OA Epidemiology

Environmental Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields Exposure and Cognitive Function and Behaviour Problems in 5-6 Year Old Children

Proceedings of the 2013 annual meeting of the Netherlands Epidemiology Society

Volume 1 Issue S1 Abstract 38


M. Guxens, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, the Netherlands
M. van Eijsden, GGD, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
J. Beekhuizen, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, the Netherlands
E. Loomans, GGD, Amsterdam; Tilburg University, Tilburg, the Netherlands
T.G.M. Vrijkotte, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands
R.T. van Strien, GGD, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
H. Kromhout, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, the Netherlands
R. Vermeulen, Utrecht University/Julius Center, Utrecht, the Netherlands
A. Huss, University of Utrecht, the Netherlands; University of Bern, Switzerland

Little is known about the exposure of children to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF- EMF) and potentially associated health effects in children. Aims: We assessed the relationship between residential RF-EMF exposure from mobile phone base stations and children’s cognitive function and behaviour problems at 5-6 years of age.

Cross-sectional study on children aged 5-6 years based on data from the ABCD study,  a community-based birth cohort study in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Environmental RF- EMF exposure to mobile phone base stations signals at children’s home was estimated with the 3D geospatial radio wave propagation model NISMap. Children’s cognitive function was assessed using 2 reaction time tasks and 2 visuomotor coordination tasks. Teachers and mothers reported child behaviour problems using the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire.

A total of 2,067 children were included in the analysis. Environmental RF-EMF exposure was not associated with any of the cognitive tasks. No relationship was found between environmental RF-EMF exposure and teacher-reported child overall behaviour problems. Children in the third exposure quartile showed a statistically significant marginal increased risk of having overall behaviour  problems  as reported by mothers. No relationship was observed between environmental RF-EMF exposure and the rest of child behaviour problems assessed.

Environmental RF-EMF exposure  at home was not related with most of the cognitive tasks or behaviour problems in children aged 5-6 years. However, an isolate finding was observed among many tested outcomes that may be chance finding. In addition, we cannot exclude residual confounding by socioeconomic position-related aspects.

Published: 06 Jun, 2013

Licensee OA Publishing London 2013. Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY)