GSM base stations: short-term effects on well-being

Bioelectromagnetics. 2009 Jan;30(1):73-80. doi: 10.1002/bem.20447.


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of short-term GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) cellular phone base station RF-EMF (radiofrequency electromagnetic fields) exposure on psychological symptoms (good mood, alertness, calmness) as measured by a standardized well-being questionnaire. Fifty-seven participants were selected and randomly assigned to one of three different exposure scenarios. Each of those scenarios subjected participants to five 50-min exposure sessions, with only the first four relevant for the study of psychological symptoms. Three exposure levels were created by shielding devices in a field laboratory, which could be installed or removed during the breaks between sessions such that double-blinded conditions prevailed. The overall median power flux densities were 5.2 microW/m(2) during "low," 153.6 microW/m(2) during "medium," and 2126.8 microW/m(2) during "high" exposure sessions. For scenario HM and MH, the first and third sessions were "low" exposure. The second session was "high" and the fourth was "medium" in scenario HM; and vice versa for scenario MH. Scenario LL had four successive "low" exposure sessions constituting the reference condition. Participants in scenarios HM and MH (high and medium exposure) were significantly calmer during those sessions than participants in scenario LL (low exposure throughout) (P = 0.042). However, no significant differences between exposure scenarios in the "good mood" or "alertness" factors were obtained. We conclude that short-term exposure to GSM base station signals may have an impact on well-being by reducing psychological arousal.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect / radiation effects*
  • Aged
  • Attention / radiation effects*
  • Austria / epidemiology
  • Cell Phone / statistics & numerical data*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health / statistics & numerical data*
  • Microwaves
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiation Dosage
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Telecommunications / instrumentation
  • Telecommunications / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult