NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Video display terminals and the risk of spontaneous abortion.

Schnorr TM; Grajewski BA; Hornung RW; Thun MJ; Egeland GM; Murray WE; Conover DL; Halperin WE
N Engl J Med 1991 Mar; 324(11):727-733
The relationship between spontaneous abortion and the use of video display terminals (VDTs) was assessed. A cohort of female telephone operators who used VDTs at work was compared with a cohort of operators who did not use VDTs to determine whether the electromagnetic fields emitted by VDTs were associated with an increased risk of spontaneous abortion. The number of hours of VDT use per week was determined from company records. Electromagnetic fields were measured at the worksite. While operators who used VDTs had higher abdominal exposure to very low frequency electromagnetic fields, abdominal exposure to extremely low frequency fields was similar for operators who used VDTs and those who did not. Among the 2430 women who were interviewed, there were 882 pregnancies that met the criteria for inclusion in the study. No excess risk of spontaneous abortion was observed among women who used VDTs during the first trimester of pregnancy and no dose response relation was apparent on examination of the women's hours of VDT use per week. There continued to be no detectable risk associated with the use of VDTs when multiple pregnancies, early abortion, late abortion, and all fetal losses were assessed independently. The authors conclude that the use of VDTs and exposure to the accompanying electromagnetic fields under the described conditions are not associated with an increased risk of spontaneous abortion.
Reproductive-effects; Reproductive-hazards; Worker-health; Occupational-hazards; Video-display-terminals; Risk-analysis; Occupational-exposure; Workplace-studies; Electromagnetic-fields
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Fiscal Year
Issue of Publication
Source Name
New England Journal of Medicine
Page last reviewed: September 11, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division