Electrical Lines Linked
To Suicides
By Nigel Hawkes
People exposed to power lines and electrical machinery at work are at a greater risk of suicide, an American study has shown.
Power line workers or electricians were up to twice as likely to die by suicide, possibly because the electromagnetic fields to which they were exposed made them depressed by reducing the production of the "mood hormone" melatonin, Dr David Savitz and his colleagues from the University of North Carolina say.
They studied the health records of 138,905 male workers employed by five utility companies between January 1950 and December 1985, and found 536 suicides. They estimated the exposure of the men to electromagnetic fields and reported that electricians or linemen appear more likely to commit suicide, but not those who were plant operators.
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