Radiation literature survey
The radiation literature survey provides updates on published literature related to radiation (both ionising and non-ionising) and health.
Published literature includes articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals, scientific-body reports, fact sheets, conference proceedings etc.
The updates on new radiation literature that are of high quality and of public interest will be published as they arise. For each update, a short summary and a link to the abstract or to the full document (if freely available) are provided. The update may also include a commentary from ARPANSA and links to external websites for further information. The links may be considered useful at the time of preparation of the update however ARPANSA has no control over the content or currency of information on external links. Please see the ARPANSA website disclaimer.
Explanations of the more common terms used in the updates are found in the glossary.
The radiation literature that is listed in the updates is found by searching various databases and is not exhaustive.
The intention of the radiation literature survey is to provide an update on new literature related to radiation and health that may be of interest to the general public. ARPANSA does not take responsibility for any of the content in the scientific literature and is not able to provide copies of the papers that are listed.
Visit the National Library of Australia Australian Government Web Archive to access archived information no longer available on our website.
Parkinson's disease and occupational exposures: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses
Gunnarsson LG et. al.
This is a systematic review that aimed to investigate the association between Parkinson’s disease and some common exposures in the workplace. The investigation was mainly on exposure from pesticides but electromagnetic fields (EMF) were also included. The meta-analysis of a total of 10 studies relevant to occupational EMF exposure did not find any increased risk of the disease.
Preterm birth among women living within 600 meters of high voltage overhead Power Lines: a case-control study
Sadeghi T et. al.
Environ Res 2017; 156: 265-271
This case-control study investigated the risk of preterm birth associated with living close to high voltage powerlines. A total of 285 women were included in the study, consisting of 135 cases (women with spontaneous preterm birth) and 150 controls (women with term birth). The exposure was assessed via the distance of the maternal home to the high voltage powerlines (exposed ≥ 600 meters, not exposed < 600 m). Spontaneous preterm birth and birth defect were associated with the mother living less than 600 meters from high voltage powerlines. The authors concluded that living close to high voltage powerlines may increase the risk of preterm birth.
Investigation of bias related to differences between case and control interview dates in five INTERPHONE countries
Turner MC, Sadetzki S, Langer CE, Villegas PhD R, Figuerola J, Armstrong BK, Chetrit A, Giles GG, Krewski D, Hours M, McBride ML, Parent ME, Richardson L, Siemiatycki J, Woodward A, Cardis E
Ann Epidemiol 2016; 26 (12): 827-832.e2
This paper reported the results of further analysis of the INTERPHONE study, which is an international collaborative case-control study investigating mobile phone use and tumours of the head and neck. The analysis was done on a subset of five countries out of the thirteen countries involved in the original study. The analysis found that the elimination of a possible bias may result in a stronger positive association between long-term mobile phone use (more than 10 years) and glioma, although it is not statistically significant (odds ratio, OR = 1.26; 95% confidence intervals, 95% CI = 0.90-1.78). The authors concluded that the bias due to differences in the interview dates between cases and controls have resulted in the underestimation of the risk originally reported in the INTERPHONE study.
The biggest criticism of the INTERPHONE study was its methodology, which led to many biases. The impact of selection and recall biases in a case-control study of mobile phone use has previously been investigated in separate studies by Vrijheid et al. (2009a and 2009b). This study by Turner et al. provided evidence on another possible bias.
Glioma is a highly fatal and fast-progressing disease and a rapid case ascertainment (identifying the number of cases in the period and region that is studied) was an important issue in the INTERPHONE study. This will often mean that cases are interviewed much earlier in the study comparing to controls, which results in a time lag. In the INTERPHONE Study, this resulted in an apparent increase of duration of mobile phone use as well as over-estimation of mobile phone use in controls.
Occupational exposure and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in a prospective cohort
Tom Koeman, Pauline Slottje, Leo J Schouten, Susan Peters, Anke Huss, Jan H Veldink, Hans Kromhout, Piet A van den Brandt, Roel Vermeulen
Occupational and Environmental Medicine
This case-cohort study investigated whether occupational exposure to extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields (MFs) is associated with a motor neuron disease. The study was conducted as a subset of a cohort study that included more than 120,000 subjects that were enrolled in the study in 1986 and followed for 17 years for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) mortality. The subset case-cohort study included 136 ALS deaths and 4166 controls drawn randomly from the cohort (called subcohort). The information on a lifetime occupational history was obtained via questionnaires and the occupational exposure to ELF MFs of each subject was assessed via a job-exposure matrix (JEM). Information on other occupational exposure was also obtained including electrical shocks, metals, and several chemical agents. The association between high exposure to ELF MFs and ALS was found to be statistically significant only in men (hazard ratio = 2.19, 95% confidence interval = 1.02 – 4.73). The authors concluded that their study supported an association between occupational ELF-MF exposure and an increased risk of ALS mortality.
Several studies have investigated whether occupational exposure to ELF MFs is associated with neurodegenerative diseases, particularly Alzheimer’s disease and ALS. Meta-analyses of previous studies have reported a possible increased risk between occupational ELF fields and ALS but the results are largely inconsistent and many of the studies have methodological weaknesses, mainly in the assessment of exposure and the possibility of confounding from other occupational exposures including electric shocks and other chemical and physical agents. The current study goes a long way into addressing some of the short comings of previous studies; it is a large prospective study of the general population, it has used the best available JEM to assess occupational ELF fields and has looked at other occupational exposures. The study has some limitations which were acknowledged by the authors including that the JEM used may not truly represent the exposure experienced by the subjects. The conclusion by the authors that the study adds support for an association between occupational ELF magnetic fields and ALS mortality is valid however as acknowledged by the authors this is an observational study so no firm conclusions can be drawn on whether occupational ELF fields do cause ALS. Further research in this area is needed particularly in the assessment of exposure.
Analysis of mobile phone use among young patients with brain tumors in Japan
Sato Y et al.
This is a cross-sectional study investigating the prevalence of mobile phone ownership among children with brain tumours. A total of 82 children were included in the study. Information on mobile phone ownership and use was obtained via questionnaire. The study revealed that the prevalence of mobile phone ownership among those who had been diagnosed with childhood brain tumours between 2006 and 2010 in Japan was not higher than that of the country’s wider population of corresponding age.
Effect of 1.8 GHz radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation on novel object associative recognition memory in mice
Wang K et al.
Sci Rep 2017; 7: 44521
This animal study investigated whether RF radiation affects memory. A total of 22 mice were divided into two groups: sham-exposed and exposed to RF at a frequency of 1.8 gigahertz (GHz), for 30 minutes/day, for 3 days. The exposure was conducted at a specific absorption rate (SAR) ranging from 2.2 to 3.3 watts per kilogram (W/kg), which is 10% - 65% above the public exposure limit in the Australian RF Standard. The study found that the exposed group had a significant increase in recognition memory compared to the sham-exposed group.
Effect of adverse environmental conditions and protective clothing on temperature rise in a human body exposed to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields
Moore SM et al.
This simulation study investigated the thermal effects of radiofrequency (RF) exposure on workers’ bodies while wearing RF protective clothing. The body’s thermal response at various scenarios of environmental conditions (including high ambient temperature of up to 42.5°C and humidity of up to 80%) were investigated via a computer model. The study did not find any scenario that greatly influenced the localised temperatures in the skin, eyes, testes, marrow, brain, and core body. The study also confirmed that the worker exposure limits in the international RF Guidelines provide adequate protection even for the most adverse environmental conditions.
Radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation from cell phone causes defective testicular function in male Wistar rats
Oyewopo AO et al.
This is an animal study which investigated the effects of mobile phone use on testicular function. A total of 20 male rats were divided into five groups consisting of control, sham-exposed, and three groups exposed to RF from a GSM mobile phone for 1 or 2 or 3 hours/day for 28 days (exposure information was not provided in the study). The authors suggested that the RF exposure from mobile phone negatively affected testicular function.
ICNIRP Statement on Diagnostic Devices Using Non‑Ionizing Radiation: Existing Regulations and Potential Health Risks
Green AC, Coggon D, de Sèze R, Gowland PA, Marino C, Peralta AP, Söderberg PG, Stam R, Ziskin MC, van Rongen E, Feychting M, Asmuss M, Croft R, D'Inzeo G, Hirata A, Miller S, Oftedal G, Okuno T, Röösli M, Sienkiewicz Z, Watanabe S
Health Phys 2017; 112 (3): 305-321
This is a statement issued by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection which reviewed the evidence for health effects resulting from the use of non-ionising radiation (NIR) during diagnostic procedures. It also listed the regulations that are legally enforced internationally for the protection of patients as well as workers. The statement noted that the current balance of evidence on the clinical use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasound (in the absence of contrast agents), and optical radiation does not point to any adverse health effects. The statement also highlighted a knowledge gap in the health risks of foetal exposure to MRI and ultrasound in the first trimester of pregnancy, long-term exposure in MRI workers, and risks from interactions between ultrasound and contrast agent.
This statement provides useful reference and advice on the potential health risks from the use of NIR in clinical settings. A statement on MRI has been published separately, which can be found on the ICNIRP website.
In this statement, particularly in Table 4a, some examples of legally-binding regulations associated with NIR diagnostic devices were mentioned. It is important to note that for Australia, all of the three documents mentioned in the table have been withdrawn by ARPANSA. The safety guidelines for magnetic resonance diagnostic facilities (1991) have been withdrawn as the material is covered by the ICNIRP Statement on Medical Magnetic Resonance (MR) Procedures: Protection of Patients (PDF 4.53 mb) (published in 2004).
Meta-analysis of association between mobile phone use and glioma risk
Wang Y et al.
J Cancer Res Ther 2016; 12 (Supplement): C298-C300
This meta-analysis evaluated whether mobile phone use causes glioma. A total of eleven studies which were a combination of case-control and cohort studies, published from 2001 to 2008, were included. For mobile phone use of one year or more, no association with glioma was found (OR = 1.08, 95% CI = 0.91 – 1.25). However the association was found to be statistically significant for mobile phone use of five years or more (OR = 1.35, 95% CI = 1.09 – 1.62). Further analysis by the authors revealed no publication bias on those eleven studies. According to this meta-analysis, long-term mobile phone use may increase the risk of developing glioma.