Statistical re-analysis confirms that people living near a GSM base station at greater risk of developing symptoms of electrohypersensitivity.
January 1, 2014: Happy New Year Everyone! We are off to a good start with this publication in the British Medical Journal Open Access by Gomez-Perretta et al. entitled Subjective symptoms related to GSM radiation from mobile phone base stations: A cross-sectional study. Since this is open access a copy is available here. The abstract is below.
This study re-assesses statistical data from Navarro et al. (2003) and confirms that people who live near GSM base stations have a greater risk of experiencing the following symptoms: fatigue, irritability, headaches, nausea, lack of appetite, trouble sleeping, depression, problems with concentration, memory, vertigo, as well as with visual, skin and vascular problems. The only two symptoms that were not statistically significant (i.e. do not relate to living near a cell phone antenna base station) were hearing and walking. Potential confounders such as worry about base stations as well as computer and mobile phone use did not significantly affect the results. This implies that the symptoms were not due to psychosomatic fear of living near a base station and were not due to radiation exposure associated with mobile phones and computers.
This report adds to the other studies that document increased risk of biological and health effects, including cancers, for people who live within 500 meters of cell phone base stations. Time for health authorities to stop ignoring these studies and to provide protection to the populations who are most at risk. Also time to not place antennas on or near schools, hospitals, in residential areas without proper screening of the occupants, especially those on the top floor of these buildings and those living nearby.
Gómez-Perretta, C, Navarro, EA Segura, J, and M Portolés. 2014. Subjective symptoms related to GSM radiation from mobile phone bas stations: a cross-sectional study. BMJ Open. 10 pp.
Objectives: We performed a re-analysis of the data from Navarro et al (2003) in which health symptoms related to microwave exposure from mobile phone base stations (BSs) were explored, including data obtained in a retrospective inquiry about fear of exposure from BSs.
Design: Cross-sectional study.
Setting: La Ñora (Murcia), Spain.
Participants: Participants with known illness in 2003 were subsequently disregarded: 88 participants instead of 101 (in 2003) were analysed. Since weather circumstances can influence exposure, we restricted data to measurements made under similar weather conditions.
Outcomes and methods: A statistical method indifferent to the assumption of normality was employed: namely, binary logistic regression for modelling a binary response (eg, suffering fatigue (1) or not (0)), and so exposure was introduced as a predictor variable. This analysis was carried out on a regular basis and bootstrapping (95% percentile method) was used to provide more accurate CIs.
Results: The symptoms most related to exposure were lack of appetite (OR=1.58, 95% CI 1.23 to 2.03); lack of concentration (OR=1.54, 95% CI 1.25 to 1.89); irritability (OR=1.51, 95% CI 1.23 to 1.85); and trouble sleeping (OR=1.49, 95% CI 1.20 to 1.84). Changes in –2 log likelihood showed similar results. Concerns about the BSs were strongly related with trouble sleeping (OR =3.12, 95% CI 1.10 to 8.86). The exposure variable remained statistically significant in the multivariate analysis. The bootstrapped values were similar to asymptotic CIs.
Conclusions: This study confirms our preliminary results. We observed that the incidence of most of the symptoms was related to exposure levels— independently of the demographic variables and some possible risk factors. Concerns about adverse effects from exposure, despite being strongly related with sleep disturbances, do not influence the direct association between exposure and sleep.