Mobile phones and their effects on the population's health

Sanchez E, Almazan C, Parada A
Record ID 32002000870
Catalan, English, Spanish
Authors' objectives:

The aims of this report are, by gathering the state-of-the-art and conclusions reached internationally, to establish the effects on the people's health, and on environment in general, that may be derived from radiations emitted by antennas and terminals used by the different mobile phone companies.

Authors' recommendations: The scientific evidence provided by epidemiological and experimental research is incomplete, and it shows important methodological limitations, the most important being, probably, the lack of a sufficiently high number of subjects studied with a long exposure time and an extended latency period (the time between exposure and assessment of the disease). All authors actually coincide in mentioning this problem, and clearly point out that the observed negative results are strictly related to short exposure to mobile phones' (MPs) radiation periods and latency times, the potential impact of the use of MPs on the users' and the general population's health still is uncertain. This situation probably reflects the novelty in the generalised use of this technology, and the short time available so far to observe the occurrence of effects on health. Thus, the overall evidence available does not offer a clear pattern supporting the association between exposure to radiofrequency (RF) and the effects on the health (cancer risk, reproductive problems, congenital anomalies, epilepsy, suicide). In other words, there is no evidence that the RF energy emitted by MPs may cause health problems, but there is not sufficient evidence to conclude that it actually poses no risk. Currently, it is thus impossible to state that exposure to RF radiations (even though below the permitted levels) has no adverse effects in the health of the general population. However, new evidence is being obtained, especially at experimental level (animal in vitro and in vivo studies) that some biologic effects may appear below the mentioned exposure levels. This does not necessarily mean that these effects can cause lesions or diseases, but given the variability in susceptibility to environmental risks, and the genetic predisposition of determined population groups, it is concluded that it cannot be categorically asserted that exposure to RF radiations, even below the established levels, is free of potential adverse effects upon health. A conclusion of this kind, and the knowledge gaps are sufficient to justify a precautionary approach.
Authors' methods: Systematic review
Project Status: Completed
Year Published: 2001
English language abstract: An English language summary is available
Publication Type: Not Assigned
Country: Spain
MeSH Terms
  • Electromagnetic Fields
  • Telephone
Organisation Name: Agencia de Qualitat i Avaluacio Sanitries de Catalunya
Contact Address: Antoni Parada, CAHTA, Roc Boronat, 81-95 (2nd floor), 08005 Barcelona, Spain, Tel. +34 935 513 928, Fax: +34 935 517 510
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Copyright: Catalan Agency for Health Technology Assessment and Research (CAHTA)
This is a bibliographic record of a published health technology assessment from a member of INAHTA or other HTA producer. No evaluation of the quality of this assessment has been made for the HTA database.