The increasing deployment of mobile communication base stations led to an increasing demand for epidemiological studies on possible health effects of radio frequency emissions. The methodological challenges of such studies have been critically evaluated by a panel of scientists in the fields of radiofrequency engineering/dosimetry and epidemiology. Strengths and weaknesses of previous studies have been identified. Dosimetric concepts and crucial aspects in exposure assessment were evaluated in terms of epidemiological studies on different types of outcomes. We conclude that in principle base station epidemiological studies are feasible. However, the exposure contributions from all relevant radio frequency sources have to be taken into account. The applied exposure assessment method should be piloted and validated. Short to medium term effects on physiology or health related quality of life are best investigated by cohort studies. For long term effects, groups with a potential for high exposure need to first be identified; for immediate effect, human laboratory studies are the preferred approach.
(c) 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.