A pilot study on the reproductive risks of maternal exposure to magnetic fields from electronic article surveillance systems
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CitationKhan, MW. Roivainen, P. Herrala, M. Tiikkaja, M. Sallmén, M. Hietanen, M. Juutilainen, J. (2018). A pilot study on the reproductive risks of maternal exposure to magnetic fields from electronic article surveillance systems. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF RADIATION BIOLOGY, [Epub ahead of print 26 Feb 2018], 10.1080/09553002.2018.1439197.
Purpose: We investigated the feasibility of a large-scale epidemiological study on reproductive effects of intermediate frequency (IF) magnetic field (MF) exposure among cashiers working near electronic article surveillance (EAS) systems.
Materials and methods: The study cohort included 4157 women who had worked as cashiers in supermarkets with EAS devices (considered as exposed) or grocery stores without EAS devices (considered as unexposed) between 2008 and 2015. 536 births and 38 miscarriages occurred among these women during the study period, based on information from nationwide health registries. Measurements were also performed to characterize the MF exposure of cashiers.
Results: Cashiers were found to be exposed to 8.2 MHz MFs only when passing by the gates at short distance. Static fields of about 0.1 mT were observed at cashier’s seat. Extremely low frequency MFs were higher at stores without EAS devices. No differences on the risk of miscarriage, reduced birth weight or preterm birth were observed between cashiers in different store types.
Conclusions: Any further studies should attempt to include study subjects working near EAS systems that produce stronger IF MFs at kHz frequencies. Exposure to ELF MFs should be assessed as a possible confounding factor.