Journal of Occupational Health
Online ISSN : 1348-9585
Print ISSN : 1341-9145
Systematic Literature Review of Adverse Reproductive Outcomes Associated with Physiotherapists' Occupational Exposures to Non-ionising Radiation
Syed Ghulam Sarwar ShahAlexandra Farrow
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2014 Volume 56 Issue 5 Pages 323-331


Objectives: To review empirical research on adverse health and pregnancy outcomes associated with physiotherapists' occupational exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF EMFs) from shortwave (SWD) and microwave (MWD) diathermy devices. Methods: A systematic review of peer reviewed literature published from 1990 to 2010 in the English language searched in eight online bibliographic databases: CINAHL, EBSCOhost, ISI Web of Knowledge, Medline, OSH UPDATE, PubMed Central, ScienceDirect, and Scopus. Results: Findings suggest that physiotherapists' occupational exposure to SWD was statistically significantly associated with delayed time to pregnancy (>6 months), still birth, altered gender ratio (low ratio of boys to girls), congenital malformations and low birth weight (<2,500 g) among physiotherapists' offspring. Physiotherapists' exposure to MWD was also found to be statistically significantly associated with spontaneous abortion. However, causal mechanisms for these statistical associations are unknown. The present systematic review has found these adverse reproductive outcomes and health effects associations with RF EMFs from therapeutic diathermy devices to be inconsistent. Conclusions: A number of studies did not find statistically significant results to replicate associations with such adverse outcomes, and therefore further research, preferably prospective studies of cohorts of physiotherapists, is warranted.(J Occup Health 2014; 56: 323-331)

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2014 by the Japan Society for Occupational Health
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