The use of mobile phones has remarkably increased and become a basic need of daily life. Increasing subscriptions of mobile phones boost the installation of mobile phone base station towers (MPBSTs) in crowded commercial and residential areas including near school buildings. This study investigated the impact of exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic field (RF-EMF) radiation generated by MPBSTs on cognitive functions. Two hundred and seventeen volunteer male students aged between 13 and 16 registered from two different intermediate schools: 124 students were from School 1 and 93 students were from School 2. The MPBSTs were located within 200 m from the school buildings. In School 1, RF-EMF was 2.010 µW/cm2 with a frequency of 925 MHz and in School 2, RF-EMF was 10.021 µW/cm2 with a frequency of 925 MHz. Students were exposed to EMFR for 6 hr a day, 5 days a week for a total period of 2 years. The Narda Safety Test Solution device SRM-3006 was used to measure RF-EMF in both schools, and cognitive functions tasks were measured by the Cambridge Neuropsychological Test Automated Battery (CANTAB). Significant impairment in Motor Screening Task (MOT; p = .03) and Spatial Working Memory (SWM) task ( p = .04) was identified among the group of students who were exposed to high RF-EMF produced by MPBSTs. High exposure to RF-EMF produced by MPBSTs was associated with delayed fine and gross motor skills, spatial working memory, and attention in school adolescents compared to students who were exposed to low RF-EMF.
Keywords: Cognitive function; Electromagnetic Field Radiation; Mobile Phones Base Station Tower.