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Projecttitle Pooled community-based cohort study on health effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields
Investigators T. Koeman, MSc, dr. P. Slottje
Type of project Cohort study
Project leader Dr. ir. R.C. Vermeulen, prof. dr. ir. J. Kromhout
  • National institute on health and environment (RIVM),
  • Julius Centre, Dutch Cancer Institute (NKI),
  • Free University Amsterdam, Maastricht University
Time frame February 2009 - February 2017
Funded by ZonMw
Short description

Investigate the long-term effects of every-day exposure to electromagnetic fields in the general population on cancer, cerebro/cardiovascular and neurodegenerative disease incidence and mortality.



  • Establish a nationwide pooled cohort of over 200,000 subjects ages 20 and above.
  • Data collection through questionnaires on exposure and health and through linkage with registries.

Exposure characterisation

  • Residential exposure to ELF and RF electromagnetic spectrum, for example from mobile phone base stations, radio and television transmitters and power lines.
  • Occupational exposures of the subjects to ELF and RF EMF on the basis of job exposure matrices.
  • Daily non-occupational, non-residential exposure of the subjects on the basis of an Activity Exposure Matrix.
  • Mobile phone and DECT use of the subjects.

Outcomes of primary interest

Brain tumors, hemato- and lymphoproliferative cancers, and neurodegenerative and cerebrovascular diseases.


Man-made electromagnetic fields have become ubiquitous in modern life. Sources include electric appliances, high voltage power lines and mobile phones, amongst others. The long-term health effects of low-level environmental exposure and occupational exposure to electromagnetic fields in the general population are still unknown. This study will pool a number of existing cohorts in The Netherlands. For all the cohort participants we will assess their occupational, residential, environmental, and mobile phone related exposure to electromagnetic fields, based on questionnaires and GIS-based modeling with respect to outdoor sources (e.g. mobile phone base stations, power lines). The ultimate goal is to analyze the effects of this exposure on various health outcomes, such as the incidence and mortality due to cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases and various tumors, using data from national registers.

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