Wednesday, December 7, 2022

WHO Radiofrequency EMF Health Risk Assessment Monograph (EHC series)

September 1, 2021 (Updated December 7, 2022)

The World Health Organization (WHO) is undertaking a health risk assessment of radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields (EMF) which will be published as a monograph in the Environmental Health Criteria (EHC) series. 

This monograph will update the 1993 monograph on radiofrequency fields (EHC #137).


According to Microwave News, the WHO originally began work on this monograph in January 2012 (WHO, 2016*) and released 11 chapters of a draft report in 2014 for public comment. Comments on the draft report from other scientists were highly critical. "After that the process stalled, and the RF EHC was stuck in limbo." 

In October 2019, the WHO issued a call for ten systematic reviews of the RF effects research (see list below). This call had a short timeline to apply. "The lack of advance notice and the fast deadline have led some to question whether the WHO engineered the schedule to help ICNIRP stay in control." In 2020, WHO reissued the call for three of these reviews (SR2, SR4, SR10).
Although the WHO refused to state publicly whom they selected to conduct these reviews, most of the scientists' identities are now available since papers describing the research protocols for nine (all but SR10) of the forthcoming ten reviews have been published online (see abstracts below). 

Apparently, WHO only selected research groups whose members have not criticized ICNIRP's thermally-based exposure limits. Thus, no EMF scientists who signed the International EMF Scientist Appeal were selected. This biased selection process should be challenged by all who are concerned about protecting public or environmental health.

The ten research protocols are being published in a special issue of Environment International (see https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/environment-international/special-issue/109J1SL7CXT).

To conduct the research reviews, the scientists will use a "tailored version" of the National Toxicology Program's OHAT risk of bias rating tool "for evaluating individual study risk of bias or internal validity – the assessment of whether the design and conduct of a study compromised the credibility of the link between exposure and outcome" (1-3). This tool has been recommended for assessing risk of bias in human environmental epidemiology studies (Eick et al., 2021; see abstract below). 

For the EHC monograph, "Confidence in evidence will be assessed in line with the GRADE approach."

A tool is only as good as the persons using it. Will the scientists that the WHO chose to conduct these reviews apply these tools in an unbiased manner? Or will they employ them to manufacture doubt about the validity of the thousands of peer-reviewed studies that assessed biologic and health effects from exposure to radio frequency fields?

Lagorio et al. (2021) while describing their research protocols forecast the conclusion of their review paper: "As systematic reviews cannot remedy limitations of the original studies, those (and our) syntheses are unlikely to produce conclusive evidence." So this review will likely call for more definitive research.

According to Chartres et al. (2022): 

"A recent study found that tools that use an overall risk of bias rating may reduce the available evidence to evaluate the health effects of chemical exposures by excluding studies based on only one methodological or reporting limitation, leading to an inaccurate conclusion [136, 137]. These findings are consistent with the 2021 NAS report on the IRIS Program, which found, based on data from recent IRIS assessments that used such a risk of bias approach, that the proportion of human studies excluded from further consideration ranged from 0 to 50 percent for human epidemiological studies, and 0 to 41.5 percent for animal studies [70]. Recognizing this concern, two separate 2021 NAS reports recommended that “study evaluation ratings should not be used to exclude studies” [70], “Do not exclude studies based on risk of bias, study quality, or reporting quality” and “Do not use numeric scores to evaluate studies; replace them with domain-based scoring as is done in the tools used in the Navigation Guide and OHAT” [124].

To avoid discarding valuable information, risk of bias assessments should be performed for each individual study, and the evidence base should then be assessed in its entirety. This allows an exploration of the potential effects of various biases. The 2021 NAS report makes this point: “While there is inevitably variation in the internal validity and risk of bias across individual studies, it is standard practice to include all studies, even the studies with a high risk of bias into the evidence synthesis… Once a study is determined to be eligible, the study could be included in the synthesis and the risk-of-bias assessment and its limitations accounted for in any qualitative or quantitative synthesis… In the synthesis step, low-quality studies may be excluded as a sensitivity analysis, but it is inappropriate to leave them out of synthesis completely” [124]."  

Chartres N, Sass JB, Gee D, Bălan SA, Birnbaum L, Cogliano VJ, Cooper C, Fedinick KP, Harrison RM, Kolossa-Gehring M, Mandrioli D, Mitchell MA, Norris SL, Portier CJ, Straif K, Vermeire T.​​ Conducting evaluations of evidence that are transparent, timely and can lead to health-protective actions. Environ Health. 2022 Dec 5;21(1):123. doi: 10.1186/s12940-022-00926-z. https://ehjournal.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12940-022-00926-z

There has never been a perfect study--every study has either limited internal or construct validity and/or limited external validity or generalizability.

According to the National Research Council (2007):
"The extent to which particular scientific results constitute progress in knowledge or contribute to societal well-being is often contested. This is especially the case when scientific findings are uncertain or controversial and when they can be interpreted to support controversial policy choices....Assessing science, no matter how rigorous the methods that may be used, is ultimately a matter of interpretation. The possibility of competing interpretations of evidence is ever-present when using science indicators or applying any other analytic method for measuring the progress and impact of science." (4)
Papers describing the protocols have been published for nine of the ten reviews (all but SR10). Currrent and former members of ICNIRP are involved in all nine reviews: Feychting (SR1, SR3, SR5, SR7), Roosli (SR1, SR7, SR8), Karipidis (SR1, SR5), Danker-Hopfe (SR6), Kuhne (SR9), Marino (SR4), Oftedal (SR8), and Wood (SR2).

ICNIRP is a group of self-selected scientists who engage in "groupthink" and promote weak RF exposure guidelines that protect humans only from health risks due to acute heating. According to Investigate Europe, a team of investigative journalists, members of ICNIRP have a history of coopting national health and international reviews of health effects to ensure support for their weak exposure limits. Hence, these scientists who have a vested interest in preserving weak RF exposure limits should not be allowed to participate in this official review of RF effects by the WHO.

References

(1) National Toxicology Program. Handbook for Conducting Systematic Reviews for Health Effects Evaluations. https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/whatwestudy/assessments/noncancer/handbook/index.html

(2) National Toxicology Program. Handbook for Conducting a Literature-Based Health Assessment Using OHAT Approach for Systematic Review and Evidence Integration (March 4, 2019): https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/ohat/pubs/handbookmarch2019_508.pdf

(3) National Toxicology Program. 2019 OHAT Handbook Update and Clarification Summary Document (March 4, 2019). https://ntp.niehs.nih.gov/ntp/ohat/pubs/handbookclarificationmarch2019_508.pdf

(4) National Research Council. 2007. A Strategy for Assessing Science: Behavioral and Social Research on Aging. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. https://doi.org/10.17226/11788.


Research Protocols for Radiofrequency EHC Reviews


SR1: The effect of exposure to radiofrequency fields on cancer risk in the general and working population: A protocol for a systematic review of human observational studies

Susanna Lagorio, Maria Blettner, Dan Baaken, Maria Feychting, Ken Karipidis, Tom Loney, Nicola Orsini, Martin Röösli, Marilia Silva Paulo, Mark Elwood. The effect of exposure to radiofrequency fields on cancer risk in the general and working population: A protocol for a systematic review of human observational studies. Environ Int. 2021 Aug 22;157:106828. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2021.106828.

Highlights

• RF-EMF was classified by IARC as possibly carcinogenic to humans (2B) in May 2011
• A systematic review of all subject-relevant epidemiological studies is now needed.
• A detailed protocol ensures the review's transparency, utility and credibility.
• Original study validity will be evaluated with a customized OHAT risk of bias tool.
• Internal coherence and external plausibility will inform conclusions.

Abstract

Background: The World Health Organization (WHO) has an ongoing project to assess potential health effects of exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) in the general and working population. Here we present the protocol for a systematic review of the scientific literature on cancer hazards from exposure to RF-EMF in humans, commissioned by the WHO as part of that project.

Objective: To assess the quality and strength of the evidence provided by human observational studies for a causal association between exposure to RF-EMF and risk of neoplastic diseases.

Eligibility criteria: We will include cohort and case-control studies investigating neoplasia risks in relation to three types of exposure to RF-EMF: near-field, head-localized, exposure from wireless phone use (SR-A); far-field, whole body, environmental exposure from fixed-site transmitters (SR-B); near/far-field occupational exposures from use of handheld transceivers or RF-emitting equipment in the workplace (SR-C). While no restriction on tumour type will be applied, we will focus on selected neoplasms of the central nervous system (brain, meninges, pituitary gland, acoustic nerve) and salivary gland tumours (SR-A); brain tumours and leukaemias (SR-B, SR-C).

Information sources: Eligible studies will be identified through Medline, Embase, and EMF-Portal.

Risk-of-bias assessment: We will use a tailored version of the OHAT's tool to evaluate the study's internal validity.

Data synthesis: We will consider separately studies on different tumours, neoplasm-specific risks from different exposure sources, and a given exposure-outcome pair in adults and children. When a quantitative synthesis of findings can be envisaged, the main aims of the meta-analysis will be to assess the strength of association and the shape of the exposure-response relationship; to quantify the degree of heterogeneity across studies; and explore the sources of inconsistency (if any). When a meta-analysis is judged inappropriate, we will perform a narrative synthesis, complemented by a structured tabulation of results and appropriate visual displays.

Evidence assessment: Confidence in evidence will be assessed in line with the GRADE approach.

Funding: This project is supported by the World Health Organization. Co-financing was provided by the New Zealand Ministry of Health; the Istituto Superiore di Sanità in its capacity as a WHO Collaborating Centre for Radiation and Health; ARPANSA as a WHO Collaborating Centre for Radiation Protection.

Registration: PROSPERO CRD42021236798.

Financial support 

This project is supported by the World Health Organization (grant numbers: RAD 2020/1031788–0; RAD 2020/994756–0). Co-financing was provided by the New Zealand Ministry of Health; the Istituto Superiore di Sanit`a in its capacity as a WHO Collaborating Centre for Radiation and Health; ARPANSA as a WHO Collaborating Centre for Radiation Protection.

Role of funders

A strict oversight was exercised by the WHO Secretariat to ensure that all commissioned systematic reviews were planned according to a harmonized and good practice standard. The other sponsors had no role in developing the protocol.

Open access paper: 
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412021004530?via%3Dihub

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SR2: Effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF EMF) on cancer in laboratory animal studies

Meike Mevissen, Jerrold M. Ward, Annette Kopp-Schneider, James P. McNamee, Andrew W. Wood, Tania M. Rivero, Kristina Thayer, Kurt Straif. Effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF EMF) on cancer in laboratory animal studies. Environment International. Volume 161, 2022. 107106. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2022.107106.

Abstract

Background  The carcinogenicity of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF EMF) has been evaluated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in 2011. Based on limited evidence of carcinogenicity in humans and in animals, RF EMF were classified as possibly carcinogenic to humans (Group 2B). In 2018, based on a survey amongst RF experts, WHO prioritized six major topics of potential RF EMF related human health effects for systematic reviews. In the current manuscript, we present the protocol for the systematic review of experimental laboratory animal studies (cancer bioassays) on exposure to RF fields on the outcome of cancer in laboratory animals.

Objective  In the framework of WHO’s Radiation Program, the aim of this work is to systematically evaluate effects of RF EMF exposure on cancer in laboratory animals.

Study eligibility and criteria  WHO's Handbook (2014) for guideline development will be followed with appropriate adaptation. The selection of eligible studies will be based on Population, Exposures, Comparators, and Outcomes (PECO) criteria. We will include peer-reviewed articles and publicly available reports from government agencies reporting original data about animal cancer bioassays on exposure to RF EMF. The studies are identified by searching the following databases: MEDLINE (PubMed), Science Citation Index Expanded and Emerging Sources Citation Indes (Web of Science), Scopus, and the EMF Portal. No language or year-of-publication restrictions are applied. The methods and results of eligible studies will be presented in accordance with the PRISMA 2020 guidelines.

Study appraisal method  Study evaluation of individual studies will be assessed using a risk of bias (RoB) tool developed by the Office of Health Assessment and Translation (OHAT) with appropriate considerations including sensitivity for evaluating RF EMF exposure in animal cancer bioassays. The final evaluation on the certainty of the evidence on a carcinogenic risk of RF EMF exposure in experimental animals will be performed using the OHAT Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach with appropriate considerations. The protocol has been registered in an open-source repository (PROSPERO).

Funding  The study is partly financially supported by the World Health Organization. No additional funding was provided outside author salaries through their places of employment.

Declaration of Competing Interest   

The authors declare the following financial interests/personal relationships which may be considered as potential competing interests: AWW directs a research group, which includes three technical associates who are telecommunications company employees. 

JM receives employment and research support from The government of Canada related to the topic. KS has been the Head of the IARC Monographs program until his regular retirement (11/2018). Since 10/2019, he is a member of the International Scientific Advisory Committee of the Ramazzini Institute. This involves one 3 h advisory group meeting per year. He does not receive remuneration for his advisory activity. 

MM is a member of the scientific advisory board of The Swiss Research Foundation for Electricity and Mobile Communication (FSM) that receives research money from commercial entities. She does not receive remuneration for his advisory activity. Her partner does consulting relating to cell phone safety. All remaining authors declare no conflict of interest.


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SR3: The effects of radiofrequency exposure on male fertility and adverse reproductive outcomes: A protocol for two systematic reviews of human observational studies with meta-analysis

Ryan P.W. Kenny, Evelyn Barron Millar, Adenike Adesanya, Catherine Richmond, Fiona Beyer, Carolina Calderon, Judith Rankin, Mireille Toledano, Maria Feychting, Mark S Pearce, Dawn Craig, Fiona Pearson. The effects of radiofrequency exposure on male fertility and adverse reproductive outcomes: A protocol for two systematic reviews of human observational studies with meta-analysis. Environ Int. 158, 2022, 106968. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2021.106968.

Abstract

Background  The World Health Organization (WHO) is bringing together evidence on radiofrequency electromagnetic field (RF-EMF) exposure in relation to health outcomes, previously identified as priorities for evaluation by experts in the field, to inform exposure guidelines. A suite of systematic reviews are being undertaken by a network of topic experts and methodologists in order to collect, assess and synthesise data relevant to these guidelines. Here, we present the protocol for the systematic review on the effect of exposure to RF on adverse reproductive outcomes (human observational studies), also referred to as Systematic Review (SR) 3 within the series of systematic reviews currently being commissioned.

Objectives  Following the WHO handbook for guideline development and the COSTER conduct guidelines, we will systematically review the effect of RF-EMF exposure on both male fertility (SR3A) and adverse pregnancy outcomes (SR3B) in human observational studies. Herein we adhere to the PRISMA-P reporting guidelines.

Data sources  We will conduct a broad search for potentially relevant records relevant for both reviews within the following bibliographic databases: MEDLINE; Embase; and EMF Portal. We will also conduct searches of grey literature through relevant databases and organisational websites. RF-EMF experts will also be consulted. We will hand search citation and reference lists of included study records.

Study eligibility criteria  We will include quantitative human observational studies on the effect of RF-EMF exposure: (in SR3A) in adult male participants on infertility, sperm morphology, concentration or total sperm count or motility; and (in SR3B) in preconception adults or pregnant women on preterm birth, small for gestational age (associated with intrauterine growth restriction), miscarriage, stillbirth and congenital anomalies.

Study appraisal and synthesis methods  Titles, abstracts and then full texts will be screened in blinded duplicate against eligibility criteria with input from a third reviewer as required. Data extraction from included studies will be completed by two reviewers as will risk of bias assessment using the Office of Health Assessment and Translation (OHAT) tool. If appropriate we will undertake meta-analysis to pool effect measures and explore heterogeneity using sub-group analyses or meta-regression as feasible. We will conduct sensitivity analysis to assess the impact of any assumptions made throughout the review process. The OHAT methodology, based on the GRADE guidelines for evidence assessment, will be used to evaluate the certainty of evidence per outcome and to conclude the level of evidence of a health effect.

Conclusion  This manuscript details the protocols for two systematic reviews. The aims of publishing details of both protocols are to: pre-specify their scope and methods; reduce the impact of reviewer bias; promote transparency and replicability; and improve the review process.

Prospero registration CRD42021265401 (SR3A), CRD42021266268 (SR3B).

Declaration of Competing Interest

The authors declare the following financial interests/personal relationships which may be considered as potential competing interests: Maria Feychting has a permanent position as Professor of Epidemiology at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm Sweden since 2005. She has served as advisor to a number of national and international public advisory and research steering groups concerning the potential health effects of exposure to non-ionizing radiation, including the WHO (ongoing), Public Health England Advisory Group on Non-ionising Radiation - AGNIR (2009–2017), the Norwegian Public Health Institute (2010–2012), the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research (2003–2012), the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority’s independent scientific expert group on electromagnetic fields (2003–2011). She was member of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), an independent body setting guidelines for non-ionizing radiation protection (2008–May 2020), and vice chairman of the Commission (May 2016–May 2020).

Mireille Toledano has been involved in funded research assessing mobile phone and other wireless technologies usage on health outcomes. The SCAMP (study cognition adolescents and mobile phones) prospective cohort study which is currently ongoing (2015–2021). The COSMOS (cohort study of mobile phone use and health) a longitudinal cohort study which is completed (2019).

Open access paper: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412021005936

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SR4: Effects of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Field (RF-EMF) exposure on male fertility and pregnancy and birth outcomes: Protocols for a systematic review of experimental studies in non-human mammals and in human sperm exposed in vitro

Francesca Pacchierotti, Lucia Ardoino, Barbara Benassi, Claudia Consales, Eugenia Cordelli, Patrizia Eleuteri, Carmela Marino, Maurizio Sciortino, Martin H.Brinkworth, Guangdi Chen, James P. McNamee, Andrew William Wood, Carlijn R. Hooijmans. Rob B.M. de Vries. Effects of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Field (RF-EMF) exposure on male fertility and pregnancy and birth outcomes: Protocols for a systematic review of experimental studies in non-human mammals and in human sperm exposed in vitro. Environment Int. Volume 157, December 2021, 106806.

Highlights

• Male infertility and adverse pregnancy outcomes are relevant human health problems.
• Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields are widespread in the human environment.
• A link between radiofrequency and adverse reproductive outcomes is controversial.
• This is the protocol of WHO-funded systematic review and meta-analysis on this issue.

Abstract

Background  Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields (RF-EMF) at environmental level have been reported to induce adverse effects on the male reproductive system and developing embryos. However, despite the number of experiments conducted since the 1970s, the diversity of testing approaches and exposure conditions, inconsistencies among results, and dosimetric flaws have not yet permitted a solid assessment of the relationship between RF-EMF exposure and such effects, warranting a more systematic and methodologically rigorous approach to the evaluation of available data.

Objectives  This study aims at evaluating the effects of RF-EMF exposure on male fertility and pregnancy outcomes by a systematic review (SR) of experimental studies, conducted in compliance with international guidelines. The evidence will be organized into three streams: 1) Studies evaluating the impact of RF-EMF on the male reproductive system of experimental mammals; 2) studies evaluating the impact of RF-EMF on human sperm exposed in vitro; 3) studies evaluating the impact of RF-EMF on adverse pregnancy, birth outcomes and delayed effects in experimental mammals exposed in utero.

Study eligibility and criteria  Eligible studies will include peer-reviewed articles reporting of original results about effects of controlled exposures to RF-EMF in the frequency range 100 kHz–300 GHz on the selected outcomes without any language or year-of-publication restrictions. Eligible studies will be retrieved by calibrated search strings applied to three electronic databases, PubMed, Scopus and EMF Portal and by manual search of the list of references of included papers and published reviews.

Study appraisal and synthesis method  The internal validity of the studies will be evaluated using the Risk of Bias (RoB) Rating Tool developed by National Toxicology Program/Office of Health Assessment and Translation (NTP/OHAT) integrated with input from the SYRCLE RoB tool. Given sufficient commensurate data, meta-analyses will be performed, otherwise narrative syntheses will be produced. Finally, the certainty of the effects of RF-EMF exposure on male fertility and pregnancy and birth outcomes will be established following GRADE.

Funding  The study is financially supported by the World Health Organization.

Registration  OSF Registration DOI https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/7MUS3; PROSPERO CRD42021227729, CRD42021227746.

Financial support   This project is partially funded by the World Health Organization (contract 2020/1026306-0). Additional in-kind funds are provided by ENEA, Health Canada and Swinburne University of Technology.

Declaration of Competing Interest

AWW directs a research group, which includes three technical associates who are telecommunications company employees. The group is also providing advice for a local government authority and a utility on electric and magnetic field exposure issues on a fee-for-service basis. AWW has been member of the ICNIRP Scientific Expert Group (SEG) from 2013 until 2021 and collaborates with the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency. 

JPM was a member for IARC Monograph 102 Working Group assessing the carcinogenicity of RF-EMF (Mechanistic Studies sub-group), a co-author of Canada’s Safety Code 6 (which are the de facto national human exposure limits applied in Canada) and a member of the WHO EMF Project International Advisory Committee (Canadian representative). Health Canada financially contributed to the WHO EMF Project to support the completion of the systematic reviews on RF-EMF. 

CM has been member of Technical Consultation on the WHO RF Research Agenda (2010), member of ICNIRP main commission since May 2012, confirmed in 2016 and 2020, Italian delegate for the European Cost Actions BM0704 and BM1309 “EMF-MED”. 

All other authors declare that they have no known conflicts of interest.

Open access paper: 

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SR5: The effect of long-term radiofrequency exposure on cognition in human observational studies: A protocol for a systematic review

Geza Benke, Michael J Abramson, B M Zeleke, Jordy Kaufman, Ken Karipidis, Helen Kelsall, Steve McDonald, Chris Brzozek, Maria Feychting, Sue Brennan. The effect of long-term radiofrequency exposure on cognition in human observational studies: A protocol for a systematic review. Environ Int. 158, 2022. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2021.106972.

Highlights

• This protocol outlines the steps required for a systematic review of the effect of long-term radiofrequency exposure on cognition in human observational studies.
• The protocol allows for an assessment of possible cognitive effects due to RF-EMFs from personal, environmental and occupational exposure.
• The protocol follows the best methodology for synthesis and risk of bias assessment for RF-EMF exposure and cognition in human observational studies.

Abstract

Background: The long term effects of exposure to radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields (EMF) for frequencies from 100 kHz to 300 GHz on cognitive performance are best assessed using observational studies. In recent years, the use of mobile (cell) phones has been the main source of RF EMF exposure to the brain, although other sources of exposure may be significant. Cognitive function includes various mental and psychological abilities, which can be measured in a range of domains, such as learning, memory, reasoning, problem solving, decision making and attention. Although effects on cognitive function may be most evident later in life, in the experimental setting acute and immediate effects can only be studied. Observational studies are needed when effects are observed after months or years following short or long-term exposure. The importance of the effects of exposure on children has also been recently identified.

Objectives: To assess the long-term effects of RF EMF local and whole-body exposure compared to no or a lower level of exposure on indicators of cognition, including complex attention, executive function, learning and memory, perceptual motor ability and social cognition, but excluding cognitive effects caused by neurodegenerative diseases or neurodevelopmental disorders, and to assess if there is evidence of a dose response relationship.

Study eligibility and criteria: We will include observational studies that have evaluated cognitive effects of RF energy including a comparator group with a different level of exposure. Studies must report at least one validated measure of cognitive function, including global or domain specific measures, or cognitive impairment, with a minimum follow-up of 6 months. Cohort or case-control studies published in the peer review literature in any language are eligible. We will exclude cross-sectional studies and any that only report brain structure or biomarkers.

Study appraisal and synthesis method: We will conduct searches of PubMed, Embase, PsycINFO and the EMF-Portal. At least two authors will independently screen the titles/abstracts of all records, with any conflicts resolved by a third reviewer. Full-text screening will also be conducted independently by two authors with conflicts resolved by consensus. Data will be extracted from the studies included, such as identifiers and characteristics of the study design, exposure and comparator groups, participants, outcomes assessed and results. Risk of bias will be assessed with the Office of Health Assessment and Translation (OHAT) tool. We will conduct a meta-analysis of similar studies with a random effects model in STATA or similar software, if two or more studies are available for a given exposure-outcome combination. Confidence in the body evidence will be judged using GRADE methods as adapted by OHAT for reviews of environmental exposures.

Funding  This project is funded by the World Health Organization. Co-financing was provided by ARPANSA in its capacity as a WHO Collaborating Centre for Radiation Protection.

Declaration of Competing Interest

The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.

Open access paper:
 
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SR6: The effect of exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields on cognitive performance in human experimental studies: A protocol for a systematic review

Blanka Pophof, Jacob Burns, Heidi Danker-Hopfe, Hans Dorn, Cornelia Egblomassé-Roidl, Torsten Eggert, Kateryna Fuks, Bernd Henschenmacher, Jens Kuhne, Cornelia Sauter, Gernot Schmid. The effect of exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields on cognitive performance in human experimental studies: A protocol for a systematic review. Environ Int. 2021 Jul 29;157:106783. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2021.106783.

Abstract

Background: The World Health Organization (WHO) is currently assessing the potential health effects of exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) in the general and working population. Related to one such health effect, there is a concern that RF-EMFs may affect cognitive performance in humans. The systematic review (SR) aims to identify, summarize and synthesize the evidence base related to this question. Here, we present the protocol for the planned SR.

Objectives: The main objective is to present a protocol for a SR which will evaluate the associations between short-term exposure to RF-EMFs and cognitive performance in human experimental studies.

Data sources: We will search the following databases: PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, Scopus, and the EMF-Portal. The reference lists of included studies and retrieved review articles will be manually searched.

Study eligibility and criteria: We will include randomized human experimental studies that assess the effects of RF-EMFs on cognitive performance compared to no exposure or lower exposure. We will include peer-reviewed articles of any publication date in any language that report primary data.

Data extraction and analysis: Data will be extracted according to a pre-defined set of forms developed and piloted by the review author team. To assess the risk of bias, we will apply the Rating Tool for Human and Animal Studies developed by NTP/OHAT, supplemented with additional questions relevant for cross-over studies. Where sufficiently similar studies are identified (e.g. the heterogeneity concerning population, exposure and outcome is low and the studies can be combined), we will conduct random-effects meta-analysis; otherwise, we will conduct a narrative synthesis.

Assessment of certainty of evidence: The certainty of evidence for each identified outcome will be assessed according to Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE). Performing the review according to this protocol will allow the identification of possible effects of RF-EMFs on cognitive performance in humans. The protocol has been registered in PROSPERO, an open-source protocol registration system, to foster transparency.

Financial support  This project is funded by the World Health Organization.

Registration  PROSPERO CRD42021236168.

Declaration of Competing Interest

The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.

Open access paper

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SR7: The effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields exposure on tinnitus, migraine and non-specific symptoms in the general and working population: A protocol for a systematic review on human observational studies

Martin Röösli, Stefan Dongus, Hamed Jalilian, Maria Feychting, John Eyers, Ekpereonne Esu, Chioma Moses Oringanje, Martin Meremikwu, Xavier Bosch-Capblanch. The effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields exposure on tinnitus, migraine and non-specific symptoms in the general and working population: A protocol for a systematic review on human observational studies. Environ Int, Volume 157, 2021. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2021.106852.

Highlights

• There is public concern to develop non-specific symptoms from EMF.
• No up to date comprehensive systematic review is available.
• Priority outcomes for head exposure are tinnitus, migraine, and headaches.
• Further priority outcomes are sleep disturbances and composite symptom scores.

Abstract

Background  Applications emitting radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF; 100 kHz to 300 GHz) are widely used for communication (e.g. mobile phones), in medicine (diathermy) and in industry (RF heaters). Concern has been raised that RF-EMF exposure affects health related quality of life, because a part of the population reports to experience a variety of symptoms related to low exposure levels below regulatory limits.

Objectives  To systematically review the effects of longer-term or repeated local and whole human body RF-EMF exposure on the occurrence of symptoms evaluating migraine, tinnitus, headaches, sleep disturbances and composite symptom scores as primary outcomes.

Methods  We will follow the WHO handbook for guideline development. For the development of the systematic review protocol we considered handbook for conducting systematic reviews for health effects evaluations from the National Toxicology Program-Office of Health Assessment and Translation (NTP-OHAT) and COSTER (Recommendations for the conduct of systematic reviews in toxicology and environmental health research).

Eligibility criteria  Peer-reviewed epidemiological studies in the general population or workers aiming to investigate the association between local or whole-body RF-EMF exposure for at least one week and symptoms are eligible for inclusion. Only cohort, case-control and panel studies will be included.

Information sources  We will search the scientific literature databases Medline, Web of Science, PsycInfo, Cochrane Library, Epistemonikos and Embase, using a predefined search strategy. This search will be supplemented by a search in the EMF-Portal and checks of reference lists of relevant papers and reviews.

Study appraisal and synthesis method  Data from included papers will be extracted according to predefined forms. Findings will be summarized in tables, graphical displays and in a narrative synthesis of the available evidence, complemented with meta-analyses. We will separately review effects of local, far field and occupational exposure.

Risk of bias The internal validity of included studies will be assessed using the NTP-OHAT Risk of Bias Rating Tool for Human and Animal Studies, elaborated to observational RF-EMF studies.

Evidence appraisal  To rate certainty of the evidence, we will use the OHAT GRADE-based approach for epidemiological studies.

Framework and funding  This protocol concerns one of the ten different systematic reviews considered in a larger systematic review of the World Health Organization to assess potential health effects of exposure to RF-EMF in the general and working population.

Registration PROSPERO CRD42021239432.

Open access paper: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412021004773?via%3Dihub

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SR8: The effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields exposure on human self-reported symptoms: A protocol for a systematic review of human experimental studies

Xavier Bosch-Capblanch, Ekpereonne Esu, Stefan Dongus, Chioma Moses Oringanje, Hamed Jalilian, John Eyers, Gunnhild Oftedal, Martin Meremikwu, Martin Röösli. The effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields exposure on human self-reported symptoms: A protocol for a systematic review of human experimental studies. Environ Int. 158, 2022, 106953. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2021.106953.

Abstract

Background  The technological applications of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) have been steadily increasing since the 1950s across multiple sectors exposing large proportions of the population. This fact has raised concerns related to the potential consequences to people’s health. The World Health Organization (WHO) is assessing the potential health effects of exposure to RF-EMF and has carried out an international survey amongst experts, who have identified six priority topics to be further addressed through systematic reviews, whereof the effects on symptoms is one of them. We report here the systematic review protocol of experimental studies in humans assessing the effects of RF-EMF on symptoms.

Objective  Our objectives are to assess the effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields (compared to no or lower exposure levels) on symptoms in human subjects. We will also assess the accuracy of perception of presence of exposure in volunteers with and without idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields (IEI-EMF).

Eligibility criteria  We will search relevant literature sources (e.g. the Web of Science, Medline, Embase, Epistemonikos) for randomized trials (comparing at least two arms) and randomised crossover trials of RF-EMF exposure that have assessed the effects on symptoms. We will also include studies that have measured the accuracy of the perception of the presence or absence of exposure. We will include studies in any language.

Study appraisal and synthesis  Studies will be assessed against inclusion criteria by two independent reviewers. Data on study characteristics, participants, exposure, comparators and effects will be extracted using a specific template for this review, by two independent reviewers. Discrepancies will be solved by consensus. Risk of bias (ROB) will be assessed using the ROB Rating Tool for Human and Animal Studies and the level of confidence in the evidence of the exposure-outcome relations will be assessed using the GRADE approach. For the perception studies, we will use adapted versions of the ROB tool and GRADE assessment. Where appropriate, data will be combined using meta-analytical techniques.


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SR9: The effect of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) on biomarkers of oxidative stress in vivo and in vitro: A protocol for a systematic review

Bernd Henschenmacher, Annette Bitsch, Tonia de las Heras Gala, Henry Jay Forman, Athanassios Fragoulis, Pietro Ghezzi, Rupert Kellner, Wolfgang Koch, Jens Kuhne, Dmitrij Sachno, Gernot Schmid, Katya Tsaioun, Jos Verbeek, Robert Wright. The effect of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) on biomarkers of oxidative stress in vivo and in vitro: A protocol for a systematic review. Environ Int. 158, 2022, 106932. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2021.106932.

Abstract

Background  Oxidative stress is conjectured to be related to many diseases. Furthermore, it is hypothesized that radiofrequency fields may induce oxidative stress in various cell types and thereby compromise human and animal health. This systematic review (SR) aims to summarize and evaluate the literature related to this hypothesis.

Objectives  The main objective of this SR is to evaluate the associations between the exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields and oxidative stress in experimental models (in vivo and in vitro).

Methods  The SR framework has been developed following the guidelines established in the WHO Handbook for Guideline Development and the Handbook for Conducting a Literature-Based Health Assessment). We will include controlled in vivo and in vitro laboratory studies that assess the effects of an exposure to RF-EMF on valid markers for oxidative stress compared to no or sham exposure. The protocol is registered in PROSPERO.

We will search the following databases: PubMed, Embase, Web of Science Core Collection, Scopus, and the EMF-Portal. The reference lists of included studies and retrieved review articles will also be manually searched.

Study appraisal and synthesis method  Data will be extracted according to a pre-defined set of forms developed in the DistillerSR online software and synthesized in a meta-analysis when studies are judged sufficiently similar to be combined. If a meta-analysis is not possible, we will describe the effects of the exposure in a narrative way.

Risk of bias  The risk of bias will be assessed with the NTP/OHAT risk of bias rating tool for human and animal studies.

We will use GRADE to assess the certainty of the conclusions (high, moderate, low, or inadequate) regarding the association between radiofrequency electromagnetic fields and oxidative stress.

Funding  This work was funded by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Registration  The protocol was registered on the PROSPERO webpage on July 8, 2021.

Open access paper: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412021005572

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Prioritizing health outcomes when assessing the effects of exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields: A survey among experts

Jos Verbeek, Gunnhild Oftedal, Maria Feychting, Eric van Rongen, Maria Rosaria Scarfì, Simon Mann, Rachel Wong, Emilie van Deventer. Prioritizing health outcomes when assessing the effects of exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields: A survey among experts. Environ Int. 146, 2021. 106300. 
doi:10.1016/j.envint.2020.106300.

Highlights

• RF EMF may lead to other than heat-related health effects by yet unknown mechanisms
• Prioritizing health effects is needed for review utility and resource efficiency.
• RF EMF experts prioritized all peer-reviewed published biological and health outcomes.
• Cancer, heat-related effects, and adverse birth outcomes were rated most critical.
• WHO commissioned ten systematic reviews of the most critical health outcomes.

Abstract

Exposure to radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic fields (EMF) (frequencies of 100 kHz to 300 GHz) has been steadily increasing. In addition to heat-related effects of RF EMF, other yet-unspecified biological effects, might exist which could possibly lead to health effects. Given the large number of health endpoints that have been studied, we wanted to prioritize those that would merit systematic reviews.

We developed a survey listing of all health endpoints reported in the literature and we asked 300 RF EMF experts and researchers to prioritize these health effects for systematic review as critical, important or unimportant. We also asked the experts to provide the rationale for their prioritization.

Of the 300 RF EMF experts queried, 164 (54%) responded. They rated cancer, heat-related effects, adverse birth outcomes, electromagnetic hypersensitivity, cognitive impairment, adverse pregnancy outcomes and oxidative stress as outcomes most critical regarding RF EMF exposure. For these outcomes, systematic reviews are needed. For heat-related outcomes, the experts based their ranking of the critical outcomes on what is known from human or animal studies, and for cancer and other outcomes, they based their rating also on public concern.

To assess health risks of an exposure in a robust manner, it is important to prioritize the health outcomes that should be systematically reviewed. Here we have shown that it feasible to do so in an inclusive and transparent way.

Excerpts

Given the limited resources available for systematic reviews, it was decided to include male fertility but not brain electrical function. The ratings of these two outcomes as critical were similar, but more experts rated male fertility as important....

Declaration of Competing Interest

MF was vice chairman (May 2016 – May 2020) of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, an independent body setting guidelines for non-ionizing radiation protection. She has served as advisor to several national and international public advisory and research steering groups concerning the potential health effects of exposure to non-ionizing radiation.

MRS is in the Scientific Council of the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority for preparing reports on the evaluation of the scientific literature related to electromagnetic fields and health.

GO is member of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection. She has been member of groups appointed by Norwegian authorities to evaluate potential health effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields.

EvR was chairman (May 2016 – May 2020) of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection and is currently vice-chairman. He is also member of the Scientific Council of the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority.

SM is a member of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection’s Scientific Expert Group. Within the UK, he is Secretary to the Committee on Medical Aspects of Radiation in the Environment and he was Secretary (until 2017) to the Advisory Group on Non-Ionising Radiation.

All other authors have declared no conflict of interest.


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Assessing risk of bias in human environmental epidemiology studies using three tools: different conclusions from different tools

Stephanie M. Eick, Dana E. Goin, Nicholas Chartres, Juleen Lam, Tracey J. Woodruff. Assessing risk of bias in human environmental epidemiology studies using three tools: different conclusions from different tools. Syst Rev 9, 249 (2020). doi: 10.1186/s13643-020-01490-8.

Abstract

Background  Systematic reviews are increasingly prevalent in environmental health due to their ability to synthesize evidence while reducing bias. Different systematic review methods have been developed by the US National Toxicology Program’s Office of Health Assessment and Translation (OHAT), the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS), and by the US EPA under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), including the approach to assess risk of bias (ROB), one of the most vital steps which is used to evaluate internal validity of the studies. Our objective was to compare the performance of three tools (OHAT, IRIS, TSCA) in assessing ROB.

Methods  We selected a systematic review on polybrominated diphenyl ethers and intelligence quotient and/or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder because it had been endorsed by the National Academy of Sciences. Two reviewers followed verbatim instructions from the tools and independently applied each tool to assess ROB in 15 studies previously identified. We documented the time to apply each tool and the impact the ROB ratings for each tool had on the final rating of the quality of the overall body of evidence.

Results  The time to complete the ROB assessments varied widely (mean = 20, 32, and 40 min per study for the OHAT, IRIS, and TSCA tools, respectively). All studies were rated overall “low” or “uninformative” using IRIS, due to “deficient” or “critically deficient” ratings in one or two domains. Similarly, all studies were rated “unacceptable” using the TSCA tool because of one “unacceptable” rating in a metric related to statistical power. Approximately half of the studies had “low” or “probably low ROB” ratings across all domains with the OHAT and Navigation Guide tools.

Conclusions  Tools that use overall ROB or study quality ratings, such as IRIS and TSCA, may reduce the available evidence to assess the harms of environmental exposures by erroneously excluding studies, which leads to inaccurate conclusions about the quality of the body of evidence. We recommend using ROB tools that circumvent these issues, such as OHAT and Navigation Guide.


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EHC on Radiofrequency fields* (WHO, 2016)

Excerpt from: 

World Health Organization. The International EMF Project Progress Report. June 2015-2016. page 10. https://cdn.who.int/media/docs/default-source/radiation-international-emf-project-reports/emf-iac-2016-progress-report.pdf?sfvrsn=7b2836c0_2. Accessed 01/17/2022.
"Following on the publication of the INTERPHONE study (May 2010) and the IARC classification of RF fields (May 2011), the health risk assessment of radiofrequency fields by WHO was started with a kick-off meeting in January 2012. A core group of 6 experts has been gathered to help with the development of the monograph. They, in turn, have enlisted the help of close to 30 experts to develop different sections of the first draft. Monthly conference calls have been held over the past year. A face-to-face meeting was convened in Istanbul in May 2015.

A number of systematic reviews have been performed based on published peer-reviewed data. Search strategies, inclusion/exclusion criteria and quality criteria have been developed for the different types of studies. A first draft was uploaded on the WHO website in the Fall of 2014. Over 90 entries were filed electronically through the consultation providing around 700 comments to different chapters and section of the draft. Over 300 missing papers were identified through this useful step. Each submission has been carefully considered by the Core Group and the draft has been revised to take account of relevant comments and of papers published since December 2012. As a result of the consultation, a new chapter on biochemical and biological effects was added.

The drawing of conclusions from the literature and the drafting of these chapters is the remit of a formal Task Group that will be convened by WHO following due process. The meeting of the Task Group is currently slated to be held in the Fall of 2016."

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In March 1993, almost 30 years ago, the WHO published the last EHC monograph on radiofrequency radiation:


Electromagnetic fields (‎300 Hz to 300 GHz)

Environmental Health Criteria Monograph No.137

Overview

"WHO's assessment of any health risks produced by EMF emitting technologies falls within the responsibilities of the International EMF Project. One of the goals of the International EMF Project is therefore to carry out health risk assessments of RF, ELF and static fields, published in the Environmental Health Criteria.

The health risk assessments are the result of in-depth critical reviews conducted through independent, scientific peer-review groups. The are usually undertaken if new data are available that would substantially change the evaluation, if there is public concern for health or environmental effects of the agent because of greater exposure, or if an appreciable time period has elapsed since the last evaluation."

https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9241571373

 

Monday, December 5, 2022

Recent Research on Wireless Radiation and Electromagnetic Fields

I have been circulating abstracts of newly-published scientific papers on radio frequency and other non-ionizing electromagnetic fields (EMF) about once a month since 2016. Several hundred EMF scientists around the world receive these updates. 

The complete collection contains more than 1,700 abstracts and links to more than 1,800 papers. 

You can download the complete collection of abstracts, a 1,434-page document (pdf) by clicking on the following link: 


The abstracts for recent papers appear below.

Scientific evidence invalidates health assumptions underlying the FCC and ICNIRP exposure limit determinations for radiofrequency radiation: implications for 5G

International Commission on the Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Fields. Scientific evidence invalidates health assumptions underlying the FCC and ICNIRP exposure limit determinations for radiofrequency radiation: implications for 5G. Environmental Health. (2022) 21:92. doi.org:10.1186/s12940-022-00900-9.

Abstract

In the late-1990s, the FCC and ICNIRP adopted radiofrequency radiation (RFR) exposure limits to protect the public and workers from adverse effects of RFR. These limits were based on results from behavioral studies conducted in the 1980s involving 40–60-minute exposures in 5 monkeys and 8 rats, and then applying arbitrary safety factors to an apparent threshold specific absorption rate (SAR) of 4 W/kg. The limits were also based on two major assumptions: any biological effects were due to excessive tissue heating and no effects would occur below the putative threshold SAR, as well as twelve assumptions that were not specified by either the FCC or ICNIRP. In this paper, we show how the past 25 years of extensive research on RFR demonstrates that the assumptions underlying the FCC’s and ICNIRP’s exposure limits are invalid and continue to present a public health harm. Adverse effects observed at exposures below the assumed threshold SAR include non-thermal induction of reactive oxygen species, DNA damage, cardiomyopathy, carcinogenicity, sperm damage, and neurological effects, including electromagnetic hypersensitivity. Also, multiple human studies have found statistically significant associations between RFR exposure and increased brain and thyroid cancer risk. Yet, in 2020, and in light of the body of evidence reviewed in this article, the FCC and ICNIRP reaffirmed the same limits that were established in the 1990s. Consequently, these exposure limits, which are based on false suppositions, do not adequately protect workers, children, hypersensitive individuals, and the general population from short-term or long-term RFR exposures. Thus, urgently needed are health protective exposure limits for humans and the environment. These limits must be based on scientific evidence rather than on erroneous assumptions, especially given the increasing worldwide exposures of people and the environment to RFR, including novel forms of radiation from 5G telecommunications for which there are no adequate health effects studies.

Key points
  • ICBE-EMF scientists report that exposure limits for radiofrequency (or wireless) radiation set by ICNIRP and the FCC are based on invalid assumptions and outdated science, and are not protective of human health and wildlife.
  • ICBE-EMF calls for an independent assessment of the effects and risks of radiofrequency radiation based on scientific evidence from peer-reviewed studies conducted over the past 25 years. The aim of such assessment would be to establish health protective exposure standards for workers, the public, and the environment.
  • The public should be informed of the health risks of wireless radiation and encouraged to take precautions to minimize exposures, especially for children, pregnant women and people who are electromagnetically hypersensitive.
  • ICBE-EMF calls for an immediate moratorium on further rollout of 5G wireless technologies until safety is demonstrated and not simply assumed.
Open access paper:

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Low-level EMF effects on wildlife and plants: What research tells us about an ecosystem approach

Levitt BB, Lai HC and Manville AM II. (2022) Low-level EMF effects on wildlife and plants: What research tells us about an ecosystem approach. Front. Public Health 10:1000840. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2022.1000840.

Abstract

There is enough evidence to indicate we may be damaging non-human species at ecosystem and biosphere levels across all taxa from rising background levels of anthropogenic non-ionizing electromagnetic fields (EMF) from 0 Hz to 300 GHz. The focus of this Perspective paper is on the unique physiology of non-human species, their extraordinary sensitivity to both natural and anthropogenic EMF, and the likelihood that artificial EMF in the static, extremely low frequency (ELF) and radiofrequency (RF) ranges of the non-ionizing electromagnetic spectrum are capable at very low intensities of adversely affecting both fauna and flora in all species studied. Any existing exposure standards are for humans only; wildlife is unprotected, including within the safety margins of existing guidelines, which are inappropriate for trans-species sensitivities and different non-human physiology. Mechanistic, genotoxic, and potential ecosystem effects are discussed.

Excerpt

Radiofrequency radiation is a form of energetic air pollution and should be regulated as such (25). U.S. law (130) [42 USC § 7602 (g)] defines air pollution as:

“The term “air pollutant” means any air pollution agent or combination of such agents, including any physical, chemical, biological, radioactive (including source material, special nuclear material, and byproduct material) substance or matter which is emitted into or otherwise enters the ambient air. Such term includes any precursors to the formation of any air pollutant, to the extent the Administrator has identified such precursor or precursors for the particular purpose for which the term “air pollutant” is used.”

Unlike classic chemical toxicology pollutants in which a culprit can typically be identified and quantified, RFR may function as a “process” pollutant in the air not unlike how endocrine disruptors function in food and water in which the stressor causes a cascade of unpredictable systemic effects. The stimulus in the RFR analogy would be physical/energetic rather than chemical.

Long-term chronic low-level EMF exposure guidelines, which do not now exist, should be set accordingly for wildlife; mitigation techniques where possible should be developed; full environmental reviews should be conducted prior to the licensing/buildout of major new technologies like 5G; and environmental laws/regulations should be strictly enforced (25). We have a long over-due obligation to consider potential consequences to other species from our current unchecked technophoria—an obligation we have thus far not considered before species go extinct. In the views of these authors, the evidence requiring action is clear.

Open access paper: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2022.1000840

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Biological Effects of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields above 100 MHz on Fauna and Flora: Workshop Report

Pophof B, Henschenmacher B, Kattnig DR, Kuhne J, Vian A, Ziegelberger G. Biological Effects of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields above 100 MHz on Fauna and Flora: Workshop Report. Health Physics. November 4, 2022. doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000001625.

Abstract

This report summarizes the effects of anthropogenic radiofrequency electromagnetic fields with frequencies above 100 MHz on flora and fauna presented at an international workshop held on 5–7 November 2019 in Munich, Germany. Anthropogenic radiofrequency electromagnetic fields at these frequencies are commonplace; e.g., originating from transmitters used for terrestrial radio and TV broadcasting, mobile communication, wireless internet networks, and radar technologies. The effects of these radiofrequency fields on flora, fauna, and ecosystems are not well studied. For high frequencies exceeding 100 MHz, the only scientifically established action mechanism in organisms is the conversion of electromagnetic into thermal energy. In accordance with that, no proven scientific evidence of adverse effects in animals or plants under realistic environmental conditions has yet been identified from exposure to low-level anthropogenic radiofrequency fields in this frequency range. Because appropriate field studies are scarce, further studies on plants and animals are recommended.


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Mobile phone and base stations: Radiation and its effects on human health and environment: A Review

Jayaraju Nadimikeri, M. Pramod Kumar, G. Sreenivasulu, T. Lakshmi Prasad, B. Lakshmanna, K. Nagalaksmi, M. Madakka. Mobile phone and base stations: Radiation and its effects on human health and environment: A Review. Sustainable Technology and Entrepreneurship. 2022. doi: 10.1016/j.stae.2022.100031.

Abstract

A review of the impact of mobile phone and base station radiation on human health and the environment has been presented here. Cell phone is an important invention in human history that has revolutionized people's lifestyles. As mobile phones have become an integral part of human daily routine, the quality of life around the world has improved significantly. However, concerns about the exposure of people, flora and fauna to radio frequencies are not new. The satisfaction and convenience derived from the use of cellular phones is threatened by claims that the radiation emitted by the devices has unfavorable impacts on human health. The effects of radiation may be classified into non-thermal and thermal. Thermal effects are similar to those of cooking in a microwave oven. The non-thermal effects are not properly defined, but it is been learnt that these effects are three to four times more hazardous than the thermal, which remains controversial. A brief picture of the Indian scenario of cell phone industry and the number of mobile towers in India was discussed. The effects of radiation emitted from cell phones and base stations on wildlife, humans and the environment were summarized with suitable examples and studies conducted by various voluntary organizations.

Conclusion

This study reports and summarises some research done by different institutions and organisations. The work was motivated by the fact that the public is concerned about the threat posed by the use of mobile phones. The use of mobile phones is increasing tremendously day by day, but most people are not aware of the impact of mobile phones on human health. However, operators are competing with each other to attract more customers and are building mobile towers in every possible corner of the country to expand their own network coverage, even though the operators claim there are no health concerns. Some studies (Maregu, N. 2016; Larik et al., 2016; Asl, et al., 2019; Singh et al., 2020;) report that there is a strong correlation between mobile phone radiation to the major health problems in people. However, some studies report that there is no impact on non-ionisation radiation exposure from mobile phones and base stations (Meena et al., 2016; Schüz et al 2006; Schoemaker et al, 2005). On the other hand, some reports suggest that prolonged use of cell phones and exposure to mobile and base stations leads to abnormal mental disorders, sleep disturbances, concentration difficulties, headaches, irritability, dizziness and hypertension (Loenn et al., 2004).

Nevertheless, everyone has observed a sharp decline in the population of house sparrows (passer domesticus), which can be attributed, among other things, to radiation from base stations. Therefore, it is high time to conduct multidisciplinary studies to decipher the effects of radiation from mobile phones and cell towers on humans and the environment. It is also imperative that policy makers and executive bodies enforce stringent radiation norms.


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Comment on “5G mobile networks and health-a state-of-the-science review of the research into low-level RF fields above 6 GHz” by Karipidis et al.

Weller, S., May, M., McCredden, J. et al. Comment on “5G mobile networks and health-a state-of-the-science review of the research into low-level RF fields above 6 GHz” by Karipidis et al.. J Expo Sci Environ Epidemiol (2022).  https://doi.org/10.1038/s41370-022-00497-8.
 
No abstract

Conclusion

In our opinion, the Karipidis review provides insufficient evidence of safety, which is being used by Industry [3] as justification for the planned densification and ubiquitous use of radiofrequencies >6 GHz as part of the 5G rollout. However, we concur with Karipidis that future experimental studies “should improve the experimental design” and “epidemiological research should continue to monitor long-term health effects in the population related to wireless telecommunications”.

Data generated and analysed for the production of this comment article is freely available for download from the Oceania Radiofrequency Scientific Advisory (ORSAA) website at the following address: https://www.orsaa.org/5g-review-supplementary-material.html.

Open access paper: https://rdcu.be/c0teu

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The association between self-reported mobile phone usage with blood pressure and heart rate: evidence from a cross-sectional study

Amiri, F., Moradinazar, M., Moludi, J. et al. The association between self-reported mobile phone usage with blood pressure and heart rate: evidence from a cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health 22, 2031 (2022). doi:10.1186/s12889-022-14458-1.

Abstract

Background  With the advancement of technology, the rate of access and use of mobile phones in different communities has increased significantly. Mobile phones emit electromagnetic waves and therefore excessive use of them may have harmful effects on physical and mental health and especially on the cardiovascular system. This study aimed to investigate the association between self-reported mobile phone use duration and blood pressure and heart rate (HR) using data from Ravansar non-communicable diseases (RaNCD) cohort study.

Methods  The present cross-sectional study was performed using the data of 8905 out of 10,065 participants in the RaNCD study in Iran. According to the mean self-reported duration of mobile phone usage (min/day) over the previous 12 months, all users were divided into four groups. The first and fourth groups had the least and most time using mobile phones respectively. The relationship between blood pressure and the duration of mobile phone use was determined using univariate and multiple linear regression.

Results  Of 8905 participants aged 35–65 years, 1515 (17.0%) of them didn't use mobile phones. The minimum, maximum, and mean duration of self-reported mobile phone use between users were 3.4, 50.4, and 19.5 min/day, respectively. A decrease in women's systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP and DBP) and HR was observed by increasing the duration of mobile phone use. With adjustment for effective confounding factors, there was a significant negative association between SBP [-2.52 (-4.11, -0.94)], DBP [-1.86 (-2.83, -0.89)], and duration of mobile use.

Conclusion  In this study, a significant decreasing trend was found between SBP, DBP, and HR and higher mobile phone usage in women. Based on regression analysis, SBP, DBP, and duration of mobile phone use were associated negatively in those who used their phones for at least 8 h.

Conclusion

The findings of the present study revealed that mobile phone use duration significantly affect BP just in females. After adjustment for all confounding factors, in whole population, SBP and DBP, in individuals who used their mobile phone more than 8 h/day (Q2-Q4), were significantly decreased in all three models. In contrast, after adjustment for all confounding factors, there was no significant association between mobile phone use duration and HR in all adjusted models. Since the association between mobile phone use duration and HR was weak for women and absent for men, perhaps this was just a chance finding that needs to be investigated further.

Open access paper: https://bmcpublichealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12889-022-14458-1

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Swipe Right on Male Infertility: Effect of cell phone radiation on sperm motility

Chu KY, Khodamoradi K, Dullea A, Ramasamy R. Swipe Right on Male Infertility: Effect of cell phone radiation on sperm motility. Fertility and Sterility. 118(5 Suppl):e38-e39. 2022. doi:10.1016/j.fertnstert.2022.09.288.

Abstract

Background  Over the past decade, the relationship between humans and their smartphones have been marked with stark symbiosis. The advent of Bluetooth earbuds has presumably prolonged the amount of time the cell phone resides in the trouser pockets of men. This places the smartphone and its respective radiofrequency - electromagnetic radiation (RF- EMR) near the testicles. RF-EMR has been postulated to increase oxidative stress and induce free radical formation.

Objective  We hypothesized that RF-EMR from cell phones has deleterious effects on sperm parameters, though these effects can be mitigated with solid mediums or distance.

Materials and Methods  We evaluated the impact of current generation smartphone, in talk mode, as the RF-EMR source. We certified the exposure to the specimen using calibrated RF-EMR meter (validated in previous studies). Initially, we studied the impact of RF-EMR on sperm motility and viability from fertile, normozoospermic men, between the ages of 25-35 years old by exposing their semen in an in vitro study over an 8-hour duration. We then determined whether using a cell phone case and increasing distance from semen sample would make a difference in outcomes. Statistical differences were analyzed using paired t student test for comparisons between two sub-groups where p<0.05 was set as significant.

Results  At 6 hours after exposure, we identified a decrease in sperm motility and viability in samples exposed to RF-EMR as compared to those samples that were not from fertile controls. With the addition of the case, we noted a smaller impact on total sperm motility and viability (p = 0.01, p = 0.01) as compared to direct RF-EMR exposure. In fact, moving the cell phone away by 3 inches represented the best mitigation strategy to deleterious effects on sperm motility and viability. Interestingly, when the phones were turned on in the talk-mode, most detrimental effects on sperm motility were identified.

Conclusions  In this pilot study, we observe that the sperm parameters of motility and vitality are impacted with RF-EMR exposure from cell phones. Precautionary measures such as physical shields and increased distance from the scrotum dampened the effects of RF-EMR. Further in vivo research on the true impact of cell phone radiation on male fertility potential is warranted.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0015028222017095

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Electromagnetic radiations on the functional potential of spermatozoa


Ranjitsingh AJA., Elizabeth MM., Dhasarathan P, Athinarayanan G. Electromagnetic radiations on the functional potential of spermatozoa. Res. J. Biotech. 17(10);12-17. doi:10.25303/1710rjbt12017. 2022.

Abstract

The growing exposure to digital communication system and tools leads to radiation toxicity to the users. Unaware of the safety measures, even a kid at the age of one starts operating digital gadgets emitting radio frequency-electromagnetic radiations. Radiations from mobile phones, laptops, note pad, Wi-Fi or other devices are reported to be harmful beyond the permissible limit. So there is a growing concern for the overall health, reproductive and hormonal functions. Experimental studies were conducted by using a Wi-Fi network active laptop and live spermatozoa. The exposure of sperms to the source of EMF showed that the activity of the live sperms got reduced and mortality was observed depending on the exposure duration and the distance from EMF sources.

After 5h of exposure to RF-EMF source, the semen quality changed when compared with control. The vitality of sperm in the control was 95±1.0 after 2 hr and it was reduced to 60±1.5 percent at a distance of 1cm and 55 ±2.2 percent at a distance of 10 cm. After 5 hour exposure, the vitality was reduced to 63±1.86 at 1 cm distance and 70± 1.42 at 10 cm distance. The reduction in vitality of sperm after exposure to RFEMF source for 2 hour was 35% at 1cm and 40% at 10cm distance.


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Why the psychogenic or psychosomatic theories for electrohypersensitivity causality should be abandoned, but not the hypothesis of a nocebo-associated symptom formation caused by EMF conditioning in some patients

Belpomme D, Irigaray P. Why the psychogenic or psychosomatic theories for electrohypersensitivity causality should be abandoned, but not the hypothesis of a nocebo-associated symptom formation caused by electromagnetic fields conditioning in some patients. Environ Res. 2022;114839. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2022.114839

No abstract

Excerpt

In summary, the Pitron et al. response to the editor is not based on appropriate and sound experimental data, but rather on a general unproved psychogenic somatic theory that posits a nocebo effect as the cause of EHS and/or MCS. This should be abandoned–although it is possible that after conditioning by real EMF stimuli the subsequent role of a nocebo process, a nocebo genesis may account for the formation of some (not all) symptoms. Contrary to Pitron et al.'s nocebo claim, we recall that many years ago, similar psychogenic or psychosomatic theories accounting for the genesis of tuberculosis arose, but were abandoned as soon as the causal role of the Koch's bacillus was discovered (Barberis et al., 2017); and this was also the case more recently with autism, due to the discovery of its environmental causal origin (Volk et al., 2022).

Consequently, contrary to Pitron et al.‘s unsupported claim (Belpomme and Irigaray, 2021) there is sufficient available scientific evidence to strongly recommend measures against the current unrestricted electromagnetic pollution, via application of the precautionary principle, to protect people, particularly the most vulnerable such as pregnant women, infants and children, who have been shown to be more susceptible and sensitive to anthropogenic EMFs.


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RF exposure from ten 5G beamforming cell towers (3.6 GHz band) in Germany

Kopacz T, Bornkessel C, Wuschek M. Consideration of current mobile phone antenna technology when determining HF-EMF exposure - project 3619S82463. Federal Office for Radiation Protection (BfS). Nov-2022. Report number(s): BfS-RESFOR-208/22. URN(s): urn:nbn:de:0221-2022112435660. (The report is in German with an English-language executive summary.)

Abstract (Google translation)

This research project deals with the metrological recording and analysis of immissions from 5G base stations with beamforming antennas in the 3.6 GHz band. As a basis, measurement methods for determining current, typical and maximum possible immissions were proposed, which suitably take into account the time-varying radiation behavior of the antennas. The maximum possible immissions can be determined either by extrapolation based on the difference in antenna gain between traffic and broadcast beams at the measuring point or by direct measurement when the maximum immission is provoked using a 5G terminal device. Immission measurements at 100 systematically selected measuring points in the vicinity of ten 5G beamforming base stations in the 3.6 GHz band resulted in maximum immissions between 0.2% (0.15 V/m) and 28.9% (17.6 V/m m) the field strength limit of the 26th BImSchV (median 4.7% or 2.9 V/m). The instantaneous immissions without provoked traffic were between 0.04% (0.03 V/m) and 1.1% (0.67 V/m) of the field strength limit value (median 0.08% or 0.05 V/m) and the emissions during typical use (ARD live stream) are only slightly higher, between 0.04% (0.03 V/m) and 1.3% (0.8 V/m) of the field strength limit value (median 0.2% or 0.12V/m). The visibility conditions between the place of immission and the 5G antenna have a major influence on the size of the immission, since significant attenuation also occurs in the 3.6 GHz band due to vegetation. The dependence on the vertical angle between the point of immission and the antenna observed in GSM, UMTS and LTE base stations has changed in the 5G beamforming base stations examined in such a way that the immissions are no longer highest at small but at larger vertical angles. len. If the beam does not act at the point of immission, but is shifted azimuthally or radially by a few tens of meters in the cell, the measurements carried out here showed an average immission reduction of 7.5 dB compared to a direct alignment of the beam to the point of immission. Long-term measurements showed that users were only active sporadically at the time of the measurements. Even with targeted provoked typical use, the 6-minute mean value of the field strength at most points could only be significantly raised above the detection limit of the measuring device by downloading a large file. Immission peaks were usually very limited in time.


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Stochastic Dosimetry Assessment of the Human RF-EMF Exposure to 3D Beamforming Antennas in indoor 5G Networks

Bonato M, Dossi L, Chiaramello E, Fiocchi S, Tognola G, Parazzini M. Stochastic Dosimetry Assessment of the Human RF-EMF Exposure to 3D Beamforming Antennas in indoor 5G Networks. Applied Sciences. 2021; 11(4):1751. https://doi.org/10.3390/app11041751

Abstract

The deployment of near future 5G networks will introduce modifications in the population’s exposure levels to radio-frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs). The present work aimed to face the challenge of studying the exposure variability in the presence of an access point (AP) at 3.7 GHz with 64 patch elements uniform planar array antenna and 3D beamforming capability. The novelty introduced in the methodology of the exposure’s evaluation was the combining of traditional computational methods with a new approach based on stochastic dosimetry, called polynomial chaos kriging method, in order to estimate the exposure levels for 1000 different antenna beamforming patterns with low computational efforts. The simulations were evaluated considering a child model and computing the specific absorption rate (SAR) in different tissues. The analysis of the results highlighted a high exposure variability scenario depending on the beamforming patterns of the array antenna and identified the ranges of elevation and azimuth angles of the main antenna beam that may cause the highest levels of exposure.

Open access paper: https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3417/11/4/1751

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5G Electric Fields Strength With Software Defined Radios

Minucci F. et al. 5G Electric Fields Strength With Software Defined Radios. IEEE Open Journal of the Communications Society, 2022, doi: 10.1109/OJCOMS.2022.3222537.

Abstract

The effect of electromagnetic radiation on public health is a recurring topic in the societal and political discourse, peaking with the introduction of every new generation of cellular technology. With the introduction of 5G, promising high peak download speeds as well as high-power beams, there is a need to revisit traditional measurement approaches. ICNIRP, a.k.a the International Committee on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection, offers a useful guideline to evaluate the electromagnetic field exposure of living tissues and provides some limits to keep exposure well below the threshold where it is considered harmful. However, modern packet radio technologies such as 5G or Wi-Fi are different from old broadcasting technologies. They deliver high power in very short bursts, spread over a wide band, thus increasing the difficulty of measuring electric fields with traditional instruments, such as spectrum analyzers. In addition, 5G promises a high spatial focusing performance, which means that the field can vary significantly even in a small area. Hence, measurements with a higher spatial density than we can achieve with expensive and bulky spectrum analyzers are urgently needed. Software-defined radios (SDRs), as a size-and cost-efficient alternative, can be used to capture signals in the time domain and thus increase measurement accuracy. However, software-defined radios are not designed to be used as RF power meters. They require accurate calibration and data analysis to ensure the measured power is correct. The aim of this work is to provide a general framework to calibrate SDRs, enabling them to measure RF power and extract the corresponding electric field value. Subsequently, the influence of the SDR parameters on the accuracy of the electric field measurement is investigated. To assess the performance of the proposed calibration framework in a real-life scenario, we rely on our private 5G network with a calibrated SDR to measure the RF power from a 5G network. Our measurements show that the average electric field exposure of 5G networks is well below 1 V/m.

Excerpt

The electric field calculation based on our 5G measurements is presented in Table 3. As expected, the electric field is stronger in positions 1 and 6 from Fig. 10, which are next to the UE. In all other positions, the electric fields are considerably lower. The average electric field values are never above 0.6 V/m. However, the electric field for a single transmission from the UE can peak at 40.82 V/m when measured with a near-field probe. Peaks from the base station, on the other hand, never surpassed 2.084 V/m. Measurements performed with two devices do not show any significant change in the electric field value generated by the base station, which is the focus of this research work. One important outcome of this measurement is that, while the regulator is focused on limiting the power of downlink transmission, the greatest contribution to RF exposure on people comes from the UE itself, similarly to what was found in [37]. Another important aspect to consider is that our results are in line with what was measured in [29]. This means that a low-cost SDR based system can be effectively employed for this kind of measurement.

https://ieeexplore-ieee-org.libproxy.berkeley.edu/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=9955380&isnumber=8901158

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Impact of Electromagnetic Radiation of 4G/5G Base Stations on Medical Short-Range Devices in Urban Area

A. Svistunou, V. Mordachev, E. Sinkevich, M. Ye, A. Dubovik and I. Shakinka. Impact of Electromagnetic Radiation of 4G/5G Base Stations on Medical Short-Range Devices in Urban Area. 2022 International Symposium on Electromagnetic Compatibility – EMC Europe, 2022, pp. 537-542, doi: 10.1109/EMCEurope51680.2022.9901031.

Abstract

The impact of electromagnetic radiation created by micro base stations of 4G/5G cellular networks on receivers of medical short-range devices of different systems (capsule endoscopy system, body area network system, and active implant system) located inside buildings is analyzed for urban area. The analysis is made by the use of computer simulation involving the multipath radiowave propagation model which takes into account outdoor-to-indoor propagation. To perform the simulation, a 3D model of a fragment of urban area containing buildings of a height from 6 m to 60 m is developed. The integrated interference margin is used as a criterion of electromagnetic compatibility. Results of the analysis show that 4G/5G base stations can create the interference to all considered types of medical short-range devices in cases when emitters are located outside buildings and receptors are located inside buildings. In order to achieve electromagnetic compatibility between these base stations and considered medical systems, recommendations on reducing of levels of electromagnetic interference are given. Results of this research can be used to ensure safe operation of 4G/5G base stations with respect to vital medical devices.

https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/9901031

Conclusions

As follows from the obtained results, LTE BS and 5G BS located outside buildings can potentially create interference to all considered types of MD SRDs located inside buildings. Compliance with the requirements of standards [2]-[8] does not guarantee the absence of interference to MD SRDs. Therefore, we advise the following measures to reduce the risk of interference to MD SRD operation: 1) to set more stringent requirements on susceptibility characteristics of the MD SRD receivers in frequency bands of BS operation, as well as on spurious emission of BS transmitters in frequency bands of MD SRD operation; 2) to use additional filters in order to decrease the level of spurious emissions of BS transmitters in MD SRD frequency bands; 3) to locate BS antennas in a way that ensures the absence of the line-of-sight irradiation of hospital buildings; 4) to locate MD SRD in rooms situated on the ground floor; 5) to locate MD SRD far from windows of the room.

In this work, the worst case models of emission spectra and susceptibility characteristics in the frequency domain are employed (the upper envelope of a spectrum and the lower envelope of a susceptibility characteristic). Therefore, the calculated values of the EMC criterion are pessimistic, i.e., these values concern the worst situation. The authors intend to verify the obtained results by experiments in order to define more precisely the restrictions needed to ensure the safe use of 4G/5G BS equipment.

The results of this work can be used in the field of standardization for improving standards intended to ensure the EMC between considered equipment, as well as in the field of design/upgrade/deployment of mobile communication systems for the diagnostics of intersystem EMC between 4G/5G BS and medical devices.

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Analyses of some call factors affecting SAR levels of GSM mobile phones used in Ghana

Osei S, Amoako JK, Sam F, Onyekwere P, Kudozia RY. ANALYSES OF SOME CALL FACTORS AFFECTING SAR LEVELS OF GSM MOBILE PHONES USED IN GHANA. Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2022 Nov 1:ncac206. doi: 10.1093/rpd/ncac206.

Abstract

In response to mounting radiofrequency health concerns, this study was constituted to provide critical scientific data and assess any potential exposure from global system for mobile communication mobile phones. Specific absorption rate (SAR) from phones approved by the regulator and untested/unapproved phones were measured with a ComoSAR system. The maximum 10 g SAR (0.51 W/kg) and 1 g SAR (0.99 W/kg) measured were 25 and 62% of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection and Federal Communication Commission limits, respectively. The approved phone produced statistically significant higher SAR values relative to the untested phone. SAR values of the right ear were relatively higher. All maximum SAR values were recorded on the right ear. The regulatory approval status of the phone, phone's orientation to the head, operating frequency channel and in which ear (right or left) the phone is used influenced the SAR measured. The SAR values of the approved phone compared favourably with similar studies while the unapproved phone does not.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36321330/

Conclusions

The study has revealed that, the regulatory approval status of the GSM mobile phone, the head side of the ear (left or right ear), the orientation of the phone when placed on the ear (left or tilt) and the transmitting frequency channel deployed during phone calls do have a significant impact on the SAR levels of the mobile phone. The SAR levels generally complied with the ICNIRP 10 g SAR basic restriction and the FCC 1 g SAR limit. The highest measured 10 g SAR of 0.51 W/kg is 26% of the ICNIRP basic restriction, and the maximum 1 g SAR of 0.99 W/kg is 62% of the FCC limit. These results generally agree with those recorded in Morga et al.(14) but are higher than that of Mahfouz et al.(16). The 1 g SAR at all times exceeded its counterpart 10 g SAR at all reference phone positions as its evaluation involved averaging over 1 g volume of tissue as compared to averaging over 10 g volume of the tissue for the 10 g SAR.

SAR levels of the approved phone were statistically significantly higher compared to the unapproved phone at all reference phone positions with the exception of RCL position. Possible reasons included the difference in phone antenna type, different antenna positions in the mobile phone and also the different brands of phones used. The right ear produced higher SAR relative to the left ear, which may be due to the differences in positioning of the phone antenna relative to the ear when used at the right ear and left ear. Specifically, all maximum SAR values occurred at the right ear. HEP SAR were relatively lower than the approved phone SAR even though agreeing with that of SAR unapproved phones. The approved phone measured SAR agreed with similar works done elsewhere but not in the case of the unapproved.

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Electromagnetic Fields Exposure Assessment in Europe Utilizing Publicly Available Data

Iakovidis S, Apostolidis C, Manassas A, Samaras T. Electromagnetic Fields Exposure Assessment in Europe Utilizing Publicly Available Data. Sensors (Basel). 2022 Nov 4;22(21):8481. doi: 10.3390/s22218481.

Abstract

The ever-increasing use of wireless communication systems during the last few decades has raised concerns about the potential health effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) on humans. Safety limits and exposure assessment methods were developed and are regularly updated to mitigate health risks. Continuous radiofrequency EMF monitoring networks and in situ measurement campaigns provide useful information about environmental EMF levels and their variations over time and in different microenvironments. In this study, published data from the five largest monitoring networks and from two extensive in situ measurement campaigns in different European countries were gathered and processed. Median electric field values for monitoring networks across different countries lay in the interval of 0.67-1.51 V/m. The median electric field value across different microenvironments, as evaluated from in situ measurements, varied from 0.10 V/m to 1.42 V/m. The differences between networks were identified and mainly attributed to variations in population density. No significant trends in the temporal evolution of EMF levels were observed. The influences of parameters such as population density, type of microenvironment, and height of measurement on EMF levels were investigated.

Excerpt

Table 4 and Table 5 show that there are cases where the lowest ICNIRP reference level (i.e., 27.7 V/m) [1] was exceeded. In these cases, a frequency-selective measurement and extrapolation to maximum traffic was performed [41]. In those cases where extrapolated E-field levels exceeded the lowest ICNIRP reference level, appropriate actions (shutdown or power reduction in relative transmitters) were taken [33,46,47], measurements were repeated, and finally, compliance was demonstrated.

Conclusions

The continuous monitoring of RF-EMF networks and in situ measurement campaigns are tools largely used for the demonstration of the compliance of environmental EMF with safety limits for the general public. In Europe, five large monitoring networks (Greece, Catalonia in Spain, Romania, Serbia, and France–Belgium) are currently operating, consisting of more than 1200 measuring sensors. Continuous data from monitoring networks are very useful for the analysis of the temporal evolution of exposure [9,12]. Two large in situ measurement campaigns (Catalonia in Spain and France) also provide useful information on exposure. In situ measurement campaigns provide useful data for the variation in exposure in different microenvironments where people spend most of their time [16].
The population density of an area is a factor correlated with E-field levels: The higher the population density, the higher the E-field measured. This can be concluded from the measurements of monitoring networks, where we observed higher E-field values in those countries where the sensors are located in places with higher population density. This conclusion was confirmed from in situ measurements within the same country (France), where the correlation was straightforward due to the large sample available.

However, the population density was not the only factor affecting measurement results. As shown in the case of the monitoring network in France–Belgium, sensor positioning was also an important factor: The higher the sensor was placed, the higher the E-field levels measured. This conclusion was confirmed by the in situ measurement campaign results in Catalonia in Spain, where the level/floor of each measurement location is available.

Differences exist in the design and deployment among different monitoring networks and in situ measurement campaigns. These differences can impose several problems and be misleading when trying to draw general conclusions. Such problems, among others, were faced in the current analysis of results in the cases of (i) the France–Belgium monitoring network (due to different sensor positioning compared with other networks) and (ii) the SMRF monitoring network (Catalonia, Spain) due to the gradual substitution of the probes with others operating in a broader frequency range. Indeed, proper reporting of relevant parameters can mitigate these problems. As an example, we can mention the reporting of (i) indoor/outdoor available information in France’s in situ measurement campaign that enabled the demonstration of E-field vs. population density correlation and (ii) the extent of the information available for measurement location (i.e. level) in the case of Catalonia’s in situ measurements that enabled the demonstration of E-field vs. level/height correlation. In this context, a common framework for the development and operation of monitoring networks and in situ measurement campaigns could homogenize measurement results among different countries and significantly facilitate the attainment of useful conclusions.

Open access paper: https://www.mdpi.com/1424-8220/22/21/8481

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Comparative Analysis of Electric Field Strength, Magnetic Field Strength and Power Density around the Cell Phone Towers of Varying Characteristics with a Proposed Classification Facilitating Research on Human Population

Baliah J, Subramanian B, Livingstone D, Kanwal B, Zaman MU, Srivastava KC, Abutayyem H, Al-Johani K, David AP, Shrivastava D, Alam MK. Comparative Analysis of Electric Field Strength, Magnetic Field Strength and Power Density around the Cell Phone Towers of Varying Characteristics with a Proposed Classification Facilitating Research on Human Population. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2022; 19(21):14157. doi: 10.3390/ijerph192114157

Abstract

The continuous exposure of electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation from cell phone towers may possibly have an influence on public health. Each cell phone tower is unique in terms of number of antennas and its associated attributes; thus, the radiation exposure varies from one tower to another. Hence, a standardized method for quantifying the exposure is beneficial while studying the effects of radiation on the human population residing around the cell phone towers. A mere collection of data or human samples without understanding the cell phone tower differences may show study results such as an increase or decrease in biological parameters. Those changes may not be due to the effects of EMF radiation from cell phone towers but could be due to any other cause. Therefore, a comparative study was designed with the aim of quantifying and comparing the electric field strength (EF), magnetic field strength (MF) and power density (PD) on four sides of cell phone towers with varying numbers of antennas at 50 m and 100 m. Further, an attempt was made to develop a PD-based classification for facilitating research involving human biological samples. Through convenience sampling, sixteen cell phone towers were selected. With the use of coordinates, the geographic mapping of selected towers was performed to measure the distance between the towers. Based on the number of antennas, the cell phone towers were categorized into four groups which are described as group I with 1–5 antennas, group II comprising of 6–10 antennas, group III consisting of 11–15 antennas and group IV comprised of towers clustered with more than 15 antennas. The study parameters, namely the EF, MF and PD, were recorded on all four sides of the cell phone towers at 50 m and 100 m. One-way ANOVA was performed to compare the study parameters among study groups and different sides using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 25.0. The mean MF in Group IV was 2221.288 ± 884.885 μA/m and 1616.913 ± 745.039 μA/m at 50 m and 100 m respectively. The mean PD in Group IV at 50 m was 0.129 ± 0.094 μW/cm2 and 0.072 ± 0.061 μW/cm2 at 100 m. There was a statistically significant (p < 0.05) increase in the MF and PD at 50 m compared to 100 m among cell phone tower clusters with more than 15 antennas (Group IV). On the other hand, a non-significant increase in EF was observed at 50 m compared to 100 m in Group II and IV. The EF, MF and PD on all four sides around cell phone towers are not consistent with distance at 50 m and 100 m due to variation in the number of antennas. Accordingly, a PD-based classification was developed as low, medium and high for conducting research involving any biological sample based on quantile. The low PD corresponds to 0.001–0.029, medium to 0.03–0.099 and high to 0.1–0.355 (μW/cm2). The PD-based classification is a preferred method over the sole criteria of distance for conducting human research as it measures the true effects of EMF radiation from the cell phone towers.

Open access paper: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/19/21/14157

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Measurement studies of personal exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields: A systematic review

Ramirez-Vazquez R, Escobar I, Vandenbosch GAE, Vargas F, Caceres-Monllor DA, Arribas E. Measurement studies of personal exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields: A systematic review. Environ Res. 2022 Nov 29:114979. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2022.114979.

Abstract

The last 25 years have seen an increase in the number of radiofrequency sources with the global adoption of smartphones as primary connectivity devices. The objective of this work was to review and evaluate the measured studies of personal exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields (RF-RMF) and meet the basic quality criteria eligible for inclusion in this Review, according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines, following the eligibility criteria of the PECO (Population, Exposure, Comparator, and Outcome) methodology, and the instrument for critical reading Critical Appraisal Skills Programme Español (CASPe). We systematically reviewed the works published between January 1, 1998, and December 31, 2021, yielding 56 publications. Of the different types of studies in which personal exposure to RF-EMF has been measured with two measurement methodologies can be highlighted: Personal measurements with volunteers and Personal measurements with a trained researcher (touring a specific area, one or several microenvironments, an entire city, walking or in some means of transport). Personal exposimeters were used in 83% of the studies. The lowest mean was measured in Egypt with a value of 0.00100 μW/m2 (1.00 nW/m2) in 2007 and the highest mean was measured in Belgium with a value of 285,000 μW/m2 (0.285 W/m2) in 2019. The results of our study confirm that RF-EMF exposure levels are well below the maximum levels established by the ICNIRP guidelines.


Comparison of personal exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields from Wi-Fi in a Spanish university over three years

Ramirez-Vazquez R, Escobar I, Martinez-Plaza A, Arribas E. Comparison of personal exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields from Wi-Fi in a Spanish university over three years [published online ahead of print, 2022 Nov 8]. Sci Total Environ. 2022;160008. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.160008.

Abstract

In this work we present the personal exposure levels to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields (RF-EMF) from Wireless Fidelity (Wi-Fi) 2.4 GHz and 5.85 GHz bands in a Spanish university, specifically, at the Faculty of Computer Science Engineering at the University of Castilla-La Mancha (Albacete, Spain). We present results from three years, 2017, 2018 and 2019 in the same study place and points; and measurements carried out in 2022 inside a classroom and inside a professor's office, with the aim to compare the measurements and verify compliance with reference levels established by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). The minimum average was 0.0900 μW/m2 in the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, in 2019, and the maximum average was 211 μW/m2 in the 5.85 GHz Wi-Fi in 2017, around the building. Comparing the measurements carried out inside the classroom with students and without students, we identified that the maximum value was 278 μW/m2 (classroom with students, in the 5.85 GHz Wi-Fi band) and the minimum value was 37.9 μW/m2 (classroom without students, in the 5.85 GHz Wi-Fi band). Finally, comparing the results of all the measurements (average values) inside the classroom and inside a professor's office, the maximum value was 205 μW/m2 (in the 5.85 GHz Wi-Fi band) inside the classroom with students, and the minimum value was 0.217 μW/m2 inside a professor's office (in the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi band). These values in no case exceed the limits established by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, 10 W/m2 for general public exposure.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36368387/

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Study of the Electromagnetic Field Generated by Wireless Communication Systems

S. Andreica, C. Munteanu, M. Gliga, C. Pacurar, A. Giurgiuman, C. Constantinescu. Study of the Electromagnetic Field Generated by Wireless Communication Systems. 2022 International Conference and Exposition on Electrical And Power Engineering (EPE), 2022, pp. 218-222, doi: 10.1109/EPE56121.2022.9959779.

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to outline the issue of exposure to electromagnetic radiation from communication systems (wireless routers, mobile phones) and to assess the intensity of the electric field to meet the levels within the limits imposed by law. The theme is a topical one because we use and are close to these devices every day, being exposed to the electromagnetic field both those who use the equipment and those who are close to it, lately this field being more and more publicized with the technological progress. Two generations of wireless routers were analyzed tracking electromagnetic field emissions depending on the position and number of users, this being done for mobile phones. A receiver microstrip antenna was also implemented to compare the results. The results obtained by experimental measurements, numerical modeling is presented and analyzed in this paper.

Conclusions

The values of the electric field intensity increase when we connect several devices, when we approach the field generator but also when we are at the level of the antennas of the wireless router. It is observed that the values of the electric field intensity do not exceed the limit of short-term exposure (61V/m). The highest value measured by us is 3.71 V/m for SMP2 positioning at, 0.1 m from the wireless router and at a height of 0.8 m from the ground, with two laptops connected to the wireless router from generation 4. However, this value exceeds the limit of 0.6 V m at long-term exposure. Following the analyzed studies, it is recommended to position the communication devices as far away from the human body as possible, in the case of the wireless router to position it in more isolated areas.

Comparing the results obtained for the two types of antennas, it can be stated that the antenna implementation was successful due to its functionality as a wireless antenna using it as a receiver, at a frequency of 2.4 GHz, together with the spectral analyzer. Comparing the results obtained with the microstrip antenna with those obtained with the telescopic antenna we can say that the results are similar.

https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?tp=&arnumber=9959779&isnumber=9959072

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Acute radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation exposure impairs neurogenesis and causes neuronal DNA damage in the young rat brain

Singh KV, Prakash C, Nirala JP, Nanda RK, Rajamani P. Acute radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation exposure impairs neurogenesis and causes neuronal DNA damage in the young rat brain. Neurotoxicology. 2022 Nov 3:S0161-813X(22)00174-7. doi: 10.1016/j.neuro.2022.11.001.

Highlights

• The study investigates the harmful effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR) exposure on the developing brain.
• RF-EMR exposure causes oxidative damage to lipids and DNA in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus region of the young brain.
• Hippocampal neurogenesis has been markedly reduced after RF-EMR exposure.
• RF-EMR exposure induces degenerative changes in dentate gyrus neurons.
• RF-EMR exposure does not activate the caspase-dependent apoptotic pathway.

Abstract

A mobile phone is now a commonly used device for digital media and communication among all age groups. Young adolescents use it for longer durations, which exposes them to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR). This exposure can lead to neuropsychiatric changes. The underlying cellular mechanism behind these changes requires detailed investigation. In the present study, we investigated the effect of RF-EMR emitted from mobile phones on young adolescent rat brains. Wistar rats (5 weeks, male) were exposed to RF-EMR signal (2,115MHz) at a head average specific absorption rate (SAR) of 1.51W/kg continuously for 8h. Higher level of lipid peroxidation, carbon-centered lipid radicals, and single-strand DNA damage was observed in the brain of rat exposed to RF-EMR. The number of BrdU-positive cells in the dentate gyrus (DG) decreased in RF-EMR-exposed rats, indicating reduced neurogenesis. RF-EMR exposure also induced degenerative changes and neuronal loss in DG neurons but had no effect on the CA3 and CA1 neurons of the hippocampus and cerebral cortex. The activity of Pro-caspase3 did not increase upon exposure in any of the brain regions, pointing out that degeneration observed in the DG region is not dependent on caspase activation. Results indicate that short-term acute exposure to RF-EMR induced the generation of carbon-centered lipid radicals and nuclear DNA damage, both of which likely played a role in the impaired neurogenesis and neuronal degeneration seen in the young brain's hippocampus region. The understanding of RF-EMR-induced alteration in the brain at the cellular level will help develop appropriate interventions for reducing its adverse impact.


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The effects of long-term prenatal exposure to 900, 1800, and 2100 MHz electromagnetic field radiation on myocardial tissue of rats

Bozok S, Karaagac E, Sener D, Akakin D, Tumkaya L. The effects of long-term prenatal exposure to 900, 1800, and 2100 MHz electromagnetic field radiation on myocardial tissue of rats. Toxicol Ind Health. 2022;7482337221139586. doi:10.1177/07482337221139586

Abstract

It is well-known that wireless communication technologies facilitate human life. However, the harmful effects of electromagnetic field (EMF) radiation on the human body should not be ignored. In the present study, we evaluated the effects of long-term, prenatal exposure to EMF radiation on the myocardium of rats at varying durations. Overall, 18 pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats were assigned into six groups (n = 3 in each group). In all groups other than the control group, three pregnant rats were exposed to EMF radiation (900, 1800 and 2100 MHz) for 6, 12 and 24 h over 20 days. After delivery, the newborn male pups were identified and six newborn male pups from each group were randomly selected. Then, histopathological and biochemical analysis of myocardial samples were performed. When 24-h/day prenatal exposures to 900, 1800, 2100 MHz EMF radiation were evaluated, myocardial damage was greater in the 2100 MHz EMF-24h group than the other groups. In addition, when malondialdehyde (MDA) and glutathione (GSH) levels associated with reactive oxidative species (ROS) were evaluated, the MDA level was higher in the 2100 MHz EMF-24h group compared with the other groups. The GSH level was also lower in the 2100 MHz EMF-24h group. When the 6, 12 and 24 h/day prenatal exposures to 1800 MHz EMF radiation were evaluated, myocardial damage was greater in 1800 MHz EMF-24h group than the remaining groups (p < 0.0001). Also, MDA level was greater in the 1800 MHz EMF-24h group compared with the other groups while the GSH level was lower in this group. It was shown that myocardial tissue was affected more by long-term exposure to EMF radiation at high frequencies. The data raise concerns that the harmful effects of non-ionizing radiation exposure on cardiac tissue will increase with 5G technology.

Excerpts

Control Group: The three pregnant rats in this group formed the sham group and were not exposed to radiation.
900 MHz/24h Group: The three pregnant rats in this group were continuously exposed to non-ionizing 900 MHz EMF radiation for 24 h per day over 20 days.
1800 MHz/6h Group: The three pregnant rats in this group were continuously exposed to non-ionizing 1800 MHz EMF radiation for 6 h per day over 20 days.
1800 MHz/12h Group: The three pregnant rats in this group were continuously exposed to non-ionizing 1800 MHz EMF radiation for 12 h per day over 20 days.
1800 MHz/24h Group: The three pregnant rats in this group were continuously exposed to non-ionizing 1800 MHz EMF radiation for 24 h per day over 20 days.
2100 MHz/24h Group: The three pregnant rats in this group were continuously exposed to non-ionizing 2100 MHz EMF radiation for 24 h per day over 20 days.

Each group was kept separately in the attended experiment boxes throughout study. Also, the control group was kept alone and isolated electromagnetically.
During the gestational period, a digital signal generator (Anritsu MG3670 B type, Japan) with an external antenna placed under the cage centrally was used for 900 MHz EMF exposure. The following parameters were used: maximal peak power, 2W; pulse width, 577 μsec; and modulation frequency, 217 Hz. The whole body average SAR was estimated as 0.087 W/kg using the finite integration technique (Alkis et al., 2019).
The same digital generator was used for 1800 MHz EMF exposure with following parameters: maximal peak power, 2W; pulse width, 577 μsec; and modulation frequency, 217 Hz. The whole body average SAR was estimated as 0.12 W/kg using the finite integration technique (Alkis et al., 2019).

The same digital generator was used for 2100 MHz EMF exposure with following parameters: maximal peak power, 2W; pulse width, 577 μsec; and modulation frequency, 217 Hz. The whole body average SAR was estimated as 0.17 W/kg using the finite integration technique (Alkis et al., 2019). In the study process, the radiation of the radiofrequency source was checked with a spectrum analyzer (Instek GSP 9330 TG, Taiwan) with its different probes....

Since fetal impact in pregnant women cannot be evaluated for ethical reasons, SAR values for EMF exposures ranging from 10 MHz to 2 GHz EMF were evaluated mathematically using a realistic modeling by Nagaoka, T et al. (2007). As a result of this study, in the vertical position, the mean SAR value of the whole body was found as 0.05–0.1 W/kg at 900 MHz EMF exposure whereas 0.125–0.25 W/kg at 2000 MHz exposure. These results were in agreement with the average SAR values generated with vertical EMF exposure in our experimental study....

... it is recommended that a pregnant working woman should be considered a member of the general population to maintain the fetal temperature at the level required by SAR restrictions in the general population. In the recommendations by International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) in 2020 (ICNIRP, 2020), the limit SAR values recommended at frequencies between 100 KHz and 6 GHz are 0.4 W/Kg for the working population and 0.08 W/Kg for the general population. However, based on experimental studies in the literature, it can be suggested that exposure to EMF at these frequencies can affect biological systems even at lower intensities than the values recommended by ICNIRP (Al-Jarrah and Rababa, 2022). Despite not being a human study, our results support this conclusion given the SAR values in our experimental animal model....

Since wireless communication devices have been widely used in most countries for about 20 years and will be used for longer periods of time, it is not possible to fully predict their effects on human health. It is controversial whether the results of previous studies at lower frequencies and shorter exposures are still valid today. For this reason, further studies are needed to compare the effects of RF waves used in 5G networks with other RF wavelengths used in wireless communication.
In conclusion, it has been shown that myocardial tissue will be affected more by long-term EMF radiation exposure at high frequencies. For this reason, we are concerned that the harmful effects of non-ionizing radiation exposure on cardiac tissue will increase with 5G technology.

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Changes in Histopathology and Proteins Related to the MAPK Pathway in the Brains of Rats Exposed to Pre and Postnatal Radiofrequency Radiation Over Four Generations

Tan B, Canturk Tan F, Yalcin B, Dasdag S, Yegin K, Yay AH. Changes in the histopathology and in the proteins related to the MAPK pathway in the brains of rats exposed to pre and postnatal radiofrequency radiation over four generations [published online ahead of print, 2022 Oct 29]. J Chem Neuroanat. 2022;126:102187. doi:10.1016/j.jchemneu.2022.102187 

Highlights
• One of the most important research topics are effect of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) on the central nervous system.
• EMF may cause changes in the function of the MAPK pathway, which affects cognitive processes such as learning and memory in rats.
• EMF may cause damage to both fetal and adult brain tissue in rats.
• Sufficient data are not available on generation studies investigate bio-effects of RF-EMFs.
Abstract

The development of new technologies and industry increases the number and variety of electromagnetic field (EMF) sources. Researchers are increasingly interested in the effects of EMF on brain health. The brain's function is largely dependent on electrical excitability, so it would be expected to be vulnerable to EMF. We therefore investigated the effects of brain development in the fetus, histopathological changes in female rats and the hippocampal level of MAPK proteins in male rats after exposed to pre and postnatal 2450MHz continuous wave (CW) radiofrequency radiation (RFR) over four generations.

Four groups: sham, irradiated female, irradiated male, irradiated male and female, with each consisting of four rats (one male and three females) were created. Rats in the exposure groups were whole-body exposed to 2450MHz CW-RFR for 12h/day during the experiment. Irradiation started one month before fertilization in the experimental group. On the 18th day of the gestational period, one pregnant rat from each group was decapitated under general anesthesia and the fetuses were taken. The remaining two pregnant rats completed the normal gestation period. When the offspring were two months old, four rats, one male and three female, were allocated for the second generation study. Next generation animals also experienced the same processes as the first generation rats. This study evaluated development of brain in fetuses and histopathological changes in brain of female rats using haematoxylin eosin staining, and the hippocampal level of MAPK proteins in brain of male rats by Western Blotting.

We observed hemorrhagic areas, irregular cellular localization and vascular structures in the brain of fetal and adult female rat of exposed groups in the all generations. pERK, ptau, pJNK and pP38 were increased in the brain of adult male rat of exposed groups in all generations (p<0.005).

Pre and postnatal 2450MHz continuous wave radiofrequency radiation exposure may cause changes in the function of the MAPK pathway affecting cognitive processes such as learning and memory and may cause damage to both the fetus and adult brain tissue. Also, EMF may have potential to affect brain of future generations.


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Effect of radiofrequency exposure on body temperature: Real-time monitoring in normal rats

Kim HS, Kim Y, Jeon SB, Choi HD, Lee AK, Lee HJ, Pack JK, Kim N, Ahn YH. Effect of radiofrequency exposure on body temperature: Real-time monitoring in normal rats. J Therm Biol. 2022 Dec;110:103350. doi: 10.1016/j.jtherbio.2022.103350.

Abstract

Radiofrequency radiation (RFR) can generate heat in living organisms. In this study, we monitored the body temperature of healthy animals during RFR exposure in real time using an implantable iButton data logger. A reverberation chamber system for small animals was used for this radiofrequency (RF) exposure in vivo study. Healthy male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into two groups: with versus without iButton implantation (n = 20 per group). Each group was further divided into a sham-exposed and RF-exposed group (n = 10 per subgroup). Rats were exposed to a 1,760-MHz long-term evolution (LTE) signal in the reverberation chamber system at a whole-body average specific absorption rate of 0 W/kg (sham-exposed) or 4 W/kg (RF-exposed) for 6 h. The body temperature of iButton-implanted rats was recorded using an intraperitoneally implanted iButton every minute over 6 h of RF exposure, whereas that of non-implanted rats was measured directly using a rectal thermometer immediately before and after the 6-h RF exposure period. The temperature values measured by the two types of thermometers were significantly positively correlated (r = 0.63, P < 0.01, linear regression), and changes in body temperatures recorded in iButton-implanted and non-implanted rats measured using two thermometers after 6 h of RF exposure were maintained within <1°C (P = 0.87, general linear model, followed by univariate model). Similar results were obtained for rectal thermometer measurements (P = 0.12, paired t-test). These results suggest that RF exposure at a whole-body average specific absorption rate of 4 W/kg does not induce significant changes in body temperature in healthy rats over a 6-h RF exposure period.


Highlights

• RF exposure of 4 W/kg wbSAR is known to alter rat behavior, but it is unclear whether it raises body temperature.
• The iButton, an implantable intraperitoneal thermometer, can be used to monitor body temperature in real time.
• Body temperatures measured by both the iButton and the rectal thermometer and the temperature change patterns were similar.
• The body temperature of healthy rats was not altered by RF exposure of 4 W/kg wbSAR.
Reverberation chamber for RF exposure

The methods used in this study were adapted from those of a previous study (Jin et al., 2021). Briefly, a reverberation chamber (IRETEC, Anyang, Korea) was used as the RF exposure system. The external dimensions (L × W × H) of the reverberation chamber were 2,295 × 2,293 × 1,470 mm. An LTE RF source with a center frequency of 1,706 MHz, a bandwidth of 20 MHz, and quadrature phase-shift keying modulation was used in this study. The input signal was amplified using a high-power amplifier (PCS60WHPA_CW; Kortcom Co., Anyang, Korea). The output power level (maximum: 60 W) was controlled using an 11-bit digital PIN diode attenuator (model 349; General Microwave, Farmingdale, NY, USA). Commercial transmitting antennae (patch type, KCAN1900PA; Korea Telecommunication Components, Anyang, Korea) were used. Exposure level and time were set using a computer. The input power was monitored in real time using a power meter (N1912A, Keysight, Santa Rosa, CA, USA) through a 20-dB directional coupler (778D, Keysight). The field uniformity of the reverberation chamber was measured at 24 points within the working volume. An isotropic field probe (HI-6005; ETS-Lindgren) was used for electric field measurements. Uniformity averaged over a period of 1 min was evaluated. The field distribution in the working volume remained within ±2 dB. The chambers were installed at the Korea Institute of Radiological & Medical Sciences in Seoul, Korea. The reverberation chamber was housed at an animal facility, and its ventilation, temperature, and humidity were controlled. The SAR distribution was calculated for each caged rat using a rat phantom (Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, Daejon, Korea); the simulation featured 40 tissues and a voxel size of 1 mm. The power output was adjusted to 45.5 W to achieve a wbSAR of 4 W/kg.

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Pre-Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields and Induction of Radioadaptive Response in Rats Irradiated with High Doses of X-Rays

Borzoueisileh S, Shabestani Monfared A, Mortazavi SMJ, Zabihi E, Pouramir M, Niksirat F, Seyfizadeh N, Shafiee M. Pre-Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields and Induction of Radioadaptive Response in Rats Irradiated with High Doses of X-Rays. J Biomed Phys Eng. 2022 Oct 1;12(5):505-512. doi: 10.31661/jbpe.v0i0.1271.

Abstract

Background: Some evidence shows that a pre-exposure to RF can mitigate the effects of subsequent exposures to high doses of ionizing radiation.

Objective: We aimed to assess the effect of a pre-exposure to non-ionizing RF radiation on survival, weight changes, food consumption, and water intake of lethally irradiated rats.

Material and methods: In this case-control study, we used a commercial mobile phone (GSM, 900/1800 MHz) as well as a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi router as the sources of pre-exposure to RF radiation. Forty-eight rats were randomly divided into six groups of control, "8 Gy X-rays", mobile phone, "mobile phone+8 Gy", Wi-Fi, and "Wi-Fi+8 Gy". Then, the survival fraction, weight loss, water, and food consumption changes were compared in different groups.

Results: The survival analysis indicated that the survival rates in all of the exposed animals ("8 Gy X-rays", "mobile phone+8 Gy", "Wi-Fi+8 Gy") were significantly lower than the control, "Wi-Fi", and "mobile phone" groups. The changes in survival rates of "mobile+8 Gy", "Wi-Fi+8 Gy", and 8 Gy alone were not statistically significant. However, food and water intake were significantly affected by exposure to both RF pre-exposures and exposure to high dose ionizing radiation.

Conclusion: To the best of our knowledge, the existence of a dose window for the induction of AR [adaptive response] can be the cause of the lack of AR in our experiment. Our findings confirm that in a similar pattern with the adaptive responses induced by pre-exposure to ionizing radiation, the induction of adaptive response by RF-pre-exposures requires a minimum level of damage to trigger adaptive phenomena.


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Effects of Heat and WiFi (2.4 GHz) Exposure on Rat Cardiovascular System

Jafari M, Masoudi E, Sotoudeh N, Hosseini S F. Effects of Heat and WiFi (2.4 GHz) Exposure on Rat Cardiovascular System. Health Scope. 2022;11(3):e120282. doi:10.5812/jhealthscope-120282

Abstract

Background: Today, wireless communication systems are destructive with increased lipid peroxidation and oxidation state and have adverse biological effects on human health.

Objectives: In this study, we examined the effects of exposure to WiFi wireless frequency (2.4 GHz) on histopathological changes in the cardiovascular system of rats.

Methods: The experimental groups included 32 adult male rats divided into control (not exposed to heat and WiFi), WiFi (exposed to 2.45 GHz for 52 consecutive days (2 h/day)), heat (water bath of 43°C for 52 consecutive days (10 min/day)), and heat+WiFi groups (exposed to 2.45 GHz then water bath of 43°C). On the 52nd day, the heart was removed, and its total volume and weight were determined using stereological techniques. The number of cardiomyocytes nuclei and the volume of the myocardium were determined. Blood samples were collected to measure reduced glutathione (GSH) content, Total Antioxidant Capacity (TAC), and malondialdehyde level (MDA). Data were analyzed by ANOVA, Kruskal-Wallis, and Mann-Whitney U tests.

Results: The heart weight and volume density of the myocardium increased in the WiFi-irradiated group compared to the control group (P < 0.05). Also, exposure to WiFi increased MDA levels and decreased TAC and GSH compared to the control group (P < 0.05).

Conclusions: This study indicated that RFW might cause structural changes and oxidative stress in the heart. Also, exposure to radiofrequency decreased total antioxidant activity in heart tissue with histological changes, including myocardium hypertrophy and decreased number of myocytes.

Open access paper: https://brieflands.com/articles/healthscope-120282.html

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Histomorphometric Analysis of Chick Embryo Kidneys on Exposure to 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz Radiofrequency Radiation Emitted from Cell Phone

Dsilva MH, Swer RT, Anbalagan J. Histomorphometric Analysis of Chick Embryo Kidneys on Exposure to 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz Radiofrequency Radiation Emitted from Cell Phone. J Clin of Diagn Res. 2022; 16(10):AC01-AC05. doi:10.7860/JCDR/2022/58391/16862

Abstract

Introduction: With its sophisticated and multifunctional features, the cell phone has become an integral part of human life. Scientific reports are still inconclusive, regarding the possible ill effects of Radiofrequency Radiation (RFR) emitted from cell phones on biological tissues.

Aim: To evaluate the possible tissue damage in developing kidneys of chick embryos, following exposure to 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz radiofrequency radiation emitted from 2G and 3G cell phones.

Materials and Methods: This experimental study was conducted in Department of Anatomy at Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Puducherry, India, from August 2011 to June 2015. Fertilised chick embryos (144±20 eggs) were divided into three groups with a sample size of 48 eggs per group. Group A was exposed to 2G radiation (1800 MHz), group B was exposed to 3G radiation (2100 MHz) and group C was a sham exposed control group. The embryos were sacrificed from the 5th-12th day, and processed for routine histological procedures, to check structural and morphometric changes in the kidney. The standard epithelial height and nuclear diameter of both proximal convoluted tubule and distal convoluted tubule, karyorrhexis changes and diameter of urinary space were analysed using an ocular micrometer and square reticle. The results were statistically analysed using one-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA).

Results: The results showed cytoplasmic changes (vacuolations) and nuclear changes (nucleomegaly, karyorrhexis) in proximal convoluted tubule and distal convoluted tubule, vascular changes (haemorrhage and infiltrations) in the interstitium and increased urinary space in the glomerulus of chick embryo kidneys.

Conclusion: Based on the study findings, it was concluded that RFR exposure from cell phones causes histopathological changes in the developing kidneys of chick embryos.


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2.4 GHz Electromagnetic Field Influences the Response of the Circadian Oscillator in the Colorectal Cancer Cell Line DLD1 to miR-34a-Mediated Regulation

Olejárová S, Moravčík R, Herichová I. 2.4 GHz Electromagnetic Field Influences the Response of the Circadian Oscillator in the Colorectal Cancer Cell Line DLD1 to miR-34a-Mediated Regulation. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Oct 30;23(21):13210. doi: 10.3390/ijms232113210. PMID: 36361993.

Abstract

Radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) exert pleiotropic effects on biological processes including circadian rhythms. miR-34a is a small non-coding RNA whose expression is modulated by RF-EMF and has the capacity to regulate clock gene expression. However, interference between RF-EMF and miR-34a-mediated regulation of the circadian oscillator has not yet been elucidated. Therefore, the present study was designed to reveal if 24 h exposure to 2.4 GHz RF-EMF influences miR-34a-induced changes in clock gene expression, migration and proliferation in colorectal cancer cell line DLD1. The effect of up- or downregulation of miR-34a on DLD1 cells was evaluated using real-time PCR, the scratch assay test and the MTS test. Administration of miR-34a decreased the expression of per2, bmal1, sirtuin1 and survivin and inhibited proliferation and migration of DLD1 cells. When miR-34a-transfected DLD1 cells were exposed to 2.4 GHz RF-EMF, an increase in cry1 mRNA expression was observed. The inhibitory effect of miR-34a on per2 and survivin was weakened and abolished, respectively. The effect of miR-34a on proliferation and migration was eliminated by RF-EMF exposure. In conclusion, RF-EMF strongly influenced regulation mediated by the tumour suppressor miR-34a on the peripheral circadian oscillator in DLD1 cells.

Excerpt

To test the effect of RF-EMF on gene expression, DLD1 cells were exposed to a pulsed electromagnetic field, generated by a D-Link GO-RT-N150 Wi-Fi router (D-Link, Taipei, Taiwan), during 24 h. The radiofrequency range was 2426 to 2448 MHz (Wi-Fi channel 6), pulse length was 2.76 ms, pulse frequency was 9.7 Hz, pulse risetime was 0.06–0.08 µs, and pulse falltime was 0.067–0.107 µs.

Radiofrequency field power flux density at the level of the cell layer was 1 W/m2 (19 V/m) peak, 0.12 W/m2 (6.6 V/m) RMS. Plates with sham-exposed cells were during this time covered by radiofrequency protective foil YSHIELD HNV100 (YSHIELD GmbH & Co. KG, Ruhstorf an der Rott, Germany). Other conditions were identical for both groups: powerline frequency electric field (50 Hz) at the level of cell layer was below 1 V/m, powerline frequency magnetic field at the level of cell layer was 0.3 µT in both control and experimental groups.

Conclusions

In conclusion, the present study revealed new target genes of miR-34a-5p with key roles in the circadian oscillator functioning– per2, bmal1 and cry1. In the case of per2 and bmal1, miR-34a-5p downregulated gene expression, and this effect was most likely mediated via the 3′UTR region. cry1 mRNA expression was upregulated after miR-34a administration, and this influence is more likely to be mediated by an alternative way of miRNA functioning.

Interestingly, exposure to RF-EMF potentiates the capacity of miR-34a to induce the expression of clock genes with oncogenic capacity—cry1 and cry2. Moreover, the functioning of the miR-34a inhibitor was weakened when cells were exposed to RF-EMF, and consequently, the increase in tumour-suppressive per2 mRNA expression induced by the miR-34a inhibitor was less pronounced under RF-EMF conditions compared to the control. Similarly, miR-34a inhibited the expression of anti-apoptotic protein survivin was diminished when cells were exposed to RF-EMF. RF-EMF have been classified by the WHO as possibly carcinogenic for humans. Our data are in line with this conclusion, as the results indicate that RF-EMF can shift the influence of miR-34a in cancer progression manifested by analysed target genes from typical tumour-suppressive to neutral or slightly oncogenic.


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Effect of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Radiation Emitted by Modern Cellphones on Sperm Motility and Viability: An In Vitro Study

Chu KY, Khodamoradi K, Blachman-Braun R, et al. Effect of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Radiation Emitted by Modern Cellphones on Sperm Motility and Viability: An In Vitro Study [published online ahead of print, 2022 Nov 12]. Eur Urol Focus. 2022;S2405-4569(22)00247-4. doi:10.1016/j.euf.2022.11.004.

Abstract

Background: Cellphones emit radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR) for transmission of data for social media communication, web browsing, and music/podcast streaming. Use of Bluetooth ear buds has probably prolonged the time during which cellphones reside in the trouser pockets of men. It has been postulated that RF-EMR increases oxidative stress and induces free radical formation.

Objective: To investigate the effect of wireless-spectrum (4G, 5G, and WiFi) RF-EMR emitted by modern smartphones on sperm motility and viability and explore whether these effects can be mitigated using a physical barrier or distance.

Design, setting, and participants: Semen samples were obtained from fertile normozoospermic men aged 25-35 yr. A current-generation smartphone in talk mode was used as the RF-EMR source. A WhatsApp voice call was made using either 4G, 5G, or WiFi wireless connectivity. We determined if exposure effects were mitigated by either a cellphone case or greater distance from the semen sample.

Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: The semen samples were analyzed according to 2010 World Health Organization laboratory guidelines. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS v.28.

Results and limitations: We observed decreases in sperm motility and viability with WiFi exposure but not with exposure to 4G or 5G RF-EMR. With large variability among smartphones, continued research on exposure effects is needed.

Conclusions: Our exploratory study revealed that sperm motility and viability are negatively impacted by smartphones that use the WiFi spectrum for data transmission.

Patient summary: We looked at the effect of cellphone use on sperm motility and viability. We found that cellphones using WiFi connectivity for data usage have harmful effects on semen quality in men

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36379868/

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Electromagnetic interactions in regulations of cell behaviors and morphogenesis

Sun G, Li J, Zhou W, Hoyle RG, Zhao Y. Electromagnetic interactions in regulations of cell behaviors and morphogenesis. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2022;10:1014030. Published 2022 Oct 19. doi:10.3389/fcell.2022.1014030

Abstract

Emerging evidence indicates that the cellular electromagnetic field regulates the fundamental physics of cell biology. The electromagnetic oscillations and synchronization of biomolecules triggered by the internal and external pulses serve as the physical basis of the cellular electromagnetic field. Recent studies have indicated that centrosomes, a small organelle in eukaryotic cells that organize spindle microtubules during mitosis, also function as a nano-electronic generator in cells. Additionally, cellular electromagnetic fields are defined by cell types and correlated to the epigenetic status of the cell. These interactions between tissue-specific electromagnetic fields and chromatin fibers of progenitor cells regulate cell differentiation and organ sizes. The same mechanism is implicated in the regulation of tissue homeostasis and morphological adaptation in evolution. Intercellular electromagnetic interactions also regulate the migratory behaviors of cells and the morphogenesis programs of neural circuits. The process is closely linked with centrosome function and intercellular communication of the electromagnetic fields of microtubule filaments. Clearly, more and more evidence has shown the importance of cellular electromagnetic fields in regulatory processes. Furthermore, a detailed understanding of the physical nature of the inter- and intracellular electromagnetic interactions will better our understanding of fundamental biological questions and a wide range of biological processes.


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Wave-like patterns in parameter space interpreted as evidence for macroscopic effects resulting from quantum or quantum-like processes in the brain

Kurtev S. Wave-like patterns in parameter space interpreted as evidence for macroscopic effects resulting from quantum or quantum-like processes in the brain. Sci Rep. 2022;12(1):18938. Published 2022 Nov 7. doi:10.1038/s41598-022-22661-8

Abstract

Data from eight numerosity estimation experiments reliably exhibit wave-like patterns in plots of the standard deviations of the response times along the abstract parameter of the magnitude of the error in the numerosity estimation. An explanation for this phenomenon is proposed in terms of an analogy between response times and error magnitude on one hand, and energy and position of quantum particles on the other, constructed using an argument for an overlap between the mathematical apparatus describing Hopfield-type neural networks and quantum systems, established by some researchers. Alternative explanations are presented within the traditional explanatory framework of oscillations due to neural firing, involving hypothetical mechanisms for converting oscillation patterns in time to oscillation patterns in the space of an abstract parameter, such as the magnitude of the error during numerosity estimation. The viability of the proposal of causal influences propagating from the microscale of quantum phenomena to the macroscale of human behavior, needed for the first type of explanation, is exemplified by the phenomenon of magnetoreception in some species of birds, which is allegedly quantum in nature.

Open access paper: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-022-22661-8

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New view on the impact of the low-frequency electromagnetic field (50 Hz) on stress responses - hormesis effect

Klimek A, Kletkiewicz H, Siejka A, Wyszkowska J, Maliszewska J, Klimiuk M, Jankowska M, Seckl J, Rogalska J. New view on the impact of the low-frequency electromagnetic field (50 Hz) on stress responses - hormesis effect. Neuroendocrinology. 2022 Nov 2. doi: 10.1159/000527878.

Abstract

Introduction: Low-frequency electromagnetic field (50 Hz) (EMF) can modify crucial neuronal processes. Existing data indicate that exposure to EMF may represent a mild stressor and contribute to disturbances of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. The important regulatory pathways controlling HPA axis activity include two types of corticosteroid receptors: mineralocorticoid (MR) and glucocorticoid (GR) receptors. There are particularly abundant in the hippocampus, a key locus of HPA axis feedback control. The research aimed at determining whether 1) EMF exhibits hormesis, it means bidirectional action depending on EMF intensity (1 or 7 mT), and 2) repeated EMF exposure changes stress response to subsequent stress factors.

Methods: The exposure (7-day, 1h/day) of adult rats to EMF (1 mT and 7 mT) was repeated 3 times. HPA axis hormones and their receptors were analysed after each following exposure. Moreover, the impact of EMF exposure on hormonal and behavioural responses to subsequent stress factor - open-field test was evaluated.

Results/discussion: Our data suggest that exposure to EMF can establish a new "set-point" for HPA axis activity. The direction and dynamics of this process depend on the intensity of EMF and the number of exposures. EMF of 1 mT induced an adaptive stress response, but 7 mT EMF caused sensitization. Consequently, EMF changed the vulnerability of the organism to a subsequent stress factor. We have also shown the increase of MR mRNA abundance in hippocampus of 1 mT EMF exposed rats, which can represent the possible neuroprotective response and suggest therapeutic properties of electromagnetic fields.


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Investigation of extremely low-frequency (1 Hz-400 kHz) pollution frequently encountered in social life: a case study of a shopping mall

Emeksiz C. Investigation of extremely low-frequency (1 Hz-400 kHz) pollution frequently encountered in social life: a case study of a shopping mall. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2022 Nov 3. doi: 10.1007/s11356-022-23843-7.

Abstract

It is important to periodically measure, analyze, and map electromagnetic radiation levels due to potential risks. This study aims to draw attention to new electromagnetic pollution caused by radio frequencies and extremely low frequencies. For this reason, electric field and magnetic field measurements were carried out in the 1-Hz-400-kHz frequency band in a shopping mall, where electronic devices cause low-frequency electromagnetic radiation intensively. The measurements were performed with the EHP-50F device for 24 h a day for a week. The measurements were made at 10 points in the shopping mall, and the measurement results were evaluated over five different sectors: electronics, clothing and accessories (male-female), personal care and cosmetics, supermarket, and the playland for children. Magnetic maps of each sector were produced. In addition, the specific absorption rates (SAR) of male and female customers in these workplaces were determined. This is the first study carried out to find SAR caused by low-frequency radiation. Although the safe limit value of SAR for the whole body is 0.08 W/kg, the SAR values calculated in the playland and electronics sectors were obtained to be 0.763 and 0.39 W/kg, respectively. Results clearly demonstrate how especially small children are exposed to danger in the long term.


Conclusions

In this study, five main topics were discussed: the determination of 10 different measurement points at the largest shopping mall in the province of Tokat, Turkey; a grouping of the measurement points by service sectors; measurement of low-frequency electric and magnetic field values; determination of electromagnetic pollution maps of measurement points; and analysis of SAR values.

First of all, workplaces designated for measuring points in the shopping mall were divided into 5 service groups: electronics, clothing and accessories (male–female), personal care and cosmetics, supermarket, and the playland. The coordinates and measurements of the workplaces were carried out meticulously. The information obtained was entered separately to the measurement points in the shopping mall, and a low-frequency electromagnetic pollution map was obtained. Exposure to SAR in male and female customer groups was compared to biological limits defined by ICNIRP, where adverse effects start to appear.

The results obtained are as follows:

  1. The evaluation of the data collected from 10 points of measurement for a week showed that the playland region, which serves children, has the highest electric and magnetic field values. In this region, an average electric field of 52.666 V/m and a magnetic field of 0.046 µT were measured for a week. According to the measured electric field, the SAR ratio was found to be 0.763 W/kg, above the maximum values. The electronic service sector was ranked second sector which exceeds the safety limits.

  2. The lowest average electric and magnetic field values (1.398 V/m, 0.044 µT) were obtained in the supermarket sector. Accordingly, the lowest SAR value was also determined at the measuring points of this sector.

  3. The maximum and minimum electric field values were obtained on different days of the week, as shown in the tables that present the statistical evaluation of the measurement results. Therefore, customers will be exposed to different impacts on different days of the week.

  4. In determining the SAR rates, the safety limit for the whole body was taken as a reference. Both male and female customers were evaluated separately. In the calculations, individuals with a normal body mass index were preferred. This is because the overweight and obese groups are more exposed to SAR than the normal groups.

  5. Although male and female customers are exposed to high amounts of electromagnetic radiation, the duration of radiation exposure is also of importance. And, although customers are exposed to this radiation for a short period of time, employees in these workplaces are exposed to the radiation for at least 10 h every day.

Consequently, as a common place for a shopping habit that emerged in today’s societies, shopping malls are the points where low-frequency electromagnetic radiation is seen intensively. In addition, the decrease in children’s play areas due to rapid urbanization causes parents to spend a large part of their children’s time in the play areas in shopping malls. Given the literature studies that draw attention to the impact of low-frequency electromagnetic radiation, it is once again seen how important the politicians’ responsibilities are in providing a safe and healthy environment for all of us.

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Intermittent ELF-MF Induce an Amplitude-Window Effect on Umbilical Cord Blood Lymphocytes

Zastko L, Makinistian L, Tvarožná A, Belyaev I. Intermittent ELF-MF Induce an Amplitude-Window Effect on Umbilical Cord Blood Lymphocytes. Int J Mol Sci. 2022;23(22):14391. Published 2022 Nov 19. doi:10.3390/ijms232214391

Abstract

In a previous study of the effects of intermittent extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic fields (MF) on umbilical cord blood lymphocytes (UCBL), we evaluated MF amplitudes between 6 µT and 24 µT and found an effect only for those below 13 µT. This suggested the existence of an amplitude window. In this brief communication, we further tested this hypothesis. UCBLs from healthy newborns were isolated and exposed for 72 h to an intermittent ELF-MF (triangular, 7.8 Hz, 250 s ON/250 s OFF) with 6 different amplitudes between 3 µT and 12 µT, utilizing an oblong coil. Percentage of viable, early apoptotic (EA), and late apoptotic/necrotic (LAN) cells were determined by flow cytometry. Moreover, reactive oxygen species (ROS) were determined at 1 h and 3 h of the exposure. Like in our previous work, neither EA, nor LAN, nor ROS were statistically significantly affected by the intermittent ELF-MF. However, the percentage of viable cells was decreased by exposure to the fields with intensities of 6.5 µT and 12 µT (p &lt; 0.05; and p = 0.057 for 8.5 µT). ELF-MF decreased the percentage of viable cells for fields down to 6.5 µT, but not for 5 µT, 4 µT, or 3 µT. Combined with our previous findings, the results reported here indicate an amplitude window effect between 6 µT and 13 µT. The obtained data are in line with a notion of amplitude and frequency windows, which request scanning of both amplitude and frequency while studying the ELF-MF effects.


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A 50 Hz magnetic field influences the viability of breast cancer cells 96 h after exposure

Elexpuru-Zabaleta M, Lazzarini R, Tartaglione MF, et al. A 50 Hz magnetic field influences the viability of breast cancer cells 96 h after exposure. 2022 Nov 15]. Mol Biol Rep. 2022;10.1007/s11033-022-08069-7. doi:10.1007/s11033-022-08069-7.

Abstract

Background: The exposure of breast cancer to extremely low frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MFs) results in various biological responses. Some studies have suggested a possible cancer-enhancing effect, while others showed a possible therapeutic role. This study investigated the effects of in vitro exposure to 50 Hz ELF-MF for up to 24 h on the viability and cellular response of MDA-MB-231 and MCF-7 breast cancer cell lines and MCF-10A breast cell line.

Methods and results: The breast cell lines were exposed to 50 Hz ELF-MF at flux densities of 0.1 mT and 1.0 mT and were examined 96 h after the beginning of ELF-MF exposure. The duration of 50 Hz ELF-MF exposure influenced the cell viability and proliferation of both the tumor and nontumorigenic breast cell lines. In particular, short-term exposure (4-8 h, 0.1 mT and 1.0 mT) led to an increase in viability in breast cancer cells, while long and high exposure (24 h, 1.0 mT) led to a decrease in viability and proliferation in all cell lines. Cancer and normal breast cells exhibited different responses to ELF-MF. Mitochondrial membrane potential and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production were altered after ELF-MF exposure, suggesting that the mitochondria are a probable target of ELF-MF in breast cells.

Conclusions: The viability of breast cells in vitro is influenced by ELF-MF exposure at magnetic flux densities compatible with the limits for the general population and for workplace exposures. The effects are apparent after 96 h and are related to the ELF-MF exposure time.


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Hypomagnetic Field Exposure Affecting Gut Microbiota, Reactive Oxygen Species Levels, and Colonic Cell Proliferation in Mice

Zhan A, Luo Y, Qin H, Lin W, Tian L. Hypomagnetic Field Exposure Affecting Gut Microbiota, Reactive Oxygen Species Levels, and Colonic Cell Proliferation in Mice. Bioelectromagnetics. 2022;10.1002/bem.22427. doi:10.1002/bem.22427

Abstract

The gut microbiota has been considered one of the key factors in host health, which is influenced by many environmental factors. The geomagnetic field (GMF) represents one of the important environmental conditions for living organisms. Previous studies have shown that the elimination of GMF, the so-called hypomagnetic field (HMF), could affect the physiological functions and resistance to antibiotics of some microorganisms. However, whether long-term HMF exposure could alter the gut microbiota to some extent in mammals remains unclear. Here, we investigated the effects of long-term (8- and 12-week) HMF exposure on the gut microbiota in C57BL/6J mice. Our results clearly showed that 8-week HMF significantly affected the diversity and function of the mouse gut microbiota. Compared with the GMF group, the concentrations of short-chain fatty acids tended to decrease in the HMF group. Immunofluorescence analysis showed that HMF promoted colonic cell proliferation, concomitant with an increased level of reactive oxygen species (ROS). To our knowledge, this is the first in vivo finding that long-term HMF exposure could affect the mouse gut microbiota, ROS levels, and colonic cell proliferation in the colon. Moreover, the changes in gut microbiota can be restored by returning mice to the GMF environment, thus the possible harm to the microbiota caused by HMF exposure can be alleviated.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36434792/

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Influence of hypomagnetic field on the heartbeat in zebrafish embryos


Krylov V, Machikhin A, Sizov D, et al. Influence of hypomagnetic field on the heartbeat in zebrafish embryos. Front Physiol. 2022;13:1040083. Published 2022 Oct 21. doi:10.3389/fphys.2022.1040083.

Abstract

The magnetic environment may influence the functioning of the cardiovascular system. It was reported that low-frequency and static magnetic fields affect hemodynamics, heart rate, and heart rate variability in animals and humans. Moreover, recent data suggest that magnetic fields affect the circadian rhythms of physiological processes. The influence of the magnetic environment on heart functionating during early development has been studied insufficiently. We utilized transparent zebrafish embryos to evaluate the effect of the hypomagnetic field on the characteristics of cardiac function using a noninvasive optical approach based on photoplethysmographic microscopic imaging. The embryos were exposed to the geomagnetic and hypomagnetic fields from the second to the 116th hour post fertilization under a 16 h light/8 h dark cycle or constant illumination. The exposure of embryos to the hypomagnetic field in both lighting modes led to increased embryo mortality, the appearance of abnormal phenotypes, and a significant increase in the embryo's heartbeat rate. The difference between maximal and minimal heartbeat intervals, maximal to minimal heartbeat intervals ratio, and the coefficient of variation of heartbeat rate were increased in the embryos exposed to the hypomagnetic field under constant illumination from 96 to 116 h post fertilization. The dynamics of heartbeat rate changes followed a circadian pattern in all studied groups except zebrafish exposed to the hypomagnetic field under constant illumination. The results demonstrate the importance of natural magnetic background for the early development of zebrafish. The possible mechanisms of observed effects are discussed.

Open access paper: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9634549/

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Observed electric charge of insect swarms and their contribution to atmospheric electricity

Hunting ER, O’Reilly LJ, Harrison RG, Manser K, England SJ, Harris BH, Robert D. Observed electric charge of insect swarms and their contribution to atmospheric electricity. iScience. 25(11):105241. 2022. doi:10.1016/j.isci.2022.105241.

Abstract

The atmosphere hosts multiple sources of electric charge that influence critical processes such as the aggregation of droplets and the removal of dust and aerosols. This is evident in the variability of the atmospheric electric field. Whereas these electric fields are known to respond to physical and geological processes, the effect of biotic sources of charge has not hitherto been considered. Here, we combine theoretical and empirical evidence to demonstrate that honeybee swarms directly contribute to atmospheric electricity, in proportion to the swarm density. We provide a quantitative assessment of this finding, by comparing the electrical contribution of various swarming insect species with common abiotic sources of charge. This reveals that the charge contribution of some insect swarms will be comparable with that of meteorologically induced variations. The observed transport of charge by insects therefore demonstrates an unexplored role of biogenic space charge for physical and ecological processes in he atmosphere.

Excerpt

The presented evidence that swarming, migrating insects transport charge in the lower atmosphere indicates that large collections of charged insects will contribute to a hitherto unrecognized source of electrical variability in the atmosphere. This recognition potentially carries various physically- and biologically relevant implications. For instance, entomogenic space charge is not considered in current climate models aimed at capturing the complex interplay between radiation and particulate matter, such as the atmospheric transport of dust. As atmospheric space charge enhances the aggregation and movement of aerial particles (Toth et al., 2020), it is conceivable that insect-derived space charges will also contribute to spatial changes in aerial particles. For example, it could be speculated that insect-driven charged particle collection and transport could contribute to long-range transport of desert dust, providing alternative explanations for the transport of large particles, which cannot be explained by physical processes alone (Toth et al., 2020; Does Van der et al., 2018). Further, insects are not the only source of biogenic charge in the atmosphere, as birds and microorganisms also carry charge and abound in the lower atmosphere (Badger et al., 2015; de Groot et al., 2021). The observed presence and magnitude of biogenic space charge invites further interdisciplinary research into the dynamic electrical interactions between physical and biological entities in the atmosphere.