Background Little is known about the exposure of young children to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) and potentially associated health effects. We assessed the relationship between residential RF-EMF exposure from mobile phone base stations, residential presence of indoor sources, personal cell phone and cordless phone use, and children's cognitive function at 5–6 years of age. Methods Cross-sectional study on children aged 5–6 years from the Amsterdam Born Children and their Development (ABCD) study, the Netherlands (n=2354). Residential RF-EMF exposure from mobile phone base stations was estimated with a 3D geospatial radio wave propagation model. Residential presence of indoor sources (cordless phone base stations and Wi-Fi) and children's cell phone and cordless phone use was reported by the mother. Speed of information processing, inhibitory control, cognitive flexibility, and visuomotor coordination was assessed using the Amsterdam Neuropsychological Tasks. Results Residential presence of RF-EMF indoor sources was associated with an improved speed of information processing. Higher residential RF-EMF exposure from mobile phone base stations and presence of indoor sources was associated with an improved inhibitory control and cognitive flexibility whereas we observed a reduced inhibitory control and cognitive flexibility with higher personal cordless phone use. Higher residential RF-EMF exposure from mobile phone base stations was associated with a reduced visuomotor coordination whereas we observed an improved visuomotor coordination with residential presence of RF-EMF indoor sources and higher personal cell phone use. Conclusions We found inconsistent associations between different sources of RF-EMF exposure and cognitive function in children aged 5–6 years.

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Keywords Child development, Cognition, Electromagnetic radiation, Radio waves, Wireless technology
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2016.06.021, hdl.handle.net/1765/95984
Journal Environmental Research
Citation
Guxens Junyent, M, Vermeulen, R, van Eijsden, M, Beekhuizen, J. (Johan), Vrijkotte, T.G.M, van Strien, R.T, … Huss, A. (2016). Outdoor and indoor sources of residential radiofrequency electromagnetic fields, personal cell phone and cordless phone use, and cognitive function in 5–6 years old children. Environmental Research, 150, 364–374. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2016.06.021