Melatonin metabolite levels in workers exposed to 60-Hz magnetic fields: Work in substations and with 3-phase conductors

James B. Burch, John S. Reif, Curtis W. Noonan, Michael G. Yost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Melatonin suppression by 50/60-Hz magnetic fields represents a plausible biological mechanism for explaining increased health risks in workers. Personal exposure to magnetic fields and ambient light, and excretion of the melatonin metabolite 6-hydroxymelatonin sulfate (6-OHMS), were measured over 3 consecutive workdays in electric utility workers. There was a magnetic field-dependent reduction in adjusted mean nocturnal and post-work 6-OHMS levels among men working more than 2 hours per day in substation and 3-phase environments and no effect among those working 2 hours or less. No changes were observed among men working in 1-phase environments. The results suggest that circular or elliptical magnetic field polarization, or another factor linked to substations and 3-phase electricity, is associated with magnetic field induced melatonin suppression in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)136-142
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
Volume42
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2000

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