EMF Health-effects Research

The effect of GSM and TETRA mobile handset signals on blood pressure, catechol levels and heart rate variability.

Barker AT, Jackson PR, Parry H, Coulton LA, Cook GG, Wood SM

Bioelectromagnetics. May 7; 2007

[Epub ahead of print]

An acute rise in blood pressure has been reported in normal volunteers during exposure to signals from a mobile phone handset. To investigate this finding further we carried out a double blind study in 120 healthy volunteers (43 men, 77 women) in whom we measured mean arterial pressure (MAP) during each of six exposure sessions.

At each session subjects were exposed to one of six different radio frequency signals simulating both GSM and TETRA handsets in different transmission modes. Blood catechols before and after exposure, heart rate variability during exposure, and post exposure 24 h ambulatory blood pressure were also studied.

Despite having the power to detect changes in MAP of less than 1 mmHg none of our measurements showed any effect which we could attribute to radio frequency exposure.

We found a single statistically significant decrease of 0.7 mmHg (95% CI 0.3-1.2 mmHg, P = .04) with exposure to GSM handsets in sham mode. This may be due to a slight increase in operating temperature of the handsets when in this mode.

Hence our results have not confirmed the original findings of an acute rise in blood pressure due to exposure to mobile phone handset signals. In light of this negative finding from a large study, coupled with two smaller GSM studies which have also proved negative, we are of the view that further studies of acute changes in blood pressure due to GSM and TETRA handsets are not required.

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