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, 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.
Residential distance at birth from overhead high-voltage powerlines: childhood cancer risk in Britain 1962-2008
Bunch KJ, et al
Br J Cancer 2014; 110 (5): 1402 – 1408
This case-control study investigated whether living close to high voltage power lines is associated with childhood cancer. The study compared the residential distance to high voltage power lines between 53,515 children diagnosed with cancer between 1962 and 2008 (the cases), and 66,204 matched controls. The risk for leukaemia when living within 200 m of a power line compared to living more than 1000 m away was higher in the 1960s (odds ratio, OR, 4.5, 95% confidence interval, CI, 0.97 – 20.83) compared to the 2000s (OR 0.71, 95% CI 0.49‑1.03). The authors conclude that the declining risk for childhood leukaemia over time is unlikely to arise from any physical effect of the power lines (such as exposure to electric and magnetic fields) and is more likely to be the result of changing population characteristics among those living near power lines.
Mobile phone use and brain tumours in the CERENAT case‑control study
Coureau G, Bouvier G, Lebailly P, Fabbro-Peray P, Gruber A, Leffondre K, Guillamo JS, Loiseau H, Mathoulin-Pelissier S, Salamon R, Baldi I
Occup Environ Med 2014: in press
This case-control study investigated the association between mobile phone use and brain tumours in adults. The study compared mobile phone use between 447 cases of brain tumour (253 glioma and 194 meningioma) that were diagnosed between 2004-2006 and 892 matched controls. There was no statistically significant association between regular phone use and brain tumour. However, the authors found statistically significant positive associations for heavy use, when considering life-long cumulative call duration of more than 896 hours (odds ratio, OR=2.89; 95% confidence interval, CI 1.41 to 5.93 for glioma and OR=2.57; 95% CI 1.02 to 6.44 for meningioma), and when considering more than 18,360 number of calls for glioma (OR=2.10; 95% CI 1.03 to 4.31). The authors conclude that these results support other findings concerning a possible association between heavy mobile phone use and brain tumours.
The INTERPHONE project, which is coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), is a multi-national series of case-control studies (from 13 different countries including Australia) testing whether using mobile phones is associated with an increased risk of various cancers in the head and neck. The INTERPHONE studies were conducted using the same methods to enable the data to be pooled for analysis.
A pooled analysis of the INTERPHONE studies for malignant brain tumours (glioma and meningioma) showed no overall association (INTERPHONE Study Group, 2010 (PDF 187kb). There were suggestions of an association (most pronounced for glioma) in the group representing individuals with the highest cumulative call time. The authors note that limitations of the methodology prevent conclusions of causality being drawn from these observations.
In May 2011 IARC assessed the possible carcinogenicity of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF). Based on positive associations found in INTERPHONE and some other epidemiological studies between glioma and acoustic neuroma and exposure to RF-EMF from wireless phones (mobile and cordless phones) IARC has classified RF EMF as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” (also known as Group 2B carcinogen) (see June 2011 report). The classification by IARC does not provide estimates of what risk of cancer might by posed by any given level of exposure to RF fields. An assessment of this and other possible health effects is currently being conducted by the World Health Organization.
Alteration of glycine receptor immunoreactivity in the auditory brainstem of mice following three months of exposure to radiofrequency radiation at SAR 4.0 W/kg
Maskey D, et al
Int J Mol Med 2014: in press
This in vivo study investigated whether exposure to RF EMF emitted by mobile phones affects auditory function by altering the neurotransmitter glycine. In the study rats were exposed to a 835 MHz RF signal at a specific absorption rate of 4 W/kg or sham for three months. The authors report differences in the glycine activity between the exposed and non-exposed rats which are indicative of auditory dysfunction.
Extensive frequency selective measurements of radiofrequency fields in outdoor environments performed with a novel mobile monitoring system
Estenberg, J & Augustsson, T
Bioelectromagnetics 2014; 35(3): 227
This is a report by researchers from the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority about an RF measurement programme conducted in rural, urban and city areas of Sweden. Measurements were conducted from a moving car (travelling at no more than 30 km/h) and covered the frequency range used by broadcast television and radio services as well as mobile phone networks. The median power density was found to rise with increasing population density being 16 microwatts per square meter (µW/m²) in rural areas, 270 µW/m² for urban and 2400 µW/m² in the cities. All measurement values were found to be well below the general public exposure limits of the guidelines (PDF 526kb) published by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection. In each of the three settings the main contributor to RF exposures was found to be mobile phone base stations.
The epidemiology of glioma in adults: a "state of the science" review
Ostrom QT, et al
Neuro Oncol 2014: in press
This review describes the epidemiological evidence on glioma including the incidence of the disease and possible risk factors. Glioblastoma, the most common type of glioma has an age-adjusted incidence rate in Australia of 3.4 annual cases per 100,000 people. Exposure to high levels of ionising radiation has been shown to increase the risk of glioma. The authors mention that the potential influence of mobile phone use has also been examined with inconclusive results.
Use of mobile phones and brain cancer risk in children
Röösli M, et al
Tumors of the Central Nervous System 2014; 13 : 293 – 300
This is a review of epidemiological studies investigating the use of mobile phones and brain cancer risk in children. The authors mention that only limited data exists on children from only one multi-centre case-control study and some ecological studies investigating trends in brain tumour incidence rates. The authors conclude that despite a steep increase in mobile phone use among children and adolescents during the last decade, overall the available findings do not suggest an increased brain tumour risk in children using mobile phones.
Exposure to radio-frequency electromagnetic fields from broadcast transmitters and risk of childhood cancer: a census-based cohort study
Hauri DD, Spycher B, Huss A, Zimmermann F, Grotzer M, Von der Weid N, Spoerri A, Kuehni CE, Röösli M
Am J Epidemiol 2013: in press
This cohort study investigated whether exposure to radiofrequency (RF) radiation from broadcast (radio and TV) transmitters is associated with childhood cancer. In the study all children aged under 16 years living in Switzerland on December 5, 2000 were followed till December 31, 2008 for the incidence of cancer. Exposure to RF was calculated based on the distance of the children’s residential address from broadcast transmitters and the transmitter characteristics. There were no statistically significant associations with leukaemia, brain tumour or all cancers combined. The authors conclude that this large cohort study did not show an association between RF exposure from broadcast transmitters and childhood cancer.
The majority of previous epidemiological studies investigating cancer risk in children living near broadcast transmitters have been ecological or cross-sectional in design with many methodological limitations. For example, previous studies used distance between the home and the broadcast tower as a proxy for the RF exposure; no attempts were made by previous studies to estimate the exposure through measurements or calculations. The study by Hauri et al uses a cohort design and improves the assessment of exposure by performing calculations.
Comparing non-specific physical symptoms in environmentally sensitive patients: Prevalence, duration, functional status and illness behavior
Baliatsas C, et al
J Psychosom Res 2014: in press
This cross-sectional study compared self-reported subjective symptoms between people identifying themselves as electromagnetic hypersensitive (EHS) and non-EHS individuals. In the study a random sample of 5789 adults that were registered as having attended a doctor for any medical condition completed a self-administered questionnaire on their EHS status. There were 202 patients (3%) that identified themselves as EHS. Participants identifying themselves as EHS had a higher prevalence of symptoms and medication prescriptions and longer symptom duration compared to non-EHS individuals. The authors conclude that self-identified EHS patients experience poorer health and more severe subjective symptoms.
Liver antioxidant stores protect the brain from electromagnetic radiation (900 and 1800 MHz)-induced oxidative stress in rats during pregnancy and the development of offspring
Cetin H, et al
J Matern Fetal Neonatal Med 2014: in press
This in vivo study investigated whether exposure to RF from mobile phones caused oxidative stress in growing rats from pregnancy to 6 weeks of age. In the study rats were exposed to RF at 900MHz, 1800MHz (average specific absorption rate of 0.15 W/kg) or sham for 60 min/day during pregnancy and neonatal development. There were reduced antioxidant concentrations in the RF exposed rats compared to the non-exposed rats. The authors conclude that RF exposure from mobile phones could be considered as a cause of oxidative damage in growing rats.
Vestibular effects of a 7 tesla MRI examination compared to 1.5 T and 0 T in healthy volunteers
Theysohn JM, et al
PLoS One 2014; 9 (3): e92104
This human provocation study investigated vestibular effects (e.g. dizziness and loss of balance) of exposure to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In the study 46 healthy volunteers were exposed to a 1.5 Tesla (T), 7 T and 0 T (sham) MRI. The subjects were tested for vestibular performance before, 2 minutes after, and 15 minutes after the MRI exposure. The authors reported only a temporary dysfunction of the vestibular system at 7 T (reported at 2 min but not 15 min after exposure) which did not occur at 1.5 or 0 T. The authors note that health consequences of the temporary vestibular disturbance detected at 7 T are unclear.