Hypersensitivity symptoms associated with exposure to cellular telephones: no causal link

Bioelectromagnetics. 2002 May;23(4):264-70. doi: 10.1002/bem.10016.


The hypothesis that there exist hypersensitive persons who perceive subjective symptoms from radiofrequency (RF) fields emitted by hand held mobile phones (cellular phones) was tested using double blind provocation experiments. We also tested whether sensitive subjects are able to determine whether the phone is on or off by sensing RF fields. The study group consisted of 20 volunteers (13 women and 7 men) who reported themselves as being sensitive to cellular phones. The RF exposure sources were one analogue NMT phone (900 MHz) and two digital GSM phones (900 and 1800 MHz). The duration of a test session was 30 min, and three or four sessions were performed in random order for each subject during 1 day. The subjects were asked to report symptoms or sensations as soon as they perceived any abnormal feelings. In addition, the subjects' blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing frequency were monitored every 5 min. The results of the study indicated that various symptoms were reported, and most of them appeared in the head region. However, the number of reported symptoms was higher during sham exposure than during real exposure conditions. In addition, none of the test persons could distinguish real RF exposure from sham exposure. Hence, we conclude that adverse subjective symptoms or sensations, though unquestionably perceived by the test subjects, were not produced by cellular phones.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure / radiation effects
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hypersensitivity / etiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Telephone*