EMF Health-effects Research

Variations of melatonin and stress hormones under extended shifts and radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation.

Vangelova KK, Israel MS

Rev Environ Health. 20(2):151-161, 2005

We studied the time-of-day variations in urinary levels of 6-sulphatoxy-melatonin and three stress hormones in operators working fast-rotating extended shifts under radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (EMR).

The excretion rate of the hormones was monitored by radioimmunoassay and spectrofluorimetry at 4-hour intervals in a group of 36 male operators comprising 12 broadcasting station operators, 12 TV station operators, and a control group of 12 satellite station operators.

Measuring the time-weighted average (TWA) of EMR exposure revealed a high-level of exposure in broadcasting station operators (TWAmean= 3.10 microW/ cm2, TWAmax = 137.00 microW/cm2), a low-level in TV station operators (TWAmean = 1.89 microW/cm2, TWAmax = 5.24 microW/cm2), and a very low level in satellite station operators. The differences among the groups remained the same after confounding factors were taken into account.

Radiofrequency EMR had no effect on the typical diurnal pattern of 6-sulphatoxymelatonin. High-level radiofrequency EMR exposure significantly increased the excretion rates of cortisol (p < 0.001), adrenaline (p = 0.028), and noradrenaline (p < 0.000), whereas changes under low-level exposure did not reach significance. The 24-hour excretion of cortisol and noradrenaline correlated with TWAmean and TWAmax.

In conclusion, the excretion of 6-sulphatoxymelatonin retained a typical diurnal pattern under fast-rotating extended shifts and radiofrequency EMR, but showed an exposure-effect relation with stress hormones.

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