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Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) and subjective health complaints associated with electromagnetic fields of mobile phone communication - A literature review


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Literature published between 2000 to 2004 concerning electromagnetic fields (EMF) of mobile communication and electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) or unspecific symptoms of ill health, respectively, is reviewed. Basically, literature from established databases was systematically searched for. For each study, the design and quality were evaluated by means of a criteria list in order to judge evidence for causality of exposures on effects. Finally, 13 studies of sufficient quality were considered for this review. In only one provocation study, individuals with self-reported electromagnetic hypersensitivity were exposed to EMF. Their perception of field status was no better than would have been expected by chance. Results of five randomised cross-over studies on impaired well-being due to mobile phone exposure were contradictory. Even though these studies would allow more reliable exposure assessment, they are limited due to short exposure period and the small study size. No firm conclusion could be drawn from a few observational epidemiological studies finding a positive association between exposure and unspecific symptoms of ill health due to methodological limitations. Causality of exposure and effect was not derivable from these cross-sectional studies as field status and health complaints were assessed at the same time. In addition, exposure assessment has not been validated. In conclusion, based on the limited studies available, there is no valid evidence for an association between impaired well-being and exposure to mobile phone radiation presently. However, the limited quantity and quality of research in this area do not allow to exclude long-term health effects definitely.
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Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) and subjective
health complaints associated with electromagnetic fields of
mobile phone communication—a literature review published
between 2000 and 2004
H. Seitz
*, D. Stinner
, Th. Eikmann
, C. Herr
Institute of Hygiene and Environmental Medicine, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Friedrichstraße 16, 35392 Giessen, Germany
Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Bern, Finkenhubelweg 11, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
Received 21 January 2005; accepted 9 May 2005
Available online 21 June 2005
Literature published between 2000 to 2004 concerning electromagnetic fields (EMF) of mobile communication and
electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) or unspecific symptoms of ill health, respectively, is reviewed. Basically, literature
from established databases was systematically searched for. For each study, the design and quality were evaluated by means of a
criteria list in order to judge evidence for causality of exposures on effects. Finally, 13 studies of sufficient quality were
considered for this review.
In only one provocation study, individuals with self-reported electromagnetic hypersensitivity were exposed to EMF.
Their perception of field status was no better than would have been expected by chance. Results of five randomised
cross-over studies on impaired well-being due to mobile phone exposure were contradictory. Even though these studies
would allow more reliable exposure assessment, they are limited due to short exposure period and the small study
No firm conclusion could be drawn from a few observational epidemiological studies finding a positive association between
exposure and unspecific symptoms of ill health due to methodological limitations. Causality of exposure and effect was not
derivable from these cross-sectional studies as field status and health complaints were assessed at the same time. In addition,
exposure assessment has not been validated.
0048-9697/$ - see front matter D2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
* Corresponding author. Tel.: +49 641 99 41451; fax: +49 641 99 41459.
E-mail address: (H. Seitz).
Tel.: +49 641 99 41451; fax: +49 641 99 41459.
Tel.: +41 31 631 3511; fax: +41 31 631 35 20.
Science of the Total Environment 349 (2005) 45 – 55
In conclusion, based on the limited studies available, there is no valid evidence for an association between impaired well-
being and exposure to mobile phone radiation presently. However, the limited quantity and quality of research in this area do
not allow to exclude long-term health effects definitely.
D2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Electromagnetic hypersensitivity; Unspecific health complaints; Subjective symptoms; Mobile phone; Electromagnetic fields
1. Introduction .................................................... 46
2. Methods ...................................................... 47
2.1. Outcome selection ............................................. 47
2.2. Literature selection ............................................. 47
2.3. Literature search .............................................. 47
2.4. Quality evaluation ............................................. 48
3. Results....................................................... 48
3.1. Selection of Studies ............................................ 48
3.2. Perception of electromagnetic fields ................................... 49
3.3. Electromagnetic hypersensitivity ..................................... 49
3.4. Sleep quality ............................................... 51
3.5. Dizziness ................................................. 51
3.6. Headache ................................................. 51
3.7. Skin problems ............................................... 51
3.8. Problems in concentration and memory loss ............................... 52
3.9. Nervousness................................................ 52
3.10. Other unspecific symptoms of ill health ................................. 52
4. Discussion ..................................................... 52
5. Conclusion .................................................... 54
Acknowledgement ................................................... 54
References ....................................................... 54
1. Introduction
Public discussion on possible health risks from
electromagnetic fields even below the legal thresholds
is common (Sage, 2001). As mobile communication is
being increasingly established, this discussion is fo-
cussing on health impairment associated with mobile
phones and base stations. Still, ongoing rapid, nation-
wide implementation of this technology is accompa-
nied by its wide use in the population. The heath risk
discussion focuses on carcinogenic and bioregulatory
effects as well as impaired well-being, i.e., headache,
sleep disturbances or problems in concentrating,
sometimes referred as electromagnetic hypersensitiv-
ity (Silny et al., 2004).
The term electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS)
relates to subjects attributing health symptoms to an
exposure to electromagnetic fields. In population-
based surveys, prevalence of EHS was reported to
be 1.5% in Sweden (Hillert et al., 2002) and 3.2%
in California (Levallois et al., 2002). In this context,
EHS can be related to radio and microwave frequency
fields of mobile communication, fields in the kilohertz
range of display units as well as extremely low-fre-
quency fields of domestic power supply. It should be
noted that the term EHS exclusively depicts self-
reported hypersensitivity. So far, objective criteria
classifying these subjects as hypersensitive have not
been established. In analogy to environmental patients
reporting Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS) or
H. Seitz et al. / Science of the Total Environment 349 (2005) 45–5546
Sick-Building–Syndrome (SBS), individuals with
EHS describe multiple non-specific health complaints
(David et al., 2002; Hietanen et al., 2002; Raczek et
al., 2000). Many of these complaints are subjective,
e.g., redness and burning sensation of the skin and
face, tingling, pain and dryness of the mouth and
throat, problems in concentrating, nervousness or
headache. The health complaints related to EHS result
in considerable psychological stress in these patients.
Due to a lack of knowledge of the pathophysiology of
this complex of symptoms, adequate medical treat-
ment for these patients is difficult.
An additional phenomenon in this context is the
proclaimed ability to perceive electromagnetic fields
at a much lower threshold than the general population
without necessarily developing health symptoms
(Leitgeb and Schro¨ ttner, 2003). Therefore, the pres-
ence of considerably decreased perception threshold,
on one hand, and the attribution of health symptoms
to EMF exposure, on the other hand, can be consid-
ered as two independent phenomena. Nevertheless, in
a survey among self-declared EHS individuals, 56%
declared their ability to perceive electromagnetic
fields (Ro¨o¨sli et al., 2004). The ability to perceive
EMF at a considerably decreased threshold can be
investigated by so-called provocation studies. In con-
trast, to investigate a possible association between
symptoms and EMF exposure is methodologically
more challenging, in particular effects demonstrable
after long-term exposure or with some latency period
The aim of the presented review of the literature is
to elucidate whether EHS can be considered an entity
and whether subjects with higher electrosensitivity
toward frequencies from mobile communications ac-
tually exist.
2. Methods
2.1. Outcome selection
Electromagnetic hypersensitivity as an entity and a
considerably decreased perception threshold was con-
sidered to be outcomes of priority. In addition, the most
common unspecific symptoms of ill health reported in
relation to exposure to electromagnetic fields were
derived from the literature and viewed as further out-
comes. These were the following: fatigue/difficulties in
sleeping, dizziness/nausea, headache, disturbances in
concentrating and memory, pain other than headache,
nervousness, depressive mood/or state, skin-related
sensation, e.g., itching, tickling, redness, burning or
increased temperature of the skin including warm sen-
sation of the ear, tinnitus/ringing of the ear.
2.2. Literature selection
Literature search was based on a number of criteria.
Eligible studies had to be published between 2000 and
March 2004 and had to be related specifically to
electromagnetic fields from mobile communication
(mobile phones or base stations), i.e., analogue signals
used in the past as well as digital signals (GSM,
UMTS). Only original papers but not reviews were
considered. Besides peer-reviewed journal contribu-
tions so-called bgrey literatureQwas included whenev-
er possible. These publications had to be informative
enough to allow a critical quality evaluation, e.g.,
comprehensive study reports. Short conference ab-
stracts were not considered to supply sufficient infor-
mation. Applying this procedure was to insure that all
of the relevant studies relating to the selected outcomes
were assessed.
2.3. Literature search
Literature search was performed independently by
two teams in order to reach a maximum completeness.
Eligible literature was systematically searched for in
The National Library of Medicine (Pubmed: www. In doing so the MeSH
search term bradiation, nonionizing/adverse effectsQ
was combined with numerous single words describing
the outcome of interest, e.g.: Tbradiation, nonionizing/
adverse effectsQ[MeSH] and headacheror TbEMFQ
[MeSH] and nausear. First triage was based on the
abstract. The completeness of the search was checked
with three strategies: (i) reference lists of review ar-
ticles were examined with respect to papers and grey
literature which fulfilled inclusion criteria; (ii) topic-
specific online data bases were consulted: Research
Centre Ju¨lich (, the Uni-
versity of Basle (
and the Research Center for Bioelectromagnetic In-
teraction in Aachen (; (iii) related ar-
H. Seitz et al. / Science of the Total Environment 349 (2005) 45–55 47
ticle search was used in Pubmed as well as in the
online database of the Institute for Scientific Informa-
tion (ISI:
In order to identify studies that addressed subjec-
tive health complaints only marginally, as a secondary
outcome, experimental studies assessing, e.g., brain
physiology or cognitive functioning in relation to
exposure to mobile phones or base stations were
also systematically screened.
2.4. Quality evaluation
The value of studies on possible health effects and
exposure is predominantly determined by their design.
Evidence for causality of exposures on effects can
only be obtained from studies excluding possible
bias; e.g., randomised double blind trials using well-
defined exposure settings. Cross-sectional studies
(surveys), measuring health effects and exposure at
the same time, are not able to depict the causal
relationship between exposure and effects, especially
if these effects are subjective complaints reported by
the subjects.
For these reasons, selected literature was weighted
according to study design for this review. In a second
step, study quality was judged. This judgement was
based on criteria for the evaluation of epidemiological
studies on radiation published by the Commission for
Radiation Protection (SSK, 2002). Applying a ten-
page questionnaire, each study was assessed as far
as wording of the aims and problems, study concept,
quality assurance, evaluation as well as interpretation
and discussion of results are concerned. Most impor-
tant minimal quality criteria which experimental stud-
ies had to fulfil were (i) adequate sample size; (ii)
blinding of the study participants; (iii) randomisation;
(iv) exposure characterized. Minimal quality criteria
for observational studies were (i) comprehensible
study participants recruitment, (ii) allowing for possi-
ble confounding factors in the analysis (at least age
and sex), (iii) approved exposure assessment with
respect to a reproducible personal exposure.
This procedure allowed for deriving four categories
of evaluation (Table 1).
Studies of sufficient quality with designs appropri-
ate to examine causal relationships are able to give
evidence as to whether (or not) and possibly to what
extent exposure to electromagnetic fields influences
occurrence of complaints. Studies of sufficient quality
with a study design not appropriate for finding causal
relationships are able to give indication or can be used
to derive hypotheses without contributing to evidence.
Studies of poor quality are not able to contribute to the
evaluation (Table 1).
3. Results
3.1. Selection of Studies
A total of 20 papers and two reports from the grey
literature were considered relevant and preselected.
Thereof, 5 papers were excluded due to double pub-
lication of the same material. Additional four papers
were excluded as they did not meet quality criteria:
the studies of Navarro et al. (2003) and Santini et al.
(2002, 2003a,b) did not state the applied methods of
subject recruitment, and the exposure assessment
based on distance was judged to be inadequate; as
well possible confounding factors were not allowed
for in the analysis (e.g., age and sex). Hietanen et al.
(2002) did not allocate actual and sham exposure in a
random counterbalanced way. Therefore, effects
resulting from exposure versus from sequence cannot
be differentiated. Ozturan et al. (2002) reported non-
blinded experimental results.
Overall, 11 papers and two reports remained for
this review. Thereof, seven publications were obser-
vational studies (Table 2). These non-experimental
studies were not considered adequate for examining
causal relationship. They are only able to build the
basis for generating hypotheses and indications
concerning associations. Four papers and two reports
described experimental studies allowing to draw con-
clusions on causality of unspecific health complaints
and exposure to electromagnetic fields of mobile
Table 1
Scheme of assessment for studies
Sufficient quality Evidence Hints/Hypothesis
Quality inadequate
Useless Useless
The suitability of the study’s design concerning evidence of causal
effects and the study’s quality are taken into consideration.
Suitability and assessment of quality referred to the aim of this
analysis of literature.
H. Seitz et al. / Science of the Total Environment 349 (2005) 45–5548
communication (Table 3). From these, three studied
health complaints as primary outcomes, the remaining
as secondary outcome. From the latter, only sparse
data about EHS or well-being can be obtained.
3.2. Perception of electromagnetic fields
A first group of studies consisted of blinded prov-
ocation studies. In theses studies, volunteers had to
state whether a source was actually emitting elec-
tromagnetic radiation or not. Therefore, they were
appropriate to give evidence for the ability of elec-
tromagnetic field perception at a low threshold.
Within one of the provocation studies 16 subjects
with self-reported EHS were individually, and as a
group, not able to perceive the field status more often
than expected by chance (Raczek et al., 2000).
According to the methods of one further double-
blinded cross-over study, exposure status was
assessed but results not given (Tahvanainen et al.,
3.3. Electromagnetic hypersensitivity
A second group of studies assessed exposure effects
on health status in general, not on specific complaints.
These studies, performed on subjects with and without
reported EHS, were able to test the hypotheses of
individually different health complaints in association
to exposure. In one Australian study were changes
reported in the neural response during exposure to
GSM 900 mobile phones, which were correlated with
the self-reported health status. The health status was
assessed by a symptom check list (activation–deacti-
Table 2
Observational studies
Reference Study design Collectives Sample size Country/
Outcome Exposure Exposure
Chia et al.,
Cross-sectional Random
808 Singapore Headache, tingling,
burning, sense of warmth,
tiredness, loss of memory,
difficulty in concentration
dizziness, visual disturbance
Hillert et al.,
Cohort Self-declared
14 Norway Fatigue None
et al., 2001
Cross-sectional Employee of
companies with
mobile telephone
Norway: 2,828
Sweden: 7,803
and Sweden
Dizziness, discomfort,
concentration, memory loss,
fatigue, headaches, warmth
behind/on ear, burning skin,
Santini et al.,
Cross-sectional Students and
employee of an
engineer school
161 France Headaches, concentration,
memory loss, fatigue, sleep
disturbance, discomfort,
sense of warmth or burning,
Frick et al.,
Cross-sectional Random
340 Germany/
Numerous health
None –
Hutter et al.,
Cross-sectional Residents of a
mobile phone
base station
365 Austria Sleep quality, cognitive
performance, complaints
related to exhaustion,
digestive tract and
cardiovascular system
Ro¨o¨ sli et al.,
Cross-sectional Self-declared
394 Switzerland Various health complaints Mobile
phone and
base station
Several publications of the same study: Oftedal et al., 2000; Sandstro¨m et al., 2001; Wilen et al., 2003.
H. Seitz et al. / Science of the Total Environment 349 (2005) 45–55 49
vation check list by Thaya: individual health status is
judged with a four-point scale using 20 opposite pairs
of words). The mode of correlation is not given in the
paper (Croft et al., 2002). In the Dutch TNO study weak
exposure to UMTS was statistically significantly cor-
related with changes in health status in 36 subjects with
and 36 without electromagnetic hypersensitivity. In this
study, health status was assessed by a sum index of a
symptom questionnaire. On the contrary, exposure to
GSM did not influence well-being (Zwamborn et al.,
2003). In an experimental double-blinded cross-over
study giving no methodological details about health
complaint measurement, no differences in complaints
for actual and sham exposure were reported (Tahvanai-
nen et al., 2004).
One cross-sectional study assessed health status in
association with measured field levels at home from
base stations of mobile communication in 365 indivi-
duals (Hutter et al., 2002). Reported health was
grouped in complaints related to exhaustion, digestive
tract and cardiovascular system according to the com-
plaint list of Zerssen. After controlling for possible
confounding factors (age, sex, use of mobile phones
and health concerns), complaints related to the car-
diovascular system, but not the other groups of com-
plaints were significantly associated with measured
field levels from base stations.
Further studies addressed the question whether
physiological and laboratory parameters were differ-
ent in patients with EHS and reference groups without
complaints. To determine this, 14 patients with EHS
who reported excessive fatigue were examined. Ex-
cessive fatigue was not associated with changes in
cholinesterase (Hillert et al., 2001). Thus, it was not
possible to objectify this subjective complaint by a
laboratory parameter.
One further physiological parameter applied to
objectify heightened sensitivity to metal compounds
Table 3
Experimental studies
Reference Study
Collective nper
Outcome Exposure Exposure
Intensity Blinding
Huber et al.,
Cross-over 16 male, right
(20–25 years)
16 Subjective sleep
30 min SAR = 1 W/kg Double
et al.,
Cross-over Self-declared
EHS: 9 female,
7 male
(31–76 years)
16 Field perception Mobile
21 tests with
3 min exposure
Incident field:
16 V/m
et al.,
Cross-over 48 male and 48
female (18–49
48 Headaches,
dizziness, fatigue,
tingling, redness
on skin, sense
of warmth
Experiment 1:
60 min experiment
2: 30 min
Power: 0.25 W Single
Croft et al.,
Cross-over 16 male and
8 women
(19–48 years)
24 Mood
20 min SAR = 0.0034W/kg Single
et al.,
Cross-over Self-declared
EHS: 11 male
25 female
(31–74 years)
reference group:
22 male 14 female
(18–72 years)
36 Well-being
(sum score)
30 min Incident field:
1 V/m
et al.,
Cross-over 16 male and 16
female (average
age: 38.8)
16 Field perception
symptoms (not
35 min SAR = 1.6 W/kg
(GSM 900)
SAR = 0.7 W/kg
Secondary outcome (main outcome of the study was not well-being related).
H. Seitz et al. / Science of the Total Environment 349 (2005) 45–5550
in EHS patients is the lymphocyte transformation test
(LTT). In a study aiming to show electrosensitivity
towards reactions to the German D-net, various metal
compounds were found and thereby a possible elevat-
ed reaction towards electromagnetic fields was de-
rived (Raczek et al., 2000). It should be stressed,
however, that a specific LTT is able to demonstrate
sensitising but not the effector reaction, i.e., previous
contact to an antigen but not clinical manifestation of
sensitivity is shown. Clinical relevance of the LTT in
terms of diagnoses of environmental illnesses has not
been established and is still an issue for future re-
search (RKI 2002).
3.4. Sleep quality
In German-speaking countries, fatigue and distur-
bances in sleep quality belong to the most frequent
complaints related to EMF (Ro¨o¨ sli et al., 2004). While
a number of experimental studies have investigated
electromagnetic field effects on EEG during sleep,
effects on subjective rating of the sleep quality have
not been studied thoroughly. Huber et al. (2000) did
not find that exposure to EMF from mobile phones
changed the reported quality of sleep in 16 young
male subjects. Likewise exposure to a GSM mobile
phone for 60 min did not affect daytime fatigue in two
further experimental studies each with 24 individuals
(Koivisto et al., 2001). Contradictory results have
been reported from observational studies on associa-
tions of daytime fatigue and quantity of mobile phone
use (Chia et al., 2000; Sandstro¨ m et al., 2001; Santini
et al., 2001). Potential confounding factors taken into
account in the Singapore study (Chia et al., 2000)
were age, sex, occupation and extent of onscreen
work; in the Scandinavian study (Sandstro¨ m et al.,
2001), extent of onscreen work was considered, and in
the French study (Santini et al., 2001), no confounder
was taken into account. A cross-sectional study from
Austria (Hutter et al., 2002) did not find an association
between reported quality of sleep and exposure to
base stations of mobile communication.
3.5. Dizziness
Concerning dizziness, one randomised cross-over
study in 48 subjects did not find an association to
mobile phone handset exposure in two experiments
(Koivisto et al., 2001). Results of observational stud-
ies on mobile phone users were contradictory: while
one Norwegian study in 2800 individuals described an
association, studies from Sweden (n= 7800), Singa-
pore (n= 808) and a French University (n= 161) were
not able to confirm this (Chia et al., 2000; Sandstro¨m
et al., 2001; Santini et al., 2001).
3.6. Headache
One randomised cross-over study could not con-
firm an association between exposure to mobile
phones and headache (Koivisto et al., 2001). The
same applied also for headache resulting from an
experimental study on different electromagnetic fields
(GSM 900, GSM 1800, UMTS) from a base station
for mobile communication (Zwamborn et al., 2003).
On the other hand, two experimental studies found
significant associations between reports of headache
and use of mobile phones (Chia et al., 2000; Sand-
stro¨m et al., 2001). These results were consistent for
number of phone calls, time of use and type of tele-
phone (more symptoms when using analog phones
with higher output power than GSM). In a French
cross-sectional study, however, headache was not
reported more often by subjects using mobile phones
than those not using mobile phones (Santini et al.,
3.7. Skin problems
bItchiness, tingling and redness of skinQhave only
been studied once using a randomised cross-over
study (Koivisto et al., 2001). No increase in skin
problems was reported when using a GSM 900 mobile
phone for 60 min at a distance of 4 cm from the ear
compared to sham exposure. However, associations
were found in cross-sectional studies investigating,
e.g., btinglingQwith use of mobile phones. In a Scan-
dinavian study (Sandstro¨ m et al., 2001), these associa-
tions reached significance, while in Singapore, only a
tendency was reported (Chia et al., 2000) and no
association was found in a study from France (Santini
et al., 2001).
For increased temperature of the skin (burning and
warm ear) controlled experimental studies found no
associations (Koivisto et al., 2001). However, again,
in observational studies, associations were found.
H. Seitz et al. / Science of the Total Environment 349 (2005) 45–55 51
Even if mobile phone users did not report more
frequent feeling of warmness than non-users, these
complaints were reported significantly more often in
the subgroup of mobile phone users that phoned for
more than 2 min/day (Santini et al., 2001). Again in
the Scandinavian study, a consistent increase in warm-
ness was found with increasing exposure to mobile
phones (Sandstro¨ m et al., 2001), while in Singapore,
no difference was found for mobile phone users com-
pared to non-users (Chia et al., 2000).
3.8. Problems in concentration and memory loss
A number of experimental studies examined the
effect of mobile phone exposure on cognitive func-
tioning leading to contradictory results. However,
several times, an improvement (or acceleration) of
cognitive functioning was reported (Hamblin and
Wood, 2002). Tests of cognitive functioning depend
among others on power of concentration and memory.
The evaluation of the presented study only refers to
bproblems in concentrationQand bdisturbances in
memory,Qas they affect everyday life and can be
reported by the subjects. These complaints have not
been the object of controlled exposure studies even
though EHS patients report these complaints frequent-
ly (Ro¨o¨sli et al., 2004). In the cross-sectional study
from Singapore, no significant differences were found
in reported difficulties in concentration when mobile
phone users were compared to non-users (Chia et al.,
2000). In the Scandinavian study, an indication for
disturbances in concentration was observed for those
reporting more than four calls per day. In contrast,
memory loss was not associated with use of mobile
phones. In the French cross-sectional study, users of
mobile phones were not more likely to report pro-
blems in concentration and memory than non-users.
Among those using mobile phones, 1800 MHz phone
users were more likely to state disturbances in con-
centration than GSM 900 users. Likewise, more com-
plaints were reported by subjects using mobile as well
as stationary phones compared to those only using
mobile phones (Santini et al., 2001).
3.9. Nervousness
Incidence of nervousness during controlled expo-
sure was only studied for the TNO report and was
reported more frequently during UMTS exposure than
GSM exposure (Zwamborn et al., 2003).
3.10. Other unspecific symptoms of ill health
Other outcomes, e.g., depressive state and mood as
well as pain other than headaches and tinnitus, have
not been the focus of controlled exposure studies.
4. Discussion
The presented review of the literature comprising
the years 2000 through 2004 yielded a total of 13
studies with sufficient quality focussing on electro-
magnetic fields of mobile communication systems
and impaired well-being, i.e., health complaints or
electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS). The evalua-
tion depicted six randomised cross-over studies ap-
propriate to address causal associations of exposure
to EMF and well-being. Three of them focussed on
impaired well-being as primary outcome, the others
as secondary outcome. A further seven observational
studies fulfilled the quality standards but were not
designed to evaluate causality but only statistical
associations. Altogether, there was little evidence
for a particular population subgroup who is able to
perceive electromagnetic fields in an experimental
double blind setting at a much lower threshold
than the general population. No specific symptom
or symptom cluster was found to be caused by
exposure to mobile phone radiation. On the other
hand, based on the contradictory results of three
randomised cross-over studies, it cannot completely
be ruled out that exposure to EMF can lead to an
impaired well-being. If so, the studies to date would
indicate an individually different response and not a
typical bEMF-symptom clusterQ.
This review is based on a systematic compilation
and evaluation of possible effects of radiation from
mobile communication on well-being or unspecific
symptoms of ill health. Detailed evaluation of up-to-
date literature, including grey literature, became pos-
sible due to the additional focus on specific health
complaints and a limited number of years of publica-
tion. At the same time, this implies a clear restriction.
Older studies and other health effects such as carci-
nogenic or bioregulatory effects were not considered.
H. Seitz et al. / Science of the Total Environment 349 (2005) 45–5552
It should be noted that only a sparse amount of
literature focussed on health effects of mobile com-
munication before the year 2000. Likewise, papers on
EMF not related to exposure from mobile communi-
cation were not considered.
In the following, it will be discussed why there are
only relatively few and contradictory studies on this
topic although public interest and concern are obvi-
ous. Furthermore, the relevance of public health con-
cern is justified as the number of those exposed is
It should be stressed that restrictions in well-
being, i.e., health complaints, are frequent in the
general population and individual reports of com-
plaints depend on a number of individual variables
(e.g., age, gender, social status, anxiety, accompa-
nying disease and personality traits) and individual
factors of exposure in everyday life. This clearly
shows that only well-designed studies allow to attri-
bute health complaints to one specific cause, i.e.,
exposure to radiation from electromagnetic field
from mobile communication.
In particular, observational studies on the phe-
nomenon EHS have two main restrictions: valid
exposure assessment and lack of objective criteria
for assessment of outcome, i.e., reported health com-
plaints. Reports of symptoms, complaints and well-
being are of subjective quality and are not or not
necessarily correlated with the clinical status
(Michel, 2004). Judgement of personal well-being
depends on individual characteristics (e.g., hypo-
chondria), present mood (Michel, 2004) as well as
context of questioning (Frick et al., 2002). Subjec-
tivity poses a problem for between subject compar-
isons and in particular, if long-term effects after a
latency period are addressed; both of which is stated
by some of those presuming to suffer of EHS. It
would be of utmost relevance to assess long-term
health effects. Cross-sectionals studies are often un-
derstood to detect long-term effects. However, due to
severe methodological limitations, no firm conclu-
sion can be drawn from the few published studies
on mobile phone radiation exposure. In cross-sec-
tional studies, exposure and effect are measured at
the same time. Thus cause and effect cannot be
differentiated. Furthermore, in published studies, ex-
posure assessment was based on a subjective state-
ment which has not been validated (use of mobile
phone) or on one single spot measurement (base
station). Co-exposures to other possible risk factors
were not taken into account, and only a few, if any at
all, potential confounding factors had been consid-
ered in the analysis. It is conceivable, e.g., that the
number of phone calls made is related to the indi-
vidual stress level which is in turn associated with
health complaints (Herr et al., in press). None of the
published studies made an attempt to take this aspect
into account. It is not surprising that so far only
experimental, randomised, cross-over designed stud-
ies with short exposure duration are able to give
evidence for or against causality of health status in
relation to exposure to mobile communication sys-
tems. However, experimental studies leave open a
number of unresolved issues even if the results had
been consistent across studies. Due to their design,
these experimental studies are only able to give
evidence for acute immediate effects. Long-term
effects cannot be studied or evaluated. A drawback
of experimental studies compared to epidemiological
studies is their small sample size. Thus, their power
to detect rare or subtle effects is small. Unfortunate-
ly, published studies in which no effect was found
did not state the effect size that could have been
detected with the respective study. Considering this,
the interpretation of results is difficult.
In addition, the investigation of EHS individuals
by means of laboratory studies is hampered by the
fact that many patients reporting EHS have psycho-
logical impairments and in part paranoid fears about
EMF (Ha¨rma¨, 2000). For this reason, many of the
patients do not agree to participate in studies of
unknown laboratory environment. The reasons
given for non-participation are fear of effects of the
experimental exposure or lack of objectivity within
the study.
An open issue remains the question whether po-
tential effects occur above a high, localised threshold
or whether cumulative total body exposure possibly
including a latency period is most relevant. Latter is
often suggested from EHS persons and would suggest
that beside exposure due to mobile phones them-
selves, mobile phone base station exposure may be
relevant. Following the concept of a highly localised
threshold would mean that only exposure to mobile
phones themselves could be considered relevant for
triggering health complaints.
H. Seitz et al. / Science of the Total Environment 349 (2005) 45–55 53
5. Conclusion
Only a restricted number of studies has been pub-
lished on well-being (i.e., health complaints) and
exposure to electromagnetic fields from mobile com-
munication between 2000 and March of 2004. The
results are contradictory and the greater part of these
studies is not able to address the issue of causality
between exposure and outcome. Therefore, an effect
of exposure to electromagnetic fields from mobile
communication on well-being cannot be derived
based on these limited studies. In order to obtain
more insights in the phenomenon EHS an interdisci-
plinary research effort is needed, including psycho-
logical, pathophysical, laboratory and epidemiological
disciplines as well as the improvement of personal
This study was funded by the Forschungszentrum
Ju¨lich, Germany. Many thanks to Professor Robert
Snipes, University of Giessen, for the careful proof-
reading of this manuscript.
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... 1 Some claim to have electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), a condition in which non-specific symptoms are attributed to EMR exposure. 2,3 As such, it is important for health authorities to provide the public with information and assurances regarding the safety of EMR radiation as well as other radiation sources such as ionising radiation, ultraviolet (UV) radiation, and other optical sources. ...
Full-text available
Objective: Due to the negative connotations around radiation, there is a great deal of angst in the community regarding radiation exposure and health; especially electromagnetic radiation (EMR) sources such as powerlines, mobile phone towers and the rollout of the 5G network. As such, it is important for health authorities to provide the public with information and assurances regarding radiation safety. The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) set up community engagement programs to address community concerns. Type of program or service: From 2003 until April 2022, ARPANSA operated a Health Complaints Register, which collected reports of health complaints from members of the public related to possible EMR exposures. Methods: Collected data was used to produce annual statistical summaries on the nature and level of complaints received. Since 2016, ARPANSA has also run the Talk to a Scientist program, which allows the public to communicate directly with scientists on issues about radiation exposure, health and protection in Australia. Data is collected on the type of radiation and radiation source. Results: There was a low level of interest in the Register, with only 180 reports received over the duration of its operation. Smart meters were the most common source of EMR exposure reported to be responsible for adverse health effects. The most common adverse health effect reported was headaches. The Register was closed in April 2022 due to a lack of interest. In contrast, the Talk to a Scientist program has responded to 6546 enquiries since 2016, most of which have been on EMR sources and the success of the Talk to a Scientist program, which rendered the Register obsolete. Lessons learnt: The EMR Health Complaints Register never received much interest from the public, potentially due to a perceived lack of engagement with authorities. The Talk to a Scientist program, which facilitated direct interaction with subject matter experts, has been much more successful in engaging with the public and addressing community concerns on radiation safety
... Some were surveys on risk perception and the nocebo effect, modelled RF-EMF exposure from mobile-phone base stations or perceived exposure (Wiedemann et al., 2006;Dohle et al., 2012;Kowall et al., 2012;Freudenstein et al., 2015;Dieudonné, 2016;Klaps et al., 2016;Martens et al., 2017;Koh et al., 2020). Others jointly considered various sources of electromagnetic fields such as telephone antennas, mobile phones, cordless phones, Wi-Fi, powerlines or wireless smart meters (Seitz et al., 2005;Baliatsas et al., 2011;Atzmon et al., 2012;Eskander et al., 2012;Frei et al., 2012;Lamech, 2014;Singh and Pati, 2016;Boehmert et al., 2020;Akkam et al., 2020). Some studied the effects of radio or television antennas (Milham, 1988;Maskarinec et al., 1994;Hocking et al., 1996;Dolk et al., 1997aDolk et al., , 1997bMcKenzie et al., 1998;Michelozzi et al., 1998;Hocking and Gordon, 2000;Boscolo et al., 2001;Cooper et al., 2001;Michelozzi et al., 2002;Hallberg and Johansson, 2002;Elwood, 2003;Ha et al., 2003;Park et al., 2004;Abelin et al., 2005;Altpeter et al., 2006;Ha et al., 2007;Satta et al., 2018). ...
The objective of this work was to perform a complete review of the existing scientific literature to update the knowledge on the effects of base station antennas on humans. Studies performed in real urban conditions, with mobile phone base stations situated close to apartments, were selected. Overall results of this review show three types of effects by base station antennas on the health of people: radiofrequency sickness (RS), cancer (C) and changes in biochemical parameters (CBP). Considering all the studies reviewed globally (n = 38), 73.6% (28/38) showed effects: 73.9% (17/23) for radiofrequency sickness, 76.9% (10/13) for cancer and 75.0% (6/8) for changes in biochemical parameters. Furthermore, studies that did not meet the strict conditions to be included in this review provided important supplementary evidence. The existence of similar effects from studies by different sources (but with RF of similar characteristics), such as radar, radio and television antennas, wireless smart meters and laboratory studies, reinforce the conclusions of this review. Of special importance are the studies performed on animals or trees near base station antennas that cannot be aware of their proximity and to which psychosomatic effects can never be attributed.
... The widespread use of electronic appliances, such as microwaves, televisions, and mobile phones, has raised the concern of the possible health effects of chronic exposure to the electromagnetic fields (EMF) emitted by these appliances. Symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, heightened stress levels, sleep disorders, skinrelated sensations (e.g., burning, prickling, and itching), rashes, muscle pains and aches, and other health problems [1], have been reported by some individuals as a result of exposure to EMF emitted from mobile phones and their base stations. The World Health Organization (WHO) coined the term "idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields" (IEI-EMF), which refers to symptoms reported by individuals after EMF exposure [2]. ...
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Background The biological association between electromagnetic fields (EMF) and idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to EMF (IEI-EMF) has not been established. To assess the physiological changes and symptoms associated with exposure to EMF, we conducted a randomized crossover provocation study. Methods We recruited 58 individuals with IEI-EMF (IEI-EMF group) and 92 individuals without IEI-EMF (control group). In a controlled environment, all participants received EMF signals mimicking those from mobile phone base stations in a randomized sequence under the blinded condition. During the course, participants reported their symptoms and whether they perceived EMF, and we monitored their physiological parameters, including blood pressure (BP), heart rate (HR), and HR variability. Results The IEI-EMF and control groups reported similar frequencies of symptoms during both the provocation and sham sessions. No participant could accurately identify the provocation. In both groups, physiological parameters were similar between the two sessions. The control group, but not the IEI-EMF group, had elevated HR when they perceived EMF exposure. Conclusions No symptoms or changes in physiological parameters were found to be associated with short-term exposure to EMF, and no participant could accurately detect the presence of EMF. Moreover, the participants in the control group, but not those in the IEI-EMF group, had elevated HR when they perceived EMF.
... The thermal effects have been extensively studied, and its exposure limits are well-established, but the non-thermal effects remain a matter of debate [Gaestel 2010;Meo and Al Rubeaan 2013]. Notwithstanding, the paucity of concrete data, there is a growing body of evidence that implicates the non-thermal interactions to cause detrimental effects on the central nervous system, cardiovascular, hematopoietic, and reproductive functions [Al-Khlaiwi and Meo 2004], and responsible for the development of insulin resistance, hyperglycemia, and central obesity [Seitz et al. 2005;Lowette et al. 2015]. ...
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The present-day children-adolescents ubiquitously use the mobile phones and unrestrictedly consume fructose-laden diet. Unfortunately, a rise in the incidence of insulin resistance and fatty liver syndrome in young adults has also been recorded. To delineate a possible correlate, the effect of exposure to electromagnetic field (EMF) from the mobile phone and unrestricted fructose intake during pre-, peri-, and post-pubertal stages of development on orexigenic and anorexigenic signals arising from the hypothalamus and liver of rats is investigated here. The study design included four arms, i.e., “Normal”, “Exposure Only (ExpO)”, “Fructose Only (FruO)”, and “Exposure with Fructose (EF)”, wherein weaned rats received either “normal chow and drinking water” or “normal chow and fructose (15%) drinking solution” in presence and absence of EMF exposure (2 h/day) for 8 weeks. The results indicate that the total calories consumed by the EF were higher by early adulthood than normal, possibly under the influence of the raised levels of the orexigenic hormone, i.e., ghrelin, and it reflected as raised rate of weight gain. At early adulthood, the EF recorded mitigated response and sensitivity of insulin. Despite EF being a “fed-state”, both centrally and peripherally, the glycolysis was restrained, but the gluconeogenesis was raised. Additionally, the altered lipid profile and the glycogen levels indicate that the EF developed fatty liver. The energy homeostasis of the EF was compromised as evidenced by (a) reduced expression of the glucosensors-GLUT2 and glucokinase in the hypothalamus and liver and (b) reduced expression of the cellular energy regulator—AMPK, orexigenic peptide–NPY, and anorexigenic peptide-POMC in the hypothalamus. Taken together, the present study evidences that the exposure to EMFfrom the mobile phone and unrestricted fructose intake during childhood-adolescence impairs the central and peripheral pathways that mediate the glucosensing, glucoregulation, feeding, and satiety behavior by early adulthood.
... Деятельность работников сотовой связи связана с влиянием ряда неблагоприятных факторов производственной среды и трудового процесса, одним из которых являются ЭМП РЧ. За более чем 50-летний период медико-биологических исследований по изучению причинно-следственных связей влияния ЭМП на здоровье человека накоплен достаточно большой материал, позволяющий объединить общие сведения о степени неблагоприятного влияния ЭМП радиочастотного диапазона [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14]. В результате многочисленных исследований по изучению воздействия ЭМИ РЧ на здоровье населения были выявлены изменения в функционировании нервной системы, нарушения когнитивных функций, показаны факты влияния исследуемого излучения на параметры сердечно-сосудистой системы [15]. ...
Introduction: One of the main professional groups of workers in cellular radiotelephone communication includes technical specialists who serve and ensure trouble-free operation of radio transmitters of cellular base stations (BS). Transmitting antennas and BS equipment are powerful sources of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF EMFs) and one of the main adverse physical factors of the working environment for technicians. RF EMFs affect the functional state of various systems of the human body including the nervous, cardiovascular, and immune systems. The objective of our study was to assess the exposure to RF EMFs of cellular communication technical specialists and to establish occupations with the highest exposure levels. Materials and methods: Instrumental testing of energy flux density of the electromagnetic wave generated by BS receiving and transmitting equipment was carried out at service sites of cellular communication facilities by technical specialists of the industry. The time spent by technicians at workplaces with high EMF levels during the average work shift was measured. Results: The analysis of collected data showed that 28 % of energy flux density values measured at workplaces exceeded the maximum permissible level for the personnel serving radio transmitters and spending from 12 to 61 % of the work shift in the specified conditions. We established that network construction engineers, network operation engineers, power engineers, technical audit specialists, network development engineers, and mechanics were exposed to increased RF EMF levels. Conclusion: Our findings indicate the necessity to monitor and reduce occupational exposures of technical specialists of cellular communication in order to improve their working conditions and prevent, inter alia, RF EMS-related diseases.
Full-text available
Kétrészes narratív összefoglalónkban áttekintést nyújtunk az elektromágneses tereknek tulajdonított idiopátiás környezeti intoleranciával (IEI-EMF, más néven elektromágneses túlérzékenységgel) kapcsolatos tudományos eredményekről, a kutatások jelenlegi állásáról. Az elektromágneses túlérzékenység olyan állapotot jelent, amely során az érintett személy tüneteket tapasztal az elektromos eszközök közelében vagy azok használatakor, és tüneteit az elektromágneses expozíciónak tulajdonítja. Az Egészségügyi Világszervezet jelenlegi álláspontja szerint az IEI-EMF nem diagnosztikus kategória, megállapításához jelenleg sem orvosi teszt, sem valid protokoll nem áll rendelkezésre. Jellemző az állapotra a nagyfokú distressz, gyakran vezet szociális izolációhoz, valamint a munkaképesség elvesztéséhez. Gyakoriak a különböző komorbid mentális zavarok, mint a szorongás, depresszió, szomatizáció. Az elektromágneses túlérzékenység etiológiájával kapcsolatos elméletek két fő irányvonalat képviselnek: míg a biofizikai megközelítés szerint a tüneteket elektromágneses mezők által aktivált fiziológiai folyamatok idézik elő, addig a pszichogén elméletet propagáló szerzők a tünetképzés jelenségét pszichológiai folyamatokkal magyarázzák (például torzult figyelmi és attribúciós folyamatok, nocebohatás, asszociatív tanulás). Számos kutató hangsúlyozza azonban, hogy a jelenség teljes megértéséhez a két megközelítés integrálására és interdiszciplináris kutatócsoportok felállítására van szükség. Jelen írásunkban a jelenséggel kapcsolatos jellemzőket kutatói és orvosi szemszögből járjuk körül: az etiológiával kapcsolatos elméletek bemutatásán túl kitérünk a vizsgálati, módszertani nehézségekre, a definíciós és diagnosztikus problémákra és a terápiás lehetőségekre.
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IEI-EMF refers to an environmental illness whose primary feature is the occurence of symptoms that are attributed to exposure to weak electromagnetic fields (EMFs). There is a growing evidence that this condition is characterized by marked individual differences thus a within-subject approach might add important information beyond the widely used nomothetic method. A mixed qualitative/quantitative idiographic protocol with a threefold diagnostic approach was tested with the participation of three individuals with severe IEI-EMF. In this qualitative paper, the environmental, psychosocial, and clinical aspects are presented and discussed (results of ecological momentary assessment are discussed in Part II of this study). For two participants, psychopathological factors appeared to be strongly related to the condition. Psychological assessment indicated a severe pre-psychotic state with paranoid tendencies, supplemented with a strong attentional focus on bodily sensations and health status. The psychological profile of the third individual showed no obvious pathology. Overall, the findings suggest that the condition might have uniformly been triggered by serious psychosocial stress for all participants. Substantial aetiological differences among participants with severe IEI-EMF were revealed. The substantial heterogeneity in the psychological and psychopathological profiles associated with IEI-EMF warrants the use of idiographic multimodal assessments in order to better understand the different ways of aetiology and to facilitate person-taylored treatments.
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IEI-EMF refers to a self-reported sensitivity characterized by attribution of non-specific physical symptoms to exposure to weak EMFs. The majority of empirical results do not support the existence of a causal relationship between EMF and IEI-EMF. However, this conclusion was drawn from environmental and experimental studies that are not without methodological limitations. In the current study, as part of a complex biopsychosocial approach, an ecological momentary assessment (EMA) protocol was applied for the investigation of the temporal relationship between actual radio frequency (RF) EMF exposure and IEI-EMF, at the individual level. Continuous measurement of autonomic variables by holter electrocardiogram (ECG) monitors and the ambient RF EMF by personal dosimeters, as well as repeated (8/day) paper-and-pencil assessments of momentary internal states (symptoms, mood, perceived EMF intensity) and situational factors was conducted for 21 days with the participation of three individuals with severe IEI-EMF. Temporal relationships were examined by time series analyses. For two participants, the results did not support the association between the suspected EMF frequency range(s) and symptom reports. Nevertheless, the results revealed a reverse association with respect to another frequency range (GSM900 downlink), which contradicts the IEI-EMF condition. Autonomic activation related findings were inconsistent. For the third participant, the claimed association was partly supported, both for symptom reports and autonomic reactions (UMTS downlink, total RF; RMS values). The findings of this study suggest that IEI-EMF does not have a unitary aetiology. For certain individuals, a biophysical background cannot be excluded, whereas no such underlying factor appears to be at work for others. EMA is a useful method for the investigation of the aetiology of IEI-EMF.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Bu çalışmada kentsel bölgelere konuşlandırılmış antenlerden oluşan elektromanyetik ışıma dağılımlarının kentin sokak ve caddelerindeki değerlerinin nümerik olarak hesaplanması gerçekleştirilmiştir. Bu amaçla örnek bir kentsel bölgenin bilgisayar destekli tasarım modeli oluşturulmuş, sonrasında bu modelin içine yerleştirilen antenlerden oluşan elektromanyetik ışıma CADFEKO© yazılımı kullanılarak hesaplanmıştır. Elde edilen benzetim sonuçları iki boyutlu elektrik ve manyetik alan grafikleri kullanılarak paylaşılmış ve anten kapsama alanı ile ilgili yorumlar yapılmıştır.
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A health survey was carried out in Murcia, Spain, in the vicinity of a Cellular Phone Base Station working in DCS‐1800 MHz. This survey contained health items related to “microwave sickness” or “RF syndrome.” The microwave power density was measured at the respondents' homes. Statistical analysis showed significant correlation between the declared severity of the symptoms and the measured power density. The separation of respondents into two different exposure groups also showed an increase of the declared severity in the group with the higher exposure.
For more than fifteen years electromagnetic fields (EMFs) are intensively discussed in connection with health hazards in mass media as well as questions of standard setting by the authorities. The present elaboration gives an extended overview over the actual situation of the special electromagnetic hypersensitivity issue in relation to electromagnetic field research in the international scientific community. There are parallels and analogies between the symptoms of electromagnetic hypersensitivity and those of the Multiple-Chemical-Sensitivity-Syndrome and other environmental diseases. The first part deals with the biophysical fundamental knowledge of interactions between electromagnetic fields and biological systems such as man or animal including threshold values and threshold philosophy. Then hypothetical mechanisms of action of EMF are demonstrated, with a special focus on the melatonin hypothesis, which has not been proved in all its parts up to now. Additionally, in the context of our biomedical research into disorders of well-being we conducted an analysis of written and telephone questions about the EMF issue which are sent to our center. The results are of scientific and political interest and. are demonstrated in detail.
Mobile phones and other new digital communication systems like WiFi (WLAN) or Bluetooth increase the immission on the general population by low-frequency pulse-modulated microwaves in every day life. The objective of this review was to investigate whether the world-wide scientific literature (peer-reviewed) provides reliable evidence for adverse health effects of these microwaves on the general public. Only literature with health-related endpoints published in peer-reviewed journals of the last decade was consulted. The most important and widely discussed health-related endpoints are cancerogenesis, subjective health complaints, sleep disturbances, impacts on cognitive functions, influence on blood pressure and interference of microwaves with electronic implants. Literature on cancerogenesis, subjective health complaints, sleep disturbances and change of blood pressure give rise to serious doubt on the causality or even co-promotion of the microwaves on these health disorders. Studies with test persons on cognitive capacity do not show any effects or only weak positive capacity changes, respectively. This result could possibly be attributed to a weak focal warming of the brain by fields of cellular phones. Implanted cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators can be disturbed by the fields of cellular phones only when these are operated in direct vicinity of the aggregates. On this scientific basis the potential risk of adverse health effects from the fields of cellular phones - and particularly from the fields originating from the base stations which are 100 to 1,000 times weaker - must be considered very low.
The erection of thousands of mobile telephone base-stations has raised concerns about possible health effects caused by an exposure to electromagnetic fields. Until now, no epidemiological study has addressed this issue. We have investigated subjective symptoms and complaints, sleep quality, and cognitive performance in a cross- sectional study in people living in urban and rural areas for more than one year in proximity to one of ten selected base-stations. A total of 365 subjects were included. They were investigated using computer presentation of tests and questionnaires. Simple choice reaction tasks, memory performance and perceptional speed were measured. Complaints and symptoms as well as sleep quality were evaluated using standardized methods. Field strengths of high-frequency EMFs were measured in 336 households. Total HF-EMF as well as exposure related to mobile telecommunication were far below recommended levels (max. 1.4 mW m -2 , 95.percentile 0.57 mW m -2 ). The proportion of inhabitants expressing strong concerns about adverse effects of the base-stations was low (5% in rural and 10% in urban areas). Despite influences of confounding variables, including fear of adverse effects, a significant relation to measured power-density was found for cardiovascular symptoms and perceptual speed. This pilot study was explorative, hence no far reaching conclusions can be drawn. However, effects on wellbeing and performance of very low levels of exposure to emissions from base-stations cannot be ruled out and should further be studied.
Une étude a été conduite au moyen d'un questionnaire, chez 83 non utilisateurs et 78 utilisateurs de téléphones mobiles cellulaires de type digital. Les résultats obtenus ont été analysés au moyen du test non paramétrique du Chi-carré. Il n'est pas mis en évidence de différences significatives entre les utilisateurs et les non utilisateurs de portables pour les symptômes généraux, tels que maux de tête, difficultés de concentration, perte de mémoire, fatigue et perturbations du sommeil. Dans le groupe utilisateurs de portables, il est observé des différences significatives (p < 0,05) pour la fréquence de certaines plaintes rapportées : «perturbations du sommeil » chez les femmes par rapport au hommes, « difficultés de concentration » pour les utilisateurs de 1800 MHz par rapport aux utilisateurs de 900 MHz et pour l'usage d'un portable associé à un ordinateur. Les symptômes rapportés lors de la communication (sentiment d'inconfort, picotements et chaleur sur l'oreille) sont en relation significative (p < 0,05) avec l'augmentation de la durée journalière de la communication et du nombre d'appels par jour. Le symptôme chaleur sur l'oreille pourrait représenter le facteur limitant la conversation, devant inciter à l'arrêt de l'appel en cours.
A survey study using questionnaire was conducted in 530 people (270 men, 260 women) living or not in vicinity of cellular phone base stations, on 18 Non Specific Health Symptoms. Comparisons of complaints frequencies (CHI-SQUARE test with Yates correction) in relation with distance from base station and sex, show significant (p<0.05) increase as compared to people living > 300 m or not exposed to base station, till 300 m for tiredness, 200 m for headache, sleep disturbance, discomfort, etc. 100 m for irritability, depression, loss of memory, dizziness, libido decrease, etc. Women significantly more often than men (p<0.05) complained of headache, nausea, loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, depression, discomfort and visual perturbations. This first study on symptoms experienced by people living in vicinity of base stations shows that, in view of radioprotection, minimal distance of people from cellular phone base stations should not be < 300 m.
A survey study was conducted, using a questionnaire, on 530 people (270 men, 260 women) living or not in proximity to cellular phone base stations. Eighteen different symptoms (Non Specific Health Symptoms–NSHS), described as radiofrequency sickness, were studied by means of the chi‐square test with Yates correction. The results that were obtained underline that certain complaints are experienced only in the immediate vicinity of base stations (up to 10 m for nausea, loss of appetite, visual disturbances), and others at greater distances from base stations (up to 100 m for irritability, depressive tendencies, lowering of libido, and up to 200 m for headaches, sleep disturbances, feeling of discomfort). In the 200 m to 300 m zone, only the complaint of fatigue is experienced significantly more often when compared with subjects residing at more than 300 m or not exposed (reference group). For seven of the studied symptoms and for the distance up to 300 m, the frequency of reported complaints is significantly higher (P < 0.05) for women in comparison with men. Significant differences are also observed in relation to the ages of subjects, and for the location of subjects in relation to the antennas and other electromagnetic factors.
Question of the study Effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields especially due to mobile phones on quality of sleep are discussed controversially. The aim of the present study was to investigate possible relations between self-reported sleep quality and quantity, and the quality of the use of mobile phones. Subjects and methods A questionnaire-based physicians' interview focussing on environmental and occupational items, as well as assessing the use of mobile phones, was conducted among volunteers. Additionally, standardized questionnaires concerning somatization (SOMS 2), health-related quality of life (SF-36), and personality characteristics (FPI-R) were applied. Quality of sleep was assessed with the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) on the basis of seven subscales, the sum of which forms the Global PSQI. Results Of 132 subjects, 101 reported using a mobile phone at the time of voluntary investigation. Analysis of variance was calculated for the Global PSQI, including daily duration of mobile phone use and the GSM (global system for mobile communications) frequency, as well as further variables such as age, gender, working time, and total complaint index. A relevant influence of the total complaint index was found to predict sleeping quality (p=0.001). In a second step, subjective stress was added to the model and found to have an influence (p<0.001), while the total complaint index was no longer found to be associated (p=0.626). Conclusions Neither GSM frequency nor daily duration of mobile phone use was found to be associated with quality of sleep. Reduced quality of sleep was correlated with a higher number of unexplained somatic complaints as an indication of a somatization disorder. Therefore, this aspect should be taken into account when evaluating quality of sleep in environmental studies. Predictors of sleep quality need to be determined, as the model explained less than 20 % of variance.