Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

No effect of an UMTS mobile phone-like electromagnetic field of 1.97 GHz on human attention and reaction time. med./bio.

Published in: Bioelectromagnetics 2008; 29 (2): 145-153

Aim of study (acc. to editor)

To study the effect of an UMTS mobile phone-like electromagnetic field of 1.97 GHz on human attention and reaction time.

Background/further details

40 healthy volunteers (20 female, 20 male) were exposed at three different UMTS mobile phone-like exposure conditions (two exposure levels plus sham exposure).



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 1.97 GHz
Exposure duration: session lasting about 1.5 h
  • SAR: 0.63 W/kg maximum (1 g) (0.25-1.49 W/kg)
  • SAR: 0.37 W/kg maximum (10 g) (0.16-0.84 W/kg)
  • SAR: 1.67 W/kg maximum (10 g)

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 1.97 GHz
Exposure duration session lasting about 1.5 h
Modulation type cf. additional info
Additional info

generic UMTS (WCDMA) test signal [Ndoumbe Mbonjo Mbonjo et al., 2004] including low frequency components of 1500 Hz, simulating power control, and 8-12 Hz, simulating 30 dB power variation due to fading

Exposure setup
Exposure source
Chamber The exposure cabin was laterally shielded and lined with RF absorbing material. The exposure system used has been described in [Schmid et al., 2005].
Setup Subjects were exposed on the left side of the head using small matched helical antennas built in a modified stereo head phone without metallic parts. They were not informed about the exposure side.
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Additional info Each subject participated in three testing sessions held at the same time in the afternoon of three separate working days between 10 and 12 days apart. Each testing session consisted of the same four tests done three times under the different exposure levels (high, low, and sham). After each individual test, the participants left the exposure cabin for a standardized break of 3 min. The orders of both the tests and the exposure levels were chosen pseudo-randomly and double-blinded by the control software. Over all three sessions, the duration of exposure was approximately the same for all subjects.
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
SAR 0.63 W/kg maximum calculated 1 g 0.25-1.49 W/kg
SAR 0.37 W/kg maximum calculated 10 g 0.16-0.84 W/kg
SAR 1.67 W/kg maximum measured 10 g -

Reference articles

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

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

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

The data showed that exposure to the UMTS signal under these experimental conditions had no statistically significant immediate effect on attention or reaction time. There were no significant differences between the test parameters under the three different exposure conditions in any of the four tests performed.
As in the present study UMTS exposure was applied, the data cannot be easily compared with earlier studies investigating GSM exposure.

Study character:

Study funded by

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