Atay T, Aksoy BA, Aydogan NH, Baydar ML, Yildiz M, Ozdemir R. (2009). Effect of electromagnetic field induced by radio frequency waves at 900 to 1800 MHz on bone mineral density of iliac bone wings. J Craniofac Surg. 20(5):1556-60.
The health effects associated with exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) are poorly understood. Osteoporosis is a disease of the skeleton in which low bone mineral density and structural deficiencies in the bone tissue lead to a decrease in bone durability, which may result in increased fracture risk.
The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of EM waves emitted from mobile phones on the bone mineral density of the human iliac bone wings (found in the pelvis), since mobile phones are often carried on the hip.
A total of 150 male volunteers participated in the study. The mean age was 31.85 years (range 21-57). The average amount of time that a mobile phone was carried during the day was 14.7 hours (range 12-20 hours) and the mean time elapsed since initial mobile phone use was 6.2 years (range 4-9 years). Bone mineral densities of the iliac bone wings on both the left and right sides of the body were measured in all participants by x-ray.
The mean bone mineral density on the side of the body on which the mobile phone was typically carried was slightly lower than on the side of the body on which the mobile phone was not carried, although the difference was not statistically significant.
Interpretation and Limitations
The participants in this study were young, and the authors suggest that the effects of EMF exposure on bone mineral density may be exacerbated as age increases due to the natural bone density loss associated with aging. Osteoporosis is an important public health problem. Given the increasing use of mobile phones, if EMF exposure is involved in the progression of the disease, this could be cause for concern. On the other hand, EMF exposure at low doses is associated with improved bone mineral density, possibly by decreasing bone remodelling and resorption and by stimulating new bone formation. More research is needed before a firm conclusion on the effects of EMF on bone density can be drawn.
This study found no significant difference in the density of the bone in the pelvis on the side of the body that mobile phones were typically held.