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.
|Number of pages
|Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine
|Published - Feb 2000