Occupational Exposure to Steady Magnetic Fields and Mental Health of workers at the Copper Electrolysis Unit

Mohammad Reza Ghotbi, Hossein Mardi, Narges Khanjani, Nooshin Parvaresh


Background: There are a few studies about the health effects of steady magnetic fields. This study was performed in order to evaluate some of the mental effects of exposure to steady magnetic fields in the copper electrolysis unit.

Methods: This cross-sectional descriptive and analytical study was performed at the electrolysis unit of a Copper Complex in Kerman Province in 2013. The populations under study were ninety workers exposed to steady magnetic fields chosen as the exposed group and 90 workers without exposure chosen from the concentration unit and similar to the exposure group in regard to working conditions. The intensity of steady magnetic field was measured in different parts of the saloon and in the head, waist and feet position. Measuring mental signs was performed by the General Health Questionnaire GHQ-28. Data analysis was performed through SPSS19 and the Mann-Whitney U, one way ANOVA, Chi-square test and Regression analysis was used.

Results: In this study the mean intensity of the steady magnetic field in the exposed group was 2.5 mT. The mean rank of mental health in the exposed group was 102.04 and in the unexposed group was 78.96 and the difference was statistically significant (p=0.003). Also there were statistical differences between the two groups in anxiety and sleep disorder (p=0.001) and depression (p=0.007) dimensions.

Conclusion: It appears that exposure to static magnetic fields can cause psychological complications. Therefore, more research is recommended to improve the safety of workers exposed to these fields.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/jss.v1i2.8485


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