Epidemiological Study (survey)
The "Mainzer EMF-Wachhund": results from a watchdog project on self-reported health complaints attributed to exposure to electromagnetic fields. epidemiol. By: Schüz J, Petters C, Egle UT, Jansen B, Kimbel R, Letzel S, Nix W, Schmidt LG, Vollrath L
Published in: Bioelectromagnetics 2006; 27 (4): 280 - 287 ( PubMed Entry , Journal web site )
Aim of study (according to author)
A survey on self-reported health complaints attributed to exposure to electromagnetic fields was conducted in Germany.
The "Mainzer EMF-Wachhund," a watchdog project, offered an Internet-based system of self-notification of health complaints. The user could fill in a questionnaire that contained personal questions, a list of 30 symptoms possibly experienced during the last month, a list of potential sources of electromagnetic field exposure, self-classification of hypersensitivity, and seeking medical advice.
Endpoints/type of risk estimation
Estimate of prevalence
- symptoms of discomfort: headache, tiredness, concentration difficulties, increased heart beat, vertigo, impaired vision, loss of appetite, anxiety, and other symptoms
- sleep disturbances
- hypersensitivity: self-classified hypersensitivity
groups of exposure:
- mobile communication system, analog mobile phone, digital mobile phone, cell phone base station, cordless phone, electric field, magnetic field, 50/60 Hz (AC), power transmission line, electrical substation, train, domestic appliance, personal exposure
- type of exposure: residential, personal
- assessment by questionnaire (potential sources to which the participants attribute their symptoms)
|group 1: || exposure to all sources |
|group 2: || exposure to mobile phone base stations |
|group 3: || exposure to mobile phones or cordless phones |
|group 4: || exposure to extremely low frequency electric or magnetic fields from power lines, electrical appliances, or railroads |
Study group: men and women
Observation period: October 2003 - March 2005
Study location: Germany (Rhineland-Palatinate)
Further parameters acquired by questionnaire (age, gender, education, family status)
|Study size || |
|number participating ||205|
Results/conclusion (according to author)
192 persons reported health complaints in relation to electromagnetic field exposures. Of these, 56% classified themselves as electromagnetic hypersensitive and more common affected by all kinds of electromagnetic fields rather than single field sources. The study base obtained by the Internet-based questionnaire was not representative to estimate a population-based prevalence.
(Study character: epidemiological study, survey)
Study funded by
- Ministerium für Umwelt, Rheinland-Pfalz (Ministry for the Environment of Rhineland-Palatinate), Germany)
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Glossary: 50/60 Hz, AC, analog, anxiety, base, base station, cell phone, cordless phone, digital, electrical substation, electric field, electromagnetic, electromagnetic field, epidemiological, exposures, headache, health complaints, heart, hypersensitive, magnetic field, mobile communication, population-based, potential, power transmission line, prevalence, questionnaire, sleep disturbances, survey, symptoms, vertigo
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