Enero 2006

Children and electromagnetic fields

A recent supplement of the journal "Bioelectromagnetics" was devoted to the issue of children and exposure to electromagnetic fields. The papers are based on presentations at a workshop on "Sensitivity of Children to EMF Exposure", which was held in Istanbul, Turkey, in June 2004. The workshop was organized and co-sponsored by WHO, the European Commission Coordination Action EMF-NET, the Swedish Radiation Protection Authority (SSI), the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), European Cooperation in the Field of Scientific and Technical research (COST 281), the Research Association for Radio Applications (FGF), International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), and the Medical Faculty of Gazi University (Turkey).

Included in the papers in the Supplement was one by Christ and Kuster that reviewed the evidence about RF energy absorption in the heads of children and adults. The authors concluded that the evidence does not support "the assumption that the energy exposure increases due to smaller heads, but identifies open issues regarding the dielectric tissue parameters and the thickness of the pinna". Another paper, by Feychting, reviews non-cancer EMF effects related to children.

In a Guest Editorial, Repacholi and colleagues state:


"It was concluded at the Workshop that there is no direct evidence that children are more vulnerable to EMF. However, the Workshop also concluded, as did a recent review into the health effects of exposure to EMF (AGNIR, 2003), that there is little research that addresses this question (Kheifets et al., 2005)".

The Workshop also drafted a research agenda to address key gaps in knowledge on the subject.

The research papers discussed below were first presented at the Workshop.

Repacholi M, Saunders R, van Deventer E, Kheifets L. Guest editors' introduction: Is EMF a potential environmental risk for children? Bioelectromagnetics 2005;26, Issue S7:S2-4.
Christ A, Kuster N. Differences in RF energy absorption in the heads of adults and children. Bioelectromagnetics 2005;26, Issue S7:S45-50.
Feychting M. Non-cancer EMF effects related to children. Bioelectromagnetics 2005; 26, issue S7:S69-74.

Two studies of cell phones in children show no effect on cognitive function

The first studies of the effect of exposure to radiofrequency radiation (RFR) from cell phones on cognitive function in children have been published recently in "Bioelectromagnetics". Both groups of authors have previously reported that RFR exposure from cell phones had a facilitating effect on cognitive function in adults, although Haarala and colleagues could not replicate their findings in a second study that had improved methodology.

Neither study was able to demonstrate any effect on cognitive function from exposure to a 902 MHz GSM phone in children who were aged 10 - 14 years.

In a separate paper Sienkiewicz and colleagues reviewed neurobehavioural effects of electromagnetic fields in children. They concluded:


"... exposure of children to low level EMFs may not cause significant detrimental effects on brain function. However, the available evidence is not sufficient to draw any definite conclusions".

For more, see "Research - Clinical studies - cognitive function".

References: Preece AW, Goodfellow S, Wright MG, Butler SR, et al. Effect of 902 MHz mobile phone transmission on cognitive function in children. Bioelectromagnetics 2005; 26, issue S7:S138-143.

Haarala C, Bergman M, Laine M, Revonsuo A, et al. Electromagnetic field emitted by 902 MHz mobile phones shows no effect on children's cognitive function. Bioelectromagnetics 2005; 26, issue S7:S144-150.

Sienkiewicz Z, Jones N, Bottomley A. Neurobehavioural effects of electromagnetic fields. Bioelectromagnetics 2005; 26, issue S7:S116-126

Cell phones' EMFs do not affect inner ears of rats

Galloni and colleagues report that exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) from cell phones, at a frequency of 900 or 1800 MHz had no effect on the inner ear function of rats. The animals were exposed to the EMFs for 2 hours a day, 5 days per week, for 4 weeks. This report adds to the growing list of publications that have shown no effect of EMFs on the functioning of the ear mechanisms. For more, see "Research - Toxicological experiments - Others - Ear, and Clinical Experiments -Others - Hearing".

Reference: Galloni P, Parazzini M, Piscitelli M, Pinto R, et al. Electromagnetic fields from mobile phones do not affect the inner auditory system of Sprague-Dawley rats. Radiation Research 2005;164:798-804.

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