The Possible Harmful Biological Effects
of Low-level Electromagnetic Fields of Frequencies
up to 300 GHz
|Portable Radio Systems
ASSOCIATION OF FIRE FIGHTERS
OF OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH, SAFETY AND MEDICINE
It is the belief of some international governments and
regulatory bodies and of the wireless telecommunications
industry that no consistent increases in health risk
exist from exposure to RF/MW radiation unless the intensity
of the radiation is sufficient to heat body tissue. However,
it is important to note that these positions are based
on non-continuous exposures to the general public to
low intensity RF/MW radiation emitted from wireless telecommunications
base stations. Furthermore, most studies that are the
basis of this position are at least five years old and
generally look at the safety of the phone itself. IAFF
members are concerned about the effects of living directly
under these antenna base stations for a considerable
stationary period of time and on a daily basis. There
are established biological effects from exposure to low-level
RF/MW radiation. Such biological effects are recognized
as markers of adverse health effects when they arise
from exposure to toxic chemicals for example. The IAFF’s
efforts will attempt to establish whether there is a
correlation between such biological effects and a health
risk to fire fighters and emergency medical personnel
due to the siting of cell phone antennas and base stations
at fire stations and facilities where they work.
The electromagnetic RF/MW radiation transmitted from
base station antennas travel toward the horizon in relatively
narrow paths. The individual pattern for a single array
of sector antennas is wedge-shaped, like a piece of pie.
Cellular and PCS base stations in the United States are
required to comply with limits for exposure recommended
by expert organizations and endorsed by government agencies
responsible for health and safety. When cellular and
PCS antennas are mounted on rooftops, RF/MW radiation
levels on that roof or on others near by would be greater
than those typically encountered on the ground.
The telecommunications industry claims cellular antennas
are safe because the RF/MW radiation they produce is
too weak to cause heating, i.e., a "thermal effect." They
point to "safety standards" from groups such
as ANSI/IEEE or ICNIRP to support their claims. But these
groups have explicitly stated that their claims of “safe
RF/MW radiation exposure is harmless” rest on the
fact that it is too weak to produce a rise in body temperature,
a "thermal effect."
There is a large body of internationally accepted scientific
evidence which points to the existence of non-thermal
effects of RF/MW radiation. The issue at the present
time is not whether such evidence exists, but rather
what weight to give it.
|Dr. A. W. Guy reported an extensive investigation
on rats chronically exposed from 2 up to 27 months
of age to low-level pulsed microwaves at SARs up
to 0.4 W/Kg. The exposed group was found to have
a significantly higher incidence of primary cancers.
A. W. Guy, C. K. Chou, L. Kunz, L, Crowley,
and J. Krupp, "Effects of Long-Term Low-Level
Radiofrequency Radiation Exposure on Rats." Volume
9. Summary. Brooks Air Force Base, Texas, USAF
School of Aerospace Medicine, USF-SAM-TR-85-11;
Internationally acknowledged experts in the field of
RF/MW radiation research have shown that RF/MW transmissions
of the type used in digital cellular antennas and phones
can have critical effects on cell cultures, animals,
and people in laboratories and have also found epidemiological
evidence (studies of communities, not in the laboratory)
of serious health effects at "non-thermal levels," where
the intensity of the RF/MW radiation was too low to cause
heating. They have found:
Increased cell growth of brain cancer cells
A doubling of the rate of lymphoma in mice
Changes in tumor growth in rats
An increased number of tumors in rats
Increased single- and double-strand breaks in DNA, our
2 to 4 times as many cancers in Polish soldiers exposed
More childhood leukemia in children exposed to RF
Changes in sleep patterns and REM type sleep
Headaches caused by RF/MW radiation exposure
Neurologic changes including:
Changes in the blood-brain-barrier
Changes in cellular morphology (including cell death)
Changes in neural electrophysiology (EEG)
Changes in neurotransmitters (which affect motivation
and pain perception)
Metabolic changes (of calcium ions, for instance)
Cytogenetic effects (which can affect cancer, Alzheimer's,
Decreased memory, attention, and slower reaction time
in school children
Retarded learning in rats indicating a deficit in spatial "working
Increased blood pressure in healthy men
Damage to eye cells when combined with commonly used
|Drs. Henry Lai and N. P. Singh of the University
of Washington in Seattle have reported both single-
and double-strand DNA breaks in the brains of rats
exposed to radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation
at an SAR of 1.2 W/Kg. DNA is the carrier of the
genetic information in all living cells. Cumulated
DNA strand breaks in brain cells can lead to cancer
or neurodegenerative diseases.
Many national and international organizations have recognized
the need to define the true risk of low intensity, non-thermal
RF/MW radiation exposure, calling for intensive scientific
investigation to answer the open questions. These include:
The World Health Organization, noting reports of "cancer,
reduced fertility, memory loss, and adverse changes in
the behavior and development of children."
The U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)
The Swedish Work Environmental Fund
The National Cancer Institute (NCI)
The European Commission (EC)
New Zealand's Ministry of Health
National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia
Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organization
of Australia (CSIRO)
The Royal Society of Canada expert group report prepared
for Health Canada
European Union's REFLEX Project (Risk Evaluation of Potential
Environmental Hazards from Low Frequency Electromagnetic
Field Exposure Using Sensitive in vitro Methods)
The Independent Group on Electromagnetic Fields of the
Swedish Radiation Protection Board (SSI)
The United Kingdom’s National Radiological Protection
The EMF-Team Finland's Helsinki Appeal 2005
| Dr. Stanislaw Szmigielski has studied many
thousands of Polish soldiers. He has found that
those exposed to radiofrequency and microwave radiation
in the workplace had more than double the cancer
rate of the unexposed servicemen analyzing data
from 1971-1985. He has presented further data suggesting
a dose-response relationship with soldiers exposed
to 100-200 W/cm2 suffering 1.69 times as many cancers
as the unexposed, and those exposed to 600-1000
W/cm2 suffering 4.63 times as many cancers. The
level considered safe for the public according
to FCC regulations is 1000 W/cm2. Occupational
exposure up to 5000 W/cm2 is allowed.
Non-thermal effects are recognized by experts on RF/MW
radiation and health to be potential health hazards.
Safe levels of RF/MW exposure for these low intensity,
non-thermal effects have not yet been established.
The FDA has explicitly rejected claims that cellular
phones are "safe."
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has stated
repeatedly that the current (ANSI/IEEE) RF/MW safety
standards protect only against thermal effects.
Many scientists and physicians question the safety of
exposure to RF/MW radiation. The CSIRO study, for example,
notes that there are no clear cutoff levels at which
low intensity RF/MW exposure has no effect, and that
the results of ongoing studies will take years to analyze.
Internationally, researchers and physicians
have issued statements that biological effects from
low-intensity RF/MW radiation exposure are scientifically
On the basis of our daily experiences, we hold the current
mobile communications technology (introduced in 1992
and since then globally extensive) and cordless digital
telephones (DECT standard) to be among the fundamental
triggers for this fatal development. One can no longer
evade these pulsed microwaves. They heighten the risk
of already-present chemical/physical influences, stress
the body–immune system, and can bring the body–still-functioning
regulatory mechanisms to a halt. Pregnant women, children,
adolescents, elderly and sick people are especially at
Statement of the physicians and researchers of Interdisziplinäre
Gesellschaft für Umweltmedizin e. V. (Interdisciplinary
Association for Environmental Medicine) IGUMED, Sackingen,
Germany, September 19, 2002. The Freiburger Appeal can
be found at: http://www.mastsanity.org/doctors-appeals.html.
The following references reporting biological
effects of radiofrequency radiation (RFR) at low intensities
through January 2005 were compiled on 12/27/04 by Henry
C. Lai PhD, Research Professor of Bioengineering, University
of Washington, Seattle, WA
Balode Sci Total Environ 180(1):81-85,
1996 - blood cells from cows from a farm close and in
front of a radar installation showed significantly higher
level of severe genetic damage.
Boscol et al. Sci Total Environ 273(1-3):1-10,
2001 - RFR from radio transmission stations (0.005 mW/cm2)
affects immune system in women.
Chiang et al. J. Bioelectricity 8:127-131,
1989 - people who lived and worked near radio antennae
and radar installations showed deficits in psychological
and short-term memory tests.
de Pomerai et al. Nature 405:417-418, 2000.
Enzyme Microbial Tech 30:73-79, 2002 - reported an increase
in a molecular stress response in cells after exposure
to a RFR at a SAR of 0.001 W/kg. This stress response
is a basic biological process that is present in almost
all animals - including humans.
de Pomerai et al. (FEBS Lett 22;543(1-3):93-97,
2003 - RFR damages proteins at 0.015-0.020 W/kg.
D'Inzeo et al. Bioelectromagnetics 9(4):363-372,
1988 - very low intensity RFR (0.002 – 0.004 mW/cm2)
affects the operation of acetylcholine-related ion-channels
in cells. These channels play important roles in physiological
and behavioral functions.
Dolk et al. Am J Epidemiol 145(1):1-91997-
a significant increase in adult leukemias was found in
residents who lived near the Sutton Coldfield television
(TV) and frequency modulation (FM) radio transmitter
Dutta et al.Bioelectromagnetics 10(2):197-202
1989 - reported an increase in calcium efflux in cells
after exposure to RFR at 0.005 W/kg. Calcium is an important
component of normal cellular functions.
Fesenko et al. Bioelectrochem Bioenerg
49(1):29-35, 1999 - reported a change in immunological
functions in mice after exposure to RFR at a power density
of 0.001 mW/cm2.
Hallberg O, Johansson O, ( 2004) concluded
that continuous disturbance of cell repair mechanisms
by body-resonant FM electromagnetic fields seems to amplify
the carcinogenic effects resulting from cell damage caused
e.g. by UV-radiation.
Hjollund et al. Reprod Toxicol 11(6):897,
1997 - sperm counts of Danish military personnel, who
operated mobile ground-to-air missile units that use
several RFR emitting radar systems (maximal mean exposure
0.01 mW/cm2), were significantly lower compared to references.
Hocking et al. Med J Aust 165(11-12):601-605,
1996 - an association was found between increased childhood
leukemia incidence and mortality and proximity to TV
Ivaschuk et al. Bioelectromagnetics 18(3):223-229,
1999 - short-term exposure to cellular phone RFR of very
low SAR (26 mW/kg) affected a gene related to cancer.
Kolodynski and Kolodynska, Sci Total Environ
180(1):87-93, 1996 - school children who lived in front
of a radio station had less developed memory and attention,
their reaction time was slower, and their neuromuscular
apparatus endurance was decreased.
Kwee et al. Electro- and Magnetobiology
20: 141-152, 2001 - 20 minutes of cell phone RFR exposure
at 0.0021 W/kg increased stress protein in human cells.
Lebedeva et al. Crit Rev Biomed Eng 28(1-2):323-337,
2000 - brain wave activation was observed in human subjects
exposed to cellular phone RFR at 0.06 mW/cm2.
Magras and Xenos Bioelectromagnetics 18(6):455-461,
1999 - reported a decrease in reproductive function in
mice exposed to RFR at power densities of 0.000168 -
0.001053 mW/cm2. Irreversible sterility was found in
the fifth generation of offspring.
Mann et al. Neuroendocrinology 67(2):139-144,
1998 - a transient increase in blood cortisol was observed
in human subjects exposed to cellular phone RFR at 0.02
mW/cm2. Cortisol is a hormone involved in stress reaction.
Marinelli et al. J Cell Physiol. 198(2):324-332,
2004 - exposure to 900-MHz RFR at 0.0035 W/kg affected
cell’s self-defense responses.
Michelozzi et al. Epidemiology 9 (Suppl)
354p, 1998 - leukemia mortality within 3.5 km (5,863
inhabitants) near a high power radio-transmitter in a
peripheral area of Rome was higher than expected.
Michelozzi et al. Am J Epidemiol 155(12):1096-1103,
2002 - childhood leukemia higher at a distance up to
6 km from a radio station.
Navakatikian and Tomashevskaya “Biological
Effects of Electric and Magnetic Fields, Volume 1," D.O.
Carpenter (ed) Academic Press, San Diego, CA, pp.333-342.
1994 - RFR at low intensities (0.01 - 0.1 mW/cm2; 0.0027-
0.027 W/kg) induced behavioral and endocrine changes
in rats. Decreases in blood concentrations of testosterone
and insulin were reported.
Novoselova et al. Bioelectrochem Bioenerg
49(1):37-41, 1999 -low intensity RFR (0.001 mW/cm2) affects
functions of the immune system.
Park et al. International Archives of Occupational
and Environmental Health 77(6):387-394, 2004 - higher
mortality rates for all cancers and leukemia in some
age groups in the area near the AM radio broadcasting
Persson et al. Wireless Network 3:455-461,
1997 - reported an increase in the permeability of the
blood-brain barrier in mice exposed to RFR at 0.0004
- 0.008 W/kg. The blood-brain barrier envelops the brain
and protects it from toxic substances.
Phillips et al. Bioelectrochem. Bioenerg.
45:103-110, 1998 - reported DNA damage in cells exposed
to RFR at SAR of 0.0024 - 0.024 W/kg.
Polonga-Moraru et al. Bioelectrochemistry
56(1-2):223-225, 2002 - change in membrane of cells in
the retina (eye) after exposure to RFR at 15 µW/cm2.
Pyrpasopoulou et al. Bioelectromagnetics
25(3):216-227, 2004 - exposure to cell phone radiation
during early gestation at SAR of 0.0005 W/kg (5 µW/cm2)
affected kidney development in rats.
Salford et al. Environ Health Persp Online
January 29, 2003 - Nerve cell damage in mammalian brain
after exposure to microwaves from GSM mobile phones signal
at 0.02 W/kg.
Santini et al. Pathol Biol (Paris) 50(6):369-373,
2002 - increase in complaint frequencies for tiredness,
headache, sleep disturbance, discomfort, irritability,
depression, loss of memory, dizziness, libido decrease,
in people who lived within 300 m of mobile phone base
Sarimov et al. IEEE Trans Plasma Sci 32:1600-1608,
2004 - GSM microwaves affect human lymphocyte chromatin
similar to stress response at 0.0054 W/kg.
Schwartz et al. Bioelectromagnetics 11(4):349-358,
1990 - calcium movement in the heart affected by RFR
at SAR of 0.00015 W/kg. Calcium is important in muscle
contraction. Changes in calcium can affect heart functions.
Somosy et al. Scanning Microsc 5(4):1145-1155,
1991 - RFR at 0.024 W/kg caused molecular and structural
changes in cells of mouse embryos.
Stagg et al. Bioelectromagnetics 18(3):230-236,
1997- glioma cells exposed to cellular phone RFR at 0.0059
W/kg showed significant increases in thymidine incorporation,
which may be an indication of an increase in cell division.
Stark et al. J Pineal Res 22(4):171-176,
1997 - a two- to seven-fold increase of salivary melatonin
concentration was observed in dairy cattle exposed to
RFR from a radio transmitter antenna.
Tattersall et al. Brain Res 904(1):43-53,
2001 - low-intensity RFR (0.0016 - 0.0044 W/kg) can modulate
the function of a part of the brain called the hippocampus,
in the absence of gross thermal effects. The changes
in excitability may be consistent with reported behavioral
effects of RFR, since the hippocampus is involved in
learning and memory.
Vangelova et al. Cent Eur J Public Health
10(1-2):24-28, 2002 - operators of satellite station
exposed to low dose (0.1127 J/kg) of RFR over a 24-hr
shift showed an increased excretion of stress hormones.
Velizarov et al. Bioelectrochem Bioenerg
48(1):177-180, 1999 - showed a decrease in cell proliferation
(division) after exposure to RFR of 0.000021 - 0.0021
Veyret et al. Bioelectromagnetics 12(1):47-56,
1991 - low intensity RFR at SAR of 0.015 W/kg affects
functions of the immune system.
Wolke et al. Bioelectromagnetics 17(2):144-153,
1996 - RFR at 0.001W/kg affects calcium concentration
in heart muscle cells of guinea pigs.