Epidemiological Study (cross-sectional study)
Effects of everyday radiofrequency electromagnetic-field exposure on sleep quality: a cross-sectional study. epidemiol. By: Mohler E, Frei P, Braun-Fahrländer C, Fröhlich J, Neubauer G, Röösli M
Published in: Radiat Res 2010; 174 (3): 347 - 356 ( PubMed Entry , Journal web site )
Aim of study (according to author)
A cross-sectional study was conducted in Switzerland to investigate the association between exposure to various sources of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF EMFs) in the everyday environment and sleep quality.
Exposure of each study participant was evaluated by a perdiction model (Frei et al. 2009). Self-reported cordless phone use and mobile phone use as well as mobile phone operator data for the previous six months were also included in the analyses. The different exposure measures were all classified in three categories: participants with exposure less than the median (50th percentile) served as reference group, 10 % of the most exposed participants (> 90th percentile), and the group in between the last two (50th up to 90th percentile).
Additionally, sensivity analysis and nonresponder analysis were performed.
Endpoint/type of risk estimationEstimate of incidence by odds ratio (OR)
groups of exposure:
- mobile communication system, mobile phone, cell phone base station, GSM, TETRA/TETRAPOL, radio frequency field, DECT, cordless phone, W-LAN/WiFi, TV broadcast (VHF/UHF), FM broadcast, personal exposure
- type of exposure: residential, personal
- assessment by questionnaire (owning a mobile phone, a cordless phone or WLAN, duration of cordless phone and mobile phone use)
- assessment by dosimeter (measurement of 12 different frequency bands by exposimeter carried by volunteers for 1 week)
- assessment by calculation (model for predicting personal exposure to environmental radiofrequency electromagnetic fields)
|Reference group 1: || far-field exposure in everyday life: < 0.18 V/m (< 50th percentile) |
|group 2: || far-field exposure in everyday life: 0.18 - 0.21 V/m (50th - 90th percentile) |
|group 3: || far-field exposure in everyday life: > 0.21 V/m (> 90th percentile) |
|Reference group 4: || far-field exposure during night: < 0.02 V/m (< 50th percentile) |
|group 5: || far-field exposure during night: 0.02 - 0.09 V/m (50th - 90th percentile) |
|group 6: || far-field exposure during night: > 0.09 V/m (> 90th percentile) |
|Reference group 7: || far-field exposure through fixed-site transmitters: < 0.04 V/m (< 50th percentile) |
|group 8: || far-field exposure through fixed-site transmitters: 0.04 - 0.12 V/m (50th - 90th percentile) |
|group 9: || far-field exposure through fixed-site transmitters: > 0.12 V/m (> 90th percentile) |
|Reference group 10: || close-to-body exposure by self-reported mobile phone use: < 50th percentile |
|group 11: || close-to-body exposure by self-reported mobile phone use: 50th - 90th percentile |
|group 12: || close-to-body exposure by self-reported mobile phone use: > 90th percentile |
|Reference group 13: || close-to-body exposure by mobile phone use (operator data): < 50th percentile |
|group 14: || close-to-body exposure by mobile phone use (operator data): 50th - 90th percentile |
|group 15: || close-to-body exposure by mobile phone use (operator data): > 90th percentile |
|Reference group 16: || close-to-body exposure by self-reported cordless phone use: < 50th percentile |
|group 17: || close-to-body exposure by self-reported cordless phone use: 50th - 90th percentile |
|group 18: || close-to-body exposure by self-reported cordless phone use: > 90th percentile |
Study group: men and women, aged from 30 to 60 years
Group characteristics: residents of Basel and surroundings
Observation period: May 2008
Study location: Switzerland (Basel and surroundings)
Source of data: population registry
Exclusion criteria: not Swiss resident or living less than 5 years in Switzerland; nightshift workers; users of sleeping drugs
Further parameters acquired by questionnaire (sociodemographic factors, body mass index, physical activity, smoking behaviors and alcohol consumption)
|Study size || |
|number total ||4,000|
|number eligible ||3,763|
|number participating ||1,375|
|rate of participating ||37%|
Statistical analysis using logistic regression (adjusted for age, sex, residential area, socioeconomic status, education, BMI, stress perception, physical activity, smoking, alcohol, noise perception, belief in health effects due to RF EMF), linear regression
Results/conclusion (according to author)
78 % of the study participants believed that there are people who develop adverse health effects due to radiofrequency electromagnetic field exposure, 18.2 % assigned their own adverse health effects as being due to exposure and 8.1 % reported themselves as electrosensitive.
The prevalence of excessive daytime sleepiness was 29.5 %. Problematic sleeping disturbances were reported by 9.8 % of the participants. No statistically significant associations between excessive daytime sleepiness as well as sleeping disturbances and various exposure surrogates were observed.
The authors concluded that the results did not indicate an impairment of subjective sleep quality due to various exposure sources of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF EMFs) in the everyday environment.
(Study character: epidemiological study, cross-sectional study)
Study funded by
- Nationales Forschungsprogramm NFP 57 (National Research Programme NRP 57), Switzerland
- Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF)
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Glossary: alcohol, base station, behaviors, BMI, broadcast, cell phone, cordless phone, cross-sectional study, DECT, dosimeter, drugs, electrosensitive, EMFs, epidemiological, exposed, exposure, FM, frequency bands, GSM, health, incidence, linear, logistic regression, median, mobile communication, noise, OR, percentile, physical, population, prevalence, questionnaire, RF, significant, sleep, sleep disturbances, socioeconomic status, statistically, stress, TETRA, TV, UHF, VHF, WiFi, WLAN