Mobile phone use and subjective symptoms. Comparison of symptoms experienced by users of analogue and digital mobile phones.
Occup Med (Lond). 2001 Feb ;51(1):25-35. PMID: 11235824
In 1995 many people reported symptoms such as headaches, feelings of discomfort, warmth behind/around or on the ear and difficulties concentrating while using mobile phones. The number of complaints was higher for people using the digital (GSM) system, i.e. with pulse modulated fields, than for those using the analogue (NMT) system. Our main hypothesis was that GSM users experience more symptoms than NMT users. An epidemiological investigation was initiated including 6379 GSM users and 5613 NMT 900 users in Sweden, and 2500 from each category in Norway. The adjusted odds ratio did not indicate any increased risk for symptoms for GSM users compared with NMT 900 users. Our hypothesis was therefore disproved. However, we observed a statistically significant lower risk for sensations of warmth on the ear for GSM users compared with NMT 900 users. The same trend was seen in Norway for sensations of warmth behind/around the ear and in Sweden for headaches and fatigue. Factors distinguishing the two systems (radio frequency emission, phone temperatures and various ergonomic factors) may be responsible for these results, as well as for a secondary finding: a statistically significant association between calling time/number of calls per day and the prevalence of warmth behind/around or on the ear, headaches and fatigue.