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.
Self-reported mobile phone use and semen parameters among men from a fertility clinic
Lewis RC et al
Reprod Toxicol 2016
This cross-sectional study investigated whether mobile phone use affects men’s fertility. A total of 153 men who attended a fertility clinic were asked for their mobile phone use via questionnaires. The men’s semen samples were analysed for their quality e.g. sperm count, concentration, and motility which were compared to the World Health Organization’s reference values. The authors found no difference in the semen quality between those who were mobile phone users and those who were not.
Inferring the 1985-2014 impact of mobile phone use on selected brain cancer subtypes using Bayesian structural time series and synthetic controls
de Vocht F
Environ Int 2016; 97: 100-107
p>This is an ecological study that investigated the relationship between mobile phone use and brain cancer. The incidence data on brain cancer subtypes were compared to the mobile phone subscription using computer models, with latency periods of 5, 10, and 15 years. Mobile phone use can be hypothesised to be associated with the disease if there were differences between measured and modelled data. The authors found no relationship between mobile phone use and three brain cancer subtypes however for malignant neoplasms of the temporal lobe, the increase was 35% during 2005-2014 (assuming 10-year latency period).
This study is an update from a previous ecological study conducted by de Vocht et al which was reviewed in the January 2011 report. The previous study (which captured period of 1998-2007) found a small increase in the rate of cancers in the temporal lobe (<1 additional case per 100,000 people in that period). This study found a substantial increase in the rate of malignant neoplasms of the temporal lobe (20-120 additional cases per 100,000 people in the period 2005-2014) if mobile phone use is assumed as a causal factor. It should be noted however that ecological studies rely on data on the population level and not the individual level. It should also be pointed out that de Vocht et al did not use age-standardised incidence rates so any rise could be attributed to better diagnostic techniques and/or an ageing population.
The most recent ecological study that investigated the association between brain cancer and mobile phone use in Australia was conducted by Chapman et al (reported in May 2016’s report). The study by Chapman et al however did not investigate brain cancer sub-types. Chapman et al study found that there is no evidence of any rise of brain cancer in any age group that could be attributed to mobile phones.
A cross-sectional study of the association between mobile phone use and symptoms of ill health
Cho YM, Lim HJ, Jang H, Kim K, Choi JW, Shin C, Lee SK, Kwon JH, Kim N
Environ Health Toxicol 2016
This cross-sectional study investigated the association between mobile phone use and subjective symptoms. A total of 532 subjects were interviewed for their mobile phone use and whether they experienced subjective symptoms using various questionnaires. The authors found that call duration was not associated with any health effects other than headache severity, where increased duration of call was associated with more severe headache.
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.