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Epidemiological study (observational study)

A cross-sectional case control study on genetic damage in individuals residing in the vicinity of a mobile phone base station.

Published in: Electromagn Biol Med 2015; 34 (4): 344-354

Aim of study (acc. to author)

A study was conducted in India to investigate the genetic damage of individuals residing in the vicinity of a mobile phone base station.

Further details

Genetic damage was assessed as parameters of DNA migration length, damage frequency and damage index in peripheral blood leukocytes by the comet assay.

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

Exposure

Assessment

Exposure groups

Reference group 1 not living close to a mobile phone base station: unexposed
Group 2 distance from residence to a base station: 50 - 100 m
Group 3 distance from residence to a base station: 101 - 150 m
Group 4 distance from residence to a base station: 151 - 200 m
Group 5 distance from residence to a base station: 201 - 250 m
Group 6 distance from residence to a base station: 251 - 300 m
Group 7 time since residing in the vicinity of a base station: 4 - 7 years
Group 8 time since residing in the vicinity of a base station: 8 -11 years
Group 9 mobile phone use: no
Group 10 mobile phone use: yes
Group 11 mobile phone use: ≤ 5 years
Group 12 mobile phone use: > 5 years
Group 13 mobile phone use: ≤ 3 hours/day
Group 14 mobile phone use: > 3 hours/day

Population

  • Group:
    • men
    • women
  • Age: 18–45 years
  • Characteristics: residents of Amritsar, absence of any other exposure (not explained), disease or recent illnesses, no medication
  • Observation period: 2007 - 2009
  • Study location: India (Amritsar)

Study size

Total 91
Other: 63 participants of the exposed group and 28 participants in the unexposed group
Statistical analysis method:
  • multiple linear regression analysis
  • ANOVA
  • t test

Conclusion (acc. to author)

Out of 91 study participants, 63 individuals lived in a populated area in a distance of 300 m or less to a mobile phone base station (exposed group, called 'cases' in the publication), whereas 28 participants lived in a sparsely-populated zone without any nearby base stations (unexposed group, called 'controls' in the publication).
Significant differences in mobile phone use are found between the two groups: 98.4 % of the exposed group were mobile phone users (average duration: 4 years) compared to 28.6 % of the unexposed group (average duration: 0.3 years). Additionally, the average daily mobile phone use was 2 h in the exposed group and 0.5 h in the unexposed group. Further significant differences between the two groups were observed for dietary pattern, smoking habits and health complaints.
The power density measurements at the residences near the base station (exposed group) ranged from 7.6-14.59 W/m² (average 11.49 W/m²), whereas in the areas from where the unexposed group was sampled, the value was significantly lower (0.001-0.1 W/m²; average 0.045 W/m²).
Genetic damage parameters (DNA migration length, damage frequency and damage index) were significantly elevated in the exposed groups (groups 2-6) compared to respective values of the unexposed group (group 1). The female residents (n=25) of the exposed group had significantly elevated damage frequency compared to the male residents (n=38), no differences were found for DNA migration length and damage index. Daily mobile phone use, location of residence and power density were observed as significant predictors of genetic damage.

Study funded by

  • not stated/no funding

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