Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Assessing the risks of wireless and mobile phone radiation more accurately

Date:
May 13, 2011
Source:
Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Foerderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung
Summary:
Electromagnetic fields and radiation produced by radio antennae or mobile phones can influence biological processes -- for instance, electrical brain activity during sleep, as researchers in Switzerland have shown. However, they have not been able to establish any links between everyday exposure to radiation and health problems.

Electromagnetic fields and radiation produced by radio antennae or mobile phones can influence biological processes -- for instance, electrical brain activity during sleep, as researchers from Switzerland's National Research Programme "Non-Ionising Radiation -- Health and Environment" (NRP 57) have shown. However, they have not been able to establish any links between everyday exposure to radiation and health problems.

A total of five billion mobile phones were in use last year around the world, nine million of them in Switzerland alone -- and there are daily more: the growth curve for mobile phone usage shows a steep rise. At the same time, other equipment and technologies associated with electromagnetic fields and radiation are also increasingly being used, for instance wireless Internet connections or cordless phones. What health and environmental impacts does this have?

No easy answers

Despite international efforts, to which the National Research Programme "Non-Ionising Radiation -- Health and Environment" (NRP 57) has contributed over the past four years, there are still no easy answers to these simple questions. Some research projects within NRP 57 have confirmed that non-ionising radiation affects biological processes in cells and organs. With the help of cell culture experiments, they have discovered that radiation causes a slight increase in DNA strand breaks without, however, directly damaging the DNA. In another study, data on mobile phone usage and actual exposure to radiation among the population was collected for the first time. However, no link could be found between everyday exposure to radiation and ill-health in humans.

Neglected pregnancy

All in all, the research conducted under NRP 57 has not brought to light any alarming new facts that would necessitate changes to the law or intervention by the authorities. With one exception: until now, the protection needed by foetuses in the womb has not been given enough attention, as a modelling study has shown. Using numerical techniques, Niels Kuster and his colleagues from the IT'IS Foundation simulated the amount of electromagnetic radiation that reaches unborn babies in the third, seventh and ninth month of pregnancy. They thereby discovered that the radiation to which a fetus is exposed lies above the permissible threshold for the general public if the mother has maximum exposure at the workplace. In order to protect unborn children from undue exposure, product standards for technical equipment at the workplace -- in particular, induction cookers -- ought to be adjusted.

Changes in brain activity during sleep

A team led by Peter Achermann from the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Zurich discovered changes to brain waves during sleep if the subject was exposed to the radiation of a half-hour mobile phone conversation before going to sleep. However, the changes in brain activity -- as compared to feigned exposure in a control experiment -- do not affect the structure and duration of the different sleep phases, nor do they detract from the subjectively felt quality of sleep.

Missing link between exposure and health symptoms

Martin Rφφsli's team from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Basel conducted a survey in which more than 1,000 persons from the Basel region responded to questions about their health and quality of life. They then compared this data with the day-to-day exposure to radiation. The results show that the average exposure of 0.21 volts per metre lies far below the threshold set for Switzerland and that there is no link between the use of mobile phones or cordless phones and health disorders -- not even for persons who describe themselves as highly sensitive to electromagnetic radiation.

Follow-up studies needed

It is still not clear whether the proven effects on the brain and on cells are relevant to the health of human beings. Further research might lead to a better understanding of how electromagnetic fields affect organs and organisms. Furthermore, it is important for research to keep pace with the rapid developments on the technology side. Follow-up studies are important -- even after NRP 57 is wrapped up.

Since 2007, researchers of NRP 57 have assessed the health risks posed by our exposure to electromagnetic fields and non-ionising radiation in 11 different research projects. In the "Dosimetry and exposure assessment" module, researchers measured the electromagnetic fields produced by radio masts or mobile phones and calculated the amount of radiation absorbed by the human body; the "Laboratory studies and epidemiology" module looked at the short-term and long-term effects of non-ionising radiation; and the "Cell biology" module sought to track down molecular mechanisms of action. Finally, two sociological studies of the "Risk perception" module examined what the media and the public make of the risks of non-ionising radiation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Foerderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Foerderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung. "Assessing the risks of wireless and mobile phone radiation more accurately." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110512082947.htm>.
Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Foerderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung. (2011, May 13). Assessing the risks of wireless and mobile phone radiation more accurately. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110512082947.htm
Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Foerderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung. "Assessing the risks of wireless and mobile phone radiation more accurately." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110512082947.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) — Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) — Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) — At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) — Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, cut full-year revenue forecasts because generics could cut into sales of its anti-arthritis drug, Celebrex. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins