Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift

, Volume 161, Issue 9–10, pp 240–250

Wireless communication fields and non-specific symptoms of ill health: a literature review

Main topic

Summary

This is an update of a previous systematic review on the association between radiofrequency electromagnetic field (RF-EMF) exposure and health-related quality of life that included studies published before August 2007 [1]. Since then, nine randomized trials addressed short-term exposures from close-to-body RF-EMF sources such as mobile phones, and two observational studies investigated the effects of mobile phone use on health-related quality of life. Six randomized trials addressed short-term far-field exposure arising, for instance, from mobile phone base stations, and eight studies evaluated the effects of environmental far-field RF-EMF exposure. In most of the randomized trials, no exposure-response association was observed. The sporadically reported associations did not show a consistent pattern regarding the type of symptoms or the direction of the effects (increase/decrease). Similarly, most of the recent observational studies did not show associations between RF-EMF exposure and non-specific symptoms. However, the exposure gradients were small and possible exposure misclassification is a limitation of these studies. Longitudinal studies as well as studies in children and adolescents are scarce. In summary, recent research did not indicate health-related quality of life to be affected by RF-EMF exposure in our everyday environment. Furthermore, none of the studies showed that individuals with self-reported electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) were more susceptible to RF-EMF than the rest of the population. Nevertheless, the rapid technological development and anticipated increase in exposure levels warrant the conduct of further longitudinal studies. Due to the widespread use of wireless communication technologies potential adverse health effects would have major public health consequences.

Keywords

Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields Non-specific symptoms Health-related quality of life Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) Idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields (IEI-EMF) 

Hochfrequente elektromagnetische Wellen und unspezifische Gesundheitsbeschwerden: eine Literaturübersicht

Zusammenfassung

Dieser Artikel aktualisiert eine frühere systematische Literaturübersicht (1) zu den Auswirkungen hochfrequenter elektromagnetischer Felder (RF-EMF) auf die gesundheitsbezogene Lebensqualität. Zwischen August 2007 und November 2010 sind zur Exposition gegenüber Nahfeldquellen wie Mobil- und Schnurlostelefonen neun randomisierte experimentelle Studien und zwei beobachtende Studien erschienen. Die Fernfeldexposition, wie sie beispielsweise in der Umgebung von Mobilfunkbasisstationen auftritt, wurde in sechs experimentellen und acht beobachtenden Studien untersucht. Die meisten Experimente zeigten keinen Zusammenhang zwischen der Hochfrequenzbelastung und dem Auftreten von unspezifischen Symptomen wie Kopfschmerzen, Schwindel oder Konzentrationsstörungen. Die sporadisch beobachteten Assoziationen ergaben kein einheitliches Muster, weder bezüglich der Symptomform noch bezüglich der Effektrichtung (Zu- oder Abnahme). Auch in den beobachtenden Studien bestanden grösstenteils keine Zusammenhänge zwischen der RF-EMF-Belastung und dem Auftreten von Beschwerden. Die Aussagekraft dieser Studien wird allerdings dadurch eingeschränkt, dass die Expositionskontraste in den Kollektiven gering waren und Fehler in der Expositionsabschätzung nicht ausgeschlossen werden können. Ausserdem fehlen Studien über einen längeren Beobachtungszeitraum, und es gibt noch kaum Untersuchungen an Kindern und Jugendlichen. Insgesamt weisen die aktuellen Studien nicht auf einen Zusammenhang zwischen der alltäglichen Hochfrequenzbelastung und dem Auftreten von unspezifischen Symptomen hin. Sie zeigen auch nicht, dass Personen, die sich selbst als hypersensibel bezeichnen, empfindlicher auf RF-EMF reagieren als der Rest der Bevölkerung. Da sich die Technik der Mobilkommunikation rasch weiter entwickelt und die alltägliche Exposition in Zukunft voraussichtlich ansteigen wird, sind aber longitudinale Studien zur Untersuchung eventueller Langzeiteffekte erforderlich. Wegen der weiten Verbreitung der drahtlosen Kommunikationstechnik hätten schädliche Auswirkungen eine grosse Public Health-Relevanz.

Schlüsselwörter

Hochfrequenzstrahlung Unspezifische Symptome Beschwerden Gesundheitsbezogene Lebensqualität Elektromagnetische Hypersensibilität Idiopathische Intoleranz gegenüber EMF 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Swiss Tropical and Public Health InstituteBaselSwitzerland
  2. 2.University of BaselBaselSwitzerland

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