Study type: Epidemiological study (observational study)

Health response of two communities to military antennae in Cyprus. epidem.

Published in: Occup Environ Med 2007; 64 (6): 402-408

Aim of study (acc. to author)

A health survey was conducted to evaluate the health effects caused by high frequency radio waves from military antenna systems at Akrotiri, Cyprus.

Further details

Data on the electromagnetic field exposure and health information were collected in following three sites: the 'exposed' communities Akrotiri and Asomatos (in a distance of 1-3 km to the military antenna), and the 'unexposed' village Pano Kyvides (in a distance of 15 km).

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

Exposure

Assessment

Exposure groups

Group Description
Reference group 1 Pano Kyvides: < 0.01 V/m
Group 2 Akrotiri: average broadband outdoor field strength (all sources, military, civil and broadcast): 0.57 V/m; military transmission (17.6 MHz): 0.11 V/m
Group 3 Asomatos: average broadband outdoor field strength (all sources, military, civil and broadcast): 0.46 V/m; military transmission (17.6 MHz): 0.04 V/m

Population

Study size

Type Value
Eligible 2,150
Participation rate 87 %
Other:

800 inhabitants in Akrotiri, 350 in Asomatos and 1000 in Pano Kyvides

Statistical analysis method:

Conclusion (acc. to author)

Compared with the control village, there were significant differences in the reporting of migraine (unadjusted OR for Akrotiri: 2.7; CI 1.82-4.10), headache (unadjusted OR for Akrotiri: 3.7; CI 2.71-5.00), and dizziness (unadjusted OR 2.7) among the residents of the exposed communities. There was no evidence of increased cancer incidence, childhood illness or negative reproductive effects among the exposed residents. They showed greater negative views of their health in all eight domains of the SF-36 health survey. There were also higher levels of perceived risk, particularly to noise and electrosmog. The possible effect on mortality could not be determined due to uncertain data.
The authors conclude that the results of this study do not exclude the possibility that proximity to electromagnetic field sources have an effect on well-being and health. However, the measured field levels do not suggest any causal association, even close (in a distance of 1-3 km) to powerful military antenna transmissions, the dominant sources of radiofrequency fields were cell phone base stations and national broadcast systems. Part of the explanation of the health effects could be heightened risk perception. Residential proximity to the military antennae may also be associated with general pollution, including aircraft noise.

Study funded by

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