Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Systematic review on the health effects of exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields from mobile phone base stations

Martin Röösli, Patrizia Frei, Evelyn Mohler & Kerstin Hug

Volume 88, Number 12, December 2010, 887-896F

Table 3. Studies on mobile phone base station (MBPS) radiation and self-reported headache: results of a systematic review of studies conducted before March 2009

Reference Study design Study population Exposure source Exposure levels of the exposed group(s) Outcome measure Results
Randomized human laboratory studies
Regel 200617 Crossover 33 EHS and 84 non-EHS adults UMTS 1 and 10 V/m Bulpitt quality-of-life questionnaire23 No exposure–outcome association: P = 0.41
Riddervold 200819 Crossover 40 adults and 40 adolescents UMTS 0.9 to 2.2 V/m VASa Change of headache score during exposure: P = 0.03
Epidemiological studies
Hutter 200624 Cross-sectional 365 randomly selected participants living in the vicinity of MBPSs GSM 900 > 0.43 V/m Item of Von Zerssen symptom list25 RR = 3.1 (95% CI: 1.2 to 7.7)
Abdel-Rassoul 200727 Cross-sectional 165 adults living/working near or far away from an MBPS Not specified Not reported Questionnairea OR = 2.8 (95% CI: 1.1 to 7.4)
Heinrich 200728 Field intervention 95 employees in an office building UMTS 0.1 V/m Questionnairea Mean score unexposed: 0.128 (SD = 0.588)
Exposed: 0.152 (SD = 0.615)
Thomas 200831 Cross-sectional 329 randomly selected adults Allb 0.21–0.58% of ICNIRP limitc Freiburg symptom score32 OR = 1.2 (95% CI: 0.2 to 6.4)
Longitudinal 0.19–0.56% (morning)
0.22–0.71% (afternoon) of ICNIRP limitc
Item of Von Zerssen symptom list25 Morning: OR = 0.6 (95% CI: 0.1 to 2.8)
Afternoon: OR = 3.1 (95% CI: 0.8 to 12.6)
Berg-Beckhoff 200935 Cross-sectional 1326 randomly selected adults Base station (sum of GSM 900, GSM 1800 and UMTS) > 0.1 V/m HIT-636 Score decrease in exposed individuals: −0.24 (95% CI: −1.57 to 1.08)
Kühnlein 200939 Cross-sectional 1433 randomly selected children Allb > 90th percentile (value not reported) Item on Health Behaviour in School-aged Children questionnaire40 Headache: OR = 0.6 (95% CI: 0.3 to 1.0)

CI, confidence interval, EHS, electromagnetic hypersensitivity; GSM, Global System for Mobile Communications; HIT-6, Headache Impact Test; ICNIRP, International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection; MHz, megahertz; OR, odds ratio; RR, relative risk; SD, standard deviation; UMTS, Universal Mobile Telecommunications System; VAS, visual analogue scale; V/m, volts per metre.

a No information about validation is given.

b Sum of GSM 900, GSM 1800, UMTS (up- and downlink), Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) and wireless local area networks (WLAN).

c The lower end of this range (0.21% of the ICNIRP limit) corresponds to 0.123 V/m at a frequency of 1800 MHz.

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