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Source document:
SCENIHR (2009)

Summary & Details:
GreenFacts (2009)

Electromagnetic Fields 2009 Update

5. Conclusions on mobile phones and radio frequency fields

Few studies have looked at effects on children
Few studies have looked at effects on children

Extensive research has been conducted in recent years on how radio frequency fields, including those generated by mobile phones, might affect health. Cancer and a variety of possible effects have been studied, both inside the laboratory and among human populations.

To date studies indicate that a person who has used a mobile phone for up to 10 years does not appear to have a higher risk of brain tumours or other cancers in the head. This also appears to be the case for someone who has used a mobile phone for more than 10 years, but this is still difficult to estimate since few persons have used mobile phones for more than ten years.

New improved studies provide evidence against a link between childhood cancer and exposure to radio frequency fields from broadcast transmitters. Animal studies show that radio frequency fields similar to those from mobile phones do not cause cancer in laboratory animals, and studies at higher exposure levels (up to 4 W/kg) have shown no apparent effects on tumour development. Furthermore, the in vitro studies on cell cultures did not find evidence that radio frequency field exposure contributes to DNA-damage.

It is concluded from three independent lines of evidence (studies on humans, animals, and cell cultures) that exposure to radio frequency fields is unlikely to lead to an increased cancer risk in humans. However, further studies are required to identify whether exposure well beyond ten years to such phones might pose some cancer risk.

Regarding effects other than cancer, research has found no evidence so far that exposure to radio signals could cause self-reported symptoms like headaches and dizziness. There have been indications that there might be adverse effects that are caused by expectations or beliefs that radiofrequency fields and EMF in general are harmful (a nocebo effect). There is no evidence that individuals are able to perceive radio frequency fields.

There is some evidence that radio frequency fields can influence brain activity and sleep in humans. However, the health relevance is uncertain and how this may occur is not yet explained. Further investigation of these effects is needed.

Recent studies have not shown effects of radio frequency fields on human or animal reproduction and development. No new data have been reported that would indicate any other effects on human health.

There is little information on possible effects caused by radio frequency fields in children. Furthermore, there is a lack of information on diseases other than those discussed in this report. More...

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