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.
Mobile phone use and risk for intracranial tumors and salivary gland tumors – a meta-analysis
Bortkiewicz A et al.
Int J Occup Med Environ Health 2017; 30 (1): 27-43
This meta-analysis looked into whether mobile phone use is associated with intracranial and salivary gland tumours. A total of 24 case-control studies published between 2009 and 2014 were included in the meta‑analysis which captured over 26,000 cases and 50,000 controls. The authors found a significantly higher risk of an intracranial tumour (including salivary gland tumour) with long-term mobile phone use (OR = 1.32, 95% CI = 1.03-1.7). The authors concluded that long-term mobile phone use (more than 10 years) increases the risk of intracranial tumours.
Mobile phone use and risk of brain tumours: a systematic review of association between study quality, source of funding, and research outcomes
Prasad M et al.
Neurol Sci 2017
This systematic review investigated the association between mobile phone use and brain tumours. The authors investigated whether factors such as source of study funding and quality of studies affected the study results. The review included 22 case-control studies, where 8 studies were part of the INTERPHONE study. The meta‑analysis that was performed on the remaining 14 studies revealed no increased risk of brain tumour (odds ratio, OR = 1.03; 95% confidence interval, 95% CI = 0.92 – 1.14). There was an association between long-term mobile phone use (10 years or longer) and brain tumour (OR = 1.33, 95% CI = 1.07 – 1.66). It was found that higher quality studies tended to show a statistically significant association with brain tumours. The authors reported that government-funded studies were generally of higher methodological quality than those partially or fully funded by industry. Somewhat confusingly, the authors also reported that there was no significant association between funding source and study outcomes.
Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields From Wi-Fi in Australian Schools
Karipidis K, Henderson S, Wijayasinghe D, Tjong L, Tinker R
Radiat Prot Dosimetry 2017
This measurement study assessed the radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields exposure level due to Wi-Fi in Australian schools. A total of 23 schools across two Australian states (NSW and VIC) were measured. Exposure levels from other RF sources such as mobile phone base stations, radio and TV broadcast were also measured, to give a comparison to the Wi-Fi exposure level. Overall, the exposure levels from all RF sources measured were much lower than the public exposure limits in the Australian RF Standard. The typical and peak RF levels from Wi-Fi in the classrooms were of the order of 0.0001% and 0.01% of the Standard, respectively. Both in the classroom and in the school yard, the Wi-Fi exposure level is lower than that from broadcast radio. The authors concluded that the typical RF exposure level due to Wi-Fi in schools is very low and comparable to or lower than other environmental RF sources.
Symptoms and the use of wireless communication devices: a prospective cohort study in Swiss adolescents
Schoeni A, Roser K, Röösli M
Environ Res 2017; 154: 275-283
This cohort study investigated the association between use of wireless devices and health symptom reports in adolescents. A total of 439 students aged 12-17 years participated at the start of the study and a year later 425 students participated at a follow-up investigation, where they were asked about health symptoms and wireless device use via questionnaires. Mobile phone use data was obtained from the operator for 234 participants. The authors also estimated the RF exposure that participants were exposed to, via calculations. For many of the health symptoms assessed in the study, the associations with measures related to usage of wireless devices were stronger compared to measures related to the RF exposure. Whilst this study found that an increase in self-reported symptoms was. associated with use of wireless devices, the authors concluded that it is the use of mobile devices causing the symptoms rather than the RF exposure.
This study by Schoeni et al. made a comparison between subjective data (self-reported information on mobile phone use) and objective data (mobile operator’s information). It was found that the self-reported information on mobile phone call duration was reported at seven times higher than that recorded by the operator. This suggests a recall bias with the self-reported information.
The reports by the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (PDF 5 mb) (SCENIHR) and the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority (SSM) (PDF 1.5 mb) which were both produced in 2015 have maintained the conclusion that RF exposure is not causally linked to any health symptoms usually reported by individuals with electromagnetic hypersensitivity.
ANSES's OPINION and REPORT on the assessment of population exposure to electromagnetic field emissions by "smart meters"
ANSES - French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety
ANSES - French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety
The French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES) has recently assessed the health effects of EMF emitted by smart meters. The extremely low frequency (ELF) EMF exposure from the smart meters is comparable to other common electrical appliances such as television sets, whereas the RF exposure is well below that of a mobile phone. ANSES concluded that it is unlikely that exposure to EMF emitted by smart meters is associated with any adverse health effects in either the short term or the long term.
Effect of Low Level Subchronic Microwave Radiation on Rat Brain
Deshmukh PS et al.
Biomed Environ Sci 2016; 29 (12): 858-867
This is an animal study investigating the effect of microwave radiation on brain function. A total of 24 rats were divided into four groups where one group was sham-exposed and three groups were exposed to RF at frequencies of 900, 1800, and 2450 megahertz (MHz), respectively. The exposure was done at specific absorption rates (SAR) ranging from 0.00058 to 0.00067 watts per kilogram (W/kg) which is around 0.8% of the public exposure limit in the Australian RF Standard. There was a decline in the cognitive function and an increase in both the heat shock protein level and DNA damage, when comparing the exposed group to the sham-exposed group. The authors concluded that low level RF exposure may have an adverse effect on the brain.
Effects of Simulated Mobile Phone Electromagnetic Radiation on Fertilization and Embryo Development
Chen H et al.
Fetal Pediatr Pathol 2016
This animal study looked into the effect of RF on embryo development. Female mice were stimulated to ovulate and divided into groups of: (i) control; (ii) low RF (no exposure level mentioned); (ii) mid RF (570 microwatts per centimetre-squared, µW/cm²); (iii) high RF (1400 µW/cm²). Exposure to RF was applied at a frequency of 935 megahertz (MHz) and was either at 2 hours per day (h/d) or 4 h/d, for 3 days. After the exposure, the egg cells were harvested for in vitro fertilisation. There were significant differences in the rate of fertilisation and subsequent rate of development, between the control group and mid-RF or high-RF groups. The authors suggested that RF exposure negatively affected fertilisation and embryo development.
Long-term exposure to 835 MHz RF-EMF induces hyperactivity, autophagy and demyelination in the cortical neurons of mice
Kim JH et al.
Sci Rep 2017; 7: 41129
This is an animal study investigating the effects of RF exposure on the brain. A group of mice were exposed to RF at a frequency of 835 MHz and a SAR of 4 W/kg (twice the public exposure limit in the Australian RF Standard), for 5 h/d, for 12 weeks. The authors assessed any changes on the properties of nerve cells in the mice brains. It was found that RF exposure resulted in damage to the insulating sheath of the nerve fibres (myelin) and that the mice displayed hyperactivity-like behaviour. The authors suggested that prolonged very high RF exposure can lead to neurological disorders.
Effects of personalised exposure on self-rated electromagnetic hypersensitivity and sensibility – A double-blind randomised controlled trial
van Moorselaar I, Slottje P, Heller P, van Strien R, Kromhout H, Murbach M, Kuster N, Vermeulen R, Huss A
Environ Int 2016
This human provocation study investigated whether electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) is associated with electromagnetic fields (EMF) exposure. A total of 42 persons who identified themselves as EHS participated. The first part of the study involved exposing the participants to various EMF signals (radiofrequency, RF at mobile phone/Wi-Fi/cordless phone frequencies or extremely low frequency magnetic fields, ELF MF at power frequency) to determine the level (up to 6 volts per meter, V/m for RF and up to 6.6 microtesla µT for ELF MF) and the type of EMF signal to which each participant reported being sensitive. Once the type of EMF and level was set, each participant underwent second testing in a double-blind manner, and the sequence of sham and exposure conditions was randomised. The authors found that the EHS individuals were not able to distinguish exposure from sham conditions better than chance.
The study by van Moorselaar et al is one of a few studies which have employed the strategy of conducting the experiment at the study participants’ chosen place (mostly their homes), aimed to reduce the anxiety associated with being tested in an unfamiliar place e.g. the laboratory.
As mentioned in an ARPANSA Fact Sheet on EHS, several studies have indicated that the nocebo effect (an adverse effect due to the belief that something is harmful) may cause some individuals to associate the EMF exposure to the occurrence of their health symptoms. The study by van Moorselaar et al found that over four months of follow-up after the double-blind testing, the EHS individuals who participated in the study and were aware of the results had reported fewer symptoms and reduced severity of symptoms. The authors suggested that this improvement in their health symptoms may be due to a participation effect. This implied that EHS individuals could benefit from this type of testing by hypothetically reducing the nocebo responses.
Assessment of General Public Exposure to LTE signals compared to other Cellular Networks Present in Thessaloniki, Greece
Gkonis F et al
Radiat Prot Dosimetry 2016
This is a measurement study which assessed the RF exposure resulting from the long term evolution (LTE) of mobile phone technology. Measurements at ten mobile phone base stations were conducted, and the LTE signals were compared to other mobile phone technologies. The average and maximum power density contribution of LTE signals to the overall mobile phone networks signals were found to be 7.8% and 36.7%, respectively. The authors concluded that the RF exposure from LTE was far below the public exposure limit in the international EMF guidelines developed by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (PDF 647 kb), which is in line with the Australian Standard. The highest LTE exposure recorded was 0.645 V/m, which is less than 2% of the public exposure limit of the Australian Standard.