Study type: Epidemiological study (observational study)

Mortality by neoplasia and cellular telephone base stations in the Belo Horizonte municipality, Minas Gerais state, Brazil. epidem.

Published in: Sci Total Environ 2011; 409 (19): 3649-3665

Aim of study (acc. to author)

An ecological study was conducted in Brazil to investigate whether there is a spatial correlation between the location of mobile phone base stations and the cases of death by neoplasia during the period between 1996 and 2006.

Further details

Out of all deaths by neoplasia, based on death certificates, a subset of cancer types was selected based on literature, linking cancer and non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation (e.g., Eger et al, 2004; BioInitiative Report, 2007).

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

Type of risk estimation: (mortality rate)

Exposure

Assessment

Exposure groups

Group Description
Group 1 distance of address to base station: 0 - 100 m
Group 2 distance of address to base station: 0 - 200 m
Group 3 distance of address to base station: 0 - 300 m
Group 4 distance of address to base station: 0 - 400 m
Group 5 distance of address to base station: 0 - 500 m
Group 6 distance of address to base station: 0 - 600 m
Group 7 distance of address to base station: 0 - 700 m
Group 8 distance of address to base station: 0 - 800 m
Group 9 distance of address to base station: 0 - 900 m
Group 10 distance of address to base station: 0 - 1000 m
Reference group 11 distance of address to base station: ≥ 1000 m

Population

Study size

Type Value
Total 22,493
Evaluable 7,191

Conclusion (acc. to author)

7191 cancer deaths were selected according to the above mentioned criterias out of a total of 22,493 cancer deaths.The most significant causes were lung cancer (19.6 %), stomach cancer (14.1 %), prostate cancer (12.6 %), and breast cancer (11.5 %). The mean electric field intensity of the measurements in 2008 was 7.32 V/m, varying from 0.4 to 12.4 V/m.
At a distance of up to 100 m, the absolute number of deaths was 3569, (49.6 % of all deaths), the mortality rate was 43.4 persons per 10,000 and the relative risk was 1.35 in relation to the mortality rate of 32.1 per 10,000 inhabitants of the entire Belo Horizonte municipality. A mortality rate of 34.8 per 10,000 inhabitants was observed for the residents living within 500 m of the base stations; this rate decreased for residents living farther from the base stations.
The authors conclude that a spatial correlation between cases of death by neoplasia and the locations of mobile phone base stations in the Belo Horizonte municipality from 1996 to 2006 exists.

Limitations (acc. to author)

The authors noted that within the study design of an "ecological study", it is not possible to consider individual characteristics, such as food and life habits, activity level, smoking, self-medication, individual pathologies, or genetic factors.

Study funded by

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