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The risk of subjective symptoms in mobile phone users in Poland – An epidemiological study

Abstract

Objectives

To assess the type and incidence of subjective symptoms related to the use of mobile phones in Polish users.

Material and Methods

The study was conducted in 2005 using a questionnaire survey. Although it has been quite a long time, up to now, no such data have been published for Poland. The questionnaire consisted of 53 questions concerning sex, age, education, general health, characteristics of a mobile phone (hand-held, loud-speaking unit) as well as the habits associated with its use (frequency and duration of calls, text messages, etc.) and complaints associated with using a mobile phone.

Results

As many as 1800 questionnaires were sent. The response was obtained from 587 subjects aged 32.6±11.3 (48.9% women, 51.1% men); the age did not differ significantly between men and women. The subjects owned a cell phone for an average of 3 years. Majority of the respondents used the phone intensively, i.e. daily (74%) or almost daily (20%). Headaches were reported significantly more often by the people who talked frequently and long in comparison with other users (63.2% of the subjects, p = 0.0029), just like the symptoms of fatigue (45%, p = 0.013). Also, the feeling of warmth around the ear and directly to the auricle was reported significantly more frequently by the intensive mobile phone users, compared with other mobile phone users (47.3%, p = 0.00004 vs. 44.6%, p = 0.00063, respectively). Most symptoms appeared during or immediately after a call and disappeared within 2 h after the call. Continuous headache, persisting for longer than 6 h since the end of a call, was reported by 26% of the subjects.

Conclusions

Our results show that the mobile phone users may experience subjective symptoms, the intensity of which depends on the intensity of use of mobile phones.

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Correspondence to Agata Szyjkowska.

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Szyjkowska, A., Gadzicka, E., Szymczak, W. et al. The risk of subjective symptoms in mobile phone users in Poland – An epidemiological study. IJOMEH 27, 293–303 (2014). https://doi.org/10.2478/s13382-014-0260-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s13382-014-0260-1

Key words

  • Electromagnetic fields
  • Feeling of warmth
  • Headaches
  • Cell phone
  • Subjective complaints