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Occupational exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields and brain tumour risks in the INTEROCC study

Study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention

Wednesday, July 2th, 2014

Occupational exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields and brain tumour risks in the INTEROCC study

Result from this study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention showed associations between extremely low frequency magnetic fields (ELF) exposure in the recent past and risk of glioma (the most frequent type of brain tumours in adults).

Occupational exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields (ELF) is a suspected risk factor for brain tumours, however the literature is inconsistent.  Analyses of data from the seven countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, United Kingdom) in the INTEROCC study lead by CREAL, an ISGlobal research center, examined associations between occupational ELF exposure in different time windows of exposure and specific histologic types of brain tumours.  The study included over 3,700 brain tumour cases and 5,400 control subjects.  Estimates of cumulative exposure, average exposure, maximum exposure, and exposure duration based on an updated ELF job exposure matrix were calculated for the lifetime, and 1-4, 5-9, and 10+ years prior to the diagnosis/reference date. 

Researchers found significant positive associations between cumulative ELF in the time window 1-4 years prior to the date of diagnosis/reference date and glioma, and weaker associations with meningioma. Michelle C. Turner, CREAL researcher of CREAL and first author of the publication, explains that “occupational ELF may play a role in the later stages (promotion and progression) of brain tumourigenesis”.

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Image: Alfred T. Palmer (Public domain), via Wikimedia Commons


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