Augner C, Hacker GW, Oberfeld G, Florian M, Hitzl W, Hutter J, Pauser G. (2010). Effects of Exposure to GSM Mobile Phone Base Station Signals on Salivary Cortisol, Alpha-Amylase, and Immunoglobulin A. Biomed Environ Sci. 23(3):199-207.

Most research on potential health effects associated with mobile communication technologies deals with exposures from mobile phones. Relatively little information is published on effects of exposure from base stations. Associations between exposure from base stations and subjective symptoms have been shown in several cross-sectional epidemiological studies. Endocrine or immune responses to radiofrequency (RF) radiation were studied mainly in vitro or in experimental animals, and most experiments applied mobile phone signals that differ from base station signals.

The aim of this study was to test whether exposure to RF radiation emitted from mobile phone base stations had an effect on levels of cortisol, alpha-amylase (markers of stress) and immunoglobulin A (IgA, a marker of immune response).

The study was a double-blind field laboratory experiment. A total of 57 volunteers (35 females and 22 males aged 18-67 years) were randomized into 3 experiments (scenarios of exposure). Each experiment (scenario) consisted of five 50-minute sessions of different levels of exposure: low (median power flux density 5.2 µW/m2), medium (153.6 µW/m2) and high (2,126.8 µW/m2). The order of the sessions was different for each scenario: low-high-low-medium-low (scenario 1); low-medium-low-high-low (scenario 2) and low-low-low-low-high (scenario3). The source of RF radiation (GSM-900 MHz antenna) was located outside the experimental room. Different levels of exposure were achieved by variations of shielding. The manipulations with shielding curtains were not visible for either the experimenter or the study participants. Saliva for determination of the biochemical parameters was collected 3 times during each session.

The 3 experimental groups were similar in terms of sex and age distribution, and baseline levels of the tested biochemical parameters. A significant increase in the level of cortisol was observed in scenario 3 from session 4 to session 5 (from low to high exposure). Significantly greater changes in alpha-amylase levels (relative to baseline levels) were seen in scenarios 1 and 2 compared to scenario 3. No significant associations with exposure were found for IgA.

Interpretation and Conclusion

The authors have concluded that their work “supports the assumption that RF radiation in considerably lower field densities than ICNIRP-guidelines can potentially influence certain psychobiological stress markers.”

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