EMF Occupational Exposure Database: Literature Review for INTEROCC Study
Vila J, Bowman JD, Richardson L, Kincl L, Conover DL, McLean D, Mann S, Vecchia P, van Tongeren M, Cardis E; INTEROCC Study Group. A Source-based Measurement Database for Occupational Exposure Assessment of Electromagnetic Fields in the INTEROCC Study: A Literature Review Approach. Ann Occup Hyg. 2015 Oct 21. pii: mev076. [Epub ahead of print]
INTRODUCTION: To date, occupational exposure assessment of electromagnetic fields (EMF) has relied on occupation-based measurements and exposure estimates. However, misclassification due to between-worker variability remains an unsolved challenge. A source-based approach, supported by detailed subject data on determinants of exposure, may allow for a more individualized exposure assessment. Detailed information on the use of occupational sources of exposure to EMF was collected as part of the INTERPHONE-INTEROCC study. To support a source-based exposure assessment effort within this study, this work aimed to construct a measurement database for the occupational sources of EMF exposure identified, assembling available measurements from the scientific literature.
METHODS: First, a comprehensive literature search was performed for published and unpublished documents containing exposure measurements for the EMF sources identified, a priori as well as from answers of study subjects. Then, the measurements identified were assessed for quality and relevance to the study objectives. Finally, the measurements selected and complementary information were compiled into an Occupational Exposure Measurement Database (OEMD).
RESULTS: Currently, the OEMD contains 1624 sets of measurements (>3000 entries) for 285 sources of EMF exposure, organized by frequency band (0 Hz to 300 GHz) and dosimetry type. Ninety-five documents were selected from the literature (almost 35% of them are unpublished technical reports), containing measurements which were considered informative and valid for our purpose. Measurement data and complementary information collected from these documents came from 16 different countries and cover the time period between 1974 and 2013.
CONCLUSION: We have constructed a database with measurements and complementary information for the most common sources of exposure to EMF in the workplace, based on the responses to the INTERPHONE-INTEROCC study questionnaire. This database covers the entire EMF frequency range and represents the most comprehensive resource of information on occupational EMF exposure. It is available at www.crealradiation.com/index.
... The evidence for occupational EMF exposure has been judged inadequate, however, due to exposure assessment limitations and small sample sizes. Recent findings using larger number of cases (Turner et al., 2014) suggest that glioma risk may be associated with recent (<5 2012="" 2014="" about="" acute="" al.="" and="" assessment="" better="" conditions="" coupled="" effects="" elf="" emf="" et="" exposure="" exposures.="" exposures="" field="" for="" from="" further="" health="" highlight="" ienkiewicz="" if="" improved="" including="" information="" lack="" magnetic="" methods.="" need="" neurodegenerative="" occupational="" of="" on="" outcomes="" possible="" reproductive="" results="" risks="" sli="" span="" studies="" the="" these="" uncertain="" with="" years="">
The INTEROCC project, involving seven INTERPHONE countries (Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, New Zealand, and the UK), was set up to make use of this valuable data set. The main aim of INTEROCC is to assess occupational EMF and chemical exposures among the study subjects and evaluate the potential brain tumour (i.e. glioma and meningioma) risk associated. Making use of the subjects’ occupational histories, a modified version of the Finnish job-exposure matrix, FINJEM, was used to assess exposure to selected chemicals (Van Tongeren et al., 2013). Similarly, an ELF-job-exposure matrix (JEM) (Bowman et al., 2007), updated within the project, was used to assess ELF exposure (Turner et al., 2014). However, the detailed information collected, including EMF sources, tasks, and work organization, allows for a more individualized exposure assessment for the study subjects.
... the OEMD contains the following information for each combination of EMF source and frequency band: (i) EMF source name and details; (ii) frequency band and range; (iii) reference of the document from which the information was obtained; (iv) link to the confidence evaluation rating; (v) complementary information including distance, dosimetry type, anatomical location, number of measurements to calculate the statistics provided and duty cycle; and (vi) the actual measurements for each electric or magnetic field. Other relevant information was included as remarks.
As of September 2015, the OEMD contains 1624 sets of measurements for 285 EMF source and frequency band combinations. From 114 documents located in the literature with measurements for the EMF sources identified, 95 were selected to be used in the construction of the database ....
The database contains a total of 3141 entries, almost double the number of sets of measurements, since each set of measurements may contain one or more statistics....
The OEMD has been developed for its use within the framework of an epidemiological study, INTEROCC. The data it contains will be used to develop an SEM, to be described and published elsewhere. This exposure tool will contain confidence-weighted summarized exposure estimates by source, and will be used to assign exposures to the INTEROCC study subjects based on the EMF sources reported. The SEM will also be used in other epidemiological studies, where a similar source-based approach has been followed (e.g. Mobi-Kids: Sadetzki et al., 2014). However, the information in the OEMD can also be useful for occupational hygiene purposes, through the identification of EMF sources with substantial exposure levels on which to focus control measures.
... To our knowledge, this database represents the most comprehensive resource of measurements available and an innovative approach for occupational exposure assessment, based on sources of EMF exposure regardless of occupation. Both the OEMD and the SEM to be developed from it will be offered for use by other researchers, optimizing the usefulness of the work we have conducted in improving occupational EMF exposure assessment and keeping the database content up to date. The OEMD is publicly available at www.crealradiation.com/index.
Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., Director
Center for Family and Community Health
School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley
Electromagnetic Radiation Safety
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