Milham S Jr.

US amateur radio operators in Washington State and California were studied to determine if they had an excess of deaths compared with the general US population. The analysis was restricted to males since only 6% of the operators were female. The overall mortality ratio of the operators (compared to the general population) was 71 (where 100 would indicate equality with the general population). The overall cancer mortality ratio was 89. Mortality due to acute myeloid leukaemia was significantly elevated (ratio 176). The author states that in Washington State 31% of the operators had occupations with EM field exposures, whereas these occupations are listed on only 3% of all male death certificates in the State. He points out that the amateur radio operators, in addition to electric and magnetic fields, are exposed to electric shock, soldering fumes, and degreasing agents in their hobby. Those working in occupations with EM exposures would also be exposed to a variety of other factors.

There is limited information on the exposure of the operators to RF and ELF fields. There is also a lack of information on exposure to other relevant factors. Finally, death certificates may be misclassified, and this can be important when dealing with relatively small numbers e.g. there were only 15 deaths in the acute myeloid leukaemia group.


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