Sunday, December 1, 2019

Effects of Wireless Radiation on Birds and Other Wildlife

Review. The influence of bioactive mobile telephony radiation at the level of a plant community – Possible mechanisms and indicators of the effects

Czerwiński M, Januszkiewicz L, Vian A, Lázaro.A. Review. The influence of bioactive mobile telephony radiation at the level of a plant community – Possible mechanisms and indicators of the effects. Ecological Indicators. 108, January 2020, 105683.


• There are various indicators of microwave radiation impact on herbaceous vegetation.
• The best indicators are some parameters of vegetation canopy or individual  plants.
• Specific plant functional groups may be indicators of long-term community processes.
• Other organisms interacting with plants, e.g. pollinators, should also be cons idered.
• The selection of indicators depends on the propagation of radiation in the canopy.


Environmental exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) from mobile telephony has rapidly increased in the last two decades and this trend is expected to continue. The effects of this exposure at plant community level are unknown and difficult to assess in a scientifically appropriate manner. Such an assessment can be scientifically adequate if a studied plant community is completely new and control-impact radiation treatment is used.

In this review we aimed to predict ecological effects and identify indicators of the impact of bioactive RF-EMFs at the mobile telephony frequency range on plant communities. We considered the scenario where a plant community was exposed to radiation generated by a base transmitting station antenna mounted on a nearby mast. This plant community can be represented by mesic meadow, ruderal or arable weed community, or other herbaceous, moderately productive vegetation type. We concentrated primarily on radiation effects that can be recorded for a year since the exposure started. To predict them we used physical theories of radiowave propagation in vegetation and the knowledge on plants physiological responses to RF-EMF. Our indicators can be used for the detection of the impact of RF-EMFs on vegetation in a control-impact experiment.

The identified indicators can be classified into the following groups: (1) canopy parameters; (2) plant characteristics to be measured in the field or laboratory in a number of individuals that represent the populations of selected species; (3) community weighted means/medians (CWMs) of plant traits and strategies; (4) the abundance of other organisms that interact with plants and can influence their fitness or population size. The group of canopy parameters includes mean height, vertical vegetation structure and dry weight of above-ground standing phytomass. Plant characteristics requiring biometric sampling in the field are plant height, the number of fruits and seeds, as well as seed viability. The group of plant traits that are calculated as CWMs covers seed releasing height, seed dispersal mode, SLA, leaf orientation, month of germination and flowering, Ellenberg’s light indicator value, and the proportion of individuals in the classes of competitors and stress tolerators according to Grime's CSR strategy scheme. The group of “non-plant” indicators includes primarily the frequency of flower visits by beetles, wasps, hoverflies, and bees that have their nests over ground. To detect ecological responses that occur for the first year since a herbaceous community has been exposed to potentially bioactive RF-EMF, the first two indicators groups should be used.

Aug 1, 2019 (Updated Nov 1, 2019)

Selected Studies that Reported Adverse Effects of Electromagnetic Field (EMF) Exposure 
on Plants, Animals and Insects

written by the Advisors to the International EMF Scientist Appeal, June 25, 2019

EMF exposure studies have found ...

in plants reduced growth, increased infection and physiological and morphological changes (Balodis et al. 1996, Haggerty 2010, Waldmann-Selsam et al. 2016, Havas and Symington 2016, Vian et al. 2016, Halgamuge 2017);

in birds, aggressive behavior, impaired reproduction and interference with migration (Southern 1975, Larkin and Sutherland 1977, Balmori 2004, Balmori and Hallberg 2007, Everaert and Bauwens 2007, Fernie et al. 2010, Engels et al. 2015, Wiltschko et al. 2015);

in livestock, especially dairy cows, reduced productivity, impaired reproduction, and sudden death (Burchard et al. 1996, Loscher and Kas 1998, Hillman et al. 2013, Stetzer et al. 2016);

in rodents, increased cancer risk in three long-term studies (Chou et al 1992, NTP 2018, Falcioni et al. 2019); 

in amphibians (Balmori 2006, Balmori 2010) and insects (Cucurachi et al. 2013), deformities and population decline; and

in honey bees, aggressive behavior, reduced learning, reduced productivity, swarming and abandoning hives (Harst et al. 2006, Pattezhy 2009, Warnke 2009, Favre 2011, Kumar et al. 2011, Sahib 2011, Shepherd et al. 2019). 


Balmori A. 2004. Effects of electromagnetic fields of phone masts on a population of white storks (Ciconia ciconia). Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine 24: 109–119.

Balmori A. 2006. The incidence of electromagnetic pollution on the amphibian decline: Is this an important piece of the puzzle? Toxicological & Environmental Chemistry 88 (2): 287–299.

Balmori A. 2010. Mobile phone mast effects on common frog (Rana temporaria) tadpoles: the city turned into a laboratory. Electromagn Biol Med. 29 (1–2):31–35.

Balmori A and O Hallberg. 2007. The urban decline of the house sparrow (Passer domesticus): A possible link with electromagnetic radiation. Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine 26 (2): 141–151.

Balodis V, G Briimelis, K Kalviskis, et al. 1996. Does the Skrunda Radio Location Station diminish the radial growth of pine trees? The Science of the Total Environment 180: 57-64.

Burchard JF, DH Nguyen DH, and M Rodriguez. 2006. Plasma concentrations of thyroxine in dairy cows exposed to 60 Hz electric and magnetic fields. Bioelectromagnetics 27 (7): 553–559.

Chou C-K, A Guy, LL Kunz, RB Johnson, JJ Crowley and J. H. Krupp. 1992. Long-term, low-level microwave irradiation of rats. Bioelectromagnetics 13:469–496. See NTP: Not the First Govt. Study to Find Wireless Radiation Can Cause Cancer in Lab Rats

Cucurachi S, WLM Tamis et al. 2013. A review of the ecological effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF), Environment International 51:116–140.

Engels S, N-L Schneider, N Lefeldt, et al. 2015. Anthropogenic electromagnetic noise disrupts magnetic compass orientation in a migratory bird. Nature 509: 353.

Everaert J and D Bauwens. 2007. A possible effect of electromagnetic radiation from mobile phone base stations on the number of breeding house sparrows (Passer domesticus) Electromagn Biol Med. 26 (1): 63–72.

Falcioni L, L Bua, E Tibaldi, et al. 2019. Report of final results regarding brain and heart tumors in Sprague-Dawley rats exposed from prenatal life until natural death to mobile phone radiofrequency field representative of a 1.8 GHz GSM base station environmental emission. Environmental Research 165:496–503. See Ramazzini Institute Cell Phone Radiation Study Replicates NTP Study

Favre D. 2011. Mobile phone-induced honeybee worker piping. Apidologie 42 (3): 270– 279.

Ferni KJ, NJ Leonard and DM Bird. 2010. Behavior of free-ranging and captive American kestrels under electromagnetic fields. J. Tox. and Environ. Health Part A Vol 59 (8).

Haggerty K. 2010. Adverse influence of radio frequency background on Trembling Aspen seedlings: Preliminary observations. International Journal of Forestry Research 2010, 7 pages.

Halgamuge MN. 2016. Review: Weak radiofrequency radiation exposure from mobile phone radiation on plants. Electromagn Biol Med. 2017;36(2):213-235.

Harst W, J Kuhn, and H Stever. 2006. Can electromagnetic exposure cause a change in behaviour? Studying possible non-thermal influences on honey bees–An approach within the framework of Educational Informatics. Acta Systematica – IIAS Intern. J. 6: 1–6.

Havas M and MS Symington. 2016. Effects of Wi-Fi radiation on germination and growth of garden cress (Lepidium sativum), broccoli (Brassica oleracea), red clover (Trifolium pratense) and pea (Pisum sativum) seedlings: A partial replication study. Current Chemical Biology 10 (1): 65–73.

Hillman D, D Stetzer, M Graham, CL Goeke, et al. 2013. Relationship of electric power quality to milk production of dairy herds – Field study with literature review. Science of the Total Environment 447: 500–514.

Kumar NR, S Sangwan and P Badotra. 2011. Exposure to cell phone radiations produces biochemical changes in worker honey bees. Toxicol Int. 18 (1): 70–72.

Larkin RP and PJ Sutherland. 1977. Migrating birds respond to Project Seafarer's electromagnetic field. Science. 195 (4280): 777–9.

Löscher W, and G Käs. 1998. Extraordinary behavior disorders in cows in proximity to transmission stations. Translated from German language. Der Praktische Tierarz 79 (5): 4377 444.

NTP 2018. NTP Technical Report on the Toxicology and Carcinogenesis Studies in Hsd:Sprague Dawley SD Rats exposed to Whole-body Radio Frequency Radiation at a Frequency (900 MHz) and Modulations (GSM and CDMA) used by Cell Phones. National Toxicology Program, National Institutes of Health, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 384 pp. See NTP Cell Phone Radiation Study: Final Reports

Pattazhy S. 2009. Mobile phone towers a threat to honey bees: Study. The Times of India, August 2009.

Shepherd S, Hollands G, Godley VC, Sharkh SM, Jackson CW, Newland PL. Increased aggression and reduced aversive learning in honey bees exposed to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields. PLoS One. 2019 Oct 10;14(10):e0223614. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0223614.

Southern WE. 1975. Orientation of gull chicks exposed to project Sanguine's electromagnetic field. Science. 189 (4197): 143–145.

Stetzer D, AM Leavitt, CL Goeke, and M Havas. 2016. Monitoring and remediation of on-farm and off-farm ground current measured as step potential on a Wisconsin dairy farm: A case study. Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine 35 (4): 321–336.

Vian, A, E Davies, M Gendraud and P Bonnet. 2016. Plant responses to high frequency electromagnetic fields, BioMed research International Vol. 2015 Article ID 1830262, 13 pp.

Waldmann-Selsam, A Balmori-de la Puente, H Breunig and A Balmori. 2016. Radiofrequency radiation injures trees around mobile phone base stations. Science of the Total Environment 572: 13 554–569.

Warnke U. 2009. Bees, birds and mankind. Destroying nature by ‘electrosmog’ effects of wireless communication technologies, A brochure series by the Competence Initiative for the Protection of Humanity, Environment and Democracy, 47 pp.

Wiltschko R, P Thalau, D Gehring, C Niessner, T Ritz and W. Wiltschko. 2015. Magnetoreception in birds: the effect of radio-frequency fields. J R Soc Interface 12(103).


Increased aggression and reduced aversive learning in honey bees exposed to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields

Shepherd S, Hollands G, Godley VC, Sharkh SM, Jackson CW, Newland PL. Increased aggression and reduced aversive learning in honey bees exposed to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields. PLoS One. 2019 Oct 10;14(10):e0223614. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0223614. 


Honey bees, Apis mellifera, are a globally significant pollinator species and are currently in decline, with losses attributed to an array of interacting environmental stressors. Extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF EMFs) are a lesser-known abiotic environmental factor that are emitted from a variety of anthropogenic sources, including power lines, and have recently been shown to have a significant impact on the cognitive abilities and behaviour of honey bees. Here we have investigated the effects of field-realistic levels of ELF EMFs on aversive learning and aggression levels, which are critical factors for bees to maintain colony strength. Bees were exposed for 17 h to 100 μT or 1000 μT ELF EMFs, or a sham control. A sting extension response (SER) assay was conducted to determine the effects of ELF EMFs on aversive learning, while an intruder assay was conducted to determine the effects of ELF EMFs on aggression levels. Exposure to both 100 μT and 1000 μT ELF EMF reduced aversive learning performance by over 20%. Exposure to 100 μT ELF EMFs also increased aggression scores by 60%, in response to intruder bees from foreign hives. These results indicate that short-term exposure to ELF EMFs, at levels that could be encountered in bee hives placed under power lines, reduced aversive learning and increased aggression levels. These behavioural changes could have wider ecological implications in terms of the ability of bees to interact with, and respond appropriately to, threats and negative environmental stimuli.

Open access paper:


April 17, 2019

Letter to the National Park Service from the Environmental Health Trust

This thirteen page letter to the National Park Service from the Environmental Health Trust, dated April 10, 2019, summarizes the scientific basis for major health and environmental concerns about a proposal to install wireless telecom facilities in Grand Teton National Park.

The letter summarizes research on harm to the environment and wildlife from wireless radiation exposure. Furthermore, it addresses the following topics: (1) research on harm to humans; (2) rapid increase in wireless radiation exposure; (3) inadequacy of the Federal Communications Commission's exposure limits to protect humans; (4) greater susceptibility of children; (5) recent appeals from hundreds of experts to reduce exposure limits; and (6) other cell tower safety hazards. 

This well-documented letter (81 references) can be downloaded from the following link:


July 18, 2016

A Briefing Memo by Dr. Albert Manville

Albert M. Manville, II, Ph.D. A Briefing Memorandum: What We Know, Can Infer, and Don’t Yet Know about Impacts from Thermal and Non-thermal Non-ionizing Radiation to Birds and Other Wildlife — for Public Release. July 14, 2016.

In this memo, Dr. Manville reviews the scientific literature that examines the impacts on wildlife from exposure to radio frequency radiation. 

He observes that although the FCC has standards to protect humans from the heating  (i.e., thermal) effects of wireless radiation exposure from cellular and broadcast towers, no standards exist to protect wildlife from thermal or non-thermal effects:

“The radiation effects on wildlife need to be addressed by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Commerce, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and other governmental entities.”

Dr. Manville concludes with the following statement:

“In summary, we need to better understand … how to address these growing and poorly understood radiation impacts to migratory birds, bees, bats, and myriad other wildlife. At present, given industry and agency intransigence … massive amounts of money being spent to prevent addressing impacts from non-thermal radiation — not unlike the battles over tobacco and smoking — and a lack of significant, dedicated and reliable funding to advance independent field studies, … we are left with few options. Currently, other than to proceed using the precautionary approach and keep emissions as low as reasonably achievable, we are at loggerheads in advancing meaningful guidelines, policies and regulations that address non-thermal effects....”

Dr. Manville recommends that the U.S. adopt the following recommendations because federally-protected wildlife species are currently in danger from RFR exposure:

“We desperately need to conduct field research on thermal and non-thermal radiation impacts to wild migratory birds and other wildlife here in North America, similar to studies conducted in Europe….”

“Studies need to be designed to better tease out and understand causality of thermal and non-thermal impacts from radiation on migratory birds…. efforts need to be made to begin developing exposure guidelines for migratory birds and other wildlife …”

“To minimize deleterious radiation exposures, these guidelines should include use of avoidance measures such as those developed by the electric utility industry for bird collision and electrocution avoidance …”

“Studies need to be conducted on the use of “faux” branches (i.e., metal arms that mimic pine or fir branches) on cell and/or FM towers intended to disguise the towers as trees, but provide nesting and roosting opportunities for migratory birds including Bald Eagles, which will almost certainly be impacted both by thermal and non-thermal radiation effects.”

“Agencies tasked with the protection, management, and research on migratory birds and other wildlife … need to develop radiation policies that avoid or minimize impacts to migratory birds and other trust wildlife species.”

“As Levitt and Lai (2010) concluded, we do not actually need to know whether RFR effects are thermal or non-thermal to set exposure guidelines. Most scientists consider non-thermal effects as well established, even though the implications are not fully understood.”

“Given the rapidly growing database of peer-reviewed, published scientific studies (e.g.,, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley), it is time that FCC considers thermal and non-thermal effects from EMR in their tower permitting, and incorporates changes into their rulemaking regarding ‘effects of communication towers on migratory birds.’”

Dr. Albert Manville II is an adjunct faculty member at Johns Hopkins University. He served as a senior wildlife biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 1997 to 2014.  He chaired the Communication Tower Working Group, partnering with the communications industry, federal and state agencies, researchers, and non-profit organizations. He testified more than 40 times before Congress and other governmental bodies and published more 170 papers. For more information, see

Dr. Manville’s memo is available at

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

Jaffar FHF, Osman K, Ismail NH, Chin KY, Ibrahim SF. Adverse Effects of Wi-Fi Radiation on Male Reproductive System: A Systematic Review. Tohoku J Exp Med. 2019;248(3): 169-179. doi: 10.1620/tjem.248.169. (Note: Smartphones emit Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and various types of cellular radiation.)


Extensive use of Wi-Fi has contributed to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMR) pollution in environment. Various studies have been conducted to evaluate the effect of RF-EMR emitted by Wi-Fi transmitter on male reproduction health. However, there are conflicting findings between studies. Thus, this review aims to elucidate the possible effects of 2.45 GHz Wi-Fi exposure on both animal and human male reproductive system. A computerized database search performed through MEDLINE via Ovid and PUBMED with the following set of keywords: 'Wi-Fi or WiFi or wireless fidelity or Wi-Fi router or WiFi router or electromagnetic or radiofrequency radiation' AND 'sperm or spermatozoa or spermatogenesis or semen or seminal plasma or testes or testis or testosterone or male reproduction' had returned 526 articles. Only 17 studies conformed to pre-set inclusion criterion. Additional records identified through Google Scholar and reviewed article further revealed six eligible articles. A total of 23 articles were used for data extraction, including 15 studies on rats, three studies on mice, and five studies on human health. Sperm count, motility and DNA integrity were the most affected parameters when exposed to RF-EMR emitted by Wi-Fi transmitter. Unfortunately, sperm viability and morphology were inconclusive. Structural and/or physiological analyses of the testes showed degenerative changes, reduced testosterone level, increased apoptotic cells, and DNA damage. These effects were mainly due to the elevation of testicular temperature and oxidative stress activity. In conclusion, exposure towards 2.45 GHz RF-EMR emitted by Wi-Fi transmitter is hazardous on the male reproductive system.

Open access paper:


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. Environ Res.  2018 Nov;167:684-693. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.05.017.


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. Environ Res. 2018 Nov;167:700-707. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.02.031. 


• 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. 26(2):309-313. 2017. doi:10.1007/s00580-016-2342-x. 


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 Dec;152(6):R263-R276. 


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. Environ Int.  2014 Sep;70:106-12. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2014.04.015.


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.


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: 12/1/2019)

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(Note: Authors report conflict of interest and limited statistical power to detect effects.)

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Yu G, Tang Z, Chen H, et al.  Long-term exposure to 4G smartphone radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation diminished male reproductive potential by directly disrupting Spock3-MMP2-BTB axis in the testes of adult rats. Sci Total Environ. 2019 Aug 31;698:133860.

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