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EMR Literature Survey - June 2016

Mobile phones and cancer. Part 3. Update and overall conclusions from epidemiological and animal studies

By: Health Council of the Netherlands, 2016


This report provided an update on two previous reports published by the Health Council of the Netherlands – analysis of the epidemiological data on mobile phones and cancer (published in 2013 (PDF 2.8 mb) and analysis of the data on carcinogenesis in experimental animals (published in 2014 (PDF 862 kb). The council determined that it is not possible to state that there is a proven association between long-term and frequent use of a mobile phone and increased risk of head and neck tumours. However the weak association found from epidemiological observations cannot be excluded. The council concluded that it is unlikely that exposure to radiofrequency (RF) radiation from mobile phone use can cause brain tumour; the combination of bias, confounding and chance could be the explanation for these epidemiological observations.


Commentary by ARPANSA

The debate on whether heavy mobile phone use causes brain tumour is continuing. This latest report from the council reaffirms the conclusion that there is no established association between long-term and frequent use of a mobile phone and an increased risk for tumours in the brain or head and neck area.

The overall findings from the epidemiological data did show some weak associations between long-term, heavy use of mobile phone and increased incidence of gliomas and acoustic neuromas. Based largely on this limited evidence the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified RF radiation as possibly carcinogenic to humans.

Mobile phone technology will continue to evolve and exposure to RF may continuously change as well. The council recommended that studies into long-term health effects of mobile phone use to be continued, where such studies have credible assessment of the RF exposure.

Effects of 1950 MHz W-CDMA-like signal on human spermatozoa

By: Nakatani-Enomoto S et al
Published in: Bioelectromagnetics 2016: in press


This is an in vitro study that investigated the non-thermal effects of RF radiation on sperm. Sperm samples were collected from a total of 55 participants aged 20-44 years. Sperm cells were subjected to RF exposure at a frequency of 1950 megahertz (MHz) and at specific absorption rate (SAR) of 2 and 6 watts per kilogram (W/kg) and to sham, for 1 hour. The authors found that RF exposure did not have any effects on human sperm cells in a condition where the temperature is well-controlled.


Effects of 3 Hz and 60 Hz Extremely Low Frequency Electromagnetic Fields on Anxiety-Like Behaviors, Memory Retention of Passive Avoidance and Electrophysiological Properties of Male Rats

By: Rostami A et al
Published in: J Lasers Med Sci 2016; 7 (2): 120-125


This is an animal study that investigated whether exposure to extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields (EMF) affects cognitive function. A total of 113 rats were used in the study for three different types of testing. In all tests, rats were designated into three groups: sham and exposed either at a frequency of 3 Hertz (Hz) or 60 Hz. The exposure was done in 2 blocks of 2 hours per day, for 4 days, at a magnetic field of 4 millitesla. The authors found that ELF magnetic field exposure decreased locomotor activity but did not alter anxiety-like behaviour or memory.


Association between Exposure to Smartphones and Ocular Health in Adolescents

By: Kim J et a
Published in: Ophthalmic Epidemiol 2016


This is a cross-sectional study that looked into the effects of mobile phone use on symptoms related to eye health. A total of 715 adolescents participated in the study. Information on smartphone use and self-reported ocular symptoms (such as blurring, redness, inflammation, dryness, etc) was gathered via a questionnaire. The authors did not assess the exposure to RF from the smartphones. “Excessive” users of smartphones (defined as more than 2 hours/day) were found to be more likely to report multiple ocular symptoms. Users with a lifetime usage of more than 12 hours had a 3.05-fold higher likelihood (95% confidence interval = 1.51 – 6.19) of reporting multiple ocular symptoms compared to those with less than 3 hours lifetime use. The authors concluded that increasing use of smartphones can affect eye health.


Social behavioral testing and brain magnetic resonance imaging in chicks exposed to mobile phone radiation during development

By: Zhou Z et al
Published in: BMC Neurosci 2016; 17 (1): 36-


This animal study aimed to investigate whether RF radiation affects the development of embryos. A total of 76 developing chick embryos were divided into two groups: control and exposed. Eggs were exposed to RF emitted from a mobile phone operating at 900 MHz for 10 hours per day, for 16 days. The power flux density was up to 18 milliwatts per centimetre squared (mW/cm2) which is around 40 times above the public exposure limit in the Australian RF Standard. After hatching, it was found that in the exposed group the chick social behaviours were impaired and the development of the cerebellum appeared to be delayed. The authors concluded that prenatal RF exposure could have an adverse effect on brain development.


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