Study type: Epidemiological study (observational study)

Exposure to radio-frequency electromagnetic fields and behavioural problems in Bavarian children and adolescents. epidem.

Published in: Eur J Epidemiol 2010; 25 (2): 135-141

Aim of study (acc. to author)

A cross-sectional study was conducted in Germany to investigate the possible association of exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields and behavioural problems in children and adolescents.

Further details

The mental health behaviour was assessed by the German version of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire which covers positive and negative attributes of behaviour. The children and their parents respectively the adolescents filled in the questionnaires.
Acute symptoms of the same study population were analyzed in Heinrich et al (2010) and chronic symptoms in Heinrich et al (2011).

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

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



Exposure groups

Group Description
Reference group 1 quartile 1 for children: 0.13 - 0.15 % of ICNIRP reference level
Group 2 quartile 2 for children: 0.15 - 0.17 % of ICNIRP reference level
Group 3 quartile 3 for children: 0.17 - 0.20 % of ICNIRP reference level
Group 4 quartile 4 for children: 0.20 - 0.92 % of ICNIRP reference level
Reference group 5 quartile 1 for adolescents: 0.13 - 0.15 % of ICNIRP reference level
Group 6 quartile 2 for adolescents: 0.15 - 0.17 % of ICNIRP reference level
Group 7 quartile 3 for adolescents: 0.17 - 0.21 % of ICNIRP reference level
Group 8 quartile 4 for adolescents: 0.21 - 0.78 % of ICNIRP reference level


Study size

Type Value
Total 6,396
Eligible 5,870
Participants 3,022
Participation rate 52 %

1498 children and 1524 adolescents participated in interview and exposure measurement

Statistical analysis method: ( adjustment: )

Conclusion (acc. to author)

Exposure to mobile phone frequencies assessed by personal dosimetry was far below the ICNIRP reference level in a range from 0.13 % to 0.92 % of the ICNIRP reference level during waking hours. Altogether 7 % of the children and 5 % of the adolescents showed overall behavioural problems.
Adolescents in the highest exposure group showed statistically significant more overall behavioural problems (OR 2.2, CI 1.1-4.5) whereas this result was not observed for children in the highest exposure group. An analysis of the behaviour subgroups showed an association between the highest exposure group and conduct problems for adolescents (OR 3.7, CI 1.6-8.4) and for children (OR 2.9, CI 1.4-5.9). The authors concluded that more studies were warranted to confirm the findings.

Study funded by

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