Estimation of RF and ELF dose by anatomical location in the brain from wireless phones in the MOBI-Kids study

Carolina Calderón, Gemma Castaño-Vinyals, Myron Maslanyj, Joe Wiart, Ae-Kyoung Lee, Masao Taki, Kanako Wake, Alex Abert, Francesc Badia, Abdelhamid Hadjem, Hans Kromhout, Patricia de Llobet, Nadège Varsier, Emmanuelle Conil, Hyung-Do Choi, Malcolm R Sim, Elisabeth Cardis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Wireless phones (both mobile and cordless) emit not only radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields (EMF) but also extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields, both of which should be considered in epidemiological studies of the possible adverse health effects of use of such devices. This paper describes a unique algorithm, developed for the multinational case-control MOBI-Kids study, that estimates the cumulative specific energy (CSE) and the cumulative induced current density (CICD) in the brain from RF and ELF fields, respectively, for each subject in the study (aged 10-24 years old). Factors such as age, tumour location, self-reported phone models and usage patterns (laterality, call frequency/duration and hands-free use) were considered, as was the prevalence of different communication systems over time. Median CSE and CICD were substantially higher in GSM than 3G systems and varied considerably with location in the brain. Agreement between RF CSE and mobile phone use variables was moderate to null, depending on the communication system. Agreement between mobile phone use variables and ELF CICD was higher overall but also strongly dependent on communication system. Despite ELF dose distribution across the brain being more diffuse than that of RF, high correlation was observed between RF and ELF dose. The algorithm was used to systematically estimate the localised RF and ELF doses in the brain from wireless phones, which were found to be strongly dependent on location and communication system. Analysis of cartographies showed high correlation across phone models and across ages, however diagonal agreement between these cartographies suggest these factors do affect dose distribution to some level. Overall, duration and number of calls may not be adequate proxies of dose, particularly as communication systems available for voice calls tend to become more complex with time.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107189
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalEnvironment international
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cell Phone
  • Child
  • Electromagnetic Fields/adverse effects
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Humans
  • Radio Waves/adverse effects
  • Young Adult
  • Brain tumour
  • Mobile phones
  • Dose algorithm
  • RF-EMF
  • Exposure assessment


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