The Effects of Radio Frequency Radiation Exposure on Free
Radical-Related Cellular Processes (290 studies)
Feb 4, 2023 Update
Dr. Henry Lai
, Emeritus Professor, Department of Bioengineering, University of Washington
This document contains
abstracts for 290 studies published since 1997 that assessed the effects of
radiofrequency radiation (RFR) exposure on free radical-related cellular
See pages 164-187
for the Table that summarizes key details
about each study.
the 290 studies published since 1997, 263 studies (91%) reported statistically significant
effects of radiofrequency radiation on free radical-related cellular processes;
only 27 studies (9%) found no significant effects.
in cellular free radical status is a consistent effect of radiofrequency
can occur at low specific absorption rates (SAR) or power density of exposure. Seventy
studies are marked LI for low intensity (≤ 0.4 W/kg). Of the 70 low intensity
exposure studies, 68 studies (91%) reported significant effects on free
radical-related cellular processes.
have been reported at different frequencies, exposure duration, and
modulations, and in different biological systems, cell lines, and animal
species. These data support the assertion that “Radiofrequency radiation
affects cellular free radical processes.”
of the studies are live animal (in vivo)
studies with long-term exposure, e.g., daily exposure up to several months.
studies used mobile phones or RFR-emitting devices for exposure (see Table).
The SAR and characteristics of RFR in these studies are not well defined.
However, these studies should not be overlooked because they represent
real-life exposure scenarios. Waveform modulations of RFR during wireless
communication usage probably play an important role in biological effects which
are not revealed in studies that used a simple form of radiation (e.g.,
continuous-wave or GSM) and spatially uniform fields. Researchers in
bioelectromagnetics should realize that the perfect RFR exposure system
simulating real life exposures simply does not exist.
To download the 187-page document (pdf): https://bit.ly/RFR-oxidative-Lai-2023
February 1, 2018 (Updated September 1, 2022)
The preponderance of research published from 1990 through April 2022 has found significant effects from exposure to radio frequency radiation as well as to extremely low frequency and static electromagnetic fields. Overall, 77% (n=845) of 1,102 radio frequency radiation (RFR) studies reported significant effects. Additionally, 88% (n=810) of 916 extremely low frequency (ELF) and static electromagnetic field studies found significant effects.
By the end of April 2022, there were 2,018 studies in Dr. Henry Lai's collection of research on the effects of exposure to RFR and static or ELF electromagnetic fields (EMF). The abstracts for these studies can be downloaded by clicking on the link below.
Government and industry-linked scientists often claim that research on the effects of exposure to EMF is inconsistent, and that more research is needed before health warnings are issued or regulatory exposure limits 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 Editor Emeritus of the journal, Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, has compiled summaries of the research on the biologic and health effects of exposure to RFR and ELF EMF. His set of abstracts which cover the period from 1990 to April 2022 constitute a comprehensive collection of this research. Dr. Lai reports that the preponderance of the research has found that exposure to RFR or ELF EMF produces oxidative damage or free radicals, and damages DNA. Moreover the preponderance of RFR studies that examined genetic and neurological effects 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 cultures (in vitro).
Top Line Results
Overall, 82% (n=1,655) of 2,018 studies of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields reported significant biologic effects.
Radio frequency radiation:
91% (n=263) of 288 oxidative damage (or free radical) studies published since 1990 reported significant effects.
68% (n=291) of 423 genetic effects studies published since 1990 reported significant effects.
73% (n=291) of 391 neurological studies published since 2007 reported significant effects.
Overall, 77% (n=845) of 1,102 radio frequency radiation studies reported significant biologic effects.
Extremely low frequency and static electromagnetic fields::
90% (n=270) of 298 oxidative damage (or free radical) studies published since 1990 reported significant effects.
84% (n=257) of 307 genetic effects studies published since 1990 reported significant effects.
91% (n=283) of 311 neurological studies published since 2007 reported significant effects.
Overall, 88% (n=810) of 916 extremely low frequency and static electromagnetic field studies reported significant biologic effects.