Epidemiological Study (cohort study)
Pregnancy outcomes after paternal radiofrequency field exposure aboard fast patrol boats. epidemiol. By: Baste V, Moen BE, Oftedal G, Strand LA, Bjorge L, Mild KH
Published in: J Occup Environ Med 2012; 54 (4): 431 - 438 ( PubMed Entry , Journal web site )
Aim of study (according to author)
Pregnancy outcomes after paternal radiofrequency electromagnetic field exposure aboard fast patrol boats were investigated in a cohort study in Norway.
The Medical Birth Registry of Norway and the register of the Royal Norwegian Navy were linked by means of the mother's and father's personal ID numbers to find all pregnancies involving parents in the Royal Norwegian Navy.
Exposure during the last 3 months before conception (acute) and exposure more than 3 months before conception (nonacute) were analyzed.
Endpoint/type of risk estimation
Estimate of prevalence by relative risk (RR)
- reproductive effects and pregnancy outcomes: sex ratio, congenital malformation, perinatal mortality, low birth weight, preterm birth, low weight in relation to gestational age, preeclampsia
groups of exposure:
- radio frequency field, radar, each fast patrol boat is equipped with RF antennas (2.1 to 4 MHz with a maximum output power of 250 W, mostly used in 10-50 W range) and 2 radars (one 9.4 GHz for navigation and one 9.1 GHz for weapon control, both with 25 kW peak power)
- type of exposure: occupational
- assessment by list (work history data including all positions, workplaces, and work periods for each employee)
- assessment by job exposure matrix (crew was classified in group 1 (artillerymen and personnel (not officers) who operated weapons such as torpedoes and cannons), group 2 (bridge officers and radar operators) and group 3 (jobs below deck, such as engine room personnel and telegraph/radio operators))
- assessment by measurement (stationary measurements of electric fields emanating from the antennas and radars aboard the fast patrol boats in 1998 and 2005)
- assessment by calculation (job group average RF exposure level was calculated by multiplying the percentage of time the group spent in a specific location by the measured average RF exposure level for the location, and, by adding together the five locations. The individual RF exposure dose was estimated by multiplying the average RF exposure level by the number of days of service in the job group, time period, and FPB class in question)
|Reference group 1: || land-based exposure |
|group 2: || acute exposure on vessels (3 month prior conception), subdivided into groups 4-8 |
|group 3: || nonacute exposure on vessels (more than 3 months prior conception), subdivided into groups 9-13 |
|Reference group 4: || acute exposure on other vessels excluding fast patrol boats |
|group 5: || acute exposure on fast patrol boats |
|group 6: || acute exposure on fast patrol boats, radiofrequency dose: low |
|group 7: || acute exposure on fast patrol boats, radiofrequency dose: medium |
|group 8: || acute exposure on fast patrol boats, radiofrequency dose: high |
|Reference group 9: || nonacute exposure on other vessels excluding fast patrol boats |
|group 10: || nonacute exposure on fast patrol boats |
|group 11: || nonacute exposure on fast patrol boats, radiofrequency dose: low |
|group 12: || nonacute exposure on fast patrol boats, radiofrequency dose: medium |
|group 13: || nonacute exposure on fast patrol boats, radiofrequency dose: high |
Study group: men and children with exposure in utero
Group characteristics: pregnancies involving servicemen employed in the Royal Norwegian Navy
Observation period: 1950 - 2004
Study location: Norway
Source of data: Medical Birth Registry of Norway, Royal Norwegian Navy
Exclusion criteria: mother's service in Royal Norwegian Navy before birth; multiple pregnancy
|Study size || cohort |
|number total ||37,920|
Statistical analysis using log-binominal regression analysis (adjusted for year of birth, maternal age, paternal age)
Results/conclusion (according to author)
The results showed an increased risk of perinatal mortality and pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia after paternal service aboard fast patrol boats during a 3-month preconception period compared with work aboard other vessels. The same was seen among servicemen with an estimated radiofrequency exposure dose aboard fast patrol boats (groups 6-8), but there was no clear dose-response relationship. No associations were found between nonacute exposure and any of the reproductive outcomes.
The authors concluded that paternal work aboard fast patrol boats during an acute period was associated with perinatal mortality and preeclampsia but the cause is not clear.
(Study character: epidemiological study, cohort study)
Study funded by
- Ministry of Defence, Norway
Glossary: acute, antennas, children, cohort, cohort study, conception, dose, dose-response relationship, electric fields, electromagnetic field, epidemiological, exposure, gestational, GHz, in utero, job exposure matrix, malformation, maternal, MHz, mortality, occupational exposure, perinatal, power, preeclampsia, pregnancies, prevalence, radar, radio, radiofrequency, regression analysis, reproductive, risk, RR, sex ratio, statistical, vessels
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