Epidemiological Study (cross-sectional study)
Subjective complaints of people living near mobile phone base stations in Poland. epidemiol. By: Bortkiewicz A, Gadzicka E, Szyjkowska A, Politanski P, Mamrot P, Szymczak W, Zmyslony M
Published in: Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2012; 25 (1): 31 - 40 ( PubMed Entry , Journal web site )
Aim of study (according to author)
A study was conducted in Poland to assess the health status and subjective symptoms of the inhabitants living in the vicinity of mobile phone base stations and to analyze the relationship between the complaints and level of exposure.
Endpoints/type of risk estimation
Estimate of prevalence
- symptoms of discomfort: headache, impaired memory, dermal changes, depression, fatigue, irritation, circulatory systoms, vertigo, mental discomfort, visual disorders, hearing problems, loss of appetite, nausea
- sleep disturbances
- health status
groups of exposure:
- cell phone base station, cordless phone, microwave oven/heating device, 50/60 Hz (AC), inhouse wiring, domestic appliance, personal exposure, non-EMF exposure
- type of exposure: residential
- assessment by questionnaire (occupational and environmental exposure to power frequency- and radiofrequency fields )
- assessment by measurement (spot measurements of electric field strength in bedroom and livingroom (3 x 5 min, frequency range 300 MHz - 3 GHz)))
|group 1: || distance between residence and base station: 50 - 100 m |
|group 2: || distance between residence and base station: 101 - 150 m |
|group 3: || distance between residence and base station: 151 - 200 m |
|group 4: || distance between residence and base station: 201 - 250 m |
Study group: men and women, aged over 18 years
Observation period: not stated
Study location: Poland (Lodz)
Further parameters acquired by questionnaire (age, gender, marital status, social status, educational level, living conditions, income )
|Study size || |
|number total ||500|
Statistical analysis using multiple regression model (adjusted for age, sex, occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields and exposure to household appliances)
Results/conclusion (according to author)
Electric field strength above 0.8 V/m (sensitivity of measuring set) was recorded in 12% of flats (23 out of 195 flats), the admissible value specified by Polish standards of 7 V/m was not exceeded. There was no significant correlation between electric field strength and distance of examined flats from the mobile phone base stations.
Headache was reported by 57 % of the subjects, mostly (36.4%) living 100-150 m away from the mobile phone base station compared to subjects living at longer distances. People living at a distance above 150 m away from the mobile phone base station reported more often impaired memory than subjects living 50-150 m away to the base station. No statistically significant differences between the four different groups were observed for all other investigated subjective symptoms and health status.
The authors conclude that further studies are needed to find an explanation why they did not find any correlation between the electric field strength and subjective symptoms but found a correlation between distance from mobile phone base station and subjective symptoms.
(Study character: epidemiological study, cross-sectional study)
Study funded by
- National Committee for Scientific Research (KBN), Poland
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Glossary: AC, base station, cordless phone, correlation, cross-sectional study, depression, dermal, electric field strength, electromagnetic fields, epidemiological, exposure, fatigue, frequency, GHz, headache, health, memory, mental, MHz, microwave oven, mobile phone, nausea, occupational exposure, power frequency, prevalence, questionnaire, radiofrequency, sensitivity, significant, sleep disturbances, statistically, subjective symptoms, subjects, symptoms, vertigo, visual
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