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.
Does exposure to environmental radiofrequency electromagnetic fields cause cognitive and behavioral effects in 10-year-old boys?
Calvente I, Perez-Lobato R, Nunez MI, Ramos R, Guxens M, Villalba J, Olea N, Fernandez MF
Bioelectromagnetics 2016; 37 (1): 25 - 36
p>This is a cross-sectional study that investigated the effects of low level radiofrequency (RF) radiation on cognitive and behavioural functions in children. A subset of 123 boys aged 9-11 years that originally enrolled in a cohort study was surveyed and evaluated for their cognitive and behavioural functions. Environmental RF exposure was assessed via spot measurements at the residences of the participants. The median power density level was 285.94 microwatts per meter-squared (μW/m2), which is hundreds of times below the public exposure limit in the Australian RF Standard. The authors found no overall effects on cognitive and behavioural functions.
Two cohort studies that investigated behavioural problems in children where the mothers had maternal RF exposure from wireless phones have reported little or no evidence of behavioural effects in the offspring (reported as feature articles in February 2010 and February 2013 reports).
Two human provocation studies done in children on cognitive functions did not find any effects (Haarala et al, 2004 and Preece et al, 2005) as reported in the Health Effects from Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields report by the Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation.
A cross-sectional study on cognitive effects from RF radiation in adolescents (reported as a feature article in August 2010) found that increased exposure of RF radiation causes changes in cognitive functions. However the authors noted that the self-assessment of wireless phone use to be the major limitation of the study.
This study by Calvente et al which also follows a cross-sectional design is prone to many methodological limitations which were noted by the authors. Although the exposure assessment was done via measurements, they were spot measurements outside the residences of the study participants, which may not be an adequate surrogate of individual exposure. Furthermore, cross-sectional studies assess the relationship between the exposure and outcome at one time point only hence it is very difficult to draw conclusions from the results.
Absence of acute ocular damage in humans after prolonged exposure to intense RF EMF
Adibzadeh F et al
Phys Med Biol 2015; 61 (2): 488 - 503
This is a human provocation study which investigated whether the RF heating effects cause harm to human eyes. The study involved 16 head and neck cancer patients that were treated by hyperthermia, which used intense RF radiation at a frequency of 434 megahertz (for 60 minutes per treatment). The effects of stray radiation received by the eyes were examined. The peak local specific absorption rate (SAR) and temperature increase in the eye was at least 62 watts per kilogram (W/kg) (6.2 times the limit of the Australian Standard) and 1.8°C (the Australian Standard is providing protection against temperature increase of 1°C), respectively. There were no serious ocular effects even though the subjects were overexposed. The authors concluded that the current international guidelines on RF (to which the Australian Standard is aligned) provide adequate protection against adverse health effects.
Does prolonged radiofrequency radiation emitted from Wi-Fi devices induce DNA damage in various tissues of rats?
Akdag MZ et al
J Chem Neuroanat 2016: in press
This animal study investigated whether low level RF radiation from Wi-Fi causes any adverse health effects. Sixteen rats were divided into two groups (sham and exposed) and experimented for one year. The RF exposure was at a frequency of 2.4 gigahertz and whole-body average SAR of 0.141 milliwatts/kg (which is 0.18% of the limit in the Australian Standard). The DNA damage on the rat’s brain, liver, kidney, skin and testicular tissues were quantified. The authors found a statistically significant increase in DNA damage only in the testicular tissues of the exposed group. The authors therefore conclude that the testes are more sensitive to RF radiation than the other organs studied.
Mobile phone use and risk of glioma: a case-control study in Korea for 2002-2007
Yoon S et al
Environ Health Toxicol 2015: in press
This case-control study investigated the association between RF radiation from mobile phones and a type of brain cancer. A total of 285 glioma patients (cases) and 285 controls were recruited in the study. Information on mobile phone use was obtained via questionnaires. The authors reported no statistically significant increased risk with the cumulative hours of mobile phone use at the same side of the head as the tumour (odds ratio, OR = 1.77; 95% confidence interval, 95% CI = 0.32 – 1.84), when compared to the use at the other side of the head. The authors concluded that there was no association between gliomas and mobile phone use.
Occupational exposure to magnetic fields and breast cancer among Canadian men
Grundy A et al
Cancer Med 2016: in press
This population-based case-control study tried to examine the association between occupational exposures to extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields (MF) and breast cancer in men. A total of 115 cases and 570 controls participated in the study. The MF exposure was estimated via expert assessment, using the information on participants’ job histories, where the average MF exposure for individual jobs was classified into three categories (less than 0.3, 0.3 to less than 0.6, and 0.6 microtesla, μT or more). There was a non-significant increased risk of breast cancer in men who were exposed to 0.6 μT or more (OR = 1.80, 95% CI = 0.82-3.95) when compared to the group exposed to less than 0.3 μT. The study found inconsistent association between occupational MF exposure and breast cancer in men.
Residential exposure to extremely low-frequency magnetic fields and risk of childhood leukaemia, CNS tumour and lymphoma in Denmark
Pedersen C, Johansen C, Schüz J, Olsen JH, Raaschou-Nielsen O
Br J Cancer 2015; 113 (9): 1370 - 1374
This case-control study investigated the association between exposure to extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields (MF) and three types of childhood cancers (leukaemia, central nervous system tumour and malignant lymphoma). This study was an extension of an older study to include recent cases. A total of 1570 cases and 4341 controls were included in the present study (covering 1987-2003), for a grand total of 3277 cases and 9129 controls for the combined period of 1968-2003. The analyses on the three cancers combined revealed that for the group exposed to elevated level of MF (defined as 0.4 microtesla, µT or greater) the odds ratio (OR) was 0.88 (95% confidence interval, 95% CI = 0.32-2.42) in the present study and 1.63 (95% CI = 0.77-3.46) in the combined period. The authors concluded that the increased risk associated with elevated MF exposure found previously OR 5.72 (CI 1.40-23.36) could not be confirmed based on the present study.
The study by Pederson et al includes only very small numbers of cases and controls who are exposed to elevated MF; there were only 11 cases and 19 controls that were exposed to elevated MF in the combined period of 35 years. The exposure to ELF MF in the study was assessed using the distance of the subject’s residence to electrical supply infrastructure. This method of exposure assessment may have misclassified the exposure status of the subjects in the study.
Assessment of contribution of other users to own total whole-body RF absorption in train environment
Plets D et al
Bioelectromagnetics 2015: in press
This is a computer simulation study of the RF radiation emanating from up to 15 wireless devices in the closed environment of a train carriage. In the study the specific absorption rate (SAR) for an individual is assessed from all wireless devices in the train carriage. The authors found that 15 other users connected to a GSM900 base station external to the train can induce SARs up to 24% of that induced by a user’s own device.
Low intensity magnetic field influences short-term memory: A study in a group of healthy students
Navarro EA et al
Bioelectromagnetics 2015: in press
This is a human provocation study where the effects of ELF-MF on human memory were investigated. A total of 65 males were involved in the study, divided into exposed and non-exposed groups. The exposure was at a frequency of 2 kilohertz and at a maximum MF level of 0.11 µT in the head area. The authors found that low level MF exposure can affect cognitive functions: lower times were recorded for perception, sustained attention and motor execution, while time employed in binary decision increased.
Mobile phone base stations and well-being - A meta-analysis
Klaps A et al
Sci Total Environ 2015; 544 : 24 - 30
This is a meta-analysis of studies that investigated the effects of low-level radiofrequency (RF) radiation with the wellbeing of adults. The RF sources being investigated were mobile phone base stations. A total of 17 studies were included in the analysis, where the RF exposure was either imposed in double-blinded or non-blinded experiments, or assessed via measurements (field studies). The results of double-blind studies found no indication for any effect of RF radiation on human wellbeing. On the other hand, the non-blinded and field studies found that there were effects. Overall, the authors concluded that nocebo effects may play a role in the negative effects of short-term, low-level RF exposure from mobile phone base stations.
Mobile phone use and risk for intracranial tumors
Alexiou GA and Sioka C
J Negat Results Biomed 2015; 14 (1): 23
This is a review of the literature on the studies that investigated the risk of brain tumours and mobile phone use. A total of 22 scientific papers were included in the review. The majority of the studies did not find an increased risk with mobile phone use. However some studies (such as INTERPHONE study and CERENAT study) showed increased risk of gliomas (which is the second most common type of brain tumour) among the heavy mobile phone users. The authors concluded that the evidence is so far inconsistent on gliomas and inconclusive on other brain tumour types.