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Epidemiological study (observational study)

[Results of a cross-sectional study on the association of electromagnetic fields emitted from mobile phone base stations and health complaints].

Ergebnisse einer Querschnittsstudie zum Zusammenhang von elektromagnetischen Feldern von Mobilfunksendeanlagen und unspezifischen gesundheitlichen Beschwerden.

Published in: Umweltmed Forsch Prax 2010; 15 (3): 159-166

Aim of study (acc. to author)

A cross-sectional study was conducted in Germany to investigate the association between the exposure to measured electromagnetic fields emitted by mobile phone base stations and health complaints.

Further details

More details of the study are published in Blettner et al. (2009) and in Berg et al. (2009).
Health status was assessed by following questionnaires: Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, Headache Impact Test, list of psychosomatic complaints (von Zerssen list), and SF-36 Health Survey.
A person was defined as exposed when the mean total field was above 0.1 V/m.

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

Type of risk estimation:
  • prevalence

Exposure

Assessment

  • interview
  • measurement: 75 measurements at 4 different positions on the bed of the participant during daytime
  • dosimeter
  • calculation: mean total field value based on the root mean square of 280 measurements for each participant; calculation without uplink frequencies

Exposure groups

Reference group 1 non-exposed: mean total field ≤ 0.1 V/m
Group 2 exposed: mean total field > 0.1 V/m

Population

  • Group:
    • men
    • women
  • Age: 15–71 years
  • Observation period: March - August 2006
  • Study location: Germany (Berlin, western part of the Ruhr district, Hamburg, Cologne/Bonn, Munich, Dresden, Hanover, Stuttgart)
  • Data source: representative sample of a panel study byTNS Infratest/Test Panel Institute

Study size

Total 4,150
Participants 1,808
Evaluable 1,326
Statistical analysis method:
  • linear regression

Conclusion (acc. to author)

The measurements of electromagnetic fields in the bedrooms showed in most cases very low exposure values, most often below sensitivity limit of the dosimeter. An association between the exposure to mobile phone base stations and the occurrence of health complaints was not found, but an association between the attribution of adverse health effects to base stations and the occurrence of health complaints.
The authors conclude that concerns about health and the attribution of adverse health effects should be taken serious and require risk communication with concerned persons.

Study funded by

  • not stated/no funding

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