Workgroup report: base stations and wireless networks-radiofrequency (RF) exposures and health consequences

Environ Health Perspect. 2007 Mar;115(3):416-24. doi: 10.1289/ehp.9633. Epub 2006 Nov 6.


Radiofrequency (RF) waves have long been used for different types of information exchange via the air waves--wireless Morse code, radio, television, and wireless telephone (i.e., construction and operation of telephones or telephone systems). Increasingly larger numbers of people rely on mobile telephone technology, and health concerns about the associated RF exposure have been raised, particularly because the mobile phone handset operates in close proximity to the human body, and also because large numbers of base station antennas are required to provide widespread availability of service to large populations. The World Health Organization convened an expert workshop to discuss the current state of cellular-telephone health issues, and this article brings together several of the key points that were addressed. The possibility of RF health effects has been investigated in epidemiology studies of cellular telephone users and workers in RF occupations, in experiments with animals exposed to cell-phone RF, and via biophysical consideration of cell-phone RF electric-field intensity and the effect of RF modulation schemes. As summarized here, these separate avenues of scientific investigation provide little support for adverse health effects arising from RF exposure at levels below current international standards. Moreover, radio and television broadcast waves have exposed populations to RF for > 50 years with little evidence of deleterious health consequences. Despite unavoidable uncertainty, current scientific data are consistent with the conclusion that public exposures to permissible RF levels from mobile telephone and base stations are not likely to adversely affect human health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Phone*
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Radio Waves / adverse effects*