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EMR Literature Survey - March 2016

Extremely low-frequency magnetic fields and risk of childhood leukemia: A risk assessment by the ARIMMORA consortium

By: Schuz J, Dasenbrock C, Ravazzani P, Roosli M, Schar P, Bounds PL, Erdmann F, Borkhardt A, Cobaleda C, Fedrowitz M, Hamnerius Y, Sanchez-Garcia I, Seger R, Schmiegelow K, Ziegelberger G, Capstick M, Manser M, Muller M, Schmid CD, Schurmann D, Struchen B, Kuster N
Published in: Bioelectromagnetics 2016: in press


The Advanced Research on Interaction Mechanisms of electroMagnetic exposures with Organisms for Risk Assessment (ARIMMORA) project is a risk assessment funded by the European Commission to review the association between extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields (MF) and childhood leukaemia after the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified ELF MF as "possibly carcinogenic to humans" in 2002. Overall, the project found that there is a limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and inadequate evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals, with only weak supporting evidence from mechanistic studies, which confirms the validity of the IARC classification. The ARIMMORA project found that if the association is established, up to 2% of childhood leukaemia cases in Europe would be attributable to ELF-MF.


Commentary by ARPANSA

A paper published by the same main author in 2011 (reported in October 2011’s report) that reviewed a number of studies investigating ELF-MF and childhood cancers found that the assessment of ELF MF as a possible carcinogen was valid, mainly based on epidemiological evidence. It was found that more than 20 epidemiological studies have shown an association with relatively high consistency. Schuz et al estimated in 2011 that if there was a cause and effect relationship between ELF MF and childhood leukaemia, about 1% of all childhood leukaemia cases are attributable to ELF MF in Europe, and about 3% in North America.

The latest finding from the ARIMMORA project has estimated that up to 2% of childhood leukaemia cases in Europe will be caused by higher than typical ELF MF exposure (4 milligauss, mG and above), if the cause and effect relationship is assumed. The project acknowledged that the continuing existence of scientific uncertainty is dissatisfactory for public health messaging. However the continuing uncertainty is justified by the fact that although some epidemiological studies support a possible association with childhood leukaemia this is not supported by experimental studies.

Effects of cell phone use on semen parameters: results from the MARHCS cohort study in Chongqing, China

By: Zhang G et al
Published in: Environ Int 2016; 91 : 116 - 121


This is a cohort study that investigated the effects of mobile phone use on male reproductive health. A total of 794 college students were included in the study in 2013 and they were reassessed in 2014 and 2015 (the loss of follow up was around 16% and 28% in 2014 and 2015, respectively). The information on mobile phone use was self-reported and the semen parameters including sperm count, volume and concentration were analysed. The authors reported that the mobile phone call duration using mobile phones was significantly associated with decreased semen parameters and thus concluded that mobile phone use may impair male fertility.


Disturbed sleep in individuals with Idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields (IEI-EMF): Melatonin assessment as a biological marker

By: Andrianome S et al
Published in: Bioelectromagnetics 2016: in press


This is a case-control study which investigated whether the symptoms of electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) are associated with melatonin levels. Thirty people with EHS (cases) were matched to twenty five healthy individuals (controls). The level of melatonin and sleep quality (assessed via questionnaires) were compared in the two groups. No significant difference was found in the melatonin levels in the two groups despite the difference in the sleep quality (people with EHS reported lower sleep quality).


The effect of prenatal exposure to 1800 MHz electromagnetic field on calcineurin and bone development in rats

By: Erkut A et al
Published in: Acta Cir Bras 2016; 31 (2): 74 - 83


This is an animal study that investigated whether radiofrequency (RF) exposure causes any effects in the development of the offspring. A total of 16 pregnant rats were divided into 4 groups: exposed to either 0, 6, 12, or 24 hours a day. Details of the exposure received by the animals were not provided by the study. The exposure was at a frequency of 1800 megahertz and maximum power output of 2 Watts. The bone development of the male offspring was then evaluated after 60 days of birth. The authors reported that RF exposure during the prenatal period may inhibit bone and muscle tissue development.


Does chronic exposure to mobile phones affect cognition?

By: Mohan M et al
Published in: Funct Neurol 2016; 31 (1): 47 - 51


This is a cross-sectional study that aimed to assess the effects of RF exposure on cognition. A total of ninety participants aged 17-25 years were divided equally into 3 groups according to their mobile phone use: less than 5 years, more than 5 years, and no mobile phone use. The electroencephalography (EEG) analysis revealed that there was no significant difference among the three groups. The authors concluded that long-term mobile phone use does not affect cognition.


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