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.
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.
Effects of pre- and postnatal exposure to 1880-1900 MHz DECT base radiation on development in the rat
Stasinopoulou M et al
Reprod Toxicol 2016
This animal study investigated the effects of RF exposure on foetus development. A total of 80 female rats were divided equally into 2 groups: one was sham-exposed (group A) and the other was exposed to RF (group B) at a frequency of 1880-1900 MHz and at electric fields of 3.7 volts per metre (approximately 6% of the public exposure limit in the Australian Standard), for 12 hours per day, during pregnancy. After the pups were born, group A was further sham-exposed and group B was divided into 2 groups (sham-exposed and exposed) for 22 days. On day 17 of the experiment, the body length, head length and width, placenta width, and heart rate were examined. The study found that RF exposure did not influence any of the parameters except heart rate. It also found that there were structural changes in certain parts of the brain of the pups, where irradiation occurred both pre- and postnatally.
Effects on auditory function of chronic exposure to electromagnetic fields from mobile phones
Bhagat S et al
Ear Nose Throat J 2016; 95 (8): E18-E22
This is a cross-sectional study that investigated the effects of mobile phone use on auditory function. Forty participants that have used mobile phones for at least 4 years were divided into 2 groups based on the duration of use: 60 minutes or less per day and more than 60 minutes per day. The phone-using ear was compared to the non-phone using ear. There were no statistically significant differences between the two ears and also between those who used mobile phones for long and short duration. The authors found that RF exposure from mobile phone does not affect auditory function.
Pulse modulated radiofrequency exposure influences cognitive performance
Verrender A et al
Int J Radiat Biol 2016: 1-8
This is an Australian human provocation study that investigated the effects of radiofrequency (RF) exposure on cognitive performance. A total of 36 participants were involved in the study. Assigned randomly, participants were either exposed to pulse modulated RF (at a frequency of 920 megahertz, MHz either at a specific absorption rate, SAR of 1 watts per kilogram, W/kg, or a SAR of 2 W/kg or sham-exposed. There was a significant difference between the exposed and non-exposed groups on the working memory task, which was a reduced reaction time in the exposed group. The authors concluded that pulse modulated RF may influence cognitive performance.
Increasing incidence of thyroid cancer in the Nordic countries with main focus on Swedish data
Carlberg M, Hedendahl L, Ahonen M, Koppel T, Hardell L
BMC Cancer 2016; 16 (1): 426-
This is an ecological study that investigated the incidence of thyroid cancer and mobile phone use in Sweden and other Nordic countries. In Sweden, there was a statistically significant increase in thyroid cancer incidence in women during the period 1970-2013. The highest annual percentage change (APC) was found in the age group 20-39 during 2006-2013 (APC = +10.77%, 95% confidence interval, 95% CI = 5.75 -16.04%). In Nordic countries, there was also statistically significant increase in thyroid cancer incidence in women. The authors compared the thyroid cancer incidence data to the total duration of mobile phone calls made in the Nordic countries for the period 2001-2013. The authors hypothesised that radiofrequency (RF) exposure resulting from mobile phone use is a possible risk factor for thyroid cancer.
Epidemiological investigations on RF exposure and thyroid cancer are scarce. There are more studies investigating the thyroid hormone function, which are mostly animal studies.
Although useful as a preliminary study to generate a hypothesis between a possible risk factor and outcome an ecological study cannot be used to establish a cause and effect association. This is because ecological studies have a number of limitations including that the observation or data collection is made at the population level and not at the individual level. Further studies will be required to test if there actually is an association between mobile phone use and thyroid cancer.
Acute Exposure to Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) has effects on the electroencephalogram and electrocardiogram, consistent with vagal nerve stimulation
Burgess AP et al
Environ Res 2016; 150: 461-469
This is a human provocation study that investigated the effects of Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) on brain and cardiac activity. A total of 164 police officers and a further 40 volunteers were involved in the study for two experiments. In the first experiment, participants were exposed to a TETRA sourceplaced against the head and chest, whereas in the second experiment only the chest was exposed. There were minor neurophysiological effects that were observed in the first experiment during the chest exposure that were not replicated in the second experiment. The authors reported that there is no association between TETRA exposure and adverse health effects.
Maternal exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields: Association with time to pregnancy and foetal growth
Eskelinen T et al
Environ Int 2016
This case-control study looked into the association between extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields (MF) exposure and adverse effects on pregnancy. A total of 373 women were included in the study. The ELF MF exposure levels before and during pregnancy were obtained via measurements and questionnaires. There were no statistically significant findings between ELF MF exposure and any adverse pregnancy outcomes investigated such as delayed pregnancies and low birth weight.
Symptoms in Swiss adolescents in relation to exposure from fixed site transmitters: a prospective cohort study
Schoeni A et al
Environ Health 2016; 15 (1): 77
This is a cohort study that investigated whether environmental RF exposure is associated with subjective well-being. A total of 439 students aged 12-17 years participated in the study. Subjective symptoms related to the presence of mobile phone base stations and broadcast transmitters (used for TV and radio transmission) were collected at the beginning of the study and a year later via questionnaires. The RF exposure was assessed via calculations using information on the fixed transmitter sources. The analyses of data following a cohort approach found an increased risk only for tiredness (odds ratio, OR = 2.94; 95% CI = 1.43 – 6.05). However the analyses following a cross-sectional approach did not find any associations. The authors concluded that the environmental RF exposure was not consistently associated with subjective symptoms.