Study type: Medical/biological study (observational study)

Subjective symptoms, sleeping problems, and cognitive performance in subjects living near mobile phone base stations. med./bio.

Published in: Occup Environ Med 2006; 63 (5): 307-313

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To study the relation between exposure from mobile telecommunication and other radiofrequency electromagnetic field and the association between exposure and symptoms.

Background/further details

In a cross-sectional study of randomly selected inhabitants living in urban and rural areas of Austria for more than one year near to 10 selected base stations, 365 subjects were examined.

Endpoint

Exposure

Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 900 MHz
Exposure 2: 80 MHz–2 GHz

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 900 MHz
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Chamber The exposure of the investigated persons was measured in their homes.
Setup 365 subjects were investigated at 10 different antenna locations. The distance from the antenna was between 24 m and 600 m in rural areas and between 20 m und 250 m in urban areas.
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
power density 0.04 mW/m² mean measured - exposure category 1: <0.1 mW/m²
power density 0.23 mW/m² mean measured - exposure category 2: 0.1-0.5 mW/m²
power density 1.3 mW/m² mean measured - exposure category 3: >0.5 mW/m²

Exposure 2

Main characteristics
Frequency 80 MHz–2 GHz
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
power density 0.0002 mW/m² minimum measured - -
power density 1.4 mW/m² maximum measured - -

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated system:
Investigated organ system:
Time of investigation:
  • during exposure
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

Self-reported symptoms like headache and difficulties in concentrating show an association with microwave exposure from base stations, not attributable to subject's fear of health effects from the base stations. Despite the influence of confounder variables (like fear of adverse effects from exposure) there was a significant relation of some symptoms to measured power density; this was highest for headaches.
Perceptual speed increased, while accuracy decreased insignificantly with increasing exposure levels. There was no significant effect on sleep quality.
The data show that effects of very low exposure to high frequency electromagnetic fields on well being and performance cannot be ruled out; however, mechanisms of action at these low levels are unknown.

Study character:

Study funded by

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