Study type: Epidemiological study (observational study)

Does exposure to environmental radiofrequency electromagnetic fields cause cognitive and behavioral effects in 10-year-old boys? epidem.

Published in: Bioelectromagnetics 2016; 37 (1): 25-36

Aim of study (acc. to author)

The association between environmental exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields and the cognitive and behavioral function of boys was investigated in a cohort study in Spain.

Further details

Cognitive tests include general cognitive intelligence, language (verbal knowledge, general knowledge and riddles), attention, verbal memory (memory and learning processes), visual-motor coordination (Trail Making Test), processing speed, executive function (e.g., working memory, cognition inhibition, motor inhibition, and abstract reasoning).
Behavioral function was evaluated with a standardized parent report questionnaire (Child Behavior Checklist).

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

Type of risk estimation:

Exposure

Assessment

Exposure groups

Group Description
Reference group 1 root mean-square power density: < 285.9 mW/m2 (median)
Group 2 root mean-square power density: ≥ 285.9 mW/m2 (median)
Reference group 3 maximum power density: < 2759.7 mW/m2 (median)
Group 4 maximum power density: ≥ 2759.7 mW/m2 (median)

Population

Study size

Type Value
Total 668
Participants 123
Evaluable 119
Statistical analysis method: ( adjustment: )

Conclusion (acc. to author)

Most of the cognitive and behavioral parameters did not show any effect, however, children living in areas with higher exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (group 2) had lower scores for verbal expression/comprehension and higher scores for internalizing and total problems as well as obsessive-compulsive and post-traumatic stress disorders in comparison to the reference group. These associations were stronger when maximum power density values were considered.
The authors summarized that definitive conclusions cannot be drawn. Although some of the results may suggest that low-level environmental exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields has a negative impact on cognitive and/or behavior development in children, there are some limitations in the study design and the majority of neurobehavioral functioning tasks were not affected.

Study funded by

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