Effect of Occupational Extremely Low-Frequency Electromagnetic Field Exposure on the Thyroid Gland of Workers: A Prospective Study


Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the biological effects of occupational extremely low-frequency electromagnetic field (ELF-EMF) exposure on the thyroid gland. Methods: We conducted a prospective analysis of 85 workers (exposure group) exposed to an ELF-EMF (100 μT, 10-100 Hz) produced by the electromagnetic aircraft launch system and followed up on thyroid function indices, immunological indices, and color Doppler images for 3 years. Additionally, 116 healthy volunteers were randomly selected as controls (control group), the thyroid function of whom was compared to the exposure group. Results: No significant difference was observed in thyroid function between the exposure and control groups. During the follow-up of the exposure group, the serum free triiodothyronine (FT3) level was found to slowly decrease and free thyroxine (FT4) level slowly increase with increasing exposure time. However, no significant difference was found in thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) over the three years, and no significant difference was observed in the FT3, FT4 and TSH levels between different exposure subgroups. Furthermore, no significant changes were observed in thyroid autoantibody levels and ultrasound images between subgroups or over time. Conclusion: Long-term exposure to ELF-EMF may promote thyroid secretion of T4 and inhibit deiodination of T4 to T3. ELF-EMF has no significant effect on thyroid immune function and morphology.

Authors: Yuan-Yuan Fang, Qian Tu, Yu-Ting Zhang, Jian Liu, Hui-Guo Liu, Zhi-Hua Zhao, Hua Wu, Tie-Jun Yin
; Full Source: Current medical science 2022 Aug;42(4):817-823. doi: 10.1007/s11596-022-2610-8.