Navarro, Segura, Portolés, Gómez-Perretta

The Microwave Syndrome: A preliminary Study in Spain
Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, Volume 22, Issue 2, (2003)

Enrique A. Navarro, J. Segura, 2M. Portolés, Claudio Gómez-Perretta de Mateo
Departamento de Física Aplicada, Universitat de València 46100, Burjassot, València, Spain
Centro de Investigación, Hospital Universitario LA FE 46009, València, Spain

Basestation GSM 900/1800
1.100 µW/m2 < 150 m distance
100 µW/m2 > 250 m distance

The respondents were male (47%) and female (53%), with a wide age range: 15-25 years (22%), 26-35 years (22%), 36-45 years (19%), 46-35 years (11%), 56-65 years (13%), and more than 65 years (13%).
The exposition time, explained as the time spent in the vicinity of the BS was more than 6 hours per day, 7 days a week, in the 95% of the respondents. The place of permanence was declared the bedroom, the place where the electric field was measured, and included in the survey.
Concerning the attitude of the respondents about the use of cellular phone: 24% of them declared themselves to be active users of mobile GSM-DCS phone for more than 20 minutes per day.
The measurements were very low compared with the European safety guidelines 1999/519/EC DOCE 30/7/99. Actually the levels were lower than 0.2 microwatts/cm2, where the Spanish legislation establish a maximum limit of 450 microwatts/cm2 at a single frequency (900MHz), the same than European safety guidelines 1999/519/EC DOCE 30/7/99. This is one of the characteristics of the presented work: the low levels of RF exposition.
We divide the surveys in two groups: One group with high exposure, an average exposure of 0.11 microwatts/cm2, constituted with 47 respondents. These respondents declared themselves to have living under a distance to the BS lower than 150mts. The second group, has an average exposure of 0.01 microwatts/cm2 with distance greater than 250m.
Obviously, both groups have a different distance to the BS, and we have to assume the risk of a distance perception that can influence the survey.
Table 1 shows the averaged declared severity in both groups. A possible relationship between the declared severity of the symptom, and the microwave power density is explored. A mathematical model with logarithmic dependence with the measured electric field (EFM) is analysed. The statistical package SPSS, with their different regression methods has been used for these analysis, whose results for the correlation coefficient and statistical significance is presented in Table 2. Correlation coefficients were grouped in four sections: Astenic, diencefalic, sensorial, and cardiovascular symptoms.

It is most interesting the comparison of the severity of the reported symptoms between
both groups of Table 1: more severe symptoms were reported in the first group. The first group (<150 m to BS) was exposed to a mean EMF power density 10 times higher than the second group (>250 m to BS). Asthenic syndrome was a 42% higher in the first group, diencephalic syndrome was a 55% higher in the first group, sensorial alterations were a 25% higher in the first group and cardiovascular alterations a 55% higher as well.
However, the use of mobile phone was 30% in the first group and 17% in the second group. Use of the personal computer was a 16% in the first group, and 1% in the second group. Therefore, these differences could bias the health response. The use of the mobile cellular phone implies a considerable higher exposition of the head to microwaves during the phone call, that could arrive roughly to 5mW/cm2, 10.000 times higher than the maximum EMF exposition attributed to the BS. Moreover, the symptomatic response could be influenced by personal or human idiosyncrasy. The exposition to radiation from the computer screen is relative to extremely low frequencies and is under 0.3 μT, at normal distance, therefore is not considered significant, and will be the subject of a future work.
Results from Table 2 indicate correlation between severity of the reported symptoms and the logarithm of the measured electric field (EFM) with p<0.001. We find that discomfort (0.544), irritability (0.515), and appetite loss (0.485) are the most relevant symptoms correlated with exposure intensity. Others symptoms: fatigue (0.438), headache (0.413), difficulty in concentrating (0.469) and sleep disturbances (0.413) also show a significant correlation with exposure intensity. However, others such as auditory dysfunction, gait difficulty, and cardiovascular, do have a lower correlation coefficient, but significant p<0.01.
However, the more interesting of our results is the significance of the dependence between both variables: The declared severity of the symptom and the logarithm of the measured electric field. Another interesting observation is that four of the high correlated symptoms (Table 2) such as headache, sleep disturbances, concentration difficulty and irritability also show the most relevant differences between both groups and the highest values in the clinical scale, 2.17, 1.94, 1.56 and 1.56 respectively (Table1).

The presented results demonstrate a significant correlation between several symptoms of the named microwave sickness and the microwave power density associated to the
Base Station located in a hill at the edge of a town. The severity of the symptoms weakens for people who live far away, at a distance greater than 250m from the main
EMF source and a power density lower than 0.1 μW/cm2.
As there is a significant difference between both groups in terms of the irradiated power density, a hypothetical relationship between the DCS emission and the severity of both symptoms could exist.

Further elaboration:
The Microwave syndrome – further aspects of a Spanish Study
G. Oberfeld, A. E. Navarro, M. Portoles, M. Ceferino, C. Gomez-Perretta


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