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Medical/biological study (observational study)

Prevalence of nuclear cataract in Swiss veal calves and its possible association with mobile telephone antenna base stations.

Published in: Schweiz Arch Tierheilkd 2009; 151 (10): 471-478

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To evaluate the prevalence of nuclear cataract in veal calves and to elucidate a possible impact by mobile phone base stations.
Background/further details: A follow-up of the geographical location of each dam and its calf from conception through the fetal period up to slaughter was performed. The first trimester of gestation (organogenesis) was particularly emphasized. 253 calves (83-370 days old) were included.

Endpoint

Exposure

Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1:
  • unspecified
Exposure duration: continuous for 1 year
Exposure 1
Main characteristics
Frequency
  • unspecified
Type
Exposure duration continuous for 1 year
Additional info GSM and UMTS base stations
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
electric field strength 1 V/m minimum calculated - at 40 locations
electric field strength 0.99 V/m maximum calculated - 0.5-0.99 V/m at 121 locations
electric field strength 0.48 V/m maximum calculated - 0.1-0.48 V/m at 190 locations
electric field strength 0.1 V/m maximum calculated - at 11 locations
Additional parameter details
Field strength calculated with information about location and activity of base stations provided by the Swiss Federal Office of Commincation.
Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated material:
  • isolated bio./chem. substance
  • isolated organ
  • aqueous humor of the eye
Investigated organ system:
Time of investigation:
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

Of 253 calves, 32% (n=79) had various degrees of nuclear cataract, but only 3.6% calves (n=9) had severe nuclear cataract. The data showed a relation between the location of the veal calves with nuclear cataracts in the first trimester of gestation and the strength of antennas. There was an association between oxidative stress and the distance to the nearest mobile phone base station. Oxidative stress was increased in eyes with cataract. It has not been shown that the antennas actually affected stress.
A specific statistics showed an accuracy of 100% in negative cases with low exposure, and only 11.11% accuracy in positive cases with high exposure. This reflects, that there are a lot of other possibilities for nuclear cataract beside mobile phone base stations. Further studies on the influence of electromagnetic fields during embryogenesis are indicated.
Study character:

Study funded by

  • not stated/no funding

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