Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Does exposure to 4G LTE cell phone radiation impair cell phone users' health?

4G or the fourth generation of cellular technology is called Long Term Evolution or LTE.  This technology employs new digital signal processing and modulation to increase the capacity and speed of wireless telecommunications networks. 

The standard for LTE was finalized in December, 2008, and the first mobile phone to employ this technology was released in September, 2010. By the end of 2017, 41 countries supported LTE coverage over at least 75% of their land area. In North America, the number of LTE mobile devices in use, 365 millionnow exceeds the size of the population.

LTE was launched without any pre-market safety testing. To date, I have found only three peer-reviewed studies that examined the acute effects of exposure to LTE radiation on brain functioning and no research on health effects. Thus, we do not know whether long-term exposure to LTE radiation is safe.

The fifth generation of cellular technology, or 5G, is currently being launched in selected areas in a handful of countries. Although once again no pre-market safety testing was conducted, related research suggests various types of harm to humans and other species from exposure to 5G radiation.

The abstracts for the three LTE studies appear below.

Modulation of brain functional connectivity by exposure to LTE (4G) cell phone radiation

Wei Y, Yang J, Chen Z, Wu T, Lv B. Modulation of resting‐state brain functional connectivity by exposure to acute fourth‐generation long‐term evolution electromagnetic field: An fMRI study. Bioelectromagnetics. Published online 18 December 2018. 


By now, the neurophysiological effect of electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure and its underlying regulating mechanisms are not well manifested. In this study, we aimed to investigate whether acute long‐term evolution (LTE) EMF exposure could modulate brain functional connectivity using regional homogeneity (ReHo) method and seed‐based analysis on resting‐state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We performed the LTE‐EMF  exposure experiment and acquired the resting‐state brain activities before and after EMF exposure. Then we applied ReHo index to characterize the localized functional connectivity and seed‐based method to evaluate the inter‐regional functional connectivity. Statistical comparisons were conducted to identify the possible evidence of brain functional connectivity modulation induced by the acute LTE‐EMF exposure. We found that the acute LTE‐EMF exposure modulated localized intra‐regional connectivity (p < 0.05, AlphaSim corrected, voxel size ≥ 18) and inter‐regional connectivity in some brain regions (p < 0.05, AlphaSim corrected, voxel size ≥ 18). Our results may indicate that the approaches relying on network‐level inferences could provide deeper insight into the acute effect on human functional activity induced by LTE‐EMF exposure.


"Currently, multiple standards exist for wireless communication, which ranges from second‐generation (2G, GSM) to third‐generation (3G, UMTS) and fourth‐generation (4G, LTE) networks in daily life. Fifth‐generation (5G) networks will start to appear as a commercial infrastructure in the near future. Although we enjoy the convenience of mobile phones, the widespread use of them has raised attention about the possible health effects of radiofrequency (RF) electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure [ICNIRP, 1998].

With neuroimaging and neuropsychology tools, the effect of EMF on the human brain can be reflected as signals of electrical activity [Hamblin et al., 2006; Croft et al., 2010; Lustenberger et al., 2013; Roggeveen et al., 2015a, b], cortical excitability [Tombini et al., 2013], cerebral blood flow [Aalto et al., 2006], brain glucose metabolism [Volkow et al., 2011], and hemodynamic responses [Volkow et al., 2011; Curcio et al., 2012]. Previous studies reported that GSM signals modulated alpha band power in resting‐state electroencephalogram (EEG) [Croft et al., 2010] or some event‐related potential (ERP) components during cognitive tasks [Hamblin et al., 2006], whereas other studies did not detect any GSM exposure‐induced changes in brain activity [Curcio et al., 2012]. Although some studies showed no significant effects of 3G signals on any neurophysiological measurements [Zhang et al., 2017], recent EEG studies reported significant EEG alterations associated with 3G mobile phone radiation [Roggeveen et al., 2015a, b]. The inconsistency could partly be attributed to different exposure frequencies, modulation modes, and exposure durations [Zhang et al., 2017]. For 4G‐related signals, only our two previous studies have investigated the acute effect of long‐term evolution (LTE) EMF exposure on human brain function [Lv et al., 2014; Yang et al., 2016] using EEG and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). We found that 30 min of LTE‐EMF exposure modulated the alpha/beta EEG bands [Yang et al., 2016] and spontaneous low‐frequency fluctuations [Lv et al., 2014] in some brain regions. Since LTE networks have been widely deployed, we should make more effort to evaluate the possible effects of LTE‐EMF exposure from different perspectives."

"In this study, we aimed to investigate whether acute LTE‐EMF exposure could modulate brain functional connectivity using resting‐state fMRI. We performed LTE‐EMF exposure experiments lasting for 30 min under a controllable environment and recorded the resting‐state brain activities before and after EMF exposure. Then, we applied the regional homogeneity (ReHo) index [Zang et al., 2004] to characterize localized intraregional connectivity and the seed‐based functional connectivity method [Margulies et al., 2010] to evaluate interregional brain connectivity. Statistical comparisons were conducted to identify possible evidence of brain functional connectivity modulation induced by acute LTE‐EMF exposure."

“To eliminate study biases, we employed a double‐blind, crossover, randomized, and counterbalanced design. Each participant underwent two experimental sessions including real exposure and sham exposure, which were separated by 1 day….The time‐division LTE signal (2.573 GHz) was produced by a signal generator a standard formulation for LTE signals….The power delivered to the standard dipole of 2.6 GHz was 24 dBm (mean value), which was equivalent to a theoretical maximal emission by an LTE terminal. The experiments were conducted in a shielding room to avoid the influence of environmental EMF. Each exposure session lasted for 30 min.”

“Numerical simulations that yielded spatial peak SAR averaging over 10 g tissues for the subjects was 0.98 ± 0.27 W/kg, with a maximal value of 1.52 W/kg, which was below the safety limits [ICNIRP, 1998].”

“In our previous studies, we found that LTE‐EMF exposure depressed the amplitude of spontaneous low frequency fluctuations (ALFFs) in some brain regions [Lv et al., 2014], such as those surrounding the left superior temporal gyrus and middle temporal gyrus (STG_L and MTG_L), right superior temporal gyrus (STG_R), right medial frontal gyrus, and right paracentral lobule (MFG_R and PCL_R). In the present study, we found new evidence that acute LTE‐EMF exposures lasting for 30 min modulated brain functional connectivity including not only localized intraregional connectivity, but also interregional connectivity.”

"Although the SAR values by LTE‐EMF exposure indicated no obvious temperature increase during the exposure experiments and the brain was excellent in terms of thermal regulation, we could not preclude that thermal changes, even minute changes, could be responsible for the instantaneous changes in neural firing. SAR is a metric averaging over 6 min, and its applicability for neurological studies should be discussed."


"Our results may indicate that approaches relying on network‐level inferences can provide deeper insights into the acute effects of LTE‐EMF exposure with intensities below the current safety limits on human functional connectivity. In the future, we need to investigate the evolution of the effect over time.”

May 2, 2016

By the end of 2013, 100 million cell phones in the U.S. operated on LTE. This number worldwide is expected to exceed 1 billion by the end of this year. 

Following is a summary of the second study published on the effects of 4th generation LTE cell phone radiation on the brain activity of cell phone users by the China Academy of Telecommunication Research of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

The original study showed that 30 minutes of exposure to LTE phone radiation affected brain activity in the left superior temporal gyrus, left middle temporal gyrus, right superior temporal gyrus, right medial frontal gyrus and right paracentral lobule. The current study found that a 30-minute exposure to LTE radiation modulated the EEG in the alpha and beta bands at the frontal region of the near and remote sides, and at the temporal region on the near side.

Long-Term Evolution EMF Exposure Modulates Resting State EEG on Alpha and Beta Bands

Yang L, Chen Q, Lv B, Wu T. Long-Term Evolution Electromagnetic Fields Exposure Modulates the Resting State EEG on Alpha and Beta Bands. Clin EEG Neurosci. 
2017 May;48(3):168-175. doi: 10.1177/1550059416644887.


Long-term evolution (LTE) wireless telecommunication systems are widely used globally, which has raised a concern that exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) emitted from LTE devices can change human neural function. To date, few studies have been conducted on the effect of exposure to LTE EMF. Here, we evaluated the changes in electroencephalogram (EEG) due to LTE EMF exposure. An LTE EMF exposure system with a stable power emission, which was equivalent to the maximum emission from an LTE mobile phone, was used to radiate the subjects. Numerical simulations were conducted to ensure that the specific absorption rate in the subject's head was below the safety limits. Exposure to LTE EMF reduced the spectral power and the interhemispheric coherence in the alpha and beta bands of the frontal and temporal brain regions. No significant change was observed in the spectral power and the inter-hemispheric coherence in different timeslots during and after the exposure. These findings also corroborated those of our previous study using functional magnetic resonant imaging.


".. the results of resting state EEG experiments have been contradictory. For example, some studies have reported enhancement of the alpha (8-12 Hz) and beta (13-30 Hz) band power values after exposure to pulse-modulated 450- and 900-MHz signals, pulse-modulated magnetic fields, and active mobile phone signals. In contrast, some studies have shown decreased alpha band activity after 20 minutes of extremely low-frequency EMF exposure, or 5 minutes of magnetic field exposure, or global system for mobile communications (GSM) EMF exposure. Many studies also found no changes in the EEG after either modulated or unmodulated EMF exposure. These inconsistencies could be attributed not only to the differences in the signal type, the modulation, the exposure frequency, the exposure intensity individual anatomy, the ages of the subjects, and the exposure duration but also to the lack of rigorous experimental designs. Most of the previously published studies have focused on GSM, WiFi, and Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS), signals. An emerging technology, “long term evolution” (LTE) wireless service, has been deployed since 2009 and the number of global LTE subscribers is expected to reach 1.37 billion by the end of 2015. Other than our previous functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) study, there are very few reports on the effect of exposure to LTE EMF on brain function. We previously found that 30 minutes of exposure to LTE EMF modulated the spontaneous low-frequency fluctuations. We were interested in confirming our previous results using another neurophysiological method and also sought to assess the evolution of the effect over time during such exposure. In this article, we have investigated for the first time the changes in the resting state EEG caused by exposure to LTE signals. The exposure dose was below the current safety limit. In order to assess brain activities on different levels, we evaluated spectral power and interhemispheric coherence, which allowed investigation of EEG changes in specific brain regions, as well as their correlations, at different time points. We show that exposure to LTE EMF decreased the alpha and beta band power spectrum and interhemisphere coherence."

"The age of the subjects was 30.2 ± 2.7 years."

"A plastic spacer of 1 cm was used to maintain the distance between the right ear and a standard dipole. We applied 2 power meters to ensure a constant incident power to the emission dipole. The power delivered to the dipole was 24 dBm (peak value), equivalent to a theoretical maximum emission by an LTE terminal."

"All 25 subjects participated in the double-blind and counterbalanced experiment."

"The experiment included 2 sessions, which were separated by 1 week. Each session lasted 50 minutes and comprised 5 time slots. We indicated each time slot (10 minutes) in a session as sub1 to sub5. The radiation dipole was power off for the first (preexposure, sub1) and the last 10 minutes (postexposure, sub5) timeslots. Subjects were exposed to real EMF exposure in the 3 time slots (sub2 to sub4) between the first and the last 10 minutes in only 1 of the 2 sessions. The order of the 2 sessions was randomly selected per subject. The subjects were not informed of the sequence of each session; however, they were aware of the possibility of being exposed. On the other hand, the staff who analyzed the data did not know the sources of the EEG traces."

"The simulations yielded 1.34 W/kg (pSAR10g) and 1.96 W/kg (pSAR1g), with the electrodes, and 1.27 W/kg (pSAR10g) and 1.78 W/kg (pSAR1g), without the electrodes (Figure 2) when the dipole emitted radiation. Therefore, the presence of the EEG electrodes increased pSAR10g and pSAR1g by about 5.5% and 10.1%, respectively. Accordingly, the maximum resultant temperature increase was no more than 0.1°C ...."

"Previous studies on GSM and UMTS signal exposure frequently reported changes in interhemispheric coherence and the spectral power in the alpha band in the frontal and temporal regions, which were also confirmed by our results on LTE EMF exposure. Moreover, modulation of the power spectrum in the beta band, including both an increase and a decrease, was reported. Several reasons may account for the inconsistency. First, the signal frequency and its modulation influenced the affected EEG band: for example, exposure to 2G signals affect the alpha rhythms, whilst exposure to 3G signals do not. In contrast, the modulated 450-MHz signals of various intensities can change beta activity much more markedly than alpha band power. Second, gender and the individual sensitivity 38,40 may influence the effect on different bands. Hence, we attempted to reduce the variability by enrolling the subjects with the same gender and age."

"In particular, power spectral analysis has shown significant differences in the left frontal brain regions, that is, the remote side, on exposure. This may be associated with modulation of neural activity in the remote/contralateral brain regions. The remote effects of EMF have been observed in many previous studies. Our results reconfirmed that the effects were also seen with LTE EMF exposure."

"The power spectrum and the interhemispheric coherence did not differ significantly over sub2 to sub5. Thus, the observed effect did not change with the exposure time and the effect was therefore not developing. The reduction in alpha band activity has been associated with a decrease in individual information-processing ability, alertness, and cognitive performance. The decrease in beta band activity could be interpreted as decreased alertness, arousal, and excitement or a low level of fatigue. Notably, EEG power fluctuation was not in one-one correspondence with the change in behavioral/cognitive performance which should be evaluated by specifically designed experiments as the report by Haarala et al. No conclusion could be obtained by our study that the present EMF exposure affected the subjects’ cognitive abilities."

"This work studied EEG changes caused by LTE EMF exposure. An exposure system with a fixed power incident to a radiation dipole was used; this simulation demonstrated that the SAR was within the safety limits. LTE EMF exposure modulated the EEG in the alpha and beta bands at the frontal region of the near and remote sides, and at the temporal region on the near side. No developing effect was found in the periods during and after the exposure. Our results agreed to some extent with those of our previous fMRI study on LTE exposure. Our finding indicated that the LTE EMF exposure with the intensity beneath the safety limits could modulate the brain activities."

"Future studies should focus on the correlation of EEG changes with spatial SAR distribution. By taking individual anatomical structure into consideration, a precise dose-effect relationship can be established. EEG changes with a finer temporal resolution during the exposure session should also be evaluated."

First LTE study

Lv B, Chen Z, Wu T, et al. The alteration of spontaneous low frequency oscillations caused by acute electromagnetic fields exposure. Clin Neurophysiol. 2014;125:277-286.


OBJECTIVE: The motivation of this study is to evaluate the possible alteration of regional resting state brain activity induced by the acute radiofrequency electromagnetic field (RF-EMF) exposure (30 minutes) of Long Term Evolution (LTE) signal.

METHODS: We designed a controllable near-field LTE RF-EMF exposure environment. Eighteen subjects participated in a double-blind, crossover, randomized and counterbalanced experiment including two sessions (real and sham exposure). The radiation source was close to the right ear. Then the resting state fMRI signals of human brain were collected before and after the exposure in both sessions. We measured the amplitude of low frequency fluctuation (ALFF) and fractional ALFF (fALFF) to characterize the spontaneous brain activity.

RESULTS: We found the decreased ALFF value around in left superior temporal gyrus, left middle temporal gyrus, right superior temporal gyrus, right medial frontal gyrus and right paracentral lobule after the real exposure. And the decreased fALFF value was also detected in right medial frontal gyrus and right paracentral lobule.

CONCLUSIONS: The study provided the evidences that 30 minute LTE RF-EMF exposure modulated the spontaneous low frequency fluctuations in some brain regions.

SIGNIFICANCE: With resting state fMRI, we found the alteration of spontaneous low frequency fluctuations induced by the acute LTE RF-EMF exposure.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Worldwide Radio Frequency Radiation Exposure Limits versus Health Effects

December 5, 2018

RFR Exposure Limits (Updated Dec. 7)

The World Health Organization's Global Health Observatory data repository publishes radio frequency radiation (RFR) exposure limits for the general public and for workers. The repository also has exposure limits for low frequency and static electromagnetic fields.

Radio frequency radiation includes the radiation emitted by cell phones and cordless phones, cell towers, microwave ovens, wireless baby monitors and smart meters, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices including laptops, tablets, and wireless wearables.

The RFR exposure limit data for the general public in 36 nations (as of May 31, 2017) can be downloaded as a pdf document from

WHO: RFR exposure limits for 36 nations
Health Effects

The RFR exposure limits were designed to protect the general public only from heating risks due to short-term exposure to this type of non-ionizing radiation. The limits were not designed to protect individuals from chronic exposure to low-intensity (i.e., non-thermal levels of) RFR. Yet the preponderance of peer-reviewed research on low-intensity RFR exposure finds biological effects and adverse health effects. Thus, one must carefully examine these studies to determine safe levels of RFR exposure.

BioInitiative 2012 provides charts that summarize RFR studies which employed low-intensity exposures. These charts can be downloaded as a pdf document from

BioInitiative 2012: first page of RF color chart 

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Effect of Mobile Phones on Sperm Quality

Diagrammatic representation of various sources of RF EMF exposure effect on brain and testicular organ and deleterious outcomes
(Kesari, Agarwal & Henkel, 2018)
Review Papers

Kesari KK, Agarwal A, Henkel R. Radiation and male fertility. Reprod Biol Endocrinol. 2018 Dec 9;16(1):118. doi: 10.1186/s12958-018-0431-1.
During recent years, an increasing percentage of male infertility has to be attributed to an array of environmental, health and lifestyle factors. Male infertility is likely to be affected by the intense exposure to heat and extreme exposure to pesticides, radiation, radioactivity and other hazardous substances. We are surrounded by several types of ionizing and non-ionizing radiations and both have recognized causative effects on spermatogenesis. Since it is impossible to cover all types of radiation sources and their biological effects under a single title, this review is focusing on radiation deriving from cell phones, laptops, Wi-Fi and microwave ovens, as these are the most common sources of non-ionizing radiation, which may contribute to the cause of infertility by exploring the effect of exposure to radiofrequency radiation on the male fertility pattern. From currently available studies it is clear that radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) have deleterious effects on sperm parameters (like sperm count, morphology, motility), affects the role of kinases in cellular metabolism and the endocrine system, and produces genotoxicity, genomic instability and oxidative stress. This is followed with protective measures for these radiations and future recommendations. The study concludes that the RF-EMF may induce oxidative stress with an increased level of reactive oxygen species, which may lead to infertility. This has been concluded based on available evidence from in vitro and in vivo studies suggesting that RF-EMF exposure negatively affects sperm quality. 


Ford-Glanton BS, Melendez DA. Male reproductive toxicants: Electromagnetic radiation and heat. Reference Module in Biomedical Sciences, 2018.


Human population in today's world lives surrounded by radiofrequency fields (RF) and electromagnetic radiation (EM) fields, transmitting almost all forms of electronic communication and data that humans produce every second. Mobile devices and laptop computers are EMR-emitting devices. The effect of mobile phone emitted radiation and heat on fertility is the subject of recent interest and investigations. Many studies have found a decrease in semen quality which has increased the focus on male reproductive health. Infertility affects approximately 15% of couples of reproductive age, and nearly half of these cases are linked to male fertility (Sharlip et al., 2002). Different harmful environmental influences have led to changes in semen analysis standards by reducing the lower limits of normal ranges, which were declared by the World Health Organization (2010). The possible negative impact of mobile phone radiation on sperm quality has been well established. While no certain conclusions can be drawn from current evidence, a growing number of studies indicate a decrease in male fertility associated with increased cellular phone usage (Agarwal et al., 2011) and laptop computers using Wi-Fi (Avendaño et al., 2012a). Here we review the current evidence regarding the effects of electromagnetic radiation and heat in male fertility.


Yahyazadeh A, Deniz OG, Kaplan AA, Altun G, Yurt KK, Davis D. The genomic effects of cell phone exposure on the reproductive system. Environmental Research. Available online 5 June 2018.


Humans are exposed to increasing levels of electromagnetic fields (EMF) at various frequencies as technology advances. In this context, improving understanding of the biological effects of EMF remains an important, high priority issue. Although a number of studies in this issue and elsewhere have focused on the mechanisms of the oxidative stress caused by EMF, the precise understanding of the processes involved remains to be elucidated. Due to unclear results among the studies, the issue of EMF exposure in the literature should be evaluated at the genomic level on the reproductive system. Based on this requirement, a detail review of recently published studies is necessary. The main objectives of this study are to show differences between negative and positive effect of EMF on the reproductive system of animal and human. Extensive review of literature has been made based on well known data bases like Web of Science, PubMed, MEDLINE, Google Scholar, Science Direct, Scopus. This paper reviews the current literature and is intended to contribute to a better understanding of the genotoxic effects of EMF emitted from mobile phones and wireless systems on the human reproductive system, especially on fertility. The current literature reveals that mobile phones can affect cellular functions via non-thermal effects. Although the cellular targets of global system for mobile communications (GSM)-modulated EMF are associated with the cell membrane, the subject is still controversial. Studies regarding the genotoxic effects of EMF have generally focused on DNA damage. Possible mechanisms are related to ROS formation due to oxidative stress. EMF increases ROS production by enhancing the activity of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) oxidase in the cell membrane. Further detailed studies are needed to elucidate DNA damage mechanisms and apoptotic pathways during oogenesis and spermatogenesis in germ cells exposed to EMF.


This paper reviews the current literature and is intended to contribute to a better understanding of the genotoxic effects of EMF emitted from mobile phones and wireless systems on the human reproductive system, especially on fertility. The current literature reveals that mobile phones can affect cellular functions via non-thermal effects (Diem et al., 2005; Hanci et al., 2013 ;  Odaci et al., 2016a). Although the cellular targets of GSM-modulated EMF are associated with the cell membrane, the subject is still controversial (Eberhardt et al., 2008). Studies regarding the genotoxic effects of EMF have generally focused on DNA damage (Mortelmans and Rupa, 2004; Young, 2002; Zeiger, 2004; Panagopoulos, 2012 ;  Turedi et al., 2016). Possible mechanisms are related to ROS formation due to oxidative stress (Moustafa et al., 2004; Hanukoglu et al., 2006). EMF increases ROS production by enhancing the activity of NADH oxidase in the cell membrane (Friedman et al., 2007b). In this context, EMF affected spermatozoa may have a high degree rate of infertilization. It seems that previous genomic studies do not show definitive evidence regarding EMF affected cells in the fertilization. Although we evaluated broadly the genomic effects of cell phone exposure on the reproductive system using both animal and human studies, one of the weaknesses of this work is insufficient review of human studies. This may come from limited number of EMF based human studies in the literature. Further detailed studies are needed to elucidate DNA damage mechanisms and apoptotic pathways during oogenesis and spermatogenesis in germ cells that are exposed to EMF.


Altun G, Deniz OG, Yurt KK, Davis D, Kaplan S. Effects of mobile phone exposure on metabolomics in the male and female reproductive systems. Environmental Research. Available online 5 June 2018.


• Long-term exposure to EMF decreases sperm motility and fertilization.
• Effects of EMF emitted from mobile phones are related to protein synthesis.
• Oxidative stress based EMF exposure modulates nitric oxide level in the germ cells.
• Oxidative stress based EMF exposure inhibits antioxidant mechanisms in the germ cells.


With current advances in technology, a number of epidemiological and experimental studies have reported a broad range of adverse effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF) on human health. Multiple cellular mechanisms have been proposed as direct causes or contributors to these biological effects. EMF-induced alterations in cellular levels can activate voltage-gated calcium channels and lead to the formation of free radicals, protein misfolding and DNA damage. Because rapidly dividing germ cells go through meiosis and mitosis, they are more sensitive to EMF in contrast to other slower-growing cell types. In this review, possible mechanistic pathways of the effects of EMF exposure on fertilization, oogenesis and spermatogenesis are discussed. In addition, the present review also evaluates metabolomic effects of GSM-modulated EMFs on the male and female reproductive systems in recent human and animal studies. In this context, experimental and epidemiological studies which examine the impact of mobile phone radiation on the processes of oogenesis and spermatogenesis are examined in line with current approaches.


EMF emitted by mobile phones has a number of well-documented adverse metabolomic effects on the male and female reproductive systems and can lead to infertility by increasing ROS production and reducing GSH and other antioxidants. The primary target of the EMF emitted by mobile phones may be the cell membrane (Pall in press, this volume). This then results in accelerated activity of membrane NADH oxidase and, consequently, greater rates of ROS formation that cannot be easily conjugated or detoxified. Although many studies have reported morphological and functional deteriorations in testis and ovary following EMF exposures, as well both structural and functional deficits in reproductive health, the underlying mechanisms have not been fully elucidated. To assist in further clarification of these processes and mechanisms, Table 1 summarizes key studies on the metabolomic effects of EMF on reproductive systems. Future studies will benefit greatly from standardized exposure protocols and evaluations of key metabolomic indicators.


Sepehrimanesh, M. & Davis, D.L. Proteomic impacts of electromagnetic fields on the male reproductive system. Comp Clin Pathol (2016). doi:10.1007/s00580-016-2342-x. Epub ahead of print: Oct 13, 2016.


The use of mobile phones and other wireless transmitting devices is increasing dramatically in developing and developed countries, as is the rate of infertility. A number of respected infertility clinics in Australia, India, USA, and Iran are reporting that those who regularly use mobile phones tend to have reduced sperm quantity and quality. Some experimental studies have found that human sperm exposed to electromagnetic fields (EMF), either simulated or from mobile phones, developed biomarkers of impaired structure and function, as well as reduced quantity. These encompass pathological, endocrine, and proteomic changes. Proteins perform a vast array of functions within living organisms, and the proteome is the entire array of proteins—the ultimate biomolecules in the pathways of DNA transcription to translation. Proteomics is the art and science of studying all proteins in cells, using different techniques. This paper reviews proteomic experimental and clinical evidence that EMF acts as a male-mediated teratogen and contributor to infertility.


As among the most rapidly proliferating human cells, spermatogenesis and associated activities offer an important endpoint for evaluation. More than 60 different compounds or industrial processes have been identified as increasing defects in human sperm or testicular tissue and possibly increasing the risk to offspring from male-mediated exposures. In this study, we reviewed structural and functional proteomic changes related to EMF exposure. Reported changes are categorized based on main affected tissue and also the most important adverse effects. Overall, these results demonstrate significant effects of radio frequency-modulated EMF exposure on the proteome, including both structural and functional impacts such as a decrease in the diameter and weight of the seminiferous tubules and the mean height of the germinal epithelium (Ozguner et al. 2005) and/or pathological and physiological changes in key biochemical components of the testicular tissues (Luo et al. 2013). These structural and functional changes may account for the pathological impact of EMF on the male reproductive system reported in the experimental work that we and others have conducted. While EMF is currently being used for a number of therapeutic applications (REF), the work we have reviewed here clearly indicates a range of harmful effects, especially on genital systems.


Houston B, Nixon B, King BV, De Iuliis G, Aitken RJ. The effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation on sperm function. Reproduction. 2016 Sep 6. pii: REP-16-0126. 


Mobile phone usage has become an integral part of our lives. However, the effects of the radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR) emitted by these devices on biological systems and specifically the reproductive systems are currently under active debate. A fundamental hindrance to the current debate is that there is no clear mechanism of how such non-ionising radiation influences biological systems. Therefore, we explored the documented impacts of RF-EMR on the male reproductive system and considered any common observations that could provide insights on a potential mechanism. 

Among a total of 27 studies investigating the effects of RF-EMR on the male reproductive system, negative consequences of exposure were reported in 21. Within these 21 studies, 11 of the 15 that investigated sperm motility reported significant declines, 7 of 7 that measured the production of reactive oxygen species documented elevated levels and 4 of 5 studies that probed for DNA damage highlighted increased damage, due to RF-EMR exposure. Associated with this, RF-EMR treatment reduced antioxidant levels in 6 of 6 studies that studied this phenomenon, while consequences of RF-EMR were successfully ameliorated with the supplementation of antioxidants in all 3 studies that carried out these experiments. 

In light of this, we envisage a two-step mechanism whereby RF-EMR is able to induce mitochondrial dysfunction leading to elevated ROS production. 

A continued focus on research which aims to shed light on the biological effects of RF-EMR will allow us to test and assess this proposed mechanism in a variety of cell types.


To date, contradictory studies surrounding the impacts of RF-EMR on biological systems maintain controversy over this subject. Nevertheless, research into the biological responses stimulated by RF-EMR is particularly important given our ever-increasing use of mobile phone technology. While clinical studies are identifying possible detrimental effects of RF-EMR, it is imperative that mechanistic studies are conducted that elucidate the manner in which RF-EMR perturbs biological function, thus supplying a rational cause. A focus on the male reproductive system may experience as consequences of the personal storage of mobile devices, the unique vulnerability of the highly specialised sperm cell, and the future health burden that may be created if conception proceeds with defective, DNA-damaged spermatozoa. While this subject remains a topic of active debate, this review has considered the growing body of evidence suggesting a possible role for RF-EMR induced damage of the male germ line. In a majority of studies, this damage has been characterized by loss of sperm motility and viability as well as the induction of ROS generation and DNA damage. We have therefore given consideration to the potential mechanisms through which RF-EMR may elicit these effects on spermatozoa, which we utilized as a sensitive model system. We propose a mechanistic model in which RF-EMR exposure leads to defective mitochondrial function associated with elevated levels of ROS production and culminates in a state of oxidative stress that would account the varying phenotypes observed in response to RF-EMR exposure. With further complementary data, this model will provide new impetus to the field and stimulate research that will allow us to confidently assess the reproductive hazards of mobile phone usage.


Adams JA, Galloway TS, Mondal D, Esteves SC, Mathews F. Effect of mobile telephones on sperm quality: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Environment International. 70:106-112. September 2014.


Mobile phones are owned by most of the adult population worldwide. Radio-frequency radiation (RFR) from these devices could affect sperm development and function. Around 14% of couples in high- and middle-income countries have difficulty conceiving. Male infertility is involved approximately 40% of the time. Several countries have reported unexplained declines in semen quality.
Animal research has found that RFR can affect the cell cycle of sperm, increase sperm cell death and produce histological changes in the testes. Research on humans has found that prolonged mobile phone use is associated with decreased motility, sperm concentration, morphology and viability suggesting a likely impact on fertility.

The authors of this peer-reviewed study conducted a systematic review of the research and a quantitative analysis to determine whether exposure to mobile phone radiation affects human sperm quality. Participants were from fertility clinics and research centers.

The study examined the sperm quality outcome measures most frequently used to assess fertility in clinical settings: motility (the ability to move properly through the female reproductive tract), viability (the ability to fertilize the egg), and concentration (the number of sperm in a milliliter of ejaculate).

Ten studies were examined including 1,492 human sperm samples. Exposure to mobile phones was found to be associated with a significant eight per cent average reduction in sperm motility and a significant nine per cent average reduction in sperm viability. The effects on sperm concentration were more equivocal. The results were consistent across experimental laboratory studies and correlational observational studies.

The authors concluded that the overall results suggest that mobile phone exposure negatively affects sperm quality in humans. The clinical importance of these effects  in this study may be limited to subfertile men and to men at the lower-end of the normal spectrum.
Open access paper:


Liu K, Li Y, Zhang G, Liu J, Cao J, Ao L, Zhang S. 
Association between mobile phone use and semen quality: a systemic review and meta-analysis. Andrology. 2014 Jul;2(4):491-501. Epub 2014 Apr 3.


Possible hazardous health effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiations emitted from mobile phone on the reproductive system have raised public concern in recent years. This systemic review and meta-analysis was prepared following standard procedures of the Cochrane Collaboration and the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses statement and checklist. Relevant studies published up to May 2013 were identified from five major international and Chinese literature databases: Medline/PubMed, EMBASE, CNKI, the VIP database and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials in the Cochrane Library. Eighteen studies with 3947 men and 186 rats were included in the systemic review, of which 12 studies (four human studies, four in vitro studies and four animal studies) with 1533 men and 97 rats were used in the meta-analyses. Systemic review showed that results of most of the human studies and in vitro laboratory studies indicated mobile phone use or radiofrequency exposure had negative effects on the various semen parameters studied. However, meta-analysis indicated that mobile phone use had no adverse effects on semen parameters in human studies. In the in vitro studies, meta-analysis indicated that radiofrequency radiation had detrimental effect on sperm motility and viability in vitro [pooled mean difference (MDs) (95% CI): -4.11 (-8.08, -0.13), -3.82 (-7.00, -0.65) for sperm motility and viability respectively]. As for animal studies, radiofrequency exposure had harmful effects on sperm concentration and motility [pooled MDs (95% CI): -8.75 (-17.37, -0.12), -17.72 (-32.79, -2.65) for sperm concentration and motility respectively]. Evidence from current studies suggests potential harmful effects of mobile phone use on semen parameters. A further multicentred and standardized study is needed to assess the risk of mobile phone use on the reproductive system.

Recent Studies (Updated: 11/29/2018)

Abeer M. Hagras, Eman A. Toraih, Manal S. Fawzy. Mobile phones electromagnetic radiation and NAD+-dependent Isocitrate Dehydrogenase as a mitochondrial marker in Asthenozoospermia. Biochimie Open. Available online July 25, 2016.

Adams JA, Galloway TS, Mondal D, Esteves SC, Mathews F. Effect of mobile telephones on sperm quality: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Environment International70:106-112. September 2014.

Agarwal A, Deepinder F, Sharma RK, Ranga G, Li J. Effect of cell phone usage on semen analysis in men attending infertility clinic: an observational study. Fertil Steril. 2008 Jan;89(1):124-8.

Agarwal A, Desai NR, Makker K, Varghese A, Mouradi R, Sabanegh E, Sharma R. Effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic waves (RF-EMW) from cellular phones on human ejaculated semen: an in vitro pilot study. Fertil Steril. 2009;92(4):1318-25.

Agarwal A, Singh A, Hamada A, Kesari K. Cell phones and male infertility: a review of recent innovations in technology and consequences.Int Braz J Urol. 2011; 37(4):432-54.

Akdag MZ, Dasdag S, Canturk F, Karabulut D, Caner Y, Adalier N. Does prolonged radiofrequency radiation emitted from Wi-Fi devices induce DNA damage in various tissues of rats? J Chem Neuroanat. 2016 Jan 8.

Al-Bayyari N. Middle East Fertility Society Journal.  The effect of cell phone usage on semen quality and fertility among Jordanian males. Published online Apr 7, 2017.

Al-Quzwini OF, Al-Taee, Al-Shaikh SF. Male fertility and its association with occupational and mobile phone towers hazards: An analytic study. Middle East Fertility Society Journal. 2016 Apr 8.

Bin-Meferij MM, El-Kott AF. The radioprotective effects of Moringa oleifera against mobile phone electromagnetic radiation-induced infertility in rats.Int J Clin Exp Med. 2015 Aug 15;8(8):12487-97.

Boga A, Emre M, Sertdemir Y, Uncu İ, Binokay S, Demirhan O. Effects of GSM-like radiofrequency irradiation during the oogenesis and spermiogenesis of Xenopus laevis. Ecotoxicol Environ Saf. 2016 Mar 24;129:137-144.

Çetkin M, Kızılkan N, Demirel C, Bozdağ Z, Erkılıç S, Erbağcı H. Quantitative changes in testicular structure and function in rat exposed to mobile phone radiation. Andrologia. 2017 Jan 26.

Fatehi D, Anjomshoa M, Mohammadi M, Seify M, Rostamzadeh A. Biological effects of cell-phone radiofrequency waves exposure on fertilization in mice; an in vivo and in vitro study. Middle East Fertility Society Journal. 23 October 2017.

Ford-Glanton BS, Melendez BA. Male Reproductive Toxicants: Electromagnetic Radiation and Heat. Reference Module in Biomedical Sciences. 2018.

Gautam R, Singh KV, Nirala J, Murmu NN, Meena R, Rajamani P. Oxidative stress-mediated alterations on sperm parameters in male Wistar rats exposed to 3G mobile phone radiation. Andrologia. 2018 Nov 20:e13201.

Gao XH, Hu HR, Ma X2, Chen J, Zhang GH. [Cellphone electromagnetic radiation damages the testicular ultrastructure of male rats]. [Article in Chinese].  Zhonghua Nan Ke Xue. 2016 Jun;22(6):491-495.

Gohari FA, Saranjam B, Asgari M, Omidi L, Ekrami H, Moussavi-Najarkola SA. An experimental study of the effects of combined exposure to microwave and heat on gene expression and sperm parameters in mice. J Hum Reprod Sci. 2017 Apr-Jun;10(2):128-134.

Hancı H, Kerimoğlu G, Mercantepe T, Odacı E. Changes in testicular morphology and oxidative stress biomarkers in 60-day-old Sprague Dawley rats following exposure to continuous 900-MHz electromagnetic field for 1 h a day throughout adolescence. Reprod Toxicol. 2018 Oct;81:71-78.

Houston B, Nixon B, King BV, De Iuliis G, Aitken RJ. The effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation on sperm function. Reproduction. 2016 Sep 6. pii: REP-16-0126.

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.

Kamali K, Atarod M, Sarhadi S, Nikbakht J, Emami M, Maghsoudi R, Salimi H, Fallahpour B, Kamali N, Momtazan A, Ameli M. Effects of electromagnetic waves emitted from 3G+wi-fi modems on human semen analysis. Urologia. 2017 Sep 14:0.

Lewis RC, Mínguez-Alarcón L, Meeker JD, Williams PL, Mezei G, Ford JB, Hauser R; EARTH Study Team.Self-reported mobile phone use and semen parameters among men from a fertility clinic. Reprod Toxicol. 2016 Nov 9. pii: S0890-6238(16)30408-7. 
(Note: Authors report conflict of interest and limited statistical power to detect effects.)

Li R, Yang WQ, Chen HQ, Zhang YH. Morinda Officinalis How improves cellphone radiation-induced abnormality of LH and LHR in male rats. Article in Chinese.  2015 Sep;21(9):824-7.

Lin YY, Wu T, Liu JY, Gao P, Li KC, Guo QY, Yuan M, Lang HY, Zeng LH, Guo GZ. 1950 MHz radio frequency electromagnetic radiation inhibits testosterone secretion of mouse Leydig cells. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 Dec 23;15(1).

Liu Q, Si T, Xu X, Liang F, Wang L, Pan S. Electromagnetic radiation at 900 MHz induces sperm apoptosis through bcl-2, bax and caspase-3 signaling pathways in rats. Reprod Health. 2015; 12:65.

Ma HR, Cao XH, Ma XL, Chen JJ, Chen JW, Yang H, Liu YX. [Protective effect of Liuweidihuang Pills against cellphone electromagnetic radiation-induced histomorphological abnormality, oxidative injury, and cell apoptosis in rat testes]. Zhonghua Nan Ke Xue. 2015 Aug;21(8):737-41. [Article in Chinese]. 

Nakatani-Enomoto S, Okutsu M, Suzuki S et al. Effects of 1950 MHz W-CDMA-like signal on human spermatoza. Bioelectromagnetics. 11 Jun 2016.

Narayanan SN, Lukose ST, Arun G, Mohapatra N, Pamala J, Concessao PL, Jetti R, Kedage V, Nalini K, Bhat PG. Modulatory effect of 900 MHz radiation on biochemical and reproductive parameters in rats. Bratisl Lek Listy. 2018;119(9):581-587.

Odacı E, Hancı H, Yuluğ E, Türedi S, Aliyazıcıoğlu Y, Kaya H, Çolakoğlu S.Effects of prenatal exposure to a 900 MHz electromagnetic field on 60-day-old rat testis and epididymal sperm quality. Biotech Histochem. 2015 Oct 15:1-11.

Oyewopo AO, Olaniyi SK, Oyewopo CI, Jimoh AT. Radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation from cell phone causes defective testicular function in male Wistar rats. Andrologia. 2017 Mar 6.

Pandey N, Giri S, Das S, Upadhaya P. Radiofrequency radiation (900 MHz)-induced DNA damage and cell cycle arrest in testicular germ cells in swiss albino mice. Toxicol Ind Health. 2016 Oct 13.

Parsanezhad M, Mortazavi SMJ, Doohandeh T, Namavar Jahromi B, Mozdarani , Zarei A, Davari M, Amjadi S, Soleimani A, Haghani M. Exposure to radiofrequency radiation emitted from mobile phone jammers adversely affects the quality of human sperm. International Journal of Radiation Research. 15(1). Jan 2017.

Radwan, M, Jurewicz, J, Merecz-Kot, D,  Sobala, W, Radwan, P, Bochenek, M, Hanke, W. Sperm DNA damage—the effect of stress and everyday life factors. International Journal of Impotence Research. 14 April 2016.

Saygin M, Asci H, Ozmen O, Cankara FN, Dincoglu D, Ilhan I. Impact of 2.45 GHz microwave radiation on the testicular inflammatory pathway biomarkers in young rats: The role of gallic acid. Environ Toxicol. 2015 Aug 13. doi: 10.1002/tox.22179. [Epub ahead of print]

Schauer I, Mohamad Al-Ali B. Combined effects of varicocele and cell phones on semen and hormonal parameters.  Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2017 Oct 13. doi: 10.1007/s00508-017-1277-9. 

Sepehrimanesh, M. & Davis, D.L. Proteomic impacts of electromagnetic fields on the male reproductive system. Comp Clin Pathol (2016). doi:10.1007/s00580-016-2342-x.

Sepehrimanesh M, Kazemipour N, Saeb M, Nazifi S, Davis DL.Proteomic analysis of continuous 900-MHz radiofrequency electromagnetic field exposure in testicular tissue: a rat model of human cell phone exposure. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2017 Apr 10. doi: 10.1007/s11356-017-8882-z.

Sokolovic D, Djordjevic B, Kocic G, Stoimenov TJ, Stanojkovic Z, Sokolovic DM, et al. The Effects of Melatonin on Oxidative Stress Parameters and DNA Fragmentation in Testicular Tissue of Rats Exposed to Microwave Radiation. Adv Clin Exp Med. 2015 May-Jun;24(3):429-36. doi: 10.17219/acem/43888.

Solek P, Majchrowicz L, Bloniarz D, Krotoszynska E, Koziorowski M. Pulsed or continuous electromagnetic field induce p53/p21-mediated apoptotic signaling pathway in mouse spermatogenic cells in vitro and thus may affect male fertility. Toxicology. 2017 Mar 16. pii: S0300-483X(17)30092-6.

Wang D, Li B, Liu Y, Ma YF, Chen SQ, Sun HJ, Dong J, Ma XH, Zhou J, Wang XH. [Impact of mobile phone radiation on the quality and DNA methylation of human sperm in vitro]. [Article in Chinese]. Zhonghua Nan Ke Xue. 2015 Jun;21(6):515-520.

Wessapan T, Rattanadecho P. Temperature induced in the testicular and related tissues due to electromagnetic fields exposure at 900 MHz and 1800 MHz. International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, 102:1130-1140. 2016.

Yildirim et al. What is harmful for male fertility, cell phone or the wireless internet? Kaohsiung Journal of Medical Sciences. Published online Jul 26, 2015. Abstract and summary:

Zang Z, Ji S, Huang S, Jiang M, Fang Y. (2016) Impact of Cellphone Radiation on Sexual Behavior and Serum Concentration of Testosterone and LH in Male Mice. Occupational Diseases and Environmental Medicine, 4(3):56-62.

Zhang G, Yan H, Chen Q, Liu K, Ling X, Sun L, Zhou N, Wang Z, Zou P, Wang X, Tan L, Cui Z, Zhou Z, Liu J, Ao L, Cao J. Effects of cell phone use on semen parameters: Results from the MARHCS cohort study in Chongqing, China. Environ Int. 2016 Mar 4;91:116-121.

Zilberlicht et al. Habits of cell phone usage and sperm quality – does it warrant attention? Reproductive BioMedicine Online. 31(3):421-426. Sep2015.