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.
Improving precautionary communication in the EMF field? Effects of making messages consistent and explaining the effectiveness of precautions
Boehmert C, Wiedemann P, Croft R
Int J Environ Res Public Health 2016; 13 (10): 992-
This is an Australian cross-sectional study that looked into the effects of precautionary messages related to the RF exposure on the public’s perceived level of risk. The precautionary messages related to the use of RF devices (especially mobile phones) have previously been shown to increase public concern about RF radiation. A total of 1717 subjects were surveyed in the study to test two ways of improving the messages in order to reduce the perceived level of risk. The authors found that improving precautionary messages for their consistency and effectiveness do not reduce risk perception.
Radiofrequency Exposure Amongst Employees of Mobile Network Operators and Broadcasters
Litchfield I, van Tongeren M, Sorahan T
Radiat Prot Dosimetry 2016
This is a measurement study which investigated the radiofrequency (RF) exposure of workers in the telecommunications industry. A total of seven sites that hosted either broadcasting transmitters or mobile phone transmitters or both were measured for the RF levels in the study. The study found that the riggers working in radio and TV broadcast companies experienced the highest RF exposure and for the longest duration compared to workers for mobile phone operators.
The effects of a 50-Hz magnetic field on the cardiovascular system in rats
Zhou L, Wan B, Liu X, Zhang Y, Lai J, Ruan G, He M, Chen C, Wang DW
J Radiat Res 2016
This is an animal study which investigated whether extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields (MF) affect the cardiovascular system. A total of 128 rats were divided into two groups: (i) exposed (at a frequency of 50 Hertz, Hz and at a magnetic flux density of 100 microtesla, µT) for 20 hours per day, for 24 weeks; (ii) sham-exposed. Examinations on blood pressure, pulse rate, heart rate, and structure of the heart of the exposed group did not reveal any differences to the sham-exposed group. The authors concluded that the ELF MF exposure has no effect on the cardiovascular system.
Mobile phone use, behavioural problems and concentration capacity in adolescents: A prospective study
Roser K, Schoeni A, Röösli M
Int J Hyg Environ Health 2016
p>This is a cohort study that investigated the association between mobile phone use and behavioural problems in adolescents. A total of 439 adolescents aged 12-17 were baseline tested between June 2012 and March 2013 and then for a follow-up investigation were tested a year later. Information on mobile phone use was obtained via two methods: questionnaire (self-reported) and records from the operators. Personal radiofrequency RF exposure was also measured in a small subgroup of participants. Overall, the authors did not find indications that RF exposure from mobile phone use affects the behaviour or concentration capacity of adolescents.
Observational studies investigating the effects of RF exposure from mobile phones on health outcomes have the recurring issue of recall bias, since most studies use self-reported information to assess the exposure. This study by Roser et al found that the association between behavioural problems and RF exposure was stronger when the analysis was based on self-reported information, compared to the phone records. This indicates the presence of recall bias. The analysis based on the personal RF exposure measurement also revealed no association.
A review by the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR, 2015) on RF and health discussed the available evidence regarding mobile phone use on development, cognitive function and behaviour in children and concluded that adverse effects have not been established, but the data are limited and further studies are recommended.
Effects of electromagnetic fields emitted by GSM phones on working memory: a meta-analysis
Zubko O, Gould RL, Gay HC, Cox HJ, Coulson MC, Howard RJ
Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 2016
This meta-analysis looked into the studies on RF exposure and working memory. A total of 10 studies met the inclusion criteria which are largely based on blinded human provocation studies. It found no differences between the exposed group and sham-exposed group, in any of the three working memory tasks investigated. The authors found that RF exposure has no effects on working memory.
Exposure time-dependent thermal effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic field exposure on the whole body of rats
Ohtani S, Ushiyama A, Maeda M, Hattori K, Kunugita N, Wang J, Ishii K
J Toxicol Sci 2016; 41 (5): 655-666
This animal study investigated the effects of RF exposure on core body temperature. Rats were either exposed to RF at a frequency of 2.14 gigahertz (GHz) or sham-exposed. A group of 4 rats was each exposed in one of these four exposure conditions: (i) single 6-hour exposure at specific absorption rate (SAR) of 4 watts per kilogram (W/kg); (ii) three 3-hour exposures at 4 W/kg; (iii) three 6-hour exposures at 0.4 W/kg; or (iv) three 6-hour exposures at 4 W/kg. The authors found that the core body temperature was increased by 1.5°C in those exposed to 4 W/kg (50 times the SAR limit for public exposure stipulated in the Australian RF Standard) while there was no change in core body temperature for those exposed to 0.4 W/kg (5 times SAR limit for public exposure).
Lessons and perspectives from a 25-year bioelectromagnetics research program
Wood AW, Lajevardipour A, McIntosh RL
Int J Environ Res Public Health 2016; 13 (10)
This review looked into the studies on electromagnetic fields (EMF) performed in the last 25 years by a group of researchers based in Australia’s Swinburne University. The work of the group has been mainly on health effects and dosimetry. The group was of the opinion that although human provocation studies are more realistic in investigating effects of exposure in human bodies, in vivo and in vitro studies offer much greater control over exposure and environmental conditions, which is expected to result in greater reproducibility.
The effect of extremely low-frequency magnetic field (50-60 Hz) exposure on spontaneous apoptosis: The results of a meta-analysis
Mansourian M, Marateb HR, Vaseghi G
Adv Biomed Res 2016; 5: 141
This is a meta-analysis of in vitro studies that investigated the association between extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields (MF) and spontaneous cell death (apoptosis). A total of 8 studies covering the period 2000-2010 were included in the meta-analysis. A total of 18 endpoints were analysed, which are combinations of these three factors: (i) magnetic fields ranging from 0 to 5 millitesla (mT); (ii) Exposure duration ranging from less than 24 hours to more than 5 days; (iii) normal or cancer cells. The overall odds ratio from all 18 endpoints was 1.18 (95% confidence interval = 1.15, 1.20). The authors concluded that exposure to ELF MF may increase the rate of apoptosis in both normal and cancer cells.
Epidemiological study of power lines and childhood cancer in the UK: further analyses
Bunch KJ, Swanson J, Vincent TJ, Murphy MF
J Radiol Prot 2016; 36 (3): 437-455
This is a case-control study that investigated the association between childhood leukaemia and residing next to high voltage powerlines at birth. The study is a further analysis on a previous case-control study (Bunch et al, 2014) which included 53,506 cases of childhood cancer diagnosed from 1962 to 2008, and 132,275 matched controls. For the earlier period of 1962-1989, risk of childhood leukaemia increased with increasing age (peaking at the age category of 10-14) however for the later period of 1990-2008, no increased risk was observed in any age category. Risks were higher in some regions than in others but no significant difference to the total risk was found. The authors found that the elevated risks previously found (for the earlier period) was associated with the year of birth or year of cancer diagnosis.
This paper by Bunch et al is the final paper that formed a series of epidemiological investigations into childhood cancer and high voltage power lines in the UK. It contains further analyses on the data captured by previous publications by Draper et al (2005), Kroll et al (2010, summary available on September 2010’s report), Bunch et al (2014, summary available on June 2014’s report), Swanson et al (2014) and Bunch et al (2015, summary available on September 2015’s report).
The authors initially argued that the age of high voltage power lines is a potential risk factor for leukaemia (i.e. newly constructed power lines are associated with higher risk of leukaemia) however further analyses in this paper has shown that this was not the case. The elevated risks previously observed in the study period of 1962-1989 may mean that there was an unknown risk factor that existed in the past but has been declining since the 1960s up to the 1990s and it did not exist anymore in the 2000s.
A Closer Look at the Thresholds of Thermal Damage: Workshop Report by an ICNIRP Task Group
Sienkiewicz Z et al
Health Phys 2016; 111 (3): 300-306
This paper summarised the presentations given in a workshop jointly organised by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The workshop focused on the heat-related effects and thresholds of thermal damage for RF exposure, to gather valuable input into the upcoming revision of ICNIRP guidelines (PDF 647 kb) for limiting human exposure to RF fields originally developed in 1998. The workshop identified a knowledge gap in the relationship between temperature and harm, since it is variable across tissue and organ type. A great deal of knowledge in this area is based on mild hyperthermia condition, which may not be applicable in the condition of small temperature increase caused by RF exposure below the limits in the Guidelines. The workshop also found that the heating effects caused by RF sources are consistent with other heat sources and that absolute temperature of tissues is more relevant than temperature elevation in relation to thermal damage.