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Environ Int. 2011 Jan;37(1):26-30. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2010.06.008.

The impact of exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic fields on chronic well-being in young people--a cross-sectional study based on personal dosimetry.

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Unit for Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology & Net Teaching, Institute and Outpatient Clinic for Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, Hospital of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany.


A possible influence of radio frequency electromagnetic field (RF EMF) exposure on health outcomes was investigated in various studies. The main problem of previous studies was exposure assessment. The aim of our study was the investigation of a possible association between RF EMF and chronic well-being in young persons using personal dosimetry. 3022 children and adolescents were randomly selected from the population registries of four Bavarian cities in Germany (participation 52%). Personal interview data on chronic symptoms, socio-demographic characteristics and potential confounders were collected. A 24-h radio frequency exposure profile was generated using a personal dosimeter. Exposure levels over waking hours were expressed as mean percentage of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) reference level. Half of the children and nearly every adolescent owned a mobile phone which was used only for short durations per day. Measured exposure was far below the current ICNIRP reference levels. The most reported chronic symptom in children and adolescents was fatigue. No statistically significant association between measured exposure and chronic symptoms was observed. Our results do not indicate an association between measured exposure to RF EMF and chronic well-being in children and adolescents. Prospective studies investigating potential long-term effects of RF EMF are necessary to confirm our results.

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