10.06.2003 12:00 AM
New Study Shows Effect of Cell Phone Base Stations on Health
Studies looking at the impact of cell phone RF on humans are fairly common, but the results of many of these studies are not conclusive. A study by the TNO Physics and Electronics Laboratory in The Netherlands performed the measurements under controlled electromagnetic conditions inside a sealed semi-anechoic chamber. Research was focused on people living close to cellphone base station antennas. Measurements were made during exposure to various types of cell phone signals and no cell phone signals -- the placebo. Both cognitive functions and well-being (based on a questionnaire) were measured.

Three cellphone signals were studied -- GSM (TDMA) fields at 945 MHz and 1840 MHz and UMTS (CDMA) fields at 2140 MHz. The peak field strength was set to 1 V/m. Effective field strength for UTMS was 1 V/m, while the duty cycle for TMDA resulted in an effective field strength of 0.71 V/m. At these field strengths, thermal effects in the head of the subject were not an issue, since the differences fall within the normal variations of body temperature.

An article on www.wired.com, titled 3G Mobile Signals: Health Effects, described the TNO report and noted that there was a significant impact for the test group exposed to the 3G base stations (UTMS), noting subjects reported they felt tingling sensations, got headaches and felt nauseous. The signals, however, improved cognitive functions such as memory, concentration, reaction time and hand-to-eye coordination. This article, however, was short on hard data about the testing.

Some web searching turned up a PDF copy of the entire 89 page TNO-report in English -- Effects of Global Communication system radio-frequency fields on Well Being and Cognitive Functions of human subjects with and without subjective complaints. The report has several graphs that will allow you to draw your own conclusions from the study. The results are summarized in a brief news release from TNO - TNO research into the effects on humans of GSM and UTMS/3G base stations.

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