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Health Effects of Electromagnetic Fields on Reproductive-Age Female Operators of Plastic Welding Machines in Fuzhou, China

Xu, Youqiong MD, PhD; Zhang, Xiaoyang MD; Chen, Yu MD; Ren, Nan MD; Lin, Wei BS, MS; Zhang, Qunwei MD, MPH, PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: February 2016 - Volume 58 - Issue 2 - p 148–153
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000581

Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the health effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) among female operators of plastic welding machines.

Methods: We examined 180 female operators in shoe factories as the exposed group, and 349 female workers from nearby supermarkets as the unexposed group.

Results: The mean radiation levels in the vicinity of the welding machines ranged from 51.3 to 368.9 V/m. The prevalence of neurovegetative symptoms increased with higher EMFs exposures (P < 0.05). The prevalence of menstrual disorder was 12.0% in the unexposed group, but was 26.8% and 33.8% in low and high-exposure groups, respectively (P < 0.01). Exposure–response relationships were found between cumulate exposure and neurovegetative symptoms and menstrual disorder (P < 0.05). Serum progesterone (P4) was significantly lower in the exposed groups (P < 0.01).

Conclusions: EMFs exposure was associated with adverse health effects, including neurovegetative symptoms, menstrual disorder, and low level of P4.

Fuzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Dr Xu, Zhang); School of Public Health, Fujian Medical University, Fuzhou, P. R of China (Dr Xu, Chen, Ren, Lin); Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Louisville, Kentucky (Dr Zhang).

Address correspondence to: Youqiong Xu, MD, PhD, Fuzhou Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 95 Qunzhong Road, Fuzhou, Fujian 350004, China (

This study was sponsored by the Institute of Science and Technology Fund (Grant 2005-17) and Natural Science Foundation in Fujian (2009J01323), China.

Conflict of interest: None declared.

Copyright © 2016 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine