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.
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.
"Magnetic fields and leukaemia risks in UK electricity supply workers" and "Magnetic fields and brain tumour risks in UK electricity supply workers"
Occup Med (Lond) 2014: both papers are in press
These two papers describe a cohort study which investigated whether occupational exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields is associated with leukaemia and brain tumours (glioma and meningioma). The cohort which included 73,051 electricity supply workers in England and Wales was investigated for the incidence of leukaemia and brain tumours during the period 1973-2010. Exposure to occupational magnetic fields was calculated using engineering data to determine the average magnetic fields in specified areas of work and then applied to information about the time spent in these areas. There were no overall statistically significant associations between exposure to magnetic fields and leukaemia and glioma. For meningioma, there was some evidence of elevated risks for higher exposures received for more than 10 years. The author concludes that the study found no convincing evidence to support the hypothesis that exposure to magnetic fields is a risk factor for leukaemia and glioma. The author argues that the limited positive findings for meningioma may be chance findings.
There have been a number of epidemiological studies investigating whether occupational exposure to ELF magnetic fields is associated with cancer. Studies conducted in the 1980s and early 1990s pointed to a possible increased risk of leukaemia, brain tumour and breast cancer in occupations with presumed elevated exposure (e.g. workers in electricity supply). The interpretation of these studies was difficult mainly due to methodological limitations and lack of appropriate exposure measurements.
More recent studies have made use of improved methods for individual assessment of occupational exposure to ELF magnetic fields and potential occupational confounders. Modern exposure assessment methods include the combined use of systematic workplace measurements and calculations and individual job history descriptions as was done in the current study. However, because the magnetic field exposure within occupational groups is highly variable, these exposure assessment methods do not eliminate all uncertainties regarding the workers' exposure levels.
Overall there is no consistent evidence showing that occupational magnetic fields are associated with cancer.
Extremely low frequency magnetic field (50 Hz, 0.5 mT) modifies fitness components and locomotor activity of Drosophila subobscura
Dimitrijevic D, et al
Int J Radiat Biol 2014: in press
This in vivo study investigated whether exposure to ELF magnetic fields affects the development and locomotor activity of flies. In the study flies (drosophila subobscura species) were exposed to a 50Hz magnetic field at 0.5 mT for 48 hours at different stages of their development starting from eggs. The authors found that the exposure to ELF magnetic fields influenced the development and locomotor activity of flies, however it should be pointed out that the exposure level used in this experiment was much greater than what is normally encountered by the public or the level set for safety by international guidelines.
Preliminary opinion on: Potential health effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF)
European Commission 2013: 1 – 219
This is a review and assessment of the scientific evidence on exposure to electromagnetic fields and health by the European Commission Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR). In its conclusions SCENIHR makes specific reference to the epidemiological evidence on mobile phone use and risk of brain tumour noting that based on the most recent cohort and incidence time trend studies, it appears that the evidence for an increased risk of glioma is weaker while the possibility of an association of RF exposure with acoustic neuroma remains open. SCENIHR also concludes that the evidence that RF exposure may affect brain activity has been substantiated further in electroencephalography studies. Finally, SCENIHR mentions that there is a big gap in the research investigating terahertz fields.