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Sci Total Environ. 2016 Sep 15;565:714-720. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.05.021. Epub 2016 May 21.

Clinically defined non-specific symptoms in the vicinity of mobile phone base stations: A retrospective before-after study.

Author information

1
Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (NIVEL), Utrecht, The Netherlands. Electronic address: c.baliatsas@nivel.nl.
2
National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, The Netherlands. Electronic address: irene.van.kamp@rivm.nl.
3
National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, The Netherlands. Electronic address: john.bolte@rivm.nl.
4
National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, The Netherlands. Electronic address: gert.kelfkens@rivm.nl.
5
Department of Research, Information and Statistics (OIS), Municipality of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Electronic address: Christel.Van.Dijk@amsterdam.nl.
6
Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (NIVEL), Utrecht, The Netherlands. Electronic address: p.spreeuwenberg@nivel.nl.
7
Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (NIVEL), Utrecht, The Netherlands. Electronic address: m.hooiveld@nivel.nl.
8
National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Bilthoven, The Netherlands; Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS), Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands. Electronic address: erik.lebret@rivm.nl.
9
Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (NIVEL), Utrecht, The Netherlands. Electronic address: J.Yzermans@nivel.nl.

Abstract

The number of mobile phone base station(s) (MPBS) has been increasing to meet the rapid technological changes and growing needs for mobile communication. The primary objective of the present study was to test possible changes in prevalence and number of NSS in relation to MPBS exposure before and after increase of installed MPBS antennas. A retrospective cohort study was conducted, comparing two time periods with high contrast in terms of number of installed MPBS. Symptom data were based on electronic health records from 1069 adult participants, registered in 9 general practices in different regions in the Netherlands. All participants were living within 500m from the nearest bases station. Among them, 55 participants reported to be sensitive to MPBS at T1. A propagation model combined with a questionnaire was used to assess indoor exposure to RF-EMF from MPBS at T1. Estimation of exposure at T0 was based on number of antennas at T0 relative to T1. At T1, there was a >30% increase in the total number of MPBS antennas. A higher prevalence for most NSS was observed in the MPBS-sensitive group at T1 compared to baseline. Exposure estimates were not associated with GP-registered NSS in the total sample. Some significant interactions were observed between MPBS-sensitivity and exposure estimates on risk of symptoms. Using clinically defined outcomes and a time difference of >6years it was demonstrated that RF-EMF exposure to MPBS was not associated with the development of NSS. Nonetheless, there was some indication for a higher risk of NSS for the MPBS-sensitive group, mainly in relation to exposure to UMTS, but this should be interpreted with caution. Results have to be verified by future longitudinal studies with a particular focus on potentially susceptible population subgroups of large sample size and integrated exposure assessment.

KEYWORDS:

Base stations; Electromagnetic fields; Epidemiology; General practice; Non-specific symptoms

PMID:
27219506
DOI:
10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.05.021
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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