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Medical/biological study (observational study)

[Response to ACTH of cows under exposure to high-frequency electromagnetic fields].

ACTH-Stimulationstest bei Kühen unter dem Einfluss hochfrequenter elektromagnetischer Felder.

Published in: Tierarztl Prax Ausg G Grosstiere Nutztiere 2002; 30: 144-147

Aim of study (acc. to author)

Cows salivary cortisol levels were measured on 17 dairy farms in Bavaria under exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields of mobile phone networks.
Background/further details: Data are intended to give an impression of the stress situation of the animals (via cortisol secretion). The investigation differentiated between low-exposure and high-exposure farms. Five cows per farm were treated intravenously with adrenocorticotropic hormone. By means of saliva samples a cortisol profile over four hours was then determined.
Under chronic stress situation the adrenal cortex activity is increased. Therefore, the organism response to a exogenous stressor (stimulated via ACTH administration) by an increase of the peripheral cortisol level.



    • mobile communications
    • GSM
Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 900 MHz–1.8 GHz
Modulation type: pulsed
Exposure duration: continuous
Exposure 1
Main characteristics
Frequency 900 MHz–1.8 GHz
Exposure duration continuous
Modulation type pulsed
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Additional info 17 Bavarian dairy farms were investigated. The cows were divided into 4 groups: Group A and B served as exposure groups and C and D as control groups. Group A was under the highest exposure conditions whereas group D was under the lowest.
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
electric field strength 160 mV/m maximum measured - -
Additional parameter details
The highest exposure levels measured in the stables were 140-160 mV/m.
Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated material:
  • isolated bio./chem. substance
  • saliva
  • investigation on living organism
Investigated organ system:
Time of investigation:
  • during exposure
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

Highly exposed cows had a higher and more sustained cortisol level than animals with exposure of a lower level. Therefore it is concluded that cows with prolonged exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields are chronically stressed. This could lead to a higher susceptibility to diseases.
Study character:

Study funded by

  • Bayerisches Staatsministerium für Landesentwicklung und Umweltfragen, Germany

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