Skip to navigation Skip to main content Skip to footer

Approved research

Multiple environmental exposures and health in UK Biobank

Principal Investigator: Dr Mireille Toledano
Approved Research ID: 15096
Approval date: November 30th 2015

Lay summary

The aim is to evaluate the relationships between multiple environmental exposures (electromagnetic fields (EMF) including radio-frequency EMF (RF-EMF) from mobile phones, noise and air pollution) and a range of health outcomes, including: ? self-reported health (well-being, sleep, headaches) ? cognitive function (reaction time, working memory) ? social and psychological factors (social support, isolation, depression) ? physical measures (anthropometry, cardiovascular- and respiratory measures, bone densitometry, spirometry) ? clinical markers involved in cardiovascular disease, bone health ? chronic disease outcomes including cancers, cardiovascular disease, respiratory health, and fractures. We also aim to conduct parallel and pooled analyses on UK Biobank and UK COSMOS cohorts. We are exposed to EMF, noise and air pollution everyday, and whilst risks associated with environmental exposures are generally small, the burden on population health may be large. There is growing evidence that exposure to RF-EMF, noise and air pollution affects human health and well-being, but examined in isolation. This research will investigate these 3 exposures together ? because they all potentially impact on specific health outcomes, e.g. cognitive function, headaches and cancers. The research aims to improve the evidence base on combined effects of multiple environmental exposures regarding EMF, noise and air pollution. We will examine environmental exposures (EMF, noise and air pollution) and measures of health/well-being, whilst taking into account factors that might affect that relationship such as age, sex, socioeconomic status and lifestyle factors. Where positive associations are found we aim to combine effects from multiple exposures to ascertain overall risk. Utilizing both the UK Biobank and UK COSMOS cohorts gives this proposal several novel advantages: validation of findings in a large independent cohort; additional objective data from each cohort to improve exposure assessment/health outcome definitions; and increased statistical power. This research will include the full cohort.