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EMF Study
(Database last updated on Sep 16, 2020)

ID Number 2558
Study Type Epidemiology
Model Investigation of the association of environmental radiofrequency-electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) (100 kHz - 6 GHz) exposure with neurobehavioral function of children, the INMA (INfancia y Medio Ambiente- Environment and Childhood) Project, a prospective cohort study.

AUTHORS' ABSTRACT: Calvente et al. 2016 (IEEE #6303): The relationship between exposure to electromagnetic fields from non-ionizing radiation and adverse human health effects remains controversial. We aimed to explore the association of environmental radiofrequency-electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) exposure with neurobehavioral function of children. A subsample of 123 boys belonging to the Environment and Childhood cohort from Granada (Spain), recruited at birth from 2000 through 2002, were evaluated at the age of 9-11 years. Spot electric field measurements within the 100 kHz to 6 GHz frequency range, expressed as both root mean-square (SRMS ) and maximum power density (SMAX ) magnitudes, were performed in the immediate surrounds of childreDs dwellings. Neurocognitive and behavioral functions were assessed with a comprehensive battery of tests. Multivariate linear and logistic regression models were used, adjusting for potential confounders. All measurements were lower than reference guideline limits, with median SRMS and SMAX values of 285.94 and 2759.68 ¼W/m(2) , respectively. Most of the cognitive and behavioral parameters did not show any effect, but children living in higher RF exposure areas (above median SRMS levels) had lower scores for verbal expression/comprehension and higher scores for internalizing and total problems, and obsessive-compulsive and post-traumatic stress disorders, in comparison to those living in areas with lower exposure. These associations were stronger when SMAX values were considered. Although some of our results may suggest that low-level environmental RF-EMF exposure has a negative impact on cognitive and/or behavior development in children; given limitations in the study design and that the majority of neurobehavioral functioning tasks were not affected, definitive conclusions cannot be drawn. AUTHORS' ABSTRACT: Gallastegi et al. 2016 (IEEE #6317): BACKGROUND: Analysis of the association between exposure to electromagnetic fields of non-ionising radiation (EMF-NIR) and health in children and adolescents is hindered by the limited availability of data, mainly due to the difficulties on the exposure assessment. This study protocol describes the methodologies used for characterising exposure of children to EMF-NIR in the INMA (INfancia y Medio Ambiente- Environment and Childhood) Project, a prospective cohort study. METHODS/DESIGN: Indirect (proximity to emission sources, questionnaires on sources use and geospatial propagation models) and direct methods (spot and fixed longer-term measurements and personal measurements) were conducted in order to assess exposure levels of study participants aged between 7 and 18 years old. The methodology used varies depending on the frequency of the EMF-NIR and the environment (homes, schools and parks). Questionnaires assessed the use of sources contributing both to Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) and Radiofrequency (RF) exposure levels. Geospatial propagation models (NISMap) are implemented and validated for environmental outdoor sources of RFs using spot measurements. Spot and fixed longer-term ELF and RF measurements were done in the environments where children spend most of the time. Moreover, personal measurements were taken in order to assess individual exposure to RF. The exposure data are used to explore their relationships with proximity and/or use of EMF-NIR sources. DISCUSSION: Characterisation of the EMF-NIR exposure by this combination of methods is intended to overcome problems encountered in other research. The assessment of exposure of INMA cohort children and adolescents living in different regions of Spain to the full frequency range of EMF-NIR extends the characterisation of environmental exposures in this cohort. Together with other data obtained in the project, on socioeconomic and family characteristics and development of the children and adolescents, this will enable to evaluate the complex interaction between health outcomes in children and adolescents and the various environmental factors that surround them. AUTHORS' ABSTRACT: Gallastegi et al. (2018): Given that regardless of actual exposure levels, high-risk perceptions of electromagnetic fields of non-ionizing radiation (EMF-NIR) may cause health effects, it is important to understand the mechanisms behind perceptions in the general population. The aims of this study were to assess perceptions of both exposure and health-risk among mothers of the INMA (Environment and childhood)-Gipuzkoa child cohort; to explore possible determinants that explain such perceptions; and to evaluate whether providing information on exposure levels has any effect on perceptions. Overall, 387 mothers completed a questionnaire composed of four questions on perceived exposure and perceived health-risk of exposure to extremely low frequency (ELF) and radiofrequency (RF) fields answered on a Likert-type scale from 0 to 10. Later, measurements of ELF and RF fields were conducted in the houses of a subsample of 104 participants. All measured levels were far below the levels established by the European Council recommendation. This was explained in the individual reports sent to the families. After reading the results, mothers completed the aforementioned questionnaire a second time, plus two additional questions regarding the role of public health bodies in risk communication. The association between perceived and measured levels as categorical variables was assessed with a chi square test. Multiple linear regressions were conducted for each of the questions related to perceived exposure and health-risk perceptions. Wilcoxon signed-rank test was conducted to assess the effect of receiving information. Both exposure and health risk were perceived to be very high for both ELF and RF fields, with mean and medians of 7 on a 10-point scale. Reporting higher perception levels was not associated with higher levels of exposure measured at home. Variables that were repeatedly associated with higher perceptions included: manual social class, not having the feeling of living in a good neighborhood, difficulty getting by financially, not having a television antenna within 600 m, being younger and having fewer devices at home. Providing information on EMF-NIR exposure levels at home did not alter health-risk perceptions, but mean perceived RF exposure decreased significantly (by 0.7 points). Most of the participants claimed to have received no or insufficient information regarding exposure and health-risks of EMF-NIR from public bodies and considered it very important that they should. AUTHORS' ABSTRACT: Cabré-Riera, Cardis et al. 2019 (IEEE #7064): and objective sleep measures in adolescents at 1718 years. Methods: Cross-sectional study on adolescents aged 1718 years from a Spanish population-based birth cohort established in Menorca in 19971998. Information on devices use was collected using self-reported questionnaires. Mobile Phone Problematic Use Scale was used to assess mobile phone use dependency. Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index was used to assess subjective sleep (n=226). ActiGraph wGT3X-BT for 7 nights was used to assess objective sleep (n=110). Results: One or more cordless phone calls/week was associated with a lower sleep quality [Prevalence Ratio (PR) 1.30 (95%Confidence Interval (CI) 1.04; 1.62)]. Habitual and frequent problematic mobile phone use was associated with a lower sleep quality [PR 1.55 (95%CI 1.03; 2.33) and PR 1.67 (95%CI 1.09; 2.56), respectively]. Higher tablet use was associated with decreased sleep efficiency and increased minutes of wake time after sleep onset [²-1.15 (95%CI 1.99; 0.31) and ² 7.00 (95%CI 2.40; 11.60) per increase of 10 min/day of use, respectively]. No associations were found between other devices and sleep measures. Conclusions: Frequency of cordless phone calls, mobile phone dependency, and tablet use were related to an increase of subjective and objective sleep problems in adolescents. These results seem to indicate that sleep displacement, mental arousal, and exposure to blue light screen emission might play a more important role on sleep than a high RF-EMF exposure to the brain. However, more studies are needed assessing personal RF-EMF levels to draw conclusions.

Findings Effects (marginal)
Status Completed With Publication
Principal Investigator Instit de Investigación Biosanitaria, Granada, Spa
Funding Agency ?????
Country SPAIN
  • Calvente, I et al. Bioelectromagnetics., (2016) 37:25-36
  • Gallastegi, M et al. BMC Public Health., (2016) 16:167-doi: 10.1186/s12889-016-2825-3.
  • Gallastegi, M et al. Environmental Research., (2019) 169:501-509
  • Cabré-Riera, A et al. Environmental Research 171 (2019) 341347, (2019) 171:341-347
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