Article.  3283 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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