Study type: Epidemiological study (observational study)

Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields emitted from base stations of DECT cordless phones and the risk of glioma and meningioma (Interphone Study Group, Germany). epidem.

Published in: Radiat Res 2006; 166 (1): 116-119

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To investigate whether continuous low-level radiofrequency electromagnetic fields emitted by base stations of DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) cordless phones increase the risk of glioma and meningioma, a population-based case-control study was conducted in Germany.

Further details

The German study group supplemented the core questionnaire of the INTERPHONE project to assess the exposure to DECT base stations. The results concerning mobile phones are published in publication 13158.
The exposure measure was the location of a base station of a DECT cordless phone. A subject was classified as exposed if the DECT base station was located 3 m or less away from the subject's bed. Since many subjects could not recall whether their cordless phone was DECT, all information about make and model were used to classify cordless phones into "definitively DECT" and "possibly DECT".

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

Type of risk estimation: (odds ratio (OR))

Exposure

Assessment

Exposure groups

Group Description
Reference group 1 definitively DECT: no
Group 2 definitively DECT: yes
Reference group 3 possibly/definitively DECT: no
Group 4 possibly/definitively DECT: yes
Reference group 5 time since first exposure (possibly/definitively DECT): no, < 1 year
Group 6 time since first exposure (possibly/definitively DECT): 1-4 years
Group 7 time since first exposure (possibly/definitively DECT): ≥ 5 years

Population

Case group

Control group

Study size

Cases Controls
Eligible 891 2,449
Participants 747 1,494
Participation rate 84 % 63 %
Other:

glioma: 460 cases eligible, 366 participating; meningioma: 431 cases eligible, 381 participating

Statistical analysis method: (adjustment: )

Conclusion (acc. to author)

Only few subjects had placed their DECT cordless phone base station close to the bed (definitely: 8 cases and 23 controls, possibly/definitively: 10 cases and 26 controls). The risk of glioma or meningioma was not increased.
No association between continuous low-level radiofrequency electromagnetic fields exposure during the night and the risk of glioma and meningioma was observed.

Limitations (acc. to author)

Only a small number of subjects were exposed. Detailed information about the type of cordless phone (analog or DECT) was difficult to obtain.

Study funded by