Prevalence of headache among handheld cellular telephone users in Singapore: a community study

Environ Health Perspect. 2000 Nov;108(11):1059-62. doi: 10.1289/ehp.001081059.


We carried out a cross-sectional community study in Singapore to determine the prevalence of specific central nervous system (CNS) symptoms among hand-held cellular telephone (HP) users compared to nonusers and to study the association of risk factors and CNS symptoms among HP users. A total of 808 men and women between 12 and 70 years of age, who lived in one community, were selected using one-stage cluster random sampling and responses to a structured questionnaire. The prevalence of HP users was 44.8%. Headache was the most prevalent symptom among HP users compared to non-HP users, with an adjusted prevalence rate ratio of 1.31 [95% confidence interval, 1.00-1.70]. There is a significant increase in the prevalence of headache with increasing duration of usage (in minutes per day). Prevalence of headache was reduced by more than 20% among those who used hand-free equipment for their cellular telephones as compared to those who never use the equipment. The use of HPs is not associated with a significant increase of CNS symptoms other than headache.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / etiology
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Environmental Health
  • Female
  • Headache / epidemiology
  • Headache / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Microwaves / adverse effects*
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Singapore / epidemiology
  • Telephone*