Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Cognitive and physiological responses in humans exposed to a TETRA base station signal in relation to perceived electromagnetic hypersensitivity med./bio.

Published in: Bioelectromagnetics 2012; 33 (1): 23-39

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To study whether acute exposure to a TETRA base station signal (airwave) has an impact on cognitive function and/or physiological responses in individuals with self-reported electrosensitivity and control subjects.

Background/further details

51 individuals with self-reported electrosensitivity and 132 age- and gender-matched control subjects participated in an open provocation study (i.e. both the experimenter and the participant knew when the signal was "on" and when it was "off", session 1), while 48 sensitive and 132 control participants went on to complete two double-blind sessions (sessions 2 and 3, exposure and sham exposure; each session was spaced at least one week apart).
Airwave is the new communication system currently being rolled out across the United Kingdom for the police and emergency services.



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 420 MHz
Exposure duration: 25 min in session 1 (1 x 15 min and 2 x 5 min), 50 min each in session 2 and 3

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 420 MHz
Exposure duration 25 min in session 1 (1 x 15 min and 2 x 5 min), 50 min each in session 2 and 3
Additional info TETRA signal release 1 with 50% traffic/no traffic
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Chamber fully screened chamber with a shielding effectiveness of 55 to 60 dB
Setup participants seated 4.95 m from the antenna; 2.8 m in front of the test person was a large white screen where the tasks were shown; projection to this screen through a shielded window
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
SAR 217 µW/kg - calculated - for a 70 kg person
power density 10 mW/m² spatial average - - upper legs, abdomen, torso, shoulders, head exposed

Reference articles

  • Wallace D et al. (2010): Do TETRA (Airwave) Base Station Signals Have a Short-Term Impact on Health and Well-Being? A Randomized Double-Blind Provocation Study
  • Eltiti S et al. (2007): Does short-term exposure to mobile phone base station signals increase symptoms in individuals who report sensitivity to electromagnetic fields? A double-blind randomized provocation study

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

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

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

The data did not show any differences in cognitive performance between sham exposure and TETRA exposure in either group; physiological response also did not differ between the exposure conditions.

Study character:

Study funded by

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