Mobile phone carrying locations and risk perception of men: A cross-sectional study

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Little was known about the relationship between carrying mobile phone handsets by men and their risk perception of radiofrequency-electromagnetic field (RF-EMF) exposure due to carrying handsets close to the body. This study aimed to determine where men usually carried their handsets and to assess the relationship to risk perception of RF-EMF. Participants completed a self-administered questionnaire about mobile phone use, handset carrying locations, and levels of risk perception to RF-EMF. Data were analysed using linear regression models to examine if risk perception differed by mobile phone carrying location. The participants were 356 men, aged 18–72 years. They owned a mobile phone for 2–29 years, with over three quarters (78.7%) having a mobile phone for over 20 years. The most common locations that men kept their handsets when they were ‘indoors’ were: on a table/desk (54.0%) or in close contact with the body (34.7%). When outside, 54.0% of men kept the handset in the front trouser pocket. While making or receiving calls, 85.0% of men held their mobile phone handset against the head and 15.0% either used earphones or loudspeaker. Men who carried their handset in close contact with the body perceived higher risks from RF-EMF exposure compared to those who kept it away from the body (p<0.01). A substantial proportion of men carried their mobile phone handsets in close proximity to reproductive organs i.e. front pocket of trousers (46.5%). Men who kept their handset with the hand (p < .05), and those who placed it in the T-shirt pocket (p < .05), while the phone was not in use, were more likely to perceive health risks from their behaviour, compared to those who kept it away from the body. However, whether this indicates a causal relationship, remains open.

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6 June

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