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Epidemiological study (observational study)

Exposure to non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation from mobile telephony and the association with psychiatric symptoms.

Published in: Cad Saude Publica 2015; 31 (10): 2110-2126

Aim of study (acc. to author)

A cross-sectional study was conducted in Brazil to investigate the association between exposure to electromagnetic fields from mobile phone base stations and mental symptoms.

Further details

Symptoms of depression were assessed by using the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale. Risk of depression was defined as a score greater than or equal to 16.

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

Type of risk estimation:
  • prevalence

Exposure

Assessment

Exposure groups

Reference group 1 distance between residence and mobile phone base station: 0 - 100 m and > 200m
Group 2 distance between residence and mobile phone base station: 101 - 200 m
Reference group 3 distance between residence and mobile phone base station: > 300 m
Group 4 distance between residence and mobile phone base station: ≤ 300 m
Reference group 5 distance between residence and mobile phone base station: > 400 m
Group 6 distance between residence and mobile phone base station: ≤ 400 m

Population

  • Group:
    • men
    • women
  • Age: 18–87 years
  • Characteristics: residents of two districts in Salvador
  • Observation period: not stated
  • Study location: Brazil (Salvador)

Study size

Total 440
Statistical analysis method:
  • logistic regression
( adjustment: )

Conclusion (acc. to author)

Overall, there were no significant differences of mental symptoms between individuals living up to 300 m (group 4) versus individuals living more than 300 m (group 3) from the mobile phone base stations. An association was observed between living 100 to 200 m from the base stations (group 2) and anxiety (OR 2.39; 90% CI 1.09- 5.26) or depression (OR 3.25; 90% CI 1.63-6.45). For individuals living up to 300 m from the base stations, a reduced risk for depressive symptoms was observed (OR 0.50; 90% CI 0.32-0.80). Living up to 400 m from the base stations was associated with depressive tendency (OR 1.55; 90% CI 1.04-2.33) and depressive symptoms (OR 1.66; 90% CI 1.08-2.55).
The authors concluded that exposure to electromagnetic fields from mobile phone base stations and other electronic devices was associated with mental symptoms, independently of gender, education, and smoking status.

Study funded by

  • Fundacao Coordenacao de Aperfeicoamento de Pessoal de Nivel Superior (Brazilian Federal Agency for the Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education; CAPES; at Ministry of Education), Brazil

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