Patterns of cellular phone use among young people in 12 countries: Implications for RF exposure

Chelsea E. Langer, Patricia de Llobet, Albert Dalmau, Joe Wiart, Geertje Goedhart, Martine Hours, Geza P. Benke, Evdoxia Bouka, Revital Bruchim, Kyung Hwa Choi, Amanda Eng, Mina Ha, Maria Karalexi, Kosuke Kiyohara, Noriko Kojimahara, Daniel R Krewski, Hans Kromhout, Brigitte Lacour, Andrea 't Mannetje, Milena MauleEnrica Migliore, Charmaine Mohipp, Franco Momoli, Eleni Petridou, Katja Radon, Thomas Remen, Siegal Sadetzki, Malcolm R. Sim, Tobias Weinmann, Roel Vermeulen, Elisabeth Cardis, Martine Vrijheid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Characterizing exposure to radiofrequency (RF) fields from wireless telecommunications technologies during childhood and adolescence is a research priority in investigating the health effects of RF. The Mobi-Expo study aimed to describe characteristics and determinants of cellular phone use in 534 young people (10–24 years) in 12 countries. The study used a specifically designed software application installed on smartphones to collect data on the use of wireless telecommunications devices within this age group. The role of gender, age, maternal education, calendar period, and country was evaluated through multivariate models mutually adjusting for all variables. Call number and duration were higher among females compared to males (geometric mean (GM) ratio 1.17 and 1.42, respectively), among 20–24 year olds compared to 10–14 year olds (GM ratio 2.09 and 4.40, respectively), and among lowest compared to highest social classes (GM ratio 1.52 and 1.58, respectively). The number of SMS was higher in females (GM ratio 1.46) and the middle age group (15–19 year olds: GM ratio 2.21 compared to 10–14 year olds) and decreased over time. Data use was highest in the oldest age group, whereas Wi-Fi use was highest in the middle age group. Both data and Wi-Fi use increased over time. Large differences in the number and duration of calls, SMS, and data/Wi-Fi use were seen by country, with country and age accounting for up to 50% of the variance. Hands-free and laterality of use did not show significant differences by sex, age, education, study period, or country. Although limited by a convenience sample, these results provide valuable insights to the design, analysis, and interpretation of future epidemiological studies concerning the health effects of exposure resulting from cellular phone use in young people. In addition, the information provided by this research may be used to design strategies to minimize RF exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-74
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironment International
Volume107
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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