Raise awareness of environmental health issues in order to better protect our children and future generations.

20 March 2019

Twenty-Two New Papers on Electromagnetic Fields and Biology or Health (19 March 2019)

Twenty-two new papers on electromagnetic fields and biology or health, courtesy of Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., Director, Center for Family and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley.
Electromagnetic Radiation Safety, 19 March 2019

[Dr. Moscowitz] has been circulating abstracts of newly-published scientific papers on wireless radiation and electromagnetic fields (EMF) about once a month since August, 2016. Several hundred EMF scientists around the world receive these updates. The complete collection including the papers below now contains more than 600 abstracts.

To see the latest studies or download the 419-page document (pdf) go to the following web page

Investigate Europe (2019). How much is safe? https://www.investigate-europe.eu/publications/how-much-is-safe/.

As part of a project called, “The 5G Mass Experiment,” Investigate Europe, a team of investigative journalists from the European Union, examined the risks of deployment of 5G, the fifth generation of mobile phone technology, and the adequacy of electromagnetic field (EMF) safety guidelines promoted by the International Commission for Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). To date, the team has published sixteen articles in major newspapers and magazines in seven EU countries: France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Portugal. The journalists allege the existence of an “ICNIRP cartel" -- fourteen scientists who helped create and/or defend ICNIRP's obsolete EMF exposure guidelines. Also see: https://www.saferemr.com/2018/07/icnirps-exposure-guidelines-for-radio.html

Recent Papers

Transduction of the Geomagnetic Field as Evidenced from Alpha-band Activity in the Human Brain
Wang CX, Hilburn IA, Wu D-A, Mizuhara Y, Cousté CP, Abrahams JNH, Bernstein SE, Matani A, Shimojo S. Kirschvink JL. Transduction of the Geomagnetic Field as Evidenced from Alpha-band Activity in the Human Brain. eNeuro 18 March 2019, ENEURO.0483-18.2019; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1523/ENEURO.0483-18.2019

Abstract

Magnetoreception, the perception of the geomagnetic field, is a sensory modality well-established across all major groups of vertebrates and some invertebrates, but its presence in humans has been tested rarely, yielding inconclusive results. We report here a strong, specific human brain response to ecologically-relevant rotations of Earth-strength magnetic fields. Following geomagnetic stimulation, a drop in amplitude of EEG alpha oscillations (8-13 Hz) occurred in a repeatable manner. Termed alpha event-related desynchronization (alpha-ERD), such a response has been associated previously with sensory and cognitive processing of external stimuli including vision, auditory and somatosensory cues. Alpha-ERD in response to the geomagnetic field was triggered only by horizontal rotations when the static vertical magnetic field was directed downwards, as it is in the Northern Hemisphere; no brain responses were elicited by the same horizontal rotations when the static vertical component was directed upwards. This implicates a biological response tuned to the ecology of the local human population, rather than a generic physical effect.

Biophysical tests showed that the neural response was sensitive to static components of the magnetic field. This rules out all forms of electrical induction (including artifacts from the electrodes) which are determined solely on dynamic components of the field. The neural response was also sensitive to the polarity of the magnetic field. This rules out free-radical 'quantum compass' mechanisms like the cryptochrome hypothesis, which can detect only axial alignment. Ferromagnetism remains a viable biophysical mechanism for sensory transduction and provides a basis to start the behavioral exploration of human magnetoreception.

Significance Statement

Although many migrating and homing animals are sensitive to Earth’s magnetic field, most humans are not consciously aware of the geomagnetic stimuli that we encounter in everyday life. Either we have lost a shared, ancestral magnetosensory system, or the system lacks a conscious component with detectable neural activity but no apparent perceptual awareness by us. We found two classes of ecologically-relevant rotations of Earth-strength magnetic fields that produce strong, specific and repeatable effects on human brainwave activity in the EEG alpha band (8-13 Hz); EEG discriminates in response to different geomagnetic field stimuli. Biophysical tests rule out all except the presence of a ferromagnetic transduction element, such as biologically-precipitated crystals of magnetite (Fe3O4).

Conclusion 

Our results indicate that at least some modern humans transduce changes in Earth-strength magnetic fields into an active neural response. We hope that this study provides a road-map for future studies aiming to replicate and extend research into human magnetoreception. Given the known presence of highly-evolved geomagnetic navigation systems in species across the animal kingdom, it is perhaps not surprising that we might retain at least some functioning neural components especially given the nomadic hunter/gatherer lifestyle of our not-too-distant ancestors. The full extent of this inheritance remains to be discovered.

Open access paper: http://www.eneuro.org/content/early/2019/03/18/ENEURO.0483-18.2019

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Geomagnetic storm under laboratory conditions: randomized experiment
Oleg Grigoriev, Chairman of the Russian National Committee on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, sent me the following paper after I disseminated the study above:

Gurfinkel YI, Vasin AL, Pishchalnikov RY, Sarimov RM, Sasonko ML, Matveeva TA. Geomagnetic storm under laboratory conditions: randomized experiment. Int J Biometeorol. 2018 Apr;62(4):501-512. doi: 10.1007/s00484-017-1460-8.

Abstract

The influence of the previously recorded geomagnetic storm (GS) on human cardiovascular system and microcirculation has been studied under laboratory conditions. Healthy volunteers in lying position were exposed under two artificially created conditions: quiet (Q) and storm (S). The Q regime playbacks a noise-free magnetic field (MF) which is closed to the natural geomagnetic conditions on Moscow's latitude. The S regime playbacks the initially recorded 6-h geomagnetic storm which is repeated four times sequentially. The cardiovascular response to the GS impact was assessed by measuring capillary blood velocity (CBV) and blood pressure (BP) and by the analysis of the 24-h ECG recording. A storm-to-quiet ratio for the cardio intervals (CI) and the heart rate variability (HRV) was introduced in order to reveal the average over group significant differences of HRV. An individual sensitivity to the GS was estimated using the autocorrelation function analysis of the high-frequency (HF) part of the CI spectrum. The autocorrelation analysis allowed for detection a group of subjects of study which autocorrelation functions (ACF) react differently in the Q and S regimes of exposure.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29030697

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Real-world cell phone radiofrequency electromagnetic field exposures
Wall S, Wang ZM, Kendig T, Dobraca D, Lipsett M. Real-world cell phone radiofrequency electromagnetic field exposures. Environ Res. 2019 Apr;171:581-592. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.09.015.

"Based in part on the results of this study, the California Department of Public Health published the following safety guidelines: “How to Reduce Exposure to Radiofrequency Energy from Cell Phones” (CDPH, 2017)."

Highlights

• Factors decreasing cell phone RF EMF exposures were strong signal strength, greater distance from phones, and Bluetooth use.
• Cell phone RF EMF exposures were one to four orders of magnitude higher in weak vs strong signal reception environments.
• At a typical texting distance, RF EMF exposures from phones with weak signal strength decreased by 90% over near-ear distance.
• Exposures from Bluetooth headsets were 10 to 400 times lower than direct near-ear exposures from the attached cell phones.

Abstract

In 2011 the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF EMF) from cell phones as possibly carcinogenic to humans. The National Toxicology Program and the Ramazzini Institute have both reported that RF EMF exposures significantly increase gliomas and Schwannomas of the heart in rodent studies. Recent studies indicate that RF EMF exposures from cell phones have negative impacts on animal cells and cognitive and/or behavioral development in children. Case-control epidemiological studies have found evidence for cell phone use and increased risk for glioma and localization of the glioma associated with the consistent exposure site of regular cell phone use. Understanding the exposure level, or power density, from RF EMF emitted by cell phones under real-world usage and signal reception conditions, as distinct from the published measurements of maximum Specific Absorption Rate values, may help cell phone users decide whether to take behavioral steps to reduce RF EMF exposure.

Exposure measurements were conducted on phone models from four major mobile network operators (MNOs) in the USA for calls received under strong and weak reception signal conditions, near the phone face and at several distances up to 48 cm. RF EMF exposure from all phones was found to be greater under weak (1-2 display bars) than under strong (4-5 display bars) reception signal conditions by up to four orders of magnitude. Notably, RF EMF exposure levels under weak reception signal conditions at a distance of 48 cm from the phone were similar to or greater than those detected under strong reception signal conditions at a distance of 4 cm. Under weak reception signal conditions, power density reductions of up to 90% occurred at 16 cm typical for speaker phone or texting over the 4 cm near-ear exposure.

The results of this investigation of second-generation (2G) technology suggest that reduced and precautionary use of cell phones under weak signal conditions could lower a user's RF EMF exposure by up to several orders of magnitude. Bluetooth headset power density exposures were 10-400 times lower than those of the cell phones to which they were connected and dependent on the headset rather than the connected phone. The results of this study informed the development of public health guidance regarding cell phone use.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30448205

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Mother's Exposure to EMF before and during Pregnancy is Associated with Risk of Speech Problems in Offspring

Zarei S, Vahab M, Oryadi-Zanjani MM, Alighanbari N, Mortazavi SM. Mother's Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields before and during Pregnancy is Associated with Risk of Speech Problems in Offspring. J Biomed Phys Eng. 2019 Feb 1;9(1):61-68.

Abstract

Background: Rapid advances in technology, especially in the field of telecommunication, have led to extraordinary levels of mothers' exposures to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) prior to or during pregnancy.

Objective: The main goal of this study was to answer this question whether exposure of women to common sources of RF-EMFs either prior to or during pregnancy is related to speech problems in the offspring.

Materials and Methods: In this study, mothers of 110 three-to-seven-year-old children with speech problems and 75 healthy children (control group) were interviewed. These mothers were asked whether they had exposure to different sources of EMFs such as mobile phones, mobile base stations, Wi-Fi, cordless phones, laptops and power lines. Chi square test was used to analyze the differences observed between the control and exposed groups.

Results: Statistically significant associations were found between the use of cordless phone and offspring speech problems for both before pregnancy and during pregnancy maternal exposures (P=0.005 and P=0.014, respectively). However, due to high rate of mobile phone use in both groups, this study failed to show any link between mobile phone use and speech problems in offspring. Furthermore, significant associations were observed between living in the vicinity of power lines and speech problems again for both before pregnancy and during pregnancy maternal exposures (P=0.003 and P=0.002, respectively). However, exposure to other sources of non-ionizing radiation was not linked to speech problems. Moreover, exposure to ionizing radiation (e.g. radiography before and during pregnancy) was not associated with the occurrence of speech problems.

Conclusion: Although this study has some limitations, it leads us to this conclusion that higher-than-ever levels of maternal exposure to electromagnetic fields could be linked to offspring speech problems.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30881935

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Impact of Adolescents' Screen Time & Nocturnal Mobile Phone-Related Awakenings on Sleep & Health Symptoms
Foerster M, Henneke A, Chetty-Mhlanga S, Röösli M. Impact of adolescents' screen time and nocturnal mobile phone-related awakenings on sleep and general health symptoms: A prospective cohort study.Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Feb 12;16(3). pii: E518. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16030518.

Abstract

Nocturnal media use has been linked to adolescents' sleeping problems in cross-sectional studies which do not address reverse causality. To prospectively assess the new occurrence of sleep problems or health symptoms in relation to electronic media use and nocturnal mobile phone use, we used data from the longitudinal Swiss HERMES (Health Effects Related to Mobile phone usE in adolescentS) cohort on 843 children from 7th to 9th grade. Logistic regression models were fitted and adjusted for relevant confounders. Adolescents reporting at baseline and follow-up at least one nocturnal awakenings from their own mobile phone per month were more likely to have developed restless sleep (Odds Ratio (OR): 5.66, 95% Confidence Interval: 2.24⁻14.26) and problems falling asleep (3.51, 1.05⁻11.74) within one year compared to adolescents without nocturnal awakenings. A similar pattern was observed for developing symptoms, although somewhat less pronounced in terms of the magnitude of the odds ratios. With respect to high screen time at baseline and follow-up, associations were observed for falling asleep (2.41, 1.41⁻4.13), exhaustibility (1.76, 1.02⁻3.03), lack of energy (1.76, 1.04⁻2.96) and lack of concentration (2.90, 1.55⁻5.42). Our results suggest a detrimental effect of screen time and mobile phone-related awakenings on sleep problems and related health symptoms. However, the results should be interpreted cautiously with respect to adolescents' natural changes in circadian rhythm, which may coincidence with an increase in mobile phone and media use.

Open access paper: https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/16/3/518

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Memory Function and Cell Phone Microwave Exposure in Youngsters

Lin JC. Memory Function and Cell Phone Microwave Exposure in Youngsters [Health Matters]. IEEE Microwave Magazine. 20(2):16-20. Feb 2019.

Abstract

Cell phones, especially smartphones, have become such a popular phenomenon that marketing cell phones to youngsters is no longer the forbidden practice it once was. As a result of the increase of cell phone use among youngsters, France and other countries have banned the use of such phones in primary, junior, and middle schools, both inside classrooms and even outside on school playgrounds [1], [2].

Looking at the Data

The question of whether RF/microwave radiation emitted by cell phones during use could disturb brain activity in children and lead to impaired learning ability or behavioral problems has persisted for some time. To date, there remains a paucity of existing scientific data and relevant knowledge, including data on cognitive functions of adolescents. As a result, the question cannot be easily answered based on existing scientific evidence. Reported results may lead to the conclusion that RF/microwave radiation emitted from GSM cell phones does not produce acute effects on an adolescent’s cognitive or memory function. But available data suggest that significant decreases in figural memory were found to be consistently associated with cumulative exposure of the brain of adolescents to 1,000–4,000 mJ/kg per day over one year. Therefore, a cautious approach to risk management, especially in relation to children and adolescents, is warranted.

https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/8608029

Note: James C. Lin is the Editor of the journal, Bioelectromagnetics, published on behalf of the Bioelectromagnetics Society. He was also one of the three EMF experts selected for the peer review of the cell phone radiation study conducted last year by the U.S. National Toxicology Program.

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Shielding methods and products against man-made Electromagnetic Fields: Protection versus risk

Panagopoulos DJ, Chrousos GP. Shielding methods and products against man-made Electromagnetic Fields: Protection versus risk. Sci Total Environ. 2019 Feb 23;667:255-262. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.02.344.

Highlights

• Human exposure to man-made EMFs has increased with increasing health problems.
• Metal shielding is lately suggested by private companies/individuals as a way to reduce exposure.
• Metal shielding reduces both man-made and natural atmospheric EMFs.
• EHS symptom relapses and internal desynchronization are reported after shielding.
• An avoidance strategy of man-made EMFs should be preferable than metal shielding.

Abstract

Human exposure to man-made Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) has increased to unprecedented levels, accompanied by increase in various health problems. A connection has been indicated by an increasing number of studies. Symptoms characterized as Electro-hyper-sensitivity (EHS) are frequently reported especially in urban environments. Lately, people are advised by private companies and individuals to protect themselves from man-made EMFs by metal shielding through various products, for which there are reasonable concerns about their protective efficacy and safety. Indeed, any metal shielding practice, even when correctly applied, attenuates not only man-made totally polarized EMFs accused for the health problems, but also the natural non-polarized EMFs responsible for the biological rhythmicity and well-being of all animals. Strong evidence on this was provided by pioneering experiments in the 1960's and 1970's, with volunteers staying in a shielded underground apartment. We analyze the physical principles of EMF-shielding, the importance of natural atmospheric EMFs, and examine available shielding methods and suggested products, relying on science-based evidence. We suggest that an avoidance strategy is safer than shielding, and provide specific protection tips. We do not reject shielding in general, but describe ways to keep it at a minimum by intermittent use, as this is theoretically safer than extensive permanent shielding. We explain why metallic patches or "chips" or minerals claimed by sellers to be protective, do not seem to make sense and might even be risky. We finally suggest urgent research on the safety and efficacy of shielding methods combined with use of generators emitting weak pulses of similar frequency, intensity, and waveform with the natural atmospheric resonances.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30831365

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Short-term radiofrequency exposure from new generation mobile phones reduces EEG alpha power with no effects on cognitive performance.
Vecsei Z, Knakker B, Juhász P, Thuróczy G, Trunk A, Hernádi I. Short-term radiofrequency exposure from new generation mobile phones reduces EEG alpha power with no effects on cognitive performance. Sci Rep. 2018 Dec 20;8(1):18010. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-36353-9.

Abstract

Although mobile phone (MP) use has been steadily increasing in the last decades and similar positive trends are expected for the near future, systematic investigations on neurophysiological and cognitive effects caused by recently developed technological standards for MPs are scarcely available. Here, we investigated the effects of radiofrequency (RF) fields emitted by new-generation mobile technologies, specifically, Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) and Long-Term Evolution (LTE), on intrinsic scalp EEG activity in the alpha band (8-12 Hz) and cognitive performance in the Stroop test. The study involved 60 healthy, young-adult university students (34 for UMTS and 26 for LTE) with double-blind administration of Real and Sham exposure in separate sessions. EEG was recorded before, during and after RF exposure, and Stroop performance was assessed before and after EEG recording. Both RF exposure types caused a notable decrease in the alpha power over the whole scalp that persisted even after the cessation of the exposure, whereas no effects were found on any aspects of performance in the Stroop test. The results imply that the brain networks underlying global alpha oscillations might require minor reconfiguration to adapt to the local biophysical changes caused by focal RF exposure mimicking MP use.

Open access paper: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6301959/
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Towards predicting intracellular radiofrequency radiation effects

Nielsen C, Hui R, Lui WY, Solov'yov IA. Towards predicting intracellular radiofrequency radiation effects. PLoS One. 2019 Mar 14;14(3):e0213286. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0213286.

Abstract

Recent experiments have reported an effect of weak radiofrequency magnetic fields in the MHz-range on the concentrations of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in living cells. Since the energy that could possibly be deposited by the radiation is orders of magnitude smaller than the energy of molecular thermal motion, it was suggested that the effect was caused by the interaction of RF magnetic fields with transient radical pairs within the cells, affecting the ROS formation rates through the radical pair mechanism. It is, however, at present not entirely clear how to predict RF magnetic field effects at certain field frequency and intensity in nanoscale biomolecular systems. We suggest a possible recipe for interpreting the radiofrequency effects in cells by presenting a general workflow for calculation of the reactive perturbations inside a cell as a function of RF magnetic field strength and frequency. To justify the workflow, we discuss the effects of radiofrequency magnetic fields on generic spin systems to particularly illustrate how the reactive radicals could be affected by specific parameters of the experiment. We finally argue that the suggested workflow can be used to predict effects of radiofrequency magnetic fields on radical pairs in biological cells, which is specially important for wireless recharging technologies where one has to know of any harmful effects that exposure to such radiation might cause.

Open access paper: https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0213286

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Analysis of biological effects of cell phone radiation on human body using SAR and thermoregulatory response

Rashid TB, Song HH. Analysis of biological effects of cell phone radiation on human body using specific absorption rate and thermoregulatory response. Microwave and Optical Technology Letters. First published: 15 March 2019.

Abstract

Health and science have reached a point of intersection which has never existed before. With the recent rapid increase in the use of cellular phones and long periods of usage of these devices near the human body, public concern regarding potential health hazards due to absorption of electromagnetic energy has been growing. To address these issues, this research evaluates the average Specific Absorption Rate in different human tissues by varying source to antenna distance and radiated power using the ANSYS 3D human body model. The Pennes bioheat transfer equation was solved analytically to calculate the longtime exposure effect and temperature rise. The results show that regardless of the frequency, if the antenna radiated power is low (less than 125 mW), temperature increase within the human tissues is low; however if the antenna operates at high radiated power (1 W), temperature tends to increase eight and a half times.

Excerpts

SAR values are lower than the FCC safety limit in all cases shown in Tables 1 and 2 in head tissues, when there is no distance between head and antenna, in a lower frequency (850 MHz, 900 MHz) and lower radiated power (125 mW). In the same cases, when antenna radiated power increases to 1 W, SAR values are higher than the FCC safety limit in all head tissues. The maximum SAR values are found in CSF [cerebrospinal fluid] and skin tissues.

In head tissues, at higher frequencies (2.1 GHz, 2.6 GHz, and 5.1 GHz) at 125 mW radiated and when there is no distance between head and antenna, average SAR values are higher in all tissues except fat tissues as shown in Table 3-5. Maximum average SAR values are found in CSF, dura, brain, skin, and bone tissues at 5.1 GHz frequency, which are 11.4 W/kg, 10.89 W/kg, 10.77 W/kg, 10.51 W/kg, and 9.3 W/kg, respectively, as shown in Table 4. Average SAR values are high at higher frequencies because tissues have relatively high conductively (sic). In high frequency at high radiated power of 1 W, average SAR values in all tissues are very high. The maximum average SAR value found in CSF tissue was 91.2 W/kg. This means if the antenna is operating at a high power level, there is a high chance of tissues being affected.

... increasing the distance between the source and the head model from 0 mm to 10 mm causes the SAR to decrease by approximately three times at lower frequency, and it decreases approximately five and a half times at higher frequency.

The research concludes, for the long time exposure, and even for the worst possible radiated power level, the temperature rise caused in the human tissues is not close to the dangerous limit.

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/mop.31777

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Mobile phone EMR affects Amyloid Precursor Protein and α-synuclein metabolism in SH-SY5Y cells

Stefi AL, Margaritis LH, Skouroliakou AS, Vassilacopoulou D. Mobile phone electromagnetic radiation affects Amyloid Precursor Protein and α-synuclein metabolism in SH-SY5Y cells. Pathophysiology. Published online March 1, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pathophys.2019.02.004.

Highlights

• GSM radiation applied to SH-SY5Y cells:
• Causes alternative APP metabolism.
• Shifts the equilibrium from multimeric to the monomeric form of α-synuclein.
• Induces oxidative stress and cytotoxicity.
• Contributes to the Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease pathogenetic mechanisms.

Abstract

In this study, the effects of low-level, GSM emitted ElectroMagnetic Field (EMF) on Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP) and alpha-synuclein (α-syn) in human neuroblastoma cells was investigated. Our data indicated alterations on APP processing and cellular topology, following EMF exposure (ℇ = 10.51 V/m, SAR = 0.23 W/kg, exposure time: 3 times, for 10 minutes, for 2 days). Furthermore, changes in monomeric α-syn accumulation and multimerization, as well as induction of oxidative stress and cell death, were documented. The results presented here require further investigation to determine potential links of EMF with the molecular pathogenic mechanisms in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases.

Conclusions

To the best of our knowledge, the work presented here, seems to be the first report linking exposure to EMF emitted by a transmitting mobile phone, to altered metabolism of APP and α-syn in SH-SY5Y cells. The observed increase in monomeric α-syn along with the generation of novel amyloidogenic fragments possessing alternative cellular topology, in addition to the induction of cellular toxicity and oxidative stress, should be taken into consideration in future research aiming towards the understanding of the molecular mechanisms linking EMR to human health. It is possible that wireless communications, may represent a new factor affecting human health while exposure to these devices could be involved in pathogenic mechanisms leading to neurodegeneration.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0928468018303523

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Characterisation of personal exposure to environmental RF EMF in Albacete (Spain) and assessment of risk perception

Ramirez-Vazquez R, Gonzalez-Rubio J, Arribas E, Najera A. Characterisation of personal exposure to environmental radiofrequency electromagnetic fields in Albacete (Spain) and assessment of risk perception. Environ Res. 2019 Feb 12;172:109-116. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2019.02.015.

Abstract

In the last decades, exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) has substantially increased as new wireless technologies have been introduced. Society has become more concerned about the possible effects of RF-EMF on human health in parallel to the increase in their exposure. The appearance of personal exposimeters opens up wide-ranging research possibilities. Despite studies having characterised personal exposure to RF-EMF, part of the population is still worried, to the extent that psychogenic diseases ("nocebo" effect) appear, and patients suffer. It could be interesting to share personal exposure results with the population to better understand and promote public health. The main objective was to characterise personal exposure to environmental RF-EMF in Albacete (166,000 inhabitants, SE Spain), and assess the effect of sharing the results of the study on participants' risk perception. Measurements were taken by a personal Satimo EME SPY 140 exposimeter, which was programmed every 10 s for 24 h. To measure personal exposure to RF-EMF, we worked with 75 volunteers. Their personal exposure, 14 microenvironments in the city, e.g., home, outdoors, work, etc., and possible time differences were analysed. After participating in the study, 35 participants completed a questionnaire about their RF-EMF risk perception, which was also answered by a control sample to compare the results (N = 36). The total average exposure of 14 bands was 37.7 μW/m2, and individual ranges fell between 0.2 μW/m2, recorded in TV4&5, and a maximum of 264.7 μW/m2 in DECT. For Friday, we recorded a mean of 53.9 μW/m2 as opposed to 23.4 μW/m2 obtained on Saturday. The recorded night-time value was 27.5 μW/m2 versus 43.8 μW/m2 recorded in the daytime. The mean personal exposure value also showed differences between weekdays and weekend days, with 39.7 μW/m2 and 26.9 μW/m2, respectively. The main source that contributed to the mean total personal exposure was enhanced cordless telecommunications (DECT) with 50.2%, followed by mobile phones with 18.4% and mobile stations with 11.0% (GSM, DCS and UMTS), while WiFi signals gave 12.5%. In the analysed microenvironments, the mean exposure of homes and workplaces was 34.3 μW/m2 and 55.2 μW/m2, respectively. Outdoors, the mean value was 34.2 μW/m2 and the main sources were DECT, WiFi and mobile phone stations, depending on the place. The risk perception analysis found that 54% of the participants perceived that RF-EMF were less dangerous than before participating in the study, while 43% reported no change in their perceptions. Only 9% of the volunteers who received information about their measurements after the study assessed the possible RF-EMF risk with a value over or equal to 4 (on a scale from 1 to 5) versus 39% of the non-participant controls. We conclude that personal exposure to RF-EMF fell well below the limits recommended by ICNIRP and showed wide temporal and spatial variability. The main exposure sources were DECT, followed by mobile phones and WiFi. Sharing exposure results with participants lowered their risk perception.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30782530

My Note: The case-control studies of wireless phone use and brain tumor risk typically failed to account for DECT phone radiation exposure to the head. The above study found that DECT phones contributed 50% to the overall personal RF radiation exposure as compared to only 18% for mobile phones. Thus, except for Hardell's research, case-control studies likely underestimate the effect of wireless phone use on brain tumor risk.

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Simulation of the incidence of malignant brain tumors in birth cohorts that started using mobile phones when they first became popular in Japan
Sato Y, Kojimahara N, Yamaguchi N. Simulation of the incidence of malignant brain tumors in birth cohorts that started using mobile phones when they first became popular in Japan. Bioelectromagnetics. 2019 Mar 15. doi: 10.1002/bem.22176.

Abstract

Over 20 years have passed since the initial spread of mobile phones in Japan. Epidemiological studies of mobile phone use are currently being conducted around the world, but scientific evidence is inconclusive. The present study aimed to simulate the incidence of malignant brain tumors in cohorts that began using mobile phones when they first became popular in Japan. Mobile phone ownership data were collected through an Internet-based questionnaire survey of subjects born between 1960 and 1989. The proportion of mobile phone ownership between 1990 and 2012 was calculated by birth cohort (1960s, 1970s, and 1980s). Subsequently, using the ownership proportion, the incidence of malignant brain tumors was calculated under simulated risk conditions. When the relative risk was set to 1.4 for 1,640 h or more of cumulative mobile phone use and the mean daily call duration was 15 min, the incidence of malignant brain tumors in 2020 was 5.48 per 100,000 population for the 1960s birth cohort, 3.16 for the 1970s birth cohort, and 2.29 for the 1980s birth cohort. Under the modeled scenarios, an increase in the incidence of malignant brain tumors was shown to be observed around 2020.

Conclusion

Epidemiological studies on mobile phone use have mainly focused on malignant brain tumors as a health outcome. The present study revealed that under the modeled scenarios, an increase in the incidence of malignant brain tumors was shown to be observed around 2020. In future epidemiological studies on mobile phone use, we believe that it will be necessary to investigate whether or not the incidence of malignant brain tumors is actually increased in 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s birth cohorts.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30875091

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No Evidence for Increased Brain Tumor Incidence in the Swedish National Cancer Register Between 1980-2012

Nilsson J, Järås J, Henriksson R, Holgersson G, Bergström S, Estenberg J, Augustsson T, Bergqvist M. No evidence for increased brain tumour incidence in the Swedish National Cancer Register between years 1980-2012. Anticancer Res. 2019 Feb;39(2):791-796. doi: 10.21873/anticanres.13176.

Abstract

BACKGROUND/AIM: The main objective of this study was to evaluate if there was an increased incidence of brain tumours between years 1980-2012, a time period when mobile phone usage has increased substantially.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: From the Swedish Cancer Registry, cases of meningiomas, low-grade gliomas (LGG) and high-grade gliomas (HGG) were identified in patients between 1980-2012. Direct age-standardised incidence rates were used to calculate incidence trends over time.

RESULTS: A total of 13,441 cases of meningiomas, 12,259 cases of high-grade gliomas and 4,555 cases of LGG were reported to the register during the study period. The results suggest that there may be a negative development in the trend for LGG of -0,016 cases per 100,000 and year, corresponding to a mean reduction of approximately 1% per year.

CONCLUSION: The present study was not able to demonstrate an increased incidence of glioma during the past 30 years in Sweden.

Excerpt:

" For HGG, there was a trend for slightly decreased incidence in the age group 0-39 years (incidence trend estimate=−0.004, 95% CI=−0.006-−0.001; p=0.005) and a trend for mildly increased incidence in the age group 60-74 years (incidence trend estimate=0.006, 95% CI=0.001-0.012; p=0.029)."

Open access paper: http://ar.iiarjournals.org/content/39/2/791.long

My notes: The title of this paper is misleading as the authors found an increased incidence of high-grade gliomas from 1980 to 2012 in the age group 60-74. The authors did not provide a justification for performing a linear regression on the age-standardized incidence rates. How likely is it that a linear model is appropriate to explain a 32-year trend? And even if a linear model were appropriate, since this is a time series where there is likely autocorrelation, the p-values from a linear regression are meaningless.

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Risk Communication Strategies for Possible Health Risks From RF-EMF Emission by Telecom Structures

Fernandez PR, Ng KH, Kaur S. Risk Communication Strategies for Possible Health Risks From Radio-Frequency Electromagnetic Fields (RF-EMF) Emission by Telecommunication Structures. Health Phys. 2019 Mar 4. doi: 10.1097/HP.0000000000001037.

Abstract

There is widespread anxiety and speculation about RF-EMF emissions by telecommunication base stations and structures, as it is perceived by some to be unsafe and a threat to public health. Scientists, medical experts, politicians, journalists, and mobile telecommunication company specialists are involved in an active debate on whether people are immune to RF or if we are gambling with our future. Interviews with 31 individuals from 7 stakeholder groups in Malaysia reveal that the residents' main concerns are that the telecommunication companies do not follow guidelines and as a result the telecommunication structures are constructed close to their homes, which they perceive as a threat to public health. Some residents also do not want these structures because of cultural reasons, while some are jealous over rental income received by the landlords. Meanwhile, the authorities entrusted with safe-guarding public health are involved in a blame game as there is no agency that is clearly in charge. The interviews also highlight that the current risk communication initiatives are more reactive rather than proactive, and that the authorities do not speak in one voice. Based on the outcome of the interviews, eleven recommendations are formulated to improve risk communication initiatives in Malaysia. The recommendations stress on repairing, building, and strengthening trust, because trust in agencies, along with credibility, determines risk communication initiatives' effectiveness. These strategies can also be effectively replicated across regions to deal with contestations over RF-EMF emissions and the impact on health.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30844902

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Evaluating extremely low frequency magnetic fields in the rear seats of the electric vehicles

Lin J, Lu M, Wu T, Yang L, Wu TN. Evaluating extremely low frequency magnetic fields in the rear seats of the electric vehicles. Radiation Protection Dosimetry. 182(2):190-199. Dec 2018.

Abstract

In the electric vehicles (EVs), children can sit on a safety seat installed in the rear seats. Owing to their smaller physical dimensions, their heads, generally, are closer to the underfloor electrical systems where the magnetic field (MF) exposure is the greatest. In this study, the magnetic flux density (B) was measured in the rear seats of 10 different EVs, for different driving sessions. We used the measurement results from different heights corresponding to the locations of the heads of an adult and an infant to calculate the induced electric field (E-field) strength using anatomical human models. The results revealed that measured B fields in the rear seats were far below the reference levels by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection. Although small children may be exposed to higher MF strength, induced E-field strengths were much lower than that of adults due to their particular physical dimensions.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29584925

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Aluminium foil dampened the adverse effect of 2100 MHz mobile phone-induced radiation on the blood parameters and myocardium in rats

Kalanjati VP, Purwantari KE, Prasetiowati L. Aluminium foil dampened the adverse effect of 2100 MHz mobile phone-induced radiation on the blood parameters and myocardium in rats. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2019 Feb 26. doi: 10.1007/s11356-019-04601-8.

Abstract

Mobile phones emit a radiofrequency radiation (RFR) that might have adverse health effects. We aimed to investigate the possible protective effects of aluminium foil (AF) as a physical shield against the RFR from mobile phones on the blood parameters and the myocardium in rats. The effects of whole body 2100 MHz with 0.84-1.86 W/kg of SAR, 4 h/day for 30 days Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM)-RFR exposure for 4 h/day for 30 days on blood parameters (i.e. haemoglobin, leucocytes, thrombocytes, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, white blood cell differential count, corticosterone, CKMB), and the histology of myocardium were investigated. Three-month-old male rats (n = 32) were studied and randomised equally in the following four groups: K1 (non-AF non-RFR control), K2 (AF non-RFR control), P1 (non-AF RFR-exposed), P2 (AF RFR-exposed). Data were analysed with level of significance of p < 0.05. In P1, lower leucocytes and neutrophils counts with high corticosterone levels were found compared with the control groups, whilst a significantly higher CKMB was observed compared with P2 (p = 0.034). Lower cardiomyocyte counts congruent to the area fraction of the non-fibrotic myocardium were observed in P1 compared with the other groups (p < 0.01). AF might decrease the inflammatory-oxidative stress on rodent's blood cells and myocardium induced by the exposures of radiofrequency radiation of the mobile phones.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30806932

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Are magnetic and electromagnetic fields of anthropogenic origin potential threats to early life stages of fish?

Fey DP, Jakubowska M, Greszkiewicz M, Andrulewicz E, Otremba Z, Urban-Malinga B. Are magnetic and electromagnetic fields of anthropogenic origin potential threats to early life stages of fish? Aquat Toxicol. 2019 Jan 30;209:150-158. doi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2019.01.023.

Abstract

The number of underwater cables transferring electric current in sea and freshwater environments is constantly increasing. As a result, the risk of negative effects of magnetic fields generated in the vicinity of those cables on fish eggs and larvae is also growing. This is especially the case for species that settle on the bottom for certain periods of time during early development. To study those effects, eggs and larvae of rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss, were subjected under experimental conditions to a static magnetic field (MF) of 10 m T and a 50 Hz electromagnetic field (EMF) of 1 m T for a period of 36 days (i.e., from eyed egg stage to approximately 26 days post hatching, dph). Neither MF nor EMF had significant effect on embryonic or larval mortality, hatching time, larval growth, or the time of larvae swim-up from the bottom. However, both MF and EMF enhanced the yolk-sac absorption rate. Although it was not related directly to magnetic field effect, it was also shown that larvae with absorbed yolk-sacs by the time of swim-up were less efficient in taking advantage of available food at first feeding (i.e., obtained smaller weight at age). That indicates the importance of processes affecting yolk-sac absorption rate.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30780112

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The protective role of spermine against male reproductive aberrations induced by exposure to EMF - An experimental investigation in the rat
Shahin NN, El-Nabarawy NA, Gouda AS, Mégarbane B. The protective role of spermine against male reproductive aberrations induced by exposure to electromagnetic field - An experimental investigation in the rat. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2019 Mar 13. pii: S0041-008X(19)30091-2. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2019.03.009.

Abstract

The exponentially increasing use of electromagnetic field (EMF)-emitting devices imposes substantial health burden on modern societies with particular concerns of male infertility. Limited studies have addressed the modulation of this risk by protective agents. We investigated the hazardous effects of rat exposure to EMF (900 MHz, 2 h/day for 8 weeks) on male fertility and evaluated the possible protective effect of the polyamine, spermine, against EMF-induced alterations. Exposure to EMF significantly decreased sperm count, viability and motility, and increased sperm deformities. EMF-exposed rats exhibited significant reductions in serum inhibin B and testosterone along with elevated activin A, follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone and estradiol concentrations. Testicular steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR), c-kit mRNA expression and testicular activities of the key androgenic enzymes 3β- and 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases were significantly attenuated following exposure to EMF. Exposure led to testicular lipid peroxidation, decreased catalase and glutathione peroxidase activities and triggered nuclear factor-kappa B p65, inducible nitric oxide synthase, cyclooxygenase-2 and caspase-3 overexpression. EMF-exposed rats showed testicular DNA damage as indicated by elevated comet parameters. Spermine administration (2.5 mg/Kg/day intraperitoneally for 8 weeks) prevented EMF-induced alterations in the sperm and hormone profiles, StAR and c-kit expression and androgenic enzyme activities. Spermine hampered EMF-induced oxidative, inflammatory, apoptotic and DNA perturbations. Histological and histomorphometric analysis of the testes supported all biochemical findings. In conclusion, rat exposure to EMF disrupts sperm and hormone profiles with underlying impairment of steroidogenesis and spermatogenesis. Spermine confers protection against EMF-associated testicular and reproductive aberrations, at least in part, via antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic mechanisms.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30878504

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Carcinogenicity of intermediate frequency magnetic field in mice

Nishimura I, Doi Y, Imai N, Kawabe M, Mera Y, Shiina T. Carcinogenicity of intermediate frequency magnetic field in Tg.rasH2 mice. Bioelectromagnetics. 2019 Mar 15. doi: 10.1002/bem.22177.

Abstract

Although the likelihood of exposure to leaking intermediate frequency magnetic fields (MFs) from electronic devices, such as induction-heating and wireless power transfer systems, has increased, biological data assessing the health risks associated with human exposure remain insufficient. We examined the carcinogenicity of a 20 kHz MF, a typical frequency produced by induction-heating cookers, using a transgenic rasH2 mouse model. Twenty-five male and female CByB6F1-Tg(HRAS)2Jic mice were exposed to a 0.20 mT, 20 kHz MF (22 h/day) or sham-exposed for 26 weeks. As a positive control, 10 male and female rasH2 mice from the same batch were administered a single intraperitoneal injection of 75 mg/kg N-methyl-N-nitrosourea. A blinded histopathological evaluation was performed, and the same experiments were conducted twice, independently, to confirm the reproducibility of the results. Histopathological examination revealed that spontaneous neoplastic lesions, such as splenic hemangiosarcomas and gastric squamous cell papillomas, were less (1-3 per group) in the MF- and sham-exposed groups. The frequency of the neoplastic lesions was not significantly different between the groups. Eight to ten mice in each positive-control group exhibited malignant lymphoma. The outcomes were consistent between duplicated experiments, which indicates lack of carcinogenicity of 20 kHz MF in the rasH2 mouse model

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30875092

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Upper bound on the biological effects of 50/60 Hz magnetic fields mediated by radical pairs

Hore PJ. Upper bound on the biological effects of 50/60 Hz magnetic fields mediated by radical pairs. Elife. 2019 Feb 25;8. pii: e44179. doi: 10.7554/eLife.44179.

Abstract

Prolonged exposure to weak (~1 µT) extremely-low-frequency (ELF, 50/60 Hz) magnetic fields has been associated with an increased risk of childhood leukemia. One of the few biophysical mechanisms that might account for this link involves short-lived chemical reaction intermediates known as radical pairs. In this report, we use spin dynamics simulations to derive an upper bound of 10 parts per million on the effect of a 1 µT ELF magnetic field on the yield of a radical pair reaction. By comparing this figure with the corresponding effects of changes in the strength of the Earth's magnetic field, we conclude that if exposure to such weak 50/60 Hz magnetic fields has any effect on human biology, and results from a radical pair mechanism, then the risk should be no greater than travelling a few kilometres towards or away from the geomagnetic north or south pole.

Open access paper: https://elifesciences.org/articles/44179

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Weak magnetic fields alter stem cell–mediated growth
Van Huizen AV, Morton JM, Kinsey LJ, Von Kannon DG, Saad MA, Birkholz TR, Czajka JM, Cyrus J, Barnes FS, Beane WS. Weak magnetic fields alter stem cell–mediated growth. Science Advances. 5(1). 30 Jan 2019. DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau7201.

Abstract

Biological systems are constantly exposed to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in the form of natural geomagnetic fields and EMFs emitted from technology. While strong magnetic fields are known to change chemical reaction rates and free radical concentrations, the debate remains about whether static weak magnetic fields (WMFs; <1 mT) also produce biological effects. Using the planarian regeneration model, we show that WMFs altered stem cell proliferation and subsequent differentiation via changes in reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation and downstream heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) expression. These data reveal that on the basis of field strength, WMF exposure can increase or decrease new tissue formation in vivo, suggesting WMFs as a potential therapeutic tool to manipulate mitotic activity.

Open access paper: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/1/eaau7201

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Latest Posts on Electromagnetic Radiation Safety

"Cell Phones, Cell Towers & Wireless Safety" (UC Berkeley Presentation)
Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity
Key Cell Phone Radiation Research Studies
Cell Tower Health Effects
ICNIRP’s Exposure Guidelines for Radio Frequency Fields: Investigate Europe exposé
Does exposure to 4G LTE cell phone radiation impair health?
5G Wireless Technology: Cutting Through the Hype
GAO 2012 Mobile Phone Report to the Congress

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Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D., Director
Center for Family and Community Health
School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley

Electromagnetic Radiation Safety

Website: https://www.saferemr.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SaferEMR
Twitter: @berkeleyprc

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