EMF Health-effects Research

Mortality of plastic-ware workers exposed to radiofrequencies.

Lagorio S, Rossi S, Vecchia P, De Santis M, Bastianini L, Fusilli M, Ferrucci E, Comba P

Bioelectromagnetics 18(6):418-421, 1997

The mortality experience of a cohort of Italian plastic-ware workers exposed to radiofrequency (RF)-electromagnetic fields generated by dielectric heat sealers was investigated. Follow-up extended from 1962 to 1992.

The standardised mortality ratio (SMR) analysis was restricted to 481 women workers, representing 78% of the total person-years at risk. Mortality from malignant neoplasms was slightly elevated, and increased risks of leukemia and accidents were detected. The all-cancer SMR was higher among women employed in the sealing department, where exposure to RF occurred, than in the whole cohort.

This study raises interest in a possible association between exposure to RF radiation and cancer risk. However, the study power was very small, and the possible confounding effects of exposure to solvents and vinyl chloride monomer (VCM) could not be ruled out.

The hypothesis of an increased risk of cancer after radiofrequency exposure should be further explored by means of analytical studies characterised by adequate power and more accurate exposure assessment.

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