Possible Health Benefits From Reducing Occupational Magnetic Fields

Authors


  • Disclosure statement: The findings and conclusions in this paper have not been formally disseminated by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and should not be construed to represent any agency determination or policy.

Abstract

Background

Magnetic fields (MF) from AC electricity are a Possible Human Carcinogen, based on limited epidemiologic evidence from exposures far below occupational health limits.

Methods

To help formulate government guidance on occupational MF, the cancer cases prevented and the monetary benefits accruing to society by reducing workplace exposures were determined. Life-table methods produced Disability Adjusted Life Years, which were converted to monetary values.

Results

Adjusted for probabilities of causality, the expected increase in a worker's disability-free life are 0.04 year (2 weeks) from a 1 microtesla (µT) MF reduction in average worklife exposure, which is equivalent to $5,100/worker/µT in year 2010 U.S. dollars (95% confidence interval $1,000–$9,000/worker/µT). Where nine electrosteel workers had 13.8 µT exposures, for example, moving them to ambient MFs would provide $600,000 in benefits to society (uncertainty interval $0–$1,000,000).

Conclusions

When combined with the costs of controls, this analysis provides guidance for precautionary recommendations for managing occupational MF exposures. Am. J. Ind. Med. 56:791–805, 2013. Copyright © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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