Occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields and breast cancer in men

Paul A. Demers, David B. Thomas, Karin A. Rosenblatt, L. Margarita Jimenez, Anne Mctiernan, Helge Stalsberg, Annette Stemhagen, W. Douglas Thompson, Mary G.Mccrea Curnen, William Satariano, Donald F. Austin, Peter Isacson, Raymond S. Greenberg, Charles Key, Laurence N. Kolonel, Dee W. West

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

187 Scopus citations


Data from a population-based case-control study of breast cancer in men were used to examine the hypothesis that occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields increases the risk of breast cancer. Incident cases (n = 227) diagnosed between 1983 and 1987 were obtained from 10 population-based cancer registries of the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results program of the National Cancer Institute. Controls (n = 300) were selected by random digit dialing and from Medicare eligibility lists. Exposure status, defined as ever having been employed in a job which has been classified as involving potential exposure to electromagnetic fields, was assigned without knowledge of case/control status. An elevated risk was found for any job with exposure (odds ratio (OR) = 1.8, 95 percent confidence interval (CI) 1.0-3.7), and risk was highest among electricians, telephone linemen, and electric power workers (OR = 6.0, 95 percent CI 1.7-21) and radio and communications workers (OR = 2.9, 95 percent CI 0.8-10). Risk did not vary with duration of exposed employment. The risk was highest among subjects who were first employed in jobs with exposure before the age of 30 years and who were initially exposed at least 30 years prior to diagnosis. These results lend support to the theory that electromagnetic fields may be related to breast cancer in men. The hypothesis warrants evaluation in women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)340-347
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Epidemiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 15 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast neoplasms
  • Electromagnetic fields
  • Employment
  • Environmental exposure
  • Men

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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