EMF Health-effects Research

Comparisons of peak SAR levels in concentric sphere head models of children and adults for irradiation by a dipole at 900 MHz.

Anderson V

Phys Med Biol. 48(20):3263-3275, 2003

The aim of this study is to examine the scale and significance of differences in peak specific energy absorption rate (SAR) in the brains of children and adults exposed to radiofrequency emissions from mobile phones. Estimates were obtained by method of multipole analysis of a three layered (scalp/cranium/brain) spherical head exposed to a nearby 0.4 lambda dipole at 900 MHz.

A literature review of head parameters that influence SAR induction revealed strong indirect evidence based on total body water content that there are no substantive age-related changes in tissue conductivity after the first year of life. However, it was also found that the thickness of the ear, scalp and cranium do decrease on average with decreasing age, though individual variability within any age group is very high.

The model analyses revealed that compared to an average adult, the peak brain 10 g averaged SAR in mean 4, 8, 12 and 16 year olds (yo) is increased by a factor of 1.31, 1.23, 1.15 and 1.07, respectively. However, contrary to the expectations of a recent prominent expert review, the UK Stewart Report, the relatively small scale of these increases does not warrant any special precautionary measures for child mobile phone users since: (a) SAR testing protocols as contained in the CENELEC (2001) standard provide an additional safety margin which ensures that allowable localized SAR limits are not exceeded in the brain; (b) the maximum worst case brain temperature rise (approximately 0.13 to 0.14 degrees C for an average 4 yo) in child users of mobile phones is well within safe levels and normal physiological parameters; and (c) the range of age average increases in children is less than the expected range of variation seen within the adult population.

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