Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Electromagnetic Radiation Safety

Recent News

Frank Barnes, De-Kun Li, and Joel Moskowitz. Upcoming Webinar on EMF Health Impacts and Next Steps for Policy Change: 2 PM EDT, May 9, 2018. Information & registration:
Mark Hertsgaard and Mark Dowie. "How Big Wireless Made Us Think That Cell Phones Are Safe: A Special Investigation." THE NATION, March 29, 2018.
  The disinformation campaign—and massive radiation increase—behind the 5G rollout.

Microwave News“'Clear Evidence' of Cell Phone Cancer Risk, Say Leading Pathologists." April 9, 2018.
  Why the peer review panel and NTP interpreted the same animal data differently. 

Recent Posts on EMR Safety

Recent Research on Wireless Radiation and Electromagnetic Fields
  A compilation of over 370 abstracts of papers published since August, 2016.

5G Moratorium Website Launched
  The official website for the 5G Appeal has been launched. More than 200 scientists and doctors have now signed the Appeal.

5G Wireless Technology: Is 5G Harmful to Our Health?
 "Both oncologic and non-cancerous chronic effects have been suggested."

Hybrid & Electric Cars: Electromagnetic Radiation Risks
  Recent studies of the electromagnetic fields emitted by these automobiles have claimed either that they pose a cancer risk for the vehicles' occupants or that they are safe.

National Toxicology Program: Peer & public review of cell phone radiation study reports  Eleven experts convened by the NTP find "clear evidence" of cancer from exposure to cell phone radiation.

  A newly-published study by the Ramazzini Institute (RI) replicates the heart tumor results from the National Toxicology Program study of cell phone radiation on rats.

  Recent studies on risk of leukemia among children and workers exposed to magnetic fields.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Hybrid & Electric Cars: Electromagnetic Radiation Risks

Hybrid and electric cars may be cancer-causing as they emit extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields (EMF). Recent studies of the EMF emitted by these automobiles have claimed either that they pose a cancer risk for the vehicles' occupants or that they are safe.

Unfortunately, much of the research conducted on this issue has been industry-funded by companies with vested interests on one side of the issue or the other which makes it difficult to know which studies are trustworthy. 

Meanwhile, numerous peer-reviewed laboratory studies conducted over several decades have found biologic effects from limited exposures to ELF EMF. These studies suggest that the EMF guidelines established by the self-appointed, International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) are inadequate to protect our health. Based upon the research, more than 230 EMF experts have signed the International EMF Scientist Appeal which calls on the World Health Organization to establish stronger guidelines for ELF and radio frequency EMF. Thus, even if EMF measurements comply with the ICNIRP guidelines, occupants of hybrid and electric cars may still be at increased risk for cancer and other health problems. 

Given that magnetic fields have been considered "possibly carcinogenic" in humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization since 2001, the precautionary principle dictates that we should design consumer products to minimize consumers’ exposure to ELF EMF. This especially applies to hybrid and electric automobiles as drivers and passengers spend considerable amounts of time in these vehicles, and health risks increase with the duration of exposure.

In January, 2014, SINTEF, the largest independent research organization in Scandinavia, proposed manufacturing design guidelines that could reduce the magnetic fields in electric vehicles (see below).  All automobile manufacturers should follow these guidelines to ensure their customers' safety. 

The public should demand that governments adequately fund high-quality research on the health effects of electromagnetic radiation that is independent of industry to eliminate any potential conflicts of interest. In the U.S., a major national research and education initiative could be funded with as little as a 5 cents a month fee on mobile phone subscribers.

Following are summaries and links to recent studies and news articles on this topic. 


Electric cars and EMI with cardiac implantable electronic devices: 
A cross-sectional evaluation

Lennerz C, O'Connor M, Horlbeck L, Michel J, Weigand S, Grebmer C, Blazek P, Brkic A, Semmler V, Haller B, Reents T, Hessling G, Deisenhofer I, Whittaker P, Lienkamp M, Kolb C. Letter: Electric cars and electromagnetic interference with cardiac implantable electronic devices: A cross-sectional evaluation. Annals of Internal Medicine. Apr 24, 2018.

No Abstract
Cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs) are considered standard care for bradycardia, tachycardia, and heart failure. Electromagnetic interference (EMI) can disrupt normal function … Electric cars represent a potential source of EMI. However, data are insufficient to determine their safety or whether their use should be restricted in patients with CIEDs.
Objective: To assess whether electric cars cause EMI and subsequent CIED dysfunction.
Methods and Findings: We approached 150 consecutive patients with CIEDs seen in our electrophysiology clinic … 40 patients declined to participate, and 2 withdrew consent … Participants were assigned to 1 of 4 electric cars with the largest European market share…we excluded hybrid vehicles.
Participants sat in the front seat while cars ran on a roller test bench … Participants then charged the same car in which they had sat. Finally, investigators drove the cars on public roads.
Field strength was generally highest during charging (30.1 to 116.5 µT) and increased as the charging current increased. Exposure during charging was at least an order of magnitude greater than that measured within 5 cm of the CIED in the front seat (2.0 to 3.6 µT). Field strength did not differ between the front and back seats. Peak field strength measured outside the cars ranged between the values measured during charging and those measured within the cars during testing … Field strength measured inside the cars during road driving was similar to that measured during test bench studies.
We found no evidence of EMI with CIEDs ...The electrocardiographic recorder did observe EMI, but CIED function and programming were unaffected.
Our sample was too small to detect rare events ... Nevertheless, other evidence supports a lack of EMI with CIEDs. Magnetic fields are generated in gasoline-powered vehicles if the vehicles' steel-belted tires are magnetized (3); average fields of approximately 20 µT were reported in the back seat of 12 models, and those as high as 97 µT were reported close to the tires (4). Similar values were reported in electric trains and trams (5). The lack of anecdotal reports of CIED malfunction associated with such transportation is consistent with our findings.
Electric cars seem safe for patients with CIEDs, and restrictions do not appear to be required. However, we recommend vigilance to monitor for rare events, especially those associated with charging and proposed “supercharging” technology.


Evaluating ELF magnetic fields 
in the rear seats of electric vehicles

Lin J, Lu M, Wu T, Yang L, Wu T. Evaluating extremely low frequency magnetic fields in the rear seats of the electric vehicles. Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2018 Mar 23. doi: 10.1093/rpd/ncy048.

In the electric vehicles (EVs), children can sit on a safety seat installed in the rear seats. Owing to their smaller physical dimensions, their heads, generally, are closer to the underfloor electrical systems where the magnetic field (MF) exposure is the greatest. In this study, the magnetic flux density (B) was measured in the rear seats of 10 different EVs, for different driving sessions. We used the measurement results from different heights corresponding to the locations of the heads of an adult and an infant to calculate the induced electric field (E-field) strength using anatomical human models. The results revealed that measured B fields in the rear seats were far below the reference levels by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection. Although small children may be exposed to higher MF strength, induced E-field strengths were much lower than that of adults due to their particular physical dimensions. 
Small children and infants sitting in a safety seat at the rear part of the vehicle is a common occurrence. Children have smaller physical dimensions and, thus, their heads are generally much closer to the car floor, where the MF strength has been reported to be higher due to tire magnetization and the operation of the underfloor electrical systems (6, 7). The matter of children being potentially subject to greater magnetic field exposure may be relevant as leukemia is the most common type of childhood cancer (8). In particular, Ahlbom et al. (9) and Greenland et al. (10) indicated that the exposure to 50 and 60 Hz MF exceeding 0.3–0.4 μT may result in an increased risk for childhood leukemia although a satisfactory causal relationship has not yet been reliably demonstrated. Also, it was reported that a combination of weak, steady and alternating MF could modify the radical concentration, which had the potential to lead to biologically significant changes (11).
... the B field values measured at location #4 (floor in from of rear seat) were the highest, followed by values from location #3 (rear seat cushion), #2 (child’s head position) and #1 (adult’s head position) (p < 0.012, α = 0.05/3 = 0.017). There was a significant difference between the driving scenarios (F(3, 117) = 3.72, p = 0.013). The acceleration and deceleration scenarios generated higher B fields compared with the stationary and the 40 km/h driving scenarios (p < 0.01, α = 0.05/3 = 0.017) while no difference was identified between acceleration and deceleration (p = 0.16).
... The results demonstrate that the induced E-field strength was lower for the infant model compared with that of the adult in terms of both the head and body as a whole.
The infant was reported to have higher electrical conductivity (29) but there was no database dedicated to the infant. Furthermore, below 1 MHz, the database was hard to be measured and the uncertainty was large (30). Therefore, we would not include the issue in the study.

Although several SCs (spectral components) on higher frequencies have been observed (can spread to 1.24 kHz), the spectral analysis revealed that the SCs concentrated on bands below 1000 Hz. The EVs under test used aluminum alloy wheel rims, which have low magnetic permeability. However, the steel wire in the reinforcing belts of radial tires pick up magnetic fields from the terrestrial MF. When the tires spin, the magnetized steel wire in the reinforcing belts generates ELF MF usually below 20 Hz, that can exceed 2.0 μT at seat level in the passenger compartment (6). The measurement did not identify the ELF MF by different sources because the purpose of the study was to investigate the realistic exposure scenario for the occupants. To note, degaussing the tires or using the fiberglass belted tires can eliminate this effect and provide the MF results solely introduced by the operation of the electrified system.

ICNIRP proposed guidelines to evaluate the compliance of the non-sinusoidal signal exposure(3). The measurements rendered the maximal B field at the level of one-tenth to several μT, far below the reference level of the guidelines (e.g. 200 μT for 20–400 Hz). The similar non-sinusoidal MF signal magnitudes can only account for 6–10% of the reference levels according to the previous reports(32). However, as noted in the Introduction, ‘… 50 and 60 Hz MF exceeding 0.3–0.4 μT may result in an increased risk for childhood leukemia’. Therefore, it is necessary to measure the MF in the EVs to limit the exposure and for the purpose of epidemiological studies.
In this study, we measured ELF MF in the rear seats of ten types of EVs. The measurements were performed for four different driving scenarios. The measurement results were analyzed to determine the worst-case scenario and those values were used for simulations. We made numerical simulations to compare the induced E-field strength due to the physical difference between children and adults using detailed anatomical models. The results support the contention that the MF in the EVs that we tested was far below the reference levels of the ICNIRP guidelines. Furthermore, our findings show that children would not be more highly exposed compared to adults when taking into consideration of their physical differences. However, the measurement results indicated that further studies should be performed to elucidate the concerns on the incidence of the childhood leukemia for infant and child occupants.

Evaluation of electromagnetic exposure during 85 kHz wireless power transfer 
for electric vehicles

SangWook Park. Evaluation of Electromagnetic Exposure During 85 kHz Wireless Power Transfer for Electric Vehicles. IEEE Transactions on Magnetics. Volume: PP, Issue: 99. Sep 1, 2017. 10.1109/TMAG.2017.2748498

The external fields in the proximity of electric vehicle (EV) wireless power transfer (WPT) systems requiring high power may exceed the limits of international safety guidelines. This study presents dosimetric results of an 85 kHz WPT system for electric vehicles. A WPT system for charging EVs is designed and dosimetry for the system is evaluated for various exposure scenarios: a human body in front of the WPT system without shielding, with shielding, with alignment and misalignment between transmitter and receiver, and with a metal plate on the system for vehicle mimic floor pan. The minimum accessible distances in compliance are investigated for various transmitting powers. The maximum allowable transmitting power are also investigated with the limits of international safety guidelines and the dosimetric results.

Electric and magnetic fields <100 KHz in electric and gasoline-powered vehicles

Tell RA, Kavet R. Electric and magnetic fields <100 KHz in electric and gasoline-powered vehicles. Radiat Prot Dosimetry. 2016 Dec;172(4):541-546.
Measurements were conducted to investigate electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) from 120 Hz to 10 kHz and 1.2 to 100 kHz in 9 electric or hybrid vehicles and 4 gasoline vehicles, all while being driven. The range of fields in the electric vehicles enclosed the range observed in the gasoline vehicles. Mean magnetic fields ranged from nominally 0.6 to 3.5 µT for electric/hybrids depending on the measurement band compared with nominally 0.4 to 0.6 µT for gasoline vehicles. Mean values of electric fields ranged from nominally 2 to 3 V m-1 for electric/hybrid vehicles depending on the band, compared with 0.9 to 3 V m-1 for gasoline vehicles. In all cases, the fields were well within published exposure limits for the general population. The measurements were performed with Narda model EHP-50C/EHP-50D EMF analysers that revealed the presence of spurious signals in the EHP-50C unit, which were resolved with the EHP-50D model.

Passenger exposure to magnetic fields due to the batteries of an electric vehicle

Pablo Moreno-Torres Concha; Pablo Velez; Marcos Lafoz; Jaime R. Arribas. Passenger Exposure to Magnetic Fields due to the Batteries of an Electric Vehicle. IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology. 65(6):4564-4571. Jun 2016.
In electric vehicles, passengers sit very close to an electric system of significant power. The high currents achieved in these vehicles mean that the passengers could be exposed to significant magnetic fields (MFs). One of the electric devices present in the power train are the batteries. In this paper, a methodology to evaluate the MF created by these batteries is presented. First, the MF generated by a single battery is analyzed using finite-elements simulations. Results are compared with laboratory measurements, which are taken from a real battery, to validate the model. After this, the MF created by a complete battery pack is estimated, and results are discussed.
Passengers inside an EV could be exposed to MFs of considerable strength when compared with conventional vehicles or to other daily exposures (at home, in the office, in the street, etc.). In this paper, the MF created by the batteries of a particular electric car is evaluated from the human health point of view by means of finite-elements simulations, measurements, and a simple analytical approximation, obtaining an upper bound for the estimated MF generated by a given battery pack. These results have been compared with ICNIRP's recommendations concerning exposure limitation to low-frequency MFs, finding that the field generated by this particular battery pack should be below ICNIRP's field reference levels, and conclusions concerning the influence of the switching frequency have been drawn. Finally, some discussion regarding other field sources within the vehicle and different vehicles designs has been presented. Due to the wide variety of both available EVs and battery stacks configurations, it is recommended that each vehicle model should be individually assessed regarding MF exposure.


Magnetic field exposure assessment in electric vehicles

Vassilev A et al. Magnetic Field Exposure Assessment in Electric Vehicles. IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic Compatibility. 57(1):35-43. Feb 2015.
This article describes a study of magnetic field exposure in electric vehicles (EVs). The magnetic field inside eight different EVs (including battery, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell types) with different motor technologies (brushed direct current, permanent magnet synchronous, and induction) were measured at frequencies up to 10 MHz. Three vehicles with conventional powertrains were also investigated for comparison. The measurement protocol and the results of the measurement campaign are described, and various magnetic field sources are identified. As the measurements show a complex broadband frequency spectrum, an exposure calculation was performed using the ICNIRP “weighted peak” approach. Results for the measured EVs showed that the exposure reached 20% of the ICNIRP 2010 reference levels for general public exposure near to the battery and in the vicinity of the feet during vehicle start-up, but was less than 2% at head height for the front passenger position. Maximum exposures of the order of 10% of the ICNIRP 2010 reference levels were obtained for the cars with conventional powertrains.

Characterization of ELF magnetic fields from diesel, gasoline and hybrid 
cars under controlled conditions

Hareuveny R, Sudan M, Halgamuge MN, Yaffe Y, Tzabari Y, Namir D, Kheifets L. Characterization of Extremely Low Frequency Magnetic Fields from Diesel, Gasoline and Hybrid Cars under Controlled Conditions. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2015 Jan 30;12(2):1651-1666.

This study characterizes extremely low frequency (ELF) magnetic field (MF) levels in 10 car models.
Extensive measurements were conducted in three diesel, four gasoline, and three hybrid cars, under similar controlled conditions and negligible background fields.

Averaged over all four seats under various driving scenarios the fields were lowest in diesel cars (0.02 μT), higher for gasoline (0.04-0.05 μT) and highest in hybrids (0.06-0.09 μT), but all were in-line with daily exposures from other sources. Hybrid cars had the highest mean and 95th percentile MF levels, and an especially large percentage of measurements above 0.2 μT. These parameters were also higher for moving conditions compared to standing while idling or revving at 2500 RPM and higher still at 80 km/h compared to 40 km/h. Fields in non-hybrid cars were higher at the front seats, while in hybrid cars they were higher at the back seats, particularly the back right seat where 16%-69% of measurements were greater than 0.2 μT.

As our results do not include low frequency fields (below 30 Hz) that might be generated by tire rotation, we suggest that net currents flowing through the cars' metallic chassis may be a possible source of MF. Larger surveys in standardized and well-described settings should be conducted with different types of vehicles and with spectral analysis of fields including lower frequencies due to magnetization of tires.
Previous work suggests that major sources of MF in cars include the tires and electric currents [4,5]. The level of MF exposure depends on the position within the vehicle (e.g., proximity to the MF sources) and can vary with different operating conditions, as changes to engine load can induce MFs through changes in electric currents. Scientific investigations of the levels of MF in cars are sparse: only one study evaluated fields only in non-hybrid cars [6], two studies of hybrid cars have been carried out [4,7], and few studies have systematically compared exposures in both hybrid and non-hybrid cars [8,9,10,11,12], some based on a very small number of cars 
In hybrid cars, the battery is generally located in the rear of the car and the engine is located in the front. Electric current flows between these two points through cables that run underneath the passenger cabin of the car. This cable is located on the left for right-hand driving cars and on the right for left-hand driving cars. Although in principle the system uses direct current (DC), current from the alternator that is not fully rectified as well as changes to the engine load, and therefore the current level, can produce MFs which are most likely in the ELF range. While most non-hybrid cars have batteries that are located in the front, batteries in some of them are located in the rear of the car, with cables running to the front of the car for the electrical appliances on the dashboard. In this study, all gasoline and diesel cars had batteries located in the front of the car.
...the percent of time above 0.2 µT was the most sensitive parameter of the exposure. Overall, the diesel cars measured in this study had the lowest MF readings (geometric mean less than 0.02 μT), while the hybrid cars had the highest MF readings (geometric mean 0.05 μT). Hybrid cars had also the most unstable results, even after excluding outliers beyond the 5th and 95th percentiles. With regard to seat position, after adjusting for the specific car model, gasoline and diesel cars produced higher average MF readings in the front seats, while hybrid cars produced the highest MF readings in the back right seat (presumably due to the location of the battery). Comparing the different operating conditions, the highest average fields were found at 80 km/h, and the differences between operating conditions were most pronounced in the back right seat in hybrid cars. Whether during typical city or highway driving, we found lowest average fields for diesel cars and highest fields for hybrid cars.
Previous works suggest that the magnetization of rotating tires is the primary source of ELF MFs in non-hybrid cars [5,15]. However, the relatively strong fields (on the order of a few μT within the car) originating from the rotating tires are typically at 5–15 Hz frequencies, which are filtered by the EMDEX II meters. ....
Overall, the average MF levels measured in the cars’ seats were in the range of 0.04–0.09 μT (AM) and 0.02–0.05 μT (GM). These fields are well below the ICNIRP [17] guidelines for maximum general public exposure (which range from 200 μT for 40 Hz to 100 μT for 800 Hz), but given the complex environments in the cars, simultaneous exposure to non-sinusoidal fields at multiple frequencies must be carefully taken into account. Nevertheless, exposures in the cars are in the range of every day exposure from other sources. Moreover, given the short amount of time that most adults and children spend in cars (about 30 minutes per day based on a survey of children in Israel (unpublished data), the relative contribution of this source to the ELF exposure of the general public is small. However, these fields are in addition to other exposure sources. Our results might explain trends seen in other daily exposures: slightly higher average fields observed while travelling (GM = 0.096 μT) relative to in bed (GM = 0.052 μT) and home not in bed (GM = 0.080 μT) [1]. Similarly, the survey of children in Israel found higher exposure from transportation (GM = 0.092 µT) compared to mean daily exposures (GM = 0.059 µT). Occupationally, the GM of time-weighted average for motor vehicle drivers is 0.12 μT [18].
Open access paper:

Design guidelines to reduce the magnetic field in electric vehicles

SINTEF, Jan 6, 2014

Based on the measurements and on extensive simulation work the project arrived on the following design guidelines to, if necessary, minimize the magnetic field in electric vehicles.

  • For any DC cable carrying significant amount of current, it should be made in the form of a twisted pair so that the currents in the pair always flow in the opposite directions. This will minimise its EMF emission.
  • For three-phase AC cables, three wires should be twisted and made as close as possible so as to minimise its EMF emission.
  • All power cables should be positioned as far away as possible from the passenger seat area, and their layout should not form a loop. If cable distance is less than 200mm away from the passenger seats, some forms of shielding should be adopted.
  • A thin layer of ferromagnetic shield is recommended as this is cost-effective solution for the reduction of EMF emission as well EMI emission.
  • Where possible, power cables should be laid such a way that they are separated from the passenger seat area by a steel sheet, e.g., under a steel metallic chassis, or inside a steel trunk.
  • Where possible, the motor should be installed farther away from the passenger seat area, and its rotation axis should not point to the seat region.
  • If weight permits, the motor housing should be made of steel, rather than aluminium, as the former has a much better shielding effect.
  • If the distance of the motor and passenger seat area is less than 500mm, some forms of shielding should be employed. For example, a steel plate could be placed between the motor and the passenger seat region
  • Motor housing should be electrically well connected to the vehicle metallic chassis to minimise any electrical potential.
  • Inverter and motor should be mounted as close as possible to each other to minimise the cable length between the two.
  • Since batteries are distributed, the currents in the batteries and in the interconnectors may become a significant source for EMF emission, they should be place as far away as possible from the passenger seat areas. If the distance between the battery and passenger seat area is less than 200mm, steel shields should be used to separate the batteries and the seating area.
  • The cables connecting battery cells should not form a loop, and where possible, the interconnectors for the positive polarity should be as close as possible to those of the negative polarity.

Magnetic fields in electric cars won't kill you

Jeremy Hsu, IEEE Spectrum, May 5, 2014
“The study, led by SINTEF, an independent research organization headquartered in Trondheim, Norway, measured the electromagnetic radiation—in the lab and during road tests—of seven different electric cars, one hydrogen-powered car, two gasoline-fueled cars and one diesel-fueled car. Results from all conditions showed that the exposure was less than 20 percent of the limit recommended by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP).”
“Measurements taken inside the vehicles—using a test dummy with sensors located in the head, chest and feet—showed exposure at less than 2 percent of the non-ionizing radiation limit at head-height. The highest electromagnetic field readings—still less than 20 percent of the limit—were found near the floor of the electric cars, close to the battery. Sensors picked up a burst of radiation that same level, when the cars were started.”

ELF magnetic fields in electric and gasoline-powered vehicles

Tell RA, Sias G, Smith J, Sahl J, Kavet R. ELF magnetic fields in electric and gasoline-powered vehicles. Bioelectromagnetics. 2013 Feb;34(2):156-61. doi: 10.1002/bem.21730.

We conducted a pilot study to assess magnetic field levels in electric compared to gasoline-powered vehicles, and established a methodology that would provide valid data for further assessments. The sample consisted of 14 vehicles, all manufactured between January 2000 and April 2009; 6 were gasoline-powered vehicles and 8 were electric vehicles of various types. Of the eight models available, three were represented by a gasoline-powered vehicle and at least one electric vehicle, enabling intra-model comparisons. Vehicles were driven over a 16.3 km test route. Each vehicle was equipped with six EMDEX Lite broadband meters with a 40-1,000 Hz bandwidth programmed to sample every 4 s. Standard statistical testing was based on the fact that the autocorrelation statistic damped quickly with time. For seven electric cars, the geometric mean (GM) of all measurements (N = 18,318) was 0.095 µT with a geometric standard deviation (GSD) of 2.66, compared to 0.051 µT (N = 9,301; GSD = 2.11) for four gasoline-powered cars (P < 0.0001). Using the data from a previous exposure assessment of residential exposure in eight geographic regions in the United States as a basis for comparison (N = 218), the broadband magnetic fields in electric vehicles covered the same range as personal exposure levels recorded in that study. All fields measured in all vehicles were much less than the exposure limits published by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Future studies should include larger sample sizes representative of a greater cross-section of electric-type vehicles.
Mythbuster: EMF levels in hybrids

Consumer Reports News: August 4, 2010


“Some concern has been raised about the possible health effects of electromagnetic field radiation, known as EMF, for people who drive in hybrid cars. While all electrical devices, from table lamps to copy machines, emit EMF radiation, the fear is that hybrid cars, with their big batteries and powerful electric motors, can subject occupants to unhealthy doses. The problem is that there is no established threshold standard that says what an unhealthy dose might be, and no concrete, scientific proof that the sort of EMF produced by electric motors harms people

“We found the highest EMF levels in the Chevrolet Cobalt, a conventional non-hybrid small sedan.”

[The peak EMF readings at the driver’s feet ranged from 0.5 mG (milligauss) in the 2008 Toyota Highlander to 30 mG in the Chevrolet Cobalt. The hybrids tested at 2-4 mG. Here are some highlights from the tests. EMF readings were highest in the driver’s foot well and second-highest at the waist, much lower higher up, where human organs might be more susceptible to EMF.

“To get a sense of scale, though, note that users of personal computers are subject to EMF exposure in the range of 2 to 20 mG, electric blankets 5 to 30 mG, and a hair dryer 10 to 70 mG, according to an Australian government compilation. In this country, several states limit EMF emissions from power lines to 200 mG. However, there are no U.S. standards specifically governing EMF in cars.”

“In this series of tests, we found no evidence that hybrids expose drivers to significantly more EMF than do conventional cars. Consider this myth, busted.”

Israel preps world’s first hybrid car radiation scale

Tal Bronfer, the truth about cars, March 1, 2010

“The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) recommends a limit of 1,000 mG (milligauss) for a 24 hour exposure period. While other guidelines pose similar limits, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) deemed extended exposure to electromagnetic fields stronger than 2 mG to be a “possible cause” for cancer. Israel’s Ministry of Health recommends a maximum of 4 mG.”
“Last year, Israeli automotive website Walla! Cars conducted a series of tests on the previous generation Toyota Prius, Honda Insight and Honda Civic Hybrid, and recorded radiation figures of up to 100 mG during acceleration. Measurements also peaked when the batteries were either full (and in use) or empty (and being charged from the engine), while normal driving at constant speeds yielded 14 to 30 mG on the Prius, depending on the area of the cabin.
The Ministry of Environmental Protection is expected to publish the results of the study this week. The study will group hybrids sold in Israel into three different radiation groups, reports Israel’s Calcalist. It’s expected that the current-gen Prius will be deemed ‘safe’, while the Honda Insight and Civic Hybrid (as well as the prev-gen Prius) will be listed as emitting ‘excessive’ radiation.”


Fear, but few facts, on hybrid risk

Jim Motavalli, New York Times, Apr 27, 2008

“... concern is not without merit; agencies including the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute acknowledge the potential hazards of long-term exposure to a strong electromagnetic field, or E.M.F., and have done studies on the association of cancer risks with living near high-voltage utility lines.

While Americans live with E.M.F.’s all around — produced by everything from cellphones to electric blankets — there is no broad agreement over what level of exposure constitutes a health hazard, and there is no federal standard that sets allowable exposure levels. Government safety tests do not measure the strength of the fields in vehicles — though Honda and Toyota, the dominant hybrid makers, say their internal checks assure that their cars pose no added risk to occupants.”

“A spokesman for Honda, Chris Martin, points to the lack of a federally mandated standard for E.M.F.’s in cars. Despite this, he said, Honda takes the matter seriously. “All our tests had results that were well below the commission’s standard,” Mr. Martin said, referring to the European guidelines. And he cautions about the use of hand-held test equipment. “People have a valid concern, but they’re measuring radiation using the wrong devices,” he said.”
“Donald B. Karner, president of Electric Transportation Applications in Phoenix, who tested E.M.F. levels in battery-electric cars for the Energy Department in the 1990s, said it was hard to evaluate readings without knowing how the testing was done. He also said it was a problem to determine a danger level for low-frequency radiation, in part because dosage is determined not only by proximity to the source, but by duration of exposure. “We’re exposed to radio waves from the time we’re born, but there’s a general belief that there’s so little energy in them that they’re not dangerous,” he said.”

5G Wireless Technology: Is 5G Harmful to Our Health?

See the bottom of this page for additional resources.

5G wireless telecommunications expansion: 
Public health and environmental implications

Russell CL. 5G wireless telecommunications expansion: Public health and environmental implications. Environmental Research. Available online 11 April 2018. In press.


The popularity, widespread use and increasing dependency on wireless technologies has spawned a telecommunications industrial revolution with increasing public exposure to broader and higher frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum to transmit data through a variety of devices and infrastructure. On the horizon, a new generation of even shorter high frequency 5G wavelengths is being proposed to power the Internet of Things (IoT). The IoT promises us convenient and easy lifestyles with a massive 5G interconnected telecommunications network, however, the expansion of broadband with shorter wavelength radiofrequency radiation highlights the concern that health and safety issues remain unknown. Controversy continues with regards to harm from current 2G, 3G and 4G wireless technologies. 5G technologies are far less studied for human or environmental effects.

It is argued that the addition of this added high frequency 5G radiation to an already complex mix of lower frequencies, will contribute to a negative public health outcome both from both physical and mental health perspectives.

Radiofrequency radiation (RF) is increasingly being recognized as a new form of environmental pollution. Like other common toxic exposures, the effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (RF EMR) will be problematic if not impossible to sort out epidemiologically as there no longer remains an unexposed control group. This is especially important considering these effects are likely magnified by synergistic toxic exposures and other common health risk behaviors. Effects can also be non-linear. Because this is the first generation to have cradle-to-grave lifespan exposure to this level of man-made microwave (RF EMR) radiofrequencies, it will be years or decades before the true health consequences are known. Precaution in the roll out of this new technology is strongly indicated.

This article will review relevant electromagnetic frequencies, exposure standards and current scientific literature on the health implications of 2G, 3G, 4G exposure, including some of the available literature on 5G frequencies. The question of what constitutes a public health issue will be raised, as well as the need for a precautionary approach in advancing new wireless technologies.


Although 5G technology may have many unimagined uses and benefits, it is also increasingly clear that significant negative consequences to human health and ecosystems could occur if it is widely adopted. Current radiofrequency radiation wavelengths we are exposed to appear to act as a toxin to biological systems. A moratorium on the deployment of 5G is warranted, along with development of independent health and environmental advisory boards that include independent scientists who research biological effects and exposure levels of radiofrequency radiation. Sound regulatory policy regarding current and future telecommunications initiative will require more careful assessment of risks to human health, environmental health, public safety, privacy, security and social consequences. Public health regulations need to be updated to match appropriate independent science with the adoption of biologically based exposure standards prior to further deployment of 4G or 5G technology.

Considering the current science, lack of relevant exposure standards based on known biological effects and data gaps in research, we need to reduce our exposure to RF EMR where ever technically feasible. Laws or policies which restrict the full integrity of science and the scientific community with regards to health and environmental effects of wireless technologies or other toxic exposures should be changed to enable unbiased, objective and precautionary science to drive necessary public policies and regulation. Climate change, fracking, toxic emissions and microwave radiation from wireless devices all have something in common with smoking. There is much denial and confusion about health and environmental risks, along with industry insistence for absolute proof before regulatory action occurs (Frentzel-Beyme, 1994; Michaels 2008). There are many lessons we have not learned with the introduction of novel substances, which later became precarious environmental pollutants by not heeding warning signs from scientists (Gee, 2009). The threats of these common pollutants continue to weigh heavily on the health and well being of our nation. We now accept them as the price of progress. If we do not take precautions but wait for unquestioned proof of harm will it be too late at that point for some or all of us?

Related Posts

The human skin as a sub-THz receiver - Does 5G pose a danger to it or not?

Betzalel N, Ben Ishai P, Feldman Y. The human skin as a sub-THz receiver - Does 5G pose a danger to it or not? Environ Res. 2018 May;163:208-216. 


• The sweat duct is regarded as a helical antenna in the sub-THz band, reflectance depends on perspiration.
• We outline the background for non-thermal effects based on the structure of sweat ducts.
• We have introduced a realistic skin EM model and found the expected SAR for the 5G standard.


In the interaction of microwave radiation and human beings, the skin is traditionally considered as just an absorbing sponge stratum filled with water. In previous works, we showed that this view is flawed when we demonstrated that the coiled portion of the sweat duct in upper skin layer is regarded as a helical antenna in the sub-THz band. 

Experimentally we showed that the reflectance of the human skin in the sub-THz region depends on the intensity of perspiration, i.e. sweat duct's conductivity, and correlates with levels of human stress (physical, mental and emotional). Later on, we detected circular dichroism in the reflectance from the skin, a signature of the axial mode of a helical antenna. The full ramifications of what these findings represent in the human condition are still unclear. We also revealed correlation of electrocardiography (ECG) parameters to the sub-THz reflection coefficient of human skin. In a recent work, we developed a unique simulation tool of human skin, taking into account the skin multi-layer structure together with the helical segment of the sweat duct embedded in it. The presence of the sweat duct led to a high specific absorption rate (SAR) of the skin in extremely high frequency band. 

In this paper, we summarize the physical evidence for this phenomenon and consider its implication for the future exploitation of the electromagnetic spectrum by wireless communication. Starting from July 2016 the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted new rules for wireless broadband operations above 24 GHz (5 G). This trend of exploitation is predicted to expand to higher frequencies in the sub-THz region. One must consider the implications of human immersion in the electromagnetic noise, caused by devices working at the very same frequencies as those, to which the sweat duct (as a helical antenna) is most attuned. 

We are raising a warning flag against the unrestricted use of sub-THz technologies for communication, before the possible consequences for public health are explored.


The need for high data transmission rates, coupled with advances in semiconductor technology, is pushing the communications industry towards the sub-THz frequency spectrum. While the promises of a glorious future, resplendent with semi-infinite data streaming, may be attractive, there is a price to pay for such luxury. We shall find our cities, workspace and homes awash with 5 G base stations and we shall live though an unprecedented EM smog. The benefits to our society of becoming so wired cannot ignore possible health concerns, as yet unexplored. There is enough evidence to suggest that the combination of the helical sweat duct and wavelengths approaching the dimensions of skin layers could lead to non-thermal biological effects. Such fears should be investigated and these concerns should also effect the definition of standards for the application of 5G communications.

Human Exposure to RF Fields in 5G Downlink

Nasim I, Kim S. Human Exposure to RF Fields in 5G Downlink. Submitted on 10 Nov 2017 to IEEE International Communications Conference. arXiv:1711.03683v1.


While cellular communications in millimeter wave (mmW) bands have been attracting significant research interest, their potential harmful impacts on human health are not as significantly studied. Prior research on human exposure to radio frequency (RF) fields in a cellular communications system has been focused on uplink only due to the closer physical contact of a transmitter to a human body. However, this paper claims the necessity of thorough investigation on human exposure to downlink RF fields, as cellular systems deployed in mmW bands will entail (i) deployment of more transmitters due to smaller cell size and (ii) higher concentration of RF energy using a highly directional antenna. In this paper, we present human RF exposure levels in downlink of a Fifth Generation Wireless Systems (5G). Our results show that 5G downlink RF fields generate significantly higher power density (PD) and specific absorption rate (SAR) than a current cellular system. This paper also shows that SAR should also be taken into account for determining human RF exposure in the mmW downlink.

Towards 5G Communication Systems: 
Are there Health Implications?

Di Ciaula A. Towards 5G communication systems: Are there health implications? Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2018 Feb 2. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2018.01.011.

• RF-EMF exposure is rising and health effects of are still under investigation.
• Both oncologic and non-cancerous chronic effects have been suggested.
• 5G networks could have health effects and will use MMW, still scarcely explored.
• Adequate knowledge of RF-EMF biological effects is also needed in clinical practice.
• Underrating the problem could lead to a further rise in noncommunicable diseases.

The spread of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) is rising and health effects are still under investigation. RF-EMF promote oxidative stress, a condition involved in cancer onset, in several acute and chronic diseases and in vascular homeostasis. Although some evidences are still controversial, the WHO IARC classified RF-EMF as "possible carcinogenic to humans", and more recent studies suggested reproductive, metabolic and neurologic effects of RF-EMF, which are also able to alter bacterial antibiotic resistance. 

In this evolving scenario, although the biological effects of 5G communication systems are very scarcely investigated, an international action plan for the development of 5G networks has started, with a forthcoming increment in devices and density of small cells, and with the future use of millimeter waves (MMW). 

Preliminary observations showed that MMW increase skin temperature, alter gene expression, promote cellular proliferation and synthesis of proteins linked with oxidative stress, inflammatory and metabolic processes, could generate ocular damages, affect neuro-muscular dynamics. 

Further studies are needed to better and independently explore the health effects of RF-EMF in general and of MMW in particular. However, available findings seem sufficient to demonstrate the existence of biomedical effects, to invoke the precautionary principle, to define exposed subjects as potentially vulnerable and to revise existing limits. An adequate knowledge of pathophysiological mechanisms linking RF-EMF exposure to health risk should also be useful in the current clinical practice, in particular in consideration of evidences pointing to extrinsic factors as heavy contributors to cancer risk and to the progressive epidemiological growth of noncommunicable diseases.


Aug 18, 2017 (Updated Sep 27, 2017)

Scientists and Physicians Oppose
"Small Cell" Antenna Bill (Calif. SB 649)

I have been hearing from scientists around the world who are deeply concerned about the deployment of fifth generation (5G) wireless technology without adequate research on the health effects of exposure to this type of radio frequency radiation.

Following is a sample of letters sent to California Governor Brown asking him to veto SB 659, a "small cell" antenna bill written by the cellular industry that paves the way for deployment of 5G wireless technology across the state.

Professor Beatrice Golomb, MD, PhD, a professor of medicine in the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Golomb's letter begins with the following warning:
"I urge in the strongest terms that you vigorously oppose California SB 649.
If this bill passes, many people will suffer greatly, and needlessly, as a direct result. 
This sounds like hyperbole. It is not.
My research group at UC San Diego alone has received hundreds of communications from people who have developed serious health problems from electromagnetic radiation, following introduction of new technologies. Others with whom I am in communication, have independently received hundreds of similar reports. Most likely these are a tip of an iceberg of tens or perhaps hundreds of thousands of affected person. As each new technology leading to further exposure to electromagnetic radiation is introduced – and particularly introduced in a fashion that prevents vulnerable individuals from avoiding it – a new group become sensitized to health effects. This is particularly true for pulsed signals in the radiowave and microwave portion of the spectrum, the type for which the proposed bill SB 640 will bypass local control."
In the letter, Dr. Golomb summarizes the research on the effects of exposure to radio frequency radiation and advocates for "safer, wired and well shielded technology – not more wireless." 

Appended to the letter are 360 references to the scientific literature.

The letter can be downloaded at:

Professor Martin Pall, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences at Washington State University, explains in his letter to the Governor his peer-reviewed research which has documented ...
"exquisite sensitivity to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in the voltage sensors in each cell, such that the force impacting our cells at the voltage sensor has massive impact on the biology in the cells of our bodies."
"This new understanding [1-7] means we can debunk the claims of the wireless industry that there cannot be a mechanism for effects produced by these weak EMFs. The 20 years plus of industry propaganda claims are false. Rather the thousands of studies showing diverse health impacts of these EMFs can be explained. We now have a mechanism, one that is supported by both the biology and the physics, both of which are pointing in exactly the same direction."
"5G will be much more active in activating the VGCCs and producinghealth impacts because of its rapid absorption by materials in the body, because of its very rapid pulsations and because of the huge number antennae they are planning to put up, at least 200 times the number of antennae from all current cell phone towers. What this means is that the impacts on the outer one to two inches of our bodies will be massive."

His letter discusses the potential health impacts on humans and on agriculture with exposure to 5G radiation.

The letter can be downloaded at:

Dr. Michael Lipsett, MD, JD, a retired public health physician with extensive experience in environmental health, mentions in his letter the recent demand for a 5G moratorium by more than 180 scientists and physicians and the study of cell phone radiation conducted by the National Toxicology Program

He points out that while individuals can take precautions to reduce their exposure to radiofrequency radiation emitted by wireless devices, this is not feasible with exposure from cell antennas. He notes that ...
"laboratory and human health investigations designed and conducted by independent researchers have reported associations linking exposure to radiation from cell phones or similar devices with multiple adverse effects (e.g., headaches, impacts on brain function, memory, learning and sleep; decreased sperm counts and quality) as well as with DNA damage and tumors of the brain and nervous system."
"Potential health impacts of wireless communication have been ignored or obscured for decades by the telecommunications industry, which has implied that cell phones and other devices are safe because they comply with federal safety standards. However, these standards were established more than 20 years ago and were based on assumptions that have since been called into question by health research studies. The push to establish a 5G network, exemplified by SB 649, is based on a similarly unproven assumption: i.e., that round-the-clock exposure to 5G frequencies will not affect human health or the environment.
Establishment of a 5G network will be irreversible, as will the pattern of near-universal exposure of California residents to high-frequency, as-yet-untested 5G electromagnetic radiation."
The letter can be downloaded at:


June 23, 2017

EMF Scientist Appeal Advisors Call for Moratorium on Policies for 5G “Small Cell” Antennas

The advisors to the International EMF Scientist Appeal submitted a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in opposition to a proposed change in FCC rules that would allow rapid deployment of 5th generation (5G) wireless infrastructure throughout the nation. A copy of the Appeal was appended to the letter.

5G involves transmission of millimeter waves which operate at much higher frequencies than currently used for cellular transmission (30 to 300 gigahertz). Because the range of these signals is limited (i.e., less than a football field), hundreds of thousands of new “small cell” antennas will be required in the U.S. The wireless industry wants to install these not-so-small cellular antennas on existing public utility poles.

The FCC intends to streamline the approval of these antennas which would further undermine the regulatory authority of cities and states over cell towers.

Meanwhile the wireless industry is lobbying for legislation in many states across the country that would limit local authority over cell antenna deployment.

Due to the concern that the FCC’s new rules will result in increased exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF), the Appeal’s advisors oppose the new rules and call for a “public health review of the growing body of scientific evidence that includes reports of increasing rates of cancer and neurological diseases that may be caused by exposure to EMF from wireless sources.”

The Appeal reflects the concerns of 225 EMF experts from 41 nations about the impact of EMF exposure on public health. All of the experts who signed this appeal have published research in peer-reviewed scientific journals about the biologic or health effects of EMF.

According to the Appeal’s signatories, current national and international EMF exposure guidelines are obsolete and inadequate to protect human health and the environment. The FCC’s radio frequency guidelines were adopted in 1996.

The letter (dated June 9, 2017) is signed by the five advisors to the International EMF Scientist Appeal: Drs. Martin Blank, Magda Havas, Henry Lai, and Joel Moskowitz, and Elizabeth Kelley.

For more information:

FCC filing detail   (June 9, 2017)


May 8, 2017

A 5G Wireless Future: 
Will it give us a smart nation or contribute to an unhealthy one?

Dr. Cindy Russell, The (SCCMA) Bulletin, Jan/Feb 2017
Safety testing for 5G is the same as other wireless devices. It is based on heat. This is an obsolete standard and not considering current science showing cellular and organism harm from non-thermal effects. There is a large gap in safety data for 5G biological effects that has been demonstrated in older studies including military.
1. Do not proceed to roll out 5G technologies pending pre-market studies on health effects.
2. Reevaluate safety standards based on long term as well as short term studies on biological effects.
3. Rescind a portion of Section 704 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 which preempts state and local government regulation for the placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless service facilities on the basis of the environmental effects so that health and environmental issues can be addressed.
4. Rescind portions of The Spectrum Act which was passed in 2012 as part of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act, which strips the ability city officials and local governments to regulate cellular communications equipment, provides no public notification or opportunity for public input and may potentially result in environmental impacts.
5. Create an independent multidisciplinary scientific agency tasked with developing appropriate safety regulations, pre-market testing and research needs in a transparent environment with public input.
6. Label pertinent EMF information on devices along with appropriate precautionary warnings.
Dr. Russell provides a brief review of the research on millimeter wave bioeffects in this article:


Aug 17, 2016 (Updated Aug 19)

5G cellular technology will employ much higher frequency microwaves than current cell phone technologies: 2G, 3G, and 4G.  These microwaves, known as millimeter waves, won't penetrate building materials like the current technology which is why industry may need one cell antenna base station for every 12 homes. 
But millimeter waves can affect your eyes and penetrate your skin.

When the Los Angeles Times reporter contacted me for the story below, I did a quick search and found several recently published articles examining biological effects of millimeter waves (see references below). This form of microwave radiation is most likely to affect our skin and neuronal cells in the upper dermis.

Moreover, widespread adoption of 5G cellular technology in the U.S. may have profound effects on our ecosystem by altering bacteria, possibly creating harmful bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

History has proved that we cannot trust the FCC and the FDA to protect our health from microwave radiation exposure.

I submitted an open letter to the FCC in July calling for "an independent review of the biologic and health research to determine whether the RF standards should be modified before allowing additional spectrum to be used for new commercial applications."

Moreover, the FCC has ignored the 800-plus submissions that call upon the agency to adopt rigorous radio frequency standards to protect the public’s health. Instead the agency maintains its 20-year old exposure guidelines that control only for heating or thermal risks. The FDA has ignored the thousands of studies that find nonthermal biologic effects, and the human studies that find a wide range of health effects including increased cancer risk and reproductive harm from exposure to low intensity microwaves.
In my opinion, precaution is warranted before unleashing 5G technology on the world. I suspect most of the 221 scientists who signed the International EMF Scientist Appeal (referenced in the article below), would support this assertion.

However, more research is also needed as specific characteristics of the millimeter waves (e.g., pulsing, modulation) to be employed in 5G cellular technology may be more important than the frequency or intensity of the waves in terms of biologic and health effects. The research funding must be independent of industry as conflicts of interest have been found to undermine the science in this field.
For an unbiased summary of the partial findings of the National Toxicology Program study of cancer risk from 2G cell phone radiation, see


 Low-intensity millimeter waves 
used for pain therapy have side effects

The Russians have pioneered millimeter wave therapy (MWT) using low intensity millimeter waves to reduce pain including headaches, joint pain, and postoperative pain.

Although the following review paper documents some positive effects from short-term exposure to MWT, the authors note that there are side effects including fatigue, sleepiness, and paresthesia (an abnormal sensation, tingling or pricking [“pins and needles”] caused by pressure on or damage to peripheral nerves). 

"We conclude that there is promising data from pilot case series and small-scale randomized controlled trials for analgesic/hypoalgesic effects of electromagnetic millimeter waves in frequency range 30–70 GHz. Large-scale randomized controlled trials on the effectiveness of this non-invasive therapeutic technique are necessary." 
"In the studies reviewed the authors did not report any health-related side effects of MWT. Slight paresthesias, previously mentioned in several case reports and non-controlled case series (10,11), appeared in almost 50% of patients in studies where the effects of MWT were carefully described (21,27,28,31). The paresthesias were of short duration and reported as pleasant (‘warmth’) or neutral. General fatigue and sleepiness during the treatment sessions in almost 80% of the patients was a rather desirable side effect of MWT, as also described in previous reviews on biomedical effects of MWT (10,11,21,27,28)."
From: Usichenko TI, Edinger H, Gizhko VV, Lehmann C, Wendt M, Feyerherd F. Low-intensity electromagnetic millimeter waves for pain therapy. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2006 Jun;3(2):201-7. URL:
Little research is available on long-term exposure to millimeter waves (see below). Most of the studies referred to in this review paper did not modulate or pulse the carrier waves which will be required for information-carrying millimeter waves employed in 5G technologies. Prior research suggests that such waves will be more biologically active than pure sine waves.


Effects of Millimeter Waves Radiation on Cell Membrane - A Brief Review

Ramundo-Orlando A.  Effects of millimeter waves radiation on cell membrane - A brief review.  J Infrared Milli Terahz Waves. 2010; 30 (12): 1400-1411.


The millimeter waves (MMW) region of the electromagnetic spectrum, extending from 30 to 300 GHz in terms of frequency (corresponding to wavelengths from 10 mm to 1 mm), is officially used in non-invasive complementary medicine in many Eastern European countries against a variety of diseases such gastro duodenal ulcers, cardiovascular disorders, traumatism and tumor. On the other hand, besides technological applications in traffic and military systems, in the near future MMW will also find applications in high resolution and high-speed wireless communication technology. This has led to restoring interest in research on MMW induced biological effects. In this review emphasis has been given to the MMW-induced effects on cell membranes that are considered the major target for the interaction between MMW and biological systems.


 “Several studies on the effects induced by millimeter radiation on biological systems have been reported in the literature. Diverse effects have been observed on cell free systems, cultured cells, isolated organs of animals and humans. The subject has been extensively reviewed by Motzkin [17] and more recently by Pakhomov [3]. At the cellular level these effects are mainly on the membrane process and ion channels, molecular complexes, excitable and other structures. Many of these effects are quite unexpected from a radiation penetrating less than 1 mm into biological tissues [3, 18, 19]. However none of the findings described in the above reviews has been replicated in an independent laboratory, thus they cannot be considered as established biological effects.”

“…a large number of cellular studies have indicated that MMW may alter structural and functional properties of membranes (Table 2).”


“In this review emphasis has been given to the low-level MMW effects on cell membranes. Above all, it should be mentioned that the reported effects are of a non-thermal character, that is, the action of radiation does not produce essential heating of the biological system or destroy its structure. In this context it appears that no permanent structural change of lipid bilayer could arise under low level (less than 10 mW/cm2) millimeter waves irradiation.

On the other hand, MMW radiation may affect intracellular calcium activities, and, as a consequence, several cellular and molecular processes controlled by Ca2+ dynamics themselves. The effects of MMW radiation on ion transport may be the consequence of a direct effect on membrane proteins as well as on phospholipid domain organization. Water molecules seem to play an important role in these biological effects of MMW radiation. Unfortunately, detailed cellular and molecular mechanisms mediating physiological responses to MMW exposure remain largely unknown.

Usually the search at a molecular level is simpler if we can reduce the complexity of our biological samples. This is the case for cell membranes by using model systems. They can be formed by a simple lipid bilayer without interfering components and they give independence from biological activity that can create complication in searching for electromagnetic fields bioeffects. The emphasis is on the search for molecular mechanisms of the membrane effect induced by MMW with different frequencies and power density. Furthermore, replication studies are needed including good temperature control and appropriate internal control samples. It is also advantageous if the future studies are multidisciplinary, invoking an integration of high quality exposure and effects methodologies.

Clearly a significant amount of accurate experimental work is still required in order to fully understand the interactions between MMW radiation and cell membrane.”

Additional Resources (Updated 4/7/2018)
Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times, Aug 8, 2016