Tuesday, May 29, 2018

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

See the bottom of this page for additional resources.

5G wireless telecommunications expansion: 
Public health and environmental implications

Russell CL. 5G wireless telecommunications expansion: Public health and environmental implications. Environmental Research. Available online 11 April 2018. In press. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2018.01.016.


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

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

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

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


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

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

Related Posts

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

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


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


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

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

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

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



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

Human Exposure to RF Fields in 5G Downlink

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


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

Towards 5G Communication Systems: 
Are there Health Implications?

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

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

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

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

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

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



Aug 18, 2017 (Updated Sep 27, 2017)

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

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

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

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

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

The letter can be downloaded at: http://bit.ly/SB649Golomb822.

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

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

The letter can be downloaded at: http://bit.ly/SB649Pall

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

He points out that while individuals can take precautions to reduce their exposure to radiofrequency radiation emitted by wireless devices, this is not feasible with exposure from cell antennas. He notes that ...
"laboratory and human health investigations designed and conducted by independent researchers have reported associations linking exposure to radiation from cell phones or similar devices with multiple adverse effects (e.g., headaches, impacts on brain function, memory, learning and sleep; decreased sperm counts and quality) as well as with DNA damage and tumors of the brain and nervous system."
"Potential health impacts of wireless communication have been ignored or obscured for decades by the telecommunications industry, which has implied that cell phones and other devices are safe because they comply with federal safety standards. However, these standards were established more than 20 years ago and were based on assumptions that have since been called into question by health research studies. The push to establish a 5G network, exemplified by SB 649, is based on a similarly unproven assumption: i.e., that round-the-clock exposure to 5G frequencies will not affect human health or the environment.
Establishment of a 5G network will be irreversible, as will the pattern of near-universal exposure of California residents to high-frequency, as-yet-untested 5G electromagnetic radiation."
The letter can be downloaded at: http://bit.ly/LipsettSB649.


June 23, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information:

FCC filing detail   (June 9, 2017)


May 8, 2017

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

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


Aug 17, 2016 (Updated Aug 19)

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

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

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

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

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

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

However, more research is also needed as specific characteristics of the millimeter waves (e.g., pulsing, modulation) to be employed in 5G cellular technology may be more important than the frequency or intensity of the waves in terms of biologic and health effects. The research funding must be independent of industry as conflicts of interest have been found to undermine the science in this field.
For an unbiased summary of the partial findings of the National Toxicology Program study of cancer risk from 2G cell phone radiation, see http://www.saferemr.com/2016/05/national-toxicology-progam-finds-cell.html.


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

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

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

"We conclude that there is promising data from pilot case series and small-scale randomized controlled trials for analgesic/hypoalgesic effects of electromagnetic millimeter waves in frequency range 30–70 GHz. Large-scale randomized controlled trials on the effectiveness of this non-invasive therapeutic technique are necessary." 
"In the studies reviewed the authors did not report any health-related side effects of MWT. Slight paresthesias, previously mentioned in several case reports and non-controlled case series (10,11), appeared in almost 50% of patients in studies where the effects of MWT were carefully described (21,27,28,31). The paresthesias were of short duration and reported as pleasant (‘warmth’) or neutral. General fatigue and sleepiness during the treatment sessions in almost 80% of the patients was a rather desirable side effect of MWT, as also described in previous reviews on biomedical effects of MWT (10,11,21,27,28)."
From: Usichenko TI, Edinger H, Gizhko VV, Lehmann C, Wendt M, Feyerherd F. Low-intensity electromagnetic millimeter waves for pain therapy. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2006 Jun;3(2):201-7. URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1475937/
Little research is available on long-term exposure to millimeter waves (see below). Most of the studies referred to in this review paper did not modulate or pulse the carrier waves which will be required for information-carrying millimeter waves employed in 5G technologies. Prior research suggests that such waves will be more biologically active than pure sine waves.


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

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


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


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

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


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

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

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

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

Additional Resources (Updated 5/29/2018)

The roll out of 5G wireless service is 'a massive health experiment,' public health expert warns as cell companies install 800,000 towers across the US
Natalie Rahhal, Daily Mail, May 29, 2018

The 5G telecommunication technology--emitted millimeter waves: Lack of research on bioeffects
Dariusz Leszczynski, PhD, Presentation at 5th Asian & Oceanic IRPA Regional Congress on Radiation Protection, Melbourne, Australia, May 22, 2018

NEPA rollback now official for small wireless projects
Sobczyk N, GreenWire, May 3, 2018

Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times, Aug 8, 2016

Monday, May 21, 2018

Electromagnetic fields threaten wildlife

(See the end of this post for additional resources.)

EKLIPSE Project: Electromagnetic fields threaten wildlife

Implications for 5G deployment

A new report found that electromagnetic fields emitted by power lines, Wi-Fi, broadcast and cell towers pose a “credible” threat to wildlife, and that 5G (fifth generation cellular technology) could cause greater harm.

The analysis of 97 peer-reviewed studies by the EKLIPSE project concluded that electromagnetic radiation (EMR) is a potential risk to insect and bird orientation and to plant health.

The report concluded that: 
  • EMR represents a potential risk to the orientation or movement of invertebrates and may affect insect behavior and reproduction;
  • bird orientation can be disrupted by weak magnetic fields in the radiofrequency range, and the same may be true for other vertebrates including mammals; and
  • EMR exposure may affect plant metabolism due to production of reactive oxygen species often resulting in reduced plant growth.
  • Moreover, there is “an urgent need to strengthen the scientific basis of the knowledge on EMR and their potential impacts on wildlife.”
The review was conducted by a multidisciplinary, expert steering group composed of four biologists/ecologists who specialized in different taxonomic groups, and two physicists who study electromagnetic fields. This technical report represents the first step in an analysis of currently available knowledge and future research needs.

The reviewers pointed out the need for more high quality research. They rated the quality of 82 studies--56 had good to excellent biologic or ecologic quality, and 39 had good to excellent technical quality.

EKLIPSE (Establishing a European Knowledge and Learning Mechanism to Improve the Policy-Science-Society Interface on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) is funded by the European Union to answer requests from policy makers and other societal actors on biodiversity-related issues.

For more information about the EKLIPSE conference held January 22-25, 2018, including slides and video, see: http://www.eklipse-mechanism.eu/emr_conference.


Malkemper EP, Tscheulin T, VanBergen AJ, Vian A, Balian E, Goudeseune L (2018). The impacts of artificial Electromagnetic Radiation on wildlife (flora and fauna). Current knowledge overview: a background document to the web conference. A report of the EKLIPSE project. http://bit.ly/Eklipseoverview

Goudeseune L, Balian E, Ventocilla J (2018). The impacts of artificial Electromagnetic Radiation on wildlife (flora and fauna). Report of the web conference. A report of the EKLIPSE project. http://bit.ly/EKLIPSEconfreport

Also see:


The EKLIPSE review was conducted at the request of Buglife, the only European organization devoted to the conservation of invertebrates. Invertebrates are vitally important to humans and other life forms which could not survive without them; yet, thousands of species are declining, and many are heading towards extinction. 

According to a news story in The Telegraph:

“… the charity Buglife warned that despite good evidence of the harms there was little research ongoing to assess the impact, or apply pollution limits.

The charity said ‘serious impacts on the environment could not be ruled out’ and called for 5G transmitters to be placed away from street lights, which attract insects, or areas where they could harm wildlife.

Matt Shardlow, CEO of Buglife said: ‘We apply limits to all types of pollution to protect the habitability of our environment, but as yet, even in Europe, the safe limits of electromagnetic radiation have not been determined, let alone applied.

There is a credible risk that 5G could impact significantly on wildlife, and that placing transmitters on LED street lamps, which attract nocturnal insects such as moths increases exposure and thereby risk.

Therefore we call for all 5G pilots to include detailed studies of their influence and impacts on wildlife, and for the results of those studies to be made public.’

Buglife called for 5G transmitters to be moved away from street lights where insects are drawn.

As of March, 237 scientists have signed an appeal to the United Nations asking them to take the risks posed by electromagnetic radiation more seriously.”

Additional Resources (Updated May, 2018)

Aikaterina L, Stefi AL, Vassilacopoulou D, Margaritis LH, Christodoulakis NS. Oxidative stress and an animal neurotransmitter synthesizing enzyme in the leaves of wild growing myrtle after exposure to GSM radiation. Flora. 243:67-76. June 2018. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.flora.2018.04.006

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

EMF Health Impacts and Policy Change Webinar

Collaborative for Health and the Environment Webinar, May 9, 2018



Weak Magnetic and RF Fields (0:2:45)
Dr. Frank Barnes 
Adverse Fetal & Childhood Health Effect of In-Utero Exposure to Magnetic Fields (0:21:50)
Dr. De-Kun Li 
Cell Phones and Public Health Policy (0:40:00)
Dr. Joel Moskowitz

Questions and Answers (0:57:30 - 1:10:20)

As wireless technologies, particularly cellphones, become ever more ubiquitous in our culture and communication systems, researchers have been asking the question: what, if any, impact is there from this technology on our health? Research has been conducted investigating links with cancer, reproductive health, fetal development, children's health, and electromagnetic sensitivities, among other concerns. We also encounter lower frequency electromagnetic fields produced by power lines, electrical wiring, and electrical equipment.  

In May 2015, over 200 scientists signed the International EMF Scientist Appeal calling upon the United Nations and World Health Organization to address the emerging public health crisis related to cell phones and wireless devices and infrastructure. Electromagnetic fields have been classified as a possible carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) since 2012. And in 2016, the National Toxicology Program released partial findings from a multi-year animal study revealing an increased risk for cancer associated with EMF exposure.

On May 9, 2018 we learned about the latest science on health impacts of EMF exposure and possibilities for policy change. 

Dr. Frank Barnes, Distinguished Professor in the Biomedical Group of the Department of Electrical, Computer, and Energy Engineering at the University of Colorado, provided some of the current state of the science on how weak electric and magnetic fields can modify biological systems and the growth of cancer cells. Dr. Barnes is co-author of the Handbook of Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Fields: Bioengineering and Biophysical Aspects of Electromagnetic Fields, soon to be released in a new edition. 

Dr. De-Kun Li, Senior Research Scientist at the Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California and reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist, presented his team’s December 2017 study, Exposure to Magnetic Field Non-Ionizing Radiation and the Risk of Miscarriage: A Prospective Cohort Study. He also discussed his perspective on overall issues in EMF research. 

Dr. Joel Moskowitz, Director of the Center for Family and Community Health at the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley, discussed policy-related developments. He shared his experience suing the California Department of Public Health in 2016 for not releasing a cell phone radiation fact sheet first developed in 2009. This lawsuit led to the issuance of the Department’s December 2017 Guidance Document, How to Reduce Exposure to Radio Frequency Energy from Cell Phones. Dr. Moskowitz concluded with thoughts on possibilities and priorities in the policy arena.  

Featured Speakers

Frank Barnes

Frank Barnes, PhD, received his B.S. from Princeton University in electrical engineering in 1954 and his M.S., engineering, and PhD degrees from Stanford University in 1955, 1956, and 1958. He joined the University of Colorado in 1959, where he was appointed a Distinguished Professor in 1997. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2001 and received the Gordon Prize 2004 for innovations in Engineering Education from the National Academy.

Dr. Barnes is a fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and served as Vice President of IEEE for publications, Chairman of the Electron Device Society, President of the Bioelectromagnetics Society, and U.S. Chair of Commission K-International Union of Radio Sciences (URSI). He and his students have built lasers, flash lamps, super conductors, avalanche photo diodes and other electron devices. Recently they have been studying the effects of weak magnetic fields on radical concentrations and changes in the growth rate of cancers and other cells.

De-Kun Li, MD, PhD, MPH, is a Senior Research Scientist at the Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California. Dr. Li completed his medical training and master’s degree in Public Health at Shanghai Medical University then received his PhD in epidemiology from the University of Washington. 

Dr. Li is a reproductive and perinatal epidemiologist with extensive experience conducting epidemiologic studies examining in-utero exposures in relation to pregnancy outcomes and early childhood diseases, including childhood obesity and asthma, preterm delivery, low birthweight, birth defects, miscarriage and SIDS. He has more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, of which he first-authored 41 and was the senior author for another 23. He has been invited to many NIH and CDC study sections to review grant applications. Recognized for his long-standing experience in international collaborative research, Dr. Li was invited by the US National Academy of Science to evaluate Sino-US collaboration in bio-medical research. He has received more than 10 research grants from federal agencies including NIH, CDC, FDA, and AHRQ.

Dr. Li’s current research focuses on developmental origins of fetal and childhood diseases which include examination of (1) in-utero environmental exposures including endocrine disruptors (e.g., BPA) and electromagnetic fields (EMF), (2) safety and effectiveness of medication use during pregnancy, and (3) gene-environment interactions. Throughout his professional life, he has made important contributions to the understanding of (a) factors associated with reduction in SIDS risk, (b) health effects due to exposure to EMF, (c) adverse effects of in-utero exposure to caffeine, (d) impact of exposure to environmental endocrine disruptors, (e) risk and benefit of treating maternal depression during pregnancy, (f) parental genetic contribution to the risk of preterm delivery, and (g) benefits of treating herpes infection during pregnancy. Dr. Li has worked closely with the medical communities, especially OBGYN physicians, of Kaiser Permanente Northern California.

Joel Moskowitz

Joel Moskowitz, PhD, is Director of the Center for Family and Community Health at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Moskowitz has published extensively on smoking and cancer prevention.

Since 2009 he has translated and disseminated research on the health effects of cell phone and other wireless radiation exposure. He has served as an advisor to the Berkeley cell phone “right to know” ordinance and to the International EMF Scientist Appeal which has been signed by more than 230 EMF scientists. Last year his successful lawsuit against the California Department of Public Health led to the release of cell phone safety guidance that had been suppressed since 2009.

Since 2013, his Electromagnetic Radiation Safety website has had over 1.5 million page views by visitors from more than 200 countries, which attests to the worldwide concern about the impact of wireless radiation on our health. The Northern California chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists presented him with the 2018 James Madison Freedom of Information Award

This webinar was moderated by Antoinette Stein, PhD, coordinator of the CHE EMF ScienceServ. It lasted for 70 minutes and was recorded for the call and webinar archive.