Leukaemia and brain tumors have been found in Swiss Railway employees, likely due to exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields.
Occupational and Environmental Medicine has published a report that some cancers seem to be linked to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields. It's a fairly remarkable, large study . . . the findings are based on more than 20,000 Swiss railway workers, who were monitored for 30 years.
The researchers opted to study this group, because railway workers in Switzerland are exposed to much higher levels of electromagnetic field radiation than the general population. The researchers checked the full employment records of 20,141 Swiss railway workers in employment or retired from post between 1972 and 2002. Information on deaths among the employees was obtained from national data.
Electromagnetic field exposure varied, depending on post. For example, rail drivers were exposed to around three times the levels of yard engineers and nine times the levels of ticket collectors on trains. Station masters were exposed to the lowest levels.
While there was no link between electromagnetic field exposure and deaths from lymphoid leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and brain tumors, there was some evidence that higher levels of electromagnetic field exposure had an impact on rates of myeloid leukaemia and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Drivers were more than four times as likely to die of myeloid leukemia, and over three times as likely to die of Hodgkin’s lymphoma, as station masters (those with the lowest level of low-frequency magnetic fields).
So what does this mean to the rest of us? While it does add to a growing pile of evidence that there is indeed a link for these very low frequency electromagnetic fields and cancer, the authors are not suggesting that we are in danger riding in trains.