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EMF Study
(Database last updated on Nov 27, 2020)

ID Number 586
Study Type Epidemiology
Model 870, 900 MHz (GSM), 4 GHz (CW) exposure to case study patients and analysis of peripheral neuropathys and adverse sensations

An original report was a case study of a 72 yr old man reporting "bruising" sensation in his scalp following cell phone use. The authors conclude thermal effects of RF exposure causing such nerve damage may offer an explanation for other complaints of subjective disorders in response to cell phone RF exposure. In another report, a 34-year-old female journalist was analyzed during and immediately after 900 MHz (GSM) phone use for perception and nerve response. A Current Perception Threshold CPT test on her right (exposed) and left (unexposed) mastoid neck muscles used to test nerve response, with the CPT value corresponding to the minimum amount of a trans-cutaneously applied current perceived as evoking a sensation, using 5 Hz to assess type C nerve fibers, 250 Hz to assess A-delta fibers, and 2,000 Hz to assess A-beta fibers. The subject had been identified because of previous complaints of "moderate dull (headache) pain" in the left side of her head (occipital region), 3 or 4 cm behind her ear, shortly after using her cell phone on that side, along with a change in hearing quality. In the provocation study using the subjects own cell phone was wrapped in polystyrene to mask heating perception during phone exposure (hooked to the network). The subject reported headache symptoms after ~7 minutes and marked reduction in sensory perception in the exposed side neck muscles at all CPT test 3 frequencies during exposure. The authors speculate that this data provide "evidence in support of neurological changes occurring in some cases" with use of mobile phones, and that it might provide "a possible explanation [for]symptoms observed in earlier studies of 40 people that complained of headaches and other symptoms during mobile phone use. Another case study involved a 31 year old rigger accidentally exposed to 870 MHz CDMA on the left side of his face for about 2.5 hours from a panel antenna operating at reduced power. He developed headache and blurred vision. When seen the next day he had a smaller left pupil and altered sensation to cotton wool on his left forehead. Current perception threshold testing found abnormalities of the left ophthalmic division of the trigeminal nerve which returned to normal when tested 3 months later. The exposure to the head was reconstructed and measured to be 0.015 - 0.06 mW/cm2. In a second study, 3 tower engineers were over-exposed and followed for symptoms. Another case study involved 9 men accidentally exposed in close proximity to 4 GHz (CW) microwaves at a calculated whole-body-average SAR of ~0.13 W/kg (SAR for the skin of ~3.8 W/kg, SAR for eye of ~1.2-1.5 W/kg, and SAR of the pituitary of ~0.06 W/kg) for 1.5 hours from a Telecom Australia broadcast facility (radiating at 5 Watts). Analysis of eyes, neuro-endocrine system, blood, reproductive, and other systems were examined for 15 days following exposure, as well as 3 and 9 months later. A loosening of scalp hair, behavioral symptoms, sexual impairment, insomnia, irritability, and a high creatin phosphokinase level was reported by one or more exposed individuals. In a subsequent review, a collection of 11 case reports (5 written by either Hocking or Westerman) were analyzed and the findings of transitory or long term nerve damage were attributed to RF exposure (from sources ranging from mobile phones, base station antenna, RF welding, etc).

Findings Effects
Status Completed With Publication
Principal Investigator Private Consultant in Occup'l Medicine, Australia -
Funding Agency Private/Instit.
  • Hocking, B et al. Occup. Med., (2003) 53:123-127
  • Hocking, B et al. Occup. Med. , (2002) 52:413-415
  • Hocking, B et al. Occup Med (Lond)., (2001) 51:410-413
  • Hocking, B et al. Occup. Med., (2000) 50:366-368
  • Hocking, B et al. J. Microwave Power & EM Energy, (1988) 23:67-74
  • Hocking, B Occup. Med., (2001) 51:66-69
  • Comments

    In the 34 yr old femal subject study, she had already been identified because of previous complaints that she attributed to her mobile phone (biased), and had in addition reported having fallen from a train in 1983, hitting her head hard enough to lose consciousness briefly and suffer a hairline skull fracture. She also reported that she continues to suffer headaches with a frequency of every two to three weeks, although she reported that these were “different” than the pain following mobile phone use. No details on the subject’s duration and daily phone use were provided, and certainly no accurate information on dose from exposure. During CPT analysis, the report suggests both sides of the neck were tested simultaneously, although it does not state this directly. CPT test were reportedly conducted in a blinded manner, with the computer assigning test stimulation order and the subject and technician unaware of the order (exposed vs sham). The author also decided that it was “not necessary” to conduct additional tests on different days to collect additional data.