From Manuel PortolÃ©s
Paper published on open access by the British Medical Journal
Objectives We performed a re-analysis of the data from Navarro et al (2003) in which health symptoms related to microwave exposure from mobile phone base stations (BSs) were explored, including data obtained in a retrospective inquiry about fear of exposure from BSs.
Design Cross-sectional study.
Setting La Ã‘ora (Murcia), Spain.
Participants Participants with known illness in 2003 were subsequently disregarded: 88 participants instead of 101 (in 2003) were analysed. Since weather circumstances can influence exposure, we restricted data to measurements made under similar weather conditions.
Outcomes and methods A statistical method indifferent to the assumption of normality was employed: namely, binary logistic regression for modelling a binary response (eg, suffering fatigue (1) or not (0)), and so exposure was introduced as a predictor variable. This analysis was carried out on a regular basis and bootstrapping (95% percentile method) was used to provide more accurate CIs.
Results The symptoms most related to exposure were lack of appetite (OR=1.58, 95% CI 1.23 to 2.03); lack of concentration (OR=1.54, 95% CI 1.25 to 1.89); irritability (OR=1.51, 95% CI 1.23 to 1.85); and trouble sleeping (OR=1.49, 95% CI 1.20 to 1.84). Changes in –2 log likelihood showed similar results. Concerns about the BSs were strongly related with trouble sleeping (ORâ€‰=3.12, 95% CI 1.10 to 8.86). The exposure variable remained statistically significant in the multivariate analysis. The bootstrapped values were similar to asymptotic CIs.
Conclusions This study confirms our preliminary results. We observed that the incidence of most of the symptoms was related to exposure levels—independently of the demographic variables and some possible risk factors. Concerns about adverse effects from exposure, despite being strongly related with sleep disturbances, do not influence the direct association between exposure and sleep.
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