Sunday, June 2, 2019

Effects of Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields: 833 Studies

Feb 1, 2018 (Updated June 10, 2019)

Note: There are now 1,027 studies in the collection. The abstracts can be downloaded by clicking on the links below.

Government and industry-linked scientists often claim that the research on the effects of exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF) is inconsistent, and that more research is needed before precautionary warnings are issued or regulatory guidelines are strengthened.

In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization classified radio frequency radiation (RFR) “possibly carcinogenic to humans” (Group 2B). The IARC plans to review RFR again by 2024 because most peer-reviewed studies published in the past decade found significant evidence that RFR causes genotoxicity. Thus, the IARC will likely re-classify RFR to either "probably carcinogenic to humans" (Group 2A) or "carcinogenic to humans (Group 1) at the next expert review.

Cell phones and other wireless devices also produce static and extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields. ELF was classified by the IARC as “possibly carcinogenic to humans” (Group 2B) a decade before RFR received this classification.

Dr. Henry Lai, Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington and former Co-Editor-in-Chief of the journal Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, has compiled summaries of several areas of the research on the biologic and health effects of exposure to RFR and ELF EMF. His sets of abstracts which cover the period from 1990 to 2019 constitute a comprehensive collection of this research.

Dr. Lai finds that the preponderance of the research has found that exposure to RFR or ELF EMF produces oxidative stress or free radicals, and damages DNA. Moreover the preponderance of RFR studies that examined neurological outcomes has found significant effects.

The evidence for DNA damage has been found more consistently in animal and human (in vivo) studies than in studies of cell samples (in vitro).

The abstracts can be downloaded from the BioInitiative web site by clicking on the links below.

Note: The comet assay is a sensitive genotoxicity test for the detection of DNA damage and repair. This is a standard technique used in biomonitoring and genotoxicity testing.


Top Line Results

Radio frequency radiation:

·         89% (n=203) of 225 oxidative stress (or free radical) studies report significant effects.

·         64% (n=49) of 76 DNA comet assay studies report significant effects.
o   54% (n=25) of 46 in vitro studies report significant effects.
o   80% (n=24) of 30 in vivo studies report significant effects.

·         73% (n=222) of 305 neurological studies report significant effects.


Extremely low frequency and static electromagnetic fields:

·         89% (n=203) of 229 oxidative stress (or free radical) studies report significant effects.

·         74% (n=34) of 46 DNA comet assay studies report significant effects.
o   68% (n=21) of 31 in vitro studies report significant effects.
o   87% (n=13) of 15 in vivo studies report significant effects.

Links to Study Abstracts

Radio Frequency Radiation (3,000 Hz - 300 GHz):

RFR Research Summary (1990-2017)