EMF Health-effects Research

Mobile phone base stations and adverse health effects: phase 2 of a cross-sectional study with measured radio frequency electromagnetic fields.

Berg-Beckhoff G, Blettner M, Kowall B, Breckenkamp J, Schlehofer B, Schmiedel S, Bornkessel C, Reis U, Potthoff P, Schuz J  

Occup Environ Med 66:124-130, 2009

Objective: The aim of the cross-sectional study was to test the hypothesis that exposure to continuous low-level radio frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) emitted from mobile phone base stations was related to various health disturbances.

Methods: For the investigation people living mainly in urban regions were selected from a nationwide study in 2006. In total, 3526 persons responded to a questionnaire (response rate 85%).

For the exposure assessment a dosimeter measuring different RF-EMF frequencies was used. Participants answered a postal questionnaire on how mobile phone base stations affected their health and they gave information on sleep disturbances, headaches, health complaints and mental and physical health using standardised health questionnaires. Information on stress was also collected. Multiple linear regression models were used with health outcomes as dependent variables (n=1326).

Results: For the five health scores used, no differences in their medians were observed for exposed versus nonexposed participants. People who attributed adverse health effects to mobile phone base stations reported significantly more sleep disturbances and health complaints, but they did not report more headaches or less mental and physical health. Individuals concerned about mobile phone base stations did not have different wellbeing scores compared with those who were not concerned.

Conclusions: In this large population-based study, measured RF-EMFs emitted from mobile phone base stations were not associated with adverse health effects.

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