Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields of High Voltage Overhead Power Lines and Female Infertility

Sedigheh Esmailzadeh, Mouloud Agajani Delavar, Ashraf Aleyassin, Sayyed Asghar Gholamian, Amirmasoud Ahmadi


Background: Living in the vicinity of high voltage power lines has brought about a range of health woes, but the effect of residential exposure to electromagnetic fields from the power lines on female fertility has not been explored yet.

Objective: To test the hypothesis if residential proximity to high voltage power lines could be associated with the increased risk of female infertility.

Methods: In a case-control study, 462 women with confirmed diagnosis of unexplained infertility or behavioral and environmental factors were assessed between February 2014 and December 2016. Control group comprised of 471 persons with no history of infertility selected using randomized-digit dialing from the numbers registered in a birth registry between 2014 and 2016. The nearest linear distance from high voltage power lines to the participants' residence of cases and controls was measured using a Geographical Information System (GIS) and Google Earth aerial evaluation for high voltage power lines (240–400 kV).

Results: 112 (14.1%) houses were within 500 meters from a high voltage power line. Women living within 500 meters of the lines (OR 4.14, 95% CI 2.61 to 6.57) and 500–1000 meters of the line (OR 1.61, 95% CI 1.05 to 2.47) carried a significantly higher risk of infertility than those women living more than 1000 meters away from the power lines. After adjusting for confounding factors, women living within 500 meters of the lines carried a higher risk (aOR 4.44, 95% CI 2.77 to 7.11) of infertility compared with women living more than 1000 meters of the lines.

Conclusion: The current safety guidelines for electromagnetic fields exposure seems to be not adequate for protecting people from the hazardous effects of the field.


Reproductive health; Environment; Risk assessment; Risk factors; Electric power supplies; Geographic information systems

doi: 10.15171/ijoem.2019.1429

 pISSN: 2008-6520
 eISSN: 2008-6814

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