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J Occup Health year 2005 volume 47 number 5 page 391 - 396
Classification Original
Title ECG Changes in Humans Exposed to 50 Hz Magnetic Fields
Author Srdjan S. BORJANOVIC1, Srdjan M. JANKOVIC1 and Zoran PEJOVIC2
Organization 1Institute of Occupational Health "Dr. Dragomir Karajovic", 2Occupational Safety and Environmental Protection Company "Beograd", Serbia and Montenegro
Keywords ECG, ELF, Power frequency, Magnetic fields exposure
Correspondence S. Borjanovic, Institute of Occupational Health "Dr. Dragomir Karajovic", Deligradska 29, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro (e-mail: drsrle@sezampro.yu)
Abstract ECG Changes in Humans Exposed to 50 Hz Magnetic Fields: Srdjan S. BORJANOVIC, et al. Institute of Occupational Health "Dr. Dragomir Karajovic", Serbia and Montenegro-Possible health issues of ELF EMFs include cardiovascular effects since both electrocardiogram and heart-rate changes have been reported in the literature. A non-linear relationship between field strength and biological response has been reported in some studies. In this study, a total of 59 subjects, divided into three independent magnetic field strength groups, were compared. A calculated 12-hour time weighted average (TWA) value of the fields was used as an exposure metric for each of the three locations ("low": 0.067 microT, "medium": 1.18 microT and "high": 5.2 microT) and subsequently used to estimate workers' exposure at these sites. Electrocardiograms were recorded in the resting position. Five parameters were derived from the ECG: heart rate (HR), duration of P wave and QRS wave, and duration of PR and QT intervals. The QT intervals were normalized to a heart rate of 60 (QTc). The obtained data were analyzed first by means of multivariate analysis of covariance and then oneway univariate analyses of covariances (ANCOVA) using exposure duration as a covariate. Only the ANCOVA on the QTc interval was significant. Our results suggest that the relationship between field strength and response is non-linear: the adjusted mean QTc values are similar between the "low" and the "high" group, but significantly lower in the "medium" group. One possible interpretation of our results is that a specific exposure pattern might be responsible for the non-linear effects observed, so that generally, characterizing exposure to electric and magnetic fields using simple metrics such as TWA may be insufficient.