Monday, October 15, 2018

Electromagnetic Radiation Safety

Recent News

Martin Röösli. Mobile phone radiation may affect memory performance in adolescents. Medical Xpress. July 20, 2018.
  Radio frequency radiation may have adverse effects on memory performance of specific brain regions exposed during mobile phone use.

Ronnie Cohen. Do cellphones cause cancer? Government study reveals 'stunningly important findings. Newsweek, July 19, 2018.
  Current cellphone safety regulations are based on a premise that is now arguably false: that cellphone radiation can cause harm only by heating tissue.

Mark Hertsgaard and Mark Dowie. The inconvenient truth about cancer and mobile phones.The Guardian, July 14, 2018.
  We dismiss claims about mobiles being bad for our health – but is that because studies showing a link to cancer have been cast into doubt by the industry?

Reynard Loki. Our cellphone addiction is turning wireless tech into an invisible weapon that’s destroying wildlife. Salon, July 14, 2018.
  Electromagnetic radiation from Wi-Fi and cell towers poses a “credible risk” to birds, mammals, insects and plants

Lynne Peeples. Should cell phone providers warn customers of health risks? Berkeley says yesMcClatchy News Washington Bureau, July 11, 2018.
  Although the scientific community has not reached consensus, the California health department said research indicates long-term, extensive cellphone use may affect health.

Lynne Peeples. Wireless industry using First Amendment as a cudgel in its battle against safety warningsFairWarning, July 11, 2018.
  Complete version of the article. News websites published the McClatchy version.

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. 

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.

Recent Posts on EMR Safety

Recent Research on Wireless Radiation and Electromagnetic Fields 
  Compilation of over 500 abstracts of scientific papers published since August, 2016.

5G Wireless Technology: Cutting Through the Hype
  News stories debunk exaggerated benefits of 5G cellular technology.

Cell Phone Safety Guidance from the California Public Health Department
  New real-world study of cell phone radiation confirms recommendations in the Department's cell phone safety guidance.

Hybrid & Electric Cars: Electromagnetic Radiation Risks
  Modern automobiles increasingly incorporate EMF-emitting devices that pose a risk to human health.

Wireless Radiation TV News
  Links to over 150 televised news stories about wireless radiation health risks.

  Former NTP scientist defends study; expert reviewer suggests results call for stronger RF exposure guidelines; IARC should upgrade cancer risk.

National Toxicology Program: Peer & public review of cell phone radiation study.
  Experts convened by NTP found "clear evidence" of cancer from cell phone radiation. Official summary now available.

Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity
 Recent research and policy developments regarding electromagnetic hypersensitivity.

  City Council reaffirms its commitment to defend landmark cell phone "right to know" ordinance against telecom industry lawsuit in the federal courts.

iPhone XS and XR: Specific Absorption Rates (SAR) or RF Exposure
  What are the SAR values for iPhone’s new smart phones? How should consumers use this information?

New Apple Watch Reignites Concerns over Cell Phone Radiation
  How much wireless radiation (cellular, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth) is emitted by smart watches? 

ICNIRP’s Exposure Guidelines for Radio Frequency Fields
  ICNIRP requests public input on its radio frequency radiation exposure guidelines. Former NTP scientist critiques ICNIRP.

Brain Tumor Rates Are Rising in the US: Role of Cell Phone & Cordless Phone Use
 The CDC reported that brain cancer incidence among youth 0-20 years of age increased between 2001 and 2014. Also thyroid cancer and lymphoma.

Scientific Evidence of Harm from Cell Phone Radiation: Two Years of Research
  An annotated bibliography which contains 92 papers published in scientific journals during the last two years that report evidence of harm from cell phone radiation exposure.

International Perspective on Health Effects of Low Intensity Non-Ionizing Radiation
  There is an urgent need to recognize hazards associated with excessive exposure to non-thermal levels of electromagnetic fields.

Effects of Cell Phone Use on Adolescents
  Research on adolescents suggests that cell phone use has adverse effects on cognitive processes and memory and the endocrine system and disturbs sleep.

International Scientist Appeal on Electromagnetic Fields & Wireless Technology
  242 scientists from 41 nations including 38 from the U.S. have signed the Appeal.

Key Cell Phone Radiation Research Studies

Recent Research on Wi-Fi Effects
  Compilation of recent studies on biologic and health effects from exposure to Wi-Fi radiation.

Female Infertility and Cell Phone Radiation
  Research that investigates the effects of wireless radiation on female fertility.

Effect of Mobile Phones on Sperm Quality
  Research that examines the effects of wireless radiation on sperm.

Pregnancy & Wireless Radiation Risks
  Compilation of studies that found harmful effects from fetal exposure to wireless radiation.

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

5G Moratorium Website Launched
  Official website for 5G Appeal: Over 200 scientists doctors have signed Appeal.

Electromagnetic Fields Threaten Wildlife
 Research review: EMF is potential risk to insect and bird orientation and plant health.

EMF Health Impacts and Policy Change Webinar
  Drs. Frank Barnes, De-Kun Li, & Joel Moskowitz discuss EMF research and implications for policy change. Sponsored by Collaborative for Health & the Environment.

Ramazzini Institute Cell Phone Radiation Study Replicates NTP Study
  Ramazzini Institute replicates heart cancer results from NTP cell phone radiation study.

Recent Research on Wireless Radiation and Electromagnetic Fields

I have been circulating abstracts of newly-published scientific papers on wireless radiation and electromagnetic fields (EMF) about once or twice a month since August, 2016. These updates are sent to several hundred EMF scientists around the world.

Since I have received numerous requests to post the abstracts on this website, I have compiled the collection into a document. The complete collection of abstracts from more than 500 papers can be downloaded by clicking on the following link:

Note: This link will change when new abstracts are added to the compilation.

See EMF-Portal for a searchable database of EMF studies. The Portal contains over 26,000 publications and 6,000 summaries of scientific studies on the effects of EMF. The Portal is a project of RWTH University Hospital in Aachen, Germany.

Latest edition

Systematic Derivation of Safety Limits for Time-Varying 5G Radiofrequency Exposure Based on Analytical Models and Thermal Dose

Neufeld E, Kuster N. Systematic Derivation of Safety Limits for Time-Varying 5G Radiofrequency Exposure Based on Analytical Models and Thermal Dose. Health Phys. 2018 Sep 21. doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000000930.


Extreme broadband wireless devices operating above 10 GHz may transmit data in bursts of a few milliseconds to seconds. Even though the time- and area-averaged power density values remain within the acceptable safety limits for continuous exposure, these bursts may lead to short temperature spikes in the skin of exposed people. In this paper, a novel analytical approach to pulsed heating is developed and applied to assess the peak-to-average temperature ratio as a function of the pulse fraction α (relative to the averaging time [INCREMENT]T; it corresponds to the inverse of the peak-to-average ratio). This has been analyzed for two different perfusion-related thermal time constants (τ1 = 100 s and 500 s) corresponding to plane-wave and localized exposures. To allow for peak temperatures that considerably exceed the 1 K increase, the CEM43 tissue damage model, with an experimental-data-based damage threshold for human skin of 600 min, is used to allow large temperature oscillations that remain below the level at which tissue damage occurs. To stay consistent with the current safety guidelines, safety factors of 10 for occupational exposure and 50 for the general public were applied. The model assumptions and limitations (e.g., employed thermal and tissue damage models, homogeneous skin, consideration of localized exposure by a modified time constant) are discussed in detail. The results demonstrate that the maximum averaging time, based on the assumption of a thermal time constant of 100 s, is 240 s if the maximum local temperature increase for continuous-wave exposure is limited to 1 K and α ≥ 0.1. For a very low peak-to-average ratio of 100 (α ≥ 0.01), it decreases to only 30 s. The results also show that the peak-to-average ratio of 1,000 tolerated by the International Council on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection guidelines may lead to permanent tissue damage after even short exposures, highlighting the importance of revisiting existing exposure guidelines.


Temperature Increase and Specific Absorption Rate Distribution in Human Breast from Cell Phone Radiation

Kunter, FC, Gündüz C, Seker SS. Temperature increase and Specific Absorption Rate distribution in human breast from cell phone radiation.J Med Imaging Health Informatics. 8(6):1186-1191. DOI: 10.1166/jmihi.2018.2418. Aug 2018.


This study describes the cell phone radiation effect on the healthy and unhealthy female breast tissue to establish safety criteria and to detect the cancerous tissue. A computational modeling is performed at 900 MHz and 1800 MHz with a sphere shaped breast and cancerous tissue in different configurations. Thermal investigation is performed through the heat transfer equation to determine temperature and specific absorption rate elevation in the female breast tissue. First, healthy breast tissue is excited with an antenna of which distances to the breast is varying. Next, the distribution of temperature and specific absorption rate are estimated on the different radius of cancerous breast tissue which is located at the center and at the bottom of the breast, respectively. The simulated temperature and the specific absorption rate values imply that the values are ascending with the size of the tumor whereas descending as the source is positioned further.


Personal Exposure to RF EMF among Australian Adults

Zeleke BM, Brzozek C, Bhatt CR, Abramson MJ, Freudenstein F, Wiedemann P, Geza Benke G. Personal Exposure to Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Fields among Australian Adults. Published Oct 12, 2018 Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(10), 2234;

(This article belongs to the Special Issue
Electric, Magnetic, and Electromagnetic Fields in Biology and Medicine: From Mechanisms to Biomedical Applications)

The measurement of personal exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) is important for epidemiological studies. RF-EMF exposure can be measured using personal exposimeters that register RF-EMFs over a wide range of frequency bands. This study aimed to measure and describe personal RF-EMF exposure levels from a wide range of frequency bands. Measurements were recorded from 63 participants over an average of 27.4 (±4.5) hours. RF-EMF exposure levels were computed for each frequency band, as well as from downlink (RF from mobile phone base station), uplink (RF from mobile phone handsets), broadcast, and Wi-Fi. Participants had a mean (±SD) age of 36.9 ± 12.5 years; 66.7% were women; and almost all (98.2%) from urban areas. A Wi-Fi router at home was reported by 61 participants (96.8%), with 38 (61.2%) having a Wi-Fi enabled smart TV. Overall, 26 (41.3%) participants had noticed the existence of a mobile phone base station in their neighborhood. On average, participants estimated the distance between the base station and their usual residence to be about 500 m. The median personal RF-EMF exposure was 208 mV/m. Downlink contributed 40.4% of the total RF-EMF exposure, followed by broadcast (22.4%), uplink (17.3%), and Wi-Fi (15.9%). RF-EMF exposure levels on weekdays were higher than weekends (p < 0.05). Downlink and broadcast are the main contributors to total RF-EMF personal exposure. Personal RF-EMF exposure levels vary according to day of the week and time of day.


Estimation of TETRA radio use in the Airwave Health Monitoring Study of the British police forces

Vergnaud AC, Aresu M, Kongsgård HW, McRobie D, Singh D, Spear J, Heard A, Gao H, Carpenter JR, Elliott P. Estimation of TETRA radio use in the Airwave Health Monitoring Study of the British police forces. Environ Res. 2018 Nov;167:169-174. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.07.015.


BACKGROUND: The Airwave Health Monitoring Study aims to investigate the possible long-term health effects of Terrestrial Trunked Radio (TETRA) use among the police forces in Great Britain. Here, we investigate whether objective data from the network operator could be used to correct for misreporting in self-reported data and expand the radio usage availability in our cohort.

METHODS: We estimated average monthly usage of personal radio in the 12 months prior to enrolment from a missing value imputation model and evaluated its performance against objective and self-reported data. Factors associated with TETRA radio usage variables were investigated using Chi-square tests and analysis of variance.

RESULTS: The imputed data were better correlated with objective than self-reported usage (Spearman correlation coefficient = 0.72 vs. 0. 52 and kappa 0.56 [95% confidence interval 0.55, 0.56] vs. 0.46 [0.45, 0.47]), although the imputation model tended to under-estimate use for higher users. Participants with higher personal radio usage were more likely to be younger, men vs. women and officer vs. staff. The median average monthly usage level for the entire cohort was estimated to be 29.3
min (95% CI: [7.2, 66.6]).

CONCLUSION: The availability of objective personal radio records for a large proportion of users allowed us to develop a robust imputation model and hence obtain personal radio usage estimates for ~50,000 participants. This substantially reduced exposure misclassification compared to using self-reported data and will allow us to carry out analyses of TETRA usage for the entire cohort in future work.


Nonparticipation selection bias in the MOBI-Kids Study

Turner MC, Gracia-Lavedan E, Momoli F, Langer CE, Castaño-Vinyals G, Kundi M, Maule M, Merletti F, Sadetzki S, Vermeulen R, Albert A, Alguacil J, Aragones N, Badia F, Bruchim R, Carretero G, Kojimahara N, Lacour B, Morales-Suarez-Varela M, Radon K, Remen T, Weinmann T, Yamaguchi N, Cardis E. Nonparticipation selection bias in the MOBI-Kids Study. Epidemiology. Oct 1, 2018. doi: 10.1097/EDE.0000000000000932.


BACKGROUND: MOBI-Kids is a 14-country case-control study designed to investigate the potential effects of electromagnetic field exposure from mobile telecommunications devices on brain tumor risk in children and young adults conducted from 2010-2016. This work describes differences in cellular telephone use and personal characteristics among interviewed participants and refusers responding to a brief non-respondent questionnaire. It also assesses the potential impact of non-participation Drafts selection bias on study findings.
METHODS: We compared non-respondent questionnaires completed by 77 case and 498 control refusers with responses from 683 interviewed cases and 1,501 controls (suspected appendicitis patients) in six countries (France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Japan, and Spain). We derived selection bias factors and estimated inverse probability of selection weights for use in analysis of MOBI-Kids data.
RESULTS: The prevalence of ever regular use was somewhat higher among interviewed participants than non-respondent questionnaire respondents aged 10-14 years (68% vs 62% controls, 63% vs 48% cases); in those 20-24 years, the prevalence was ≥ 97%. Interviewed controls and cases in the 15-19- and 20-24-year age groups were more likely to have a time since start of use of 5+ years. Selection bias factors generally indicated a small underestimation in cellular telephone odds ratios (ORs) ranging from 0.96-0.97 for ever regular use and 0.92-0.94 for time since start of use (5+ years), but varied in alternative hypothetical scenarios considered.
CONCLUSIONS: Although limited by small numbers of non-respondent questionnaire respondents, findings generally indicated a small underestimation in cellular telephone ORs due to selective non-participation.


Letter to the Editor concerning the paper “A novel database of bio-effects from non-ionizing radiation”

Drießen S, Dechent D, Graefrath D, Petri A-K, Bodewein L, Emonds T, Kraus T. Letter to the Editor concerning the paper “A novel database of bio-effects from non-ionizing radiation." Reviews on Environmental Health. Oct 11, 2018.


Over the past decade my colleagues and I have provided the EMF-Portal, a database on non-ionizing electromagnetic fields, launched by RWTH Aachen University, Germany. Today, the database of the EMF-Portal consists of more than 27,000 scientific publications, and the number is growing every day. The World Health Organization has also honored our EMF platform for many years and recommends it as a reference database.

Over the last 10 years, the EMF-Portal was mainly funded by German institutions, in spite of the fact that about 80% of our users are from other countries. However, because the debate in Germany about electromagnetic fields in the radiofrequency area has greatly decreased, we no longer have the same financial resources at our disposal as in previous years. As a result, we had to stop reviewing and uploading new articles about radiofrequency and mobile communications. Papers on biological effects caused by extremely low frequency fields (<10 MHz) have never been affected by this decision and have been continuously imported into the EMF-Portal. All this information is available on our homepage.
In the meantime, thanks to the financial support of our valuable users, we were able once again, to import articles from the radiofrequency range into the EMF-Portal (up to April 30, 2018). We hope to find a solution that allows for this service to continue past this date.

In addition, we would like to make a comment about the “effect/no effect” feature in the ORSAA database presented by the authors. According to Table 2 in their article, every study is indicated as an “effect study” if an observed change of status occurred in one or more parameters examined. Thus, as an example, the study by Sommer et al. (2) on lymphoma development is counted as an “effect study”, because the body weight of the investigated animals increased, although survival rate and lymphoma incidence did not differ between exposed mice and mice in the control group.

In our opinion, such a global categorization biases studies towards an “effect study” classification although the main outcome was “no effect”. Results of this analysis, as presented in their article, where 3 times more biological “Effect” than “No Effect” papers have been identified, might rather indicate this strong bias. For us, this is a real shortcoming in a self-declared non-biased database. To prevent such a bias and to promote a critical and differentiated discussion, we have decided not to offer such a feature in the EMF-Portal.


Probing Origins of 1,800 MHz RF EMR Induced Damage in Mouse Immortalized Germ Cells and Spermatozoa in vitro

Houston BJ, Nixon B, King BV, Aitken RJ, De Iuliis GN. Probing the origins of 1,800 MHz radio frequency electromagnetic radiation induced damage in mouse immortalized germ cells and spermatozoa in vitro. Front. Public Health. 2018 Sep 21.

As the use of mobile phone devices is now highly prevalent, many studies have sought to evaluate the effects of the radiofrequency-electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR) on both human health and biology. While several such studies have shown RF-EMR is capable of inducing cellular stress, the physicobiological origin of this stress remains largely unresolved. To explore the effect of RF-EMR on the male reproductive system, we exposed cultured mouse spermatogonial GC1 and spermatocyte GC2 cell lines, as well as cauda epididymal spermatozoa to a waveguide generating continuous wave RF-EMR (1.8 GHz, 0.15 and 1.5 W/kg). This study demonstrated that a 4 h exposure is capable of inducing the generation of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) in populations of GC1 (7 vs. 18%; p < 0.001) and GC2 cells (11.5 vs. 16 %; p < 0.01), identifying Complex III of the electron transport chain (ETC) as the potential source of electrons producing ROS. Assessing the generation of ROS in the presence of an antioxidant, penicillamine, as well as measuring lipid peroxidation via 4-hydroxynonenal levels, indicated that the elevated incidence of ROS generation observed under our exposure conditions did not necessarily induce an overt cellular oxidative stress response. However, exposure to RF-EMR at 0.15 W/kg for 3 h did induce significant DNA fragmentation in spermatozoa (that was no longer significant after 4 h), assessed by the alkaline comet assay (p < 0.05). Furthermore, this fragmentation was accompanied by an induction of oxidative DNA damage in the form of 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine, which was significant (p < 0.05) after spermatozoa were exposed to RF-EMR for 4 h. At this exposure time point, a decline in sperm motility (p < 0.05) was also observed. This study contributes new evidence toward elucidating a mechanism to account for the effects of RF-EMR on biological systems, proposing Complex III of the mitochondrial ETC as the key target of this radiation.


The effect of 2.45 GHz non-ionizing radiation on the structure and ultrastructure of the testis in juvenile rats

Šimaiová V, Almášiová V, Holovská K, Kisková T, Horváthová F, Ševčíková Z, Tóth Š, Raček A, Račeková E, Beňová K, Dvořák P, Cigánková V. The effect of 2.45 GHz non-ionizing radiation on the structure and ultrastructure of the testis in juvenile rats. Histol Histopathol. 2018 Sep 27:18049. doi: 10.14670/HH-18-049.


BACKGROUND: Nowadays, mobile devices that emit non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation (EMR) are predominantly used by juveniles and pubescents. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of whole body pulsed EMR on the juvenile Wistar albino rat testis at a frequency of 2.45 GHz and mean power density of 2.8 mW/cm².

METHODS: The investigated animals (n=24) were divided into two control and two EMR groups (5 and 6 week old rats; 6 rats per group). Both EMR groups were irradiated continually for 3 weeks (2h/day) from postnatal days 14 and 21, respectively.

RESULTS: EMR caused an irregular shape of seminiferous tubules with desquamated immature germ cells in the lumen, a large number of empty spaces along the seminiferous epithelium and dilated and congested blood vessels in the interstitial tissue of the testis. The cytoplasm of Sertoli cells showed strong vacuolization and damaged organelles, with the cytoplasm full of different heterophagic and lipid vacuoles or the cytoplasm of spermatocytes with swollen mitochondria in both irradiated groups. A significant increase in the total tubular area of seminiferous tubules was observed in both EMR groups compared with controls (P<0.001). A significant increase in the TUNEL-positive apoptotic nuclei (P<0.01) was accompanied by a significant rise in both Cu-Zn-SOD (P<0.01) and Mn-SOD (P<0.001) positive cells in the 6 week old experimental rats compared to control animals.

CONCLUSION: Our results confirmed a harmful effect of non-ionizing radiation on the structure and ultrastructure of the juvenile rat testis.

All experimental rats were exposed to whole-body pulsed non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation at a frequency of 2.45 GHz and mean power density of 2.8 mW/ cm² in a purpose-designed chamber (Fig. 1). The uniformity of the electromagnetic field was monitored with a spectral analyser.


The effect of 20-week continuous 60Hz magnetic field exposure on testicular function in Sprague-Dawley rats

Park S, Kim YJ, Kim MS, Kim HS, Kim MW, Kang YM, Lee SK, Choi KC, Kim N, Gimm YM, Kim YW. The effect of 20-week continuous 60
Hz magnetic field exposure on testicular function in Sprague-Dawley rats. Bioelectromagnetics. 2018 Oct 5. doi: 10.1002/bem.22146.


Accumulating evidence does not yet confirm the effect of power line frequency magnetic field (MF) on human health and fertility. We recently reported that, at continuous 60
Hz MF exposure in mice, the dose given as magnetic flux density (tesla; T) and duration of exposure was related to induce testicular germ cell apoptosis. We aimed to characterize the effect of a 20-week continuous exposure to 60Hz MF on the motility, morphology, and number of sperm as well as the apoptosis of testicular germ cell in rats. Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed for 20 weeks to 60Hz MF of 2, 20, or 200μT for 24h/day with rats exposed to sham conditions, serving as the control. The exposure to 60Hz MF of 2 and 20μT had no effects on testicular in this study. The exposure to 60Hz MF of 200μT for 20 weeks induced increases of the apoptotic cells (P<0.001) in germ cells and decreases of sperm numbers (P<0.05). However, the MF did not significantly affect the body or testis mass, seminiferous tubule diameter, or the motility or morphology of sperm. This study concluded that exposure to 60Hz MF of 200μT can increase testicular germ cell apoptosis, especially spermatogonia, and reduce sperm count. Also compared to previous mice studies, rats are less sensitive than mice to exposure to 60Hz MF.


Effects of exposure to ELF-EMF on spatial & passive avoidance learning & memory, anxiety-like behavior & oxidative stress in male rats

Asaad Karimi S, Salehi I, Shykhi T, Zare S, Komaki A. Effects of exposure to extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields on spatial and passive avoidance learning and memory, anxiety-like behavior and oxidative stress in male rats. Behav Brain Res. 2018 Oct 2. pii: S0166-4328(18)31074-X. doi: 10.1016/j.bbr.2018.10.002.


There are many controversies about the safety of extremely low-frequency electromagnetic field (ELF-EMF) on body health and cognitive performance. In the present study, we explored the effects of ELF-EMF on oxidative stress and behaviors of rats. Seventy-two adult male Wistar rats were randomly divided into following groups, control, sham exposure group and the ELF-EMF exposure groups (1 µT, 100 µT, 500 µT, and 2000 µT). After 60 days exposure (2
h/day), elevated plus maze (EPM), Morris water maze (MWM) and Passive avoidance learning (PAL) tasks were used to evaluate the anxiety-like behavior, spatial and passive learning and memory, respectively. Some days after behavioral examination, oxidative stress markers were measured. During spatial reference memory test, animals in ELF-EMF exposure groups (100, and 2000 µT) spent more time in target zone (F (4, 55)=5.699, P=0.0007, One-way ANOVA). In PAL retention, the step through latency in the retention test (STLr) in ELF-EMF exposure groups (100,500, and 2000 µT) was significantly greater than control group (F (4, 55)=29.13, P<0.0001, One-way ANOVA). In EPM test, ELF-EMF exposure (500 and 2000 µT) decreased the percentage of the entries into the open arms (F (4, 55)=26.31, P<0.0001, one-way ANOVA). ELF-EMF exposure (100, and 500 µT) increased Malondialdehyde (MDA) concentration (F (4, 25)=79.83, P<0.0001, One-way ANOVA). Our results may allow the conclusion that exposure to ELF-EMFs can improve memory retention (but not acquisition) in the adult male rats. Although exposure to ELF-EMFs could be a factor in the development of anxious state or oxidative stress.


Low-intensity EMFs induce human cryptochrome to modulate intracellular reactive oxygen species

Sherrard RM, Morellini N, Jourdan N, El-Esawi M, Arthaut LD, Niessner C, Rouyer F, Klarsfeld A, Doulazmi M, Witczak J, d'Harlingue A, Mariani J, Mclure I, Martino CF, Ahmad M. Low-intensity electromagnetic fields induce human cryptochrome to modulate intracellular reactive oxygen species. PLoS Biol. 2018 Oct 2;16(10):e2006229. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2006229.


Exposure to man-made electromagnetic fields (EMFs), which increasingly pollute our environment, have consequences for human health about which there is continuing ignorance and debate. Whereas there is considerable ongoing concern about their harmful effects, magnetic fields are at the same time being applied as therapeutic tools in regenerative medicine, oncology, orthopedics, and neurology. This paradox cannot be resolved until the cellular mechanisms underlying such effects are identified. Here, we show by biochemical and imaging experiments that exposure of mammalian cells to weak pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) stimulates rapid accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), a potentially toxic metabolite with multiple roles in stress response and cellular ageing. Following exposure to PEMF, cell growth is slowed, and ROS-responsive genes are induced. These effects require the presence of cryptochrome, a putative magnetosensor that synthesizes ROS. We conclude that modulation of intracellular ROS via cryptochromes represents a general response to weak EMFs, which can account for either therapeutic or pathological effects depending on exposure. Clinically, our findings provide a rationale to optimize low field magnetic stimulation for novel therapeutic applications while warning against the possibility of harmful synergistic effects with environmental agents that further increase intracellular ROS.
Author summary

Repetitive low-intensity magnetic stimulation has been used in the treatment of disease for over 50 years. Associated benefits have included alleviation of depression, memory loss, and symptoms of Parkinson disease, as well as accelerated bone and wound healing and the treatment of certain cancers, independently of surgery or drugs. However, the cellular mechanisms underlying these effects remain unclear. Here, we demonstrate that repetitive magnetic field exposure in human cells stimulates production of biological stress response chemicals known as reactive oxygen species (ROS). At moderate doses, we find that reactive oxygen actively stimulates cellular repair and stress response pathways, which might account for the observed therapeutic effects to repetitive magnetic stimulation. We further show that this response requires the function of a well-characterized, evolutionarily conserved flavoprotein receptor known as cryptochrome, which has been implicated in magnetic sensing in organisms ranging from plants to flies, including migratory birds. We conclude that exposure to weak magnetic fields induces the production of ROS in human cells and that this process requires the presence of the cryptochrome receptor.

Editor’s Note:

This Short Report received positive reviews by experts. The Academic Editor has written an accompanying Primer that we are publishing alongside this article ( The linked Primer presents a complementary expert perspective; it discusses considerations about the status of knowledge and experimental systems in the field that encourage cautious interpretation.

Open access paper:


Cryptochrome: The magnetosensor with a sinister side?

Landler L, Keays DA (2018) Cryptochrome: The magnetosensor with a sinister side? PLoS Biol 16(10): e3000018.

No abstract.


Coupling of oxidative stress responses to tricarboxylic acid cycle & prostaglandin E2 alterations in Caenorhabditis elegans under ELF-EMF

Sun Y, Shi Z, Wang Y, Tang C, Liao Y, Yang C, Cai P. Coupling of oxidative stress responses to tricarboxylic acid cycle and prostaglandin E2 alterations in Caenorhabditis elegans under extremely low-frequency electromagnetic field. Int J Radiat Biol. 2018 Oct 11:1-8. doi: 10.1080/09553002.2019.1524943.


PURPOSE:  With all-pervasive presence of extremely low-frequency electromagnetic field (ELF-EMF) in modern life, ELF-EMF has been regarded as an essential factor which may induce changes in many organisms. The objective of the present study was to investigate the physiological responses of Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) to 50
Hz, 3mT ELF-EMF exposure.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Worms were exposed to ELF-EMF from the egg stage until reaching the fourth larva (L4) stage. After exposure, expressions of the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle enzymes were examined by qRT-PCR and western blot analysis. Two lipid metabolites were detected by GC-MS. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) level was detected by dichlorofluorescein staining and worm antioxidant system was investigated by enzymatic activity analysis, including detection of the superoxide dismutase and catalase (CAT) activity and the total antioxidant capacity (T-AOC).

RESULTS:  The TCA cycle enzyme, fumarase was found with decreased expression under ELF-EMF exposure. And arachidonic acid (ArA) and prostaglandin E2(PGE2) showed elevated concentrations, with increased expression of prostaglandin E2 synthase (PGES-2) in ELF-EMF exposed worms. Significant elevation of ROS level was identified accompanied with the significant depression of T-AOC in response to ELF-EMF.

CONCLUSIONS:  Our results suggested that exposure to 50
Hz, 3mT ELF-EMF in C. elegans can elicit disruptions of the TCA cycle metabolism and PGE2 formation, coupling ELF-EMF-induced oxidative stress responses. Our study probably will attract increasing attentions to the controllable application of ELF-EMF associated with health and disease.


Effects of weak static magnetic fields on the gene expression of seedlings of Arabidopsis thaliana

Dhiman SK, Galland P. Effects of weak static magnetic fields on the gene expression of seedlings of Arabidopsis thaliana. J Plant Physiol. 2018 Sep 3;231:9-18. doi: 10.1016/j.jplph.2018.08.016.


Magnetic-field reception of animals and plants is currently discussed in the framework of a cryptochrome-based radical-pair mechanism. Efforts to unravel magnetoreception in plants suffered historically from several shortcomings, most prominently, the conspicuous absence of detailed stimulus-response relationships. To determine the sensitivity of seedlings of Arabidopsis thaliana to weak static magnetic fields we generated stimulus-response curves between near zero and 188 μT for the transcript levels of the genes rbcl, cab4, pal4 and ef1. The moderate magneto-responsiveness of dark-grown seedlings was greatly enhanced under blue light, and for rbcl and pal4 also under red light. The stimulus-response curves obtained under blue light of constant photon-fluence rate displayed multiple maxima and thus a pattern fundamentally different from that prevalent in plant and animal physiology. A double mutant lacking cryptochromes 1 and 2 displayed altered stimulus-response curves without losing, however, magneto-responsiveness completely. A reversal of the magnetic field direction substantially affected the gene expression and the quantity of CAB-protein (chlorophyll a,b-binding protein). The majority of our results are at variance with the notion of cryptochromes acting as the only magnetic-field sensors. They do not, however, exclude the possibility that cryptochromes participate in the magnetic field reception of Arabidopsis. The findings have the unexpected implication that cryptochrome- and phytochrome-mediated plant responses can be modulated by the strength and the orientation of the local geomagnetic field.


Some recommendations for experimental work in magnetobiology, revisited

Makinistian L, Muehsam DJ, Bersani F, Belyaev I. Some recommendations for experimental work in magnetobiology, revisited. Bioelectromagnetics. 2018 Oct 10. doi: 10.1002/bem.22144.

No abstract.


Weak power frequency magnetic fields induce microtubule cytoskeleton reorganization depending on epidermal growth factor receptor & calcium signaling

Wu X, Du J, Song W, Cao M, Chen S, Xia R. Weak power frequency magnetic fields induce microtubule cytoskeleton reorganization depending on the epidermal growth factor receptor and the calcium related signaling. PLoS One. 2018 Oct 12;13(10):e0205569. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0205569.


We have shown previously that a weak 50 Hz magnetic field (MF) invoked the actin-cytoskeleton, and provoked cell migration at the cell 
level, probably through activating the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) related motility pathways. However, whether the MF also affects the microtubule (MT)-cytoskeleton is still unknown. In this article, we continuously investigate the effects of 0.4 mT, 50 Hz MF on the MT, and try to understand if the MT effects are also associated with the EGFR pathway as the actin-cytoskeleton effects were. Our results strongly suggest that the MF effects are similar to that of EGF stimulation on the MT cytoskeleton, showing that 1) the MF suppressed MT in multiple cell types including PC12 and FL; 2) the MF promoted the clustering of the EGFR at the protein and the cell levels, in a similar way of that EGF did but with higher sensitivity to PD153035 inhibition, and triggered EGFR phosphorylation on sites of Y1173 and S1046/1047; 3) these effects were strongly depending on the Ca2+ signaling through the L-type calcium channel (LTCC) phosphorylation and elevation of the intracellular Ca2+ level. Strong associations were observed between EGFR and the Ca2+ signaling to regulate the MF-induced-reorganization of the cytoskeleton network, via phosphorylating the signaling proteins in the two pathways, including a significant MT protein, tau. These results strongly suggest that the MF activates the overall cytoskeleton in the absence of EGF, through a mechanism related to both the EGFR and the LTCC/Ca2+ signaling pathways.

Friday, October 12, 2018

5G Wireless Technology: Cutting Through the Hype

The CTIA, the wireless industry trade association, has launched an advertising campaign entitled, "The Global Race to 5G." The ads claim that unless the U.S. wins this "global race" to become the first nation to deploy the fifth generation of wireless technology or 5G, we will not reap the economic benefits of this technology. 

The CTIA claims that "compared to today's 4G networks, 5G will be up to 100x faster, support 100x more devices, and provide a 5x faster response time." Moreover, the association asserts that the nation's wireless industry is prepared to invest $275 billion in 5G which will yield three million new jobs and $500 billion in economic growth. If we win the global race, the "next-generation of wireless will drive $2.7 trillion of new economic benefits to American families and businesses."

The CTIA has denied for decades that there are adverse health effects from exposure to wireless radiation. By establishing a revolving door between its leadership and the FCC's, the CTIA ensures that the federal regulatory agency maintains the inadequate, obsolete radio frequency exposure limits which the FCC adopted in 1996.

The FCC and federal health agencies have been oblivious to the health concerns raised by more than 230 scientists from 41 nations who have published peer-reviewed research on the biologic or health effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields.

This September more than 180 scientists and doctors from 35 countries signed a declaration demanding a moratorium on the planned increase of cell antennas for 5G deployment in the European Union. Concerns over health effects from higher radiation exposure include potential neurological impacts, infertility, and cancer.

The following excerpts were extracted from a 23-page special report from RCR Wireless that cuts through much of the hype surrounding the deployment of 5G. The excerpts are direct quotes from the report.

RCR Wireless is a trade publication that has reported on the wireless industry and wireless technology since 1982.

Transitioning to a 5G World

Kelly Hill, RCR Wireless, Nov. 2017

Excerpts from the Report
Hype is certainly high for 5G, given that the industry is still technically in a pre-standard phase and that standalone 5G systems are still some time off.
5G is coming even faster than originally expected. In December, the first official specification from the Third Generation Partnership Project is expected to be released; 5G New Radio will finally make its standardized debut – although like Long Term Evolution, 5G will continue to evolve and be refined in the coming years.
“5G will not replace LTE,” Rysavy Research concluded in an August report for the GSMA. “In most deployments, the two technologies will be tightly integrated and co-exist through at least the late-2020s.”
Although the industry is preparing for 5G, LTE [4G] capabilities will continue to improve in LTE Advanced Pro through the rest of the decade,”  Rysavy wrote .... 5G will eventually play an important role, but it must be timed appropriately so that the jump in capability justifies the new investment.
KT, for example, plans to support two different frequencies from the get-go in its 5G network: 3.5 GHz as an anchor with better propagation, complemented by 28 GHz in dense areas. Given that networks are expected to initially be 4G/5G networks, testing will have to continue to support LTE alongside 5G.
Hurtarte of LitePoint noted that although “millimeter wave” tends to be treated as one category, there are significant differences between the components and frequency planning needed at 28 GHz versus 39 GHz. In addition, although some frequencies are widely agreed upon, there are other frequencies that may get the nod for 5G use: 24 GHz in China, possibly 40-43 Ghz and possibly even above 70 GHz.
There are some major challenges to the success of 5G, which are all interrelated: the move to mmwave, the need for ultra-density, and the question of when the economics of 5G will actually work well enough to take off.
Mmwave [millimeter wave] provides the huge bandwidths that are needed for fast speeds and high capacity, but the higher the frequency, the shorter its range and more susceptible it is to being easily blocked and reflected (thus the need for beamforming in order to focus the energy more tightly). Seasonal foliage, energy efficient glass windows with special coatings, and standard housing materials all present effective barriers to mmwave reaching indoors to customer premise equipment, operators and vendors have found in their field testing.
Denisowski pointed out that fixed wireless is one thing, but moving objects are another. Obstruction, not radiating sources of energy, is likely to be the main cause of interference in 5G systems: vehicles driving back and forth, or even wind farms can scatter microwave radiation.
Density of foliage “plays a big role,” said Thadasina of Samsung, which has been working with a number of carriers on 5G trials. “What we found is that for the mmwave signal, as it penetrated through trees, the thickness of the trees matters. Initially the impedence offered by foliage is linear, but beyond a certain density it is no longer linear … it kills the signal.” Building materials are well-known to play a role in transmission from outdoors to indoors, he added, but the angle of incidence does as well. The difference between 30 degrees to 60 degrees to 90 degrees can create additional impedance, Thadasina said, “some of those things make it challenging in terms of closing the link.” Moisture levels play a role as well, he said ....
Fiber is fuel for 5G, and its prevalence is increasing. SNL Kagan found earlier this year that global fiber residential investment increased sharply in 2016, and that fiber is on track to reach 1 billion subscribers by 2021. Meanwhile, in the U.S., Vertical Systems Group reported that 49.6% of multi-tenant and enterprise buildings had access to fiber last year, compared to only 10% in 2004.

Deloitte said earlier this year that it expects to see $130 billion-$150 billion in “deep fiber” investment in the U.S. over 5-7 years, due to a combination of broadband competition, ensuring 5G readiness, and expanding fiber into new areas.

Murphy of Nokia said that operators should expect that, depending on which frequency they deploy in, they will need 2.5 to 10 times as many sites as they have now. That’s a tall order, especially given that small cell sites in cellular frequencies can take 18 to 24 months to get site approvals – scaling small cells has been hard enough in LTE, with the market moving much more slowly than analysts had predicted or carriers would like.
“It’s going to take a long time,” Einbinder said. “Constructing a cell tower is hard. A micro-cell has a lot of the same issues”: power and fiber and access to a site, which a community may be reluctant to grant – California, for instance, recently rejected a measure passed at the state level that would have streamlined processes for small cells.
... Einbinder thinks that some communities will take initiative and want to be 5G economic centers. While that’s encouraging for operators, it may also mean that 5G coverage maps look very different from the familiar red, blue, yellow and magenta maps indicating nationwide coverage. “The resulting coverage maps might have a lot more to do with [communities] than any economic or technological drivers – it’s going to be driven by local preference.”
While early work estimated that as many as 40 to 50 homes could be covered by a single fixed wireless site, according to Rouault of EXFO, that number has turned out to be around five in testing because of the complexity of beamforming necessary to support multiple homes. “It’s not at the point we would say the verdict is out,” Rouault added. “The technology is proven to work, but to make the business case work, the scale is the problem right now.”
So the biggest question is where a breakthrough is going to happen that becomes the point at which 5G becomes a more attractive investment than LTE. “What can 5G do that other systems can’t? This is where there is no clear answer,” said Hemant Minocha, EVP for device and IoT at TEOCO. There is no 5G requirement for IoT [Internet of Things], he points out, and the business case hasn’t yet been proven out for ultra-low latency (not to  mention that LTE is capable of lower latency than it has achieved to this point in networks).
Key Takeaways:
• The industry is moving quickly toward 5G, with momentum in testing and trials. The first official 5G specification from 3GPP is expected in December, with a protocol-focused release coming in the spring of 2018.
• Many features and architectures in LTE, particularly gigabit LTE, will both underpin future 5G networks and provide lessons learned in making 5G systems work. These include dense fiber deployment, higher-order and massive MIMO, network slicing, virtualization, and mobile edge computing.
• The biggest challenge for 5G lies in a millimeter-wave based RAN, with significant challenges ahead for designing and deploying a workable, optimized and profitable mmwave network on a large scale.

The RCR Wireless report, "Transitioning to a 5G World," can be downloaded at

Related posts:

Olga Kharif and Scott Moritz, Bloomberg, Dec 18, 2017

Impact of EMF Limits on 5G Network Rollout
Christer Tornevik, ITU Workshop on 5G, EMF and Health, Dec 5, 2017

Microwave Radiation Coming to a Lamppost near You
Merinda Teller, MPH, PhD, Weston A. Price Foundation, Dec 1, 2017

5G Is Not the Answer For Rural Broadband
Larry Thompson and Warren Vande Stadt, Broadband Communities. March/April, 2017