Radio-Frequency Radiation & Microwave Communications: Research Papers

Some of the conclusions made explicit in the document Special Operations in Medical Research (the 'report') are supported by reference to research papers on the subject of the effects of exposure to radio-frequency radiation on human physiology and behaviour. These references have revealed aspects of this subject which have more general relevance, beyond the specific concerns of the report, especially with respect to the non-thermal effects of RFR (or 'electromagnetic radiation' – EMR) on human biochemistry; that is, in consideration of our (relatively recent) new-found dependency on mobile-communications technology. This page attempts to present a synopsis of those research papers, which I feel may be of some public interest.

"We can hear RFR delivered in pulses. An explanation for this 'hearing' effect is that it is caused by thermoelastic expansion of the head of the 'listener'. In a classic paper by Chou et al. [1982], it was stated that " hears sound because a miniscule wave of pressure is set up within the head and is detected at the cochlea when the absorbed microwave pulse is converted to thermal energy." The threshold of hearing was determined to be approximately 10 microjoule/gm per pulse, which causes an increment of temperature in the head of one millionth of a degree centigrade!"

Neurological Effects of Radiofrequency Electromagnatic Radiation, Henry Lai.

"We have natural EMR-based communication systems in our brains, hearts, cell and bodies. External natural and artificial EMR resonantly interacts with these communication systems altering hormone balances and damaging organs and cells [...] When EMR interferes with the EEG this is communicated to the body by neurotransmitters and neurohormones, including the serotonin/melatonin system. EMR reduces melatonin. Melatonin is vital for the health of the Immune System, the Brain, The Heart and every cell, because it is the most potent naturally produced antioxidant."

Health Effects of Electromagnetic Radiation, Dr Neil Cherry.

"Blood mononuclear cells from healthy donors were exposed to 1300 MHz pulse-modulated microwaves for 1 hour. The average SAR was 0.18 W/kg. A variety of proliferative and immunoregulatory properties were examined.

The results indicated that the RF radiation influenced the monocyte-dependent immunoregulatory mechanisms responsible for the initiation of the immune response. The exposure significantly increased the production of interleukin-ß and decreased the concentration of its antagonist IL-1ra.

[...] The authors conclude that the immunostimulatory effects of 1300 MHz pulsed microwaves preferentially affect the immunogenic function of monocytes in vitro. Further research is needed to confirm these findings and to extend them to in vivo situations."

Immunotropic effects in cultured human blood mononuclear cells pre-exposed to low-level 1300 MHz pulse-modulated microwave field, Dabrowski et al.

"An important question regarding the biological effects of RFR is whether the effects are cumulative, i.e., after repeated exposure, will the nervous system adapt to the perturbation and, with continued exposure, when will homeostasis break down leading to irreparable damage? [...]

Existing results indicate changes in the response characteristics of the nervous system with repeated exposure, suggesting that the effects are not 'forgotten' after each episode of exposure.

[...] we found that a single episode of RFR exposure increases DNA damage in brain cells of the rat. Definitely, DNA damage in cells is cumulative. Related to this is that various lines of evidence suggest that responses of the central nervous system to RFR could be a stress response [Lai, 1992; Lai et al, 1987a]. Stress effects are well known to cumulate over time and involve first adaptation and then an eventual break down of homeostatic processes when the stress persists."

Neurological Effects of Radiofrequency Electromagnatic Radiation, Henry Lai.

Stress responses and immunoregulatory stimulation – experimentally identified as two areas of probable health-effect from exposure to sustained radio-frequency radiation. Recent research into the effects of RFR/EMR on human biochemistry have identified an important concern for the non-thermal, or 'micro-thermal' effects, in addition to the thermal (direct tissue-heating) effects from the proximate use of mobile telephones – the latter which have conventionally been measured as 'SARs' (specific absorption rates).

"[A] new situation arose when significant part of general population [became] exposed chronically (much longer than previously investigated durations of exposures) to non-thermal microwaves from different types of mobile communication including GSM and UMTS/3G phones and base stations, WLAN (Wireless Local Area Networks), WPAN (Wireless Personal Area Networks such as Bluetooth), DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications) wireless phones. It should be anticipated that some part of population, such as children, pregnant women and groups of hypersensitive persons could be especially sensitive to the non-thermal microwave exposures. It is becoming more and more clear that the SAR concept that has been widely adopted for safety standards may not be useful alone for the evaluation of health risks from microwaves of mobile communication. How the role of other exposure parameters such as frequency, modulation, polarization, duration, and intermittence of exposure should be taken into account is an urgent question to solve. Solving this question would greatly benefit from the knowledge of the physical mechanisms of the non-thermal microwave effects. The understanding of mechanisms for the non-thermal microwave effects is far away from comprehensive. [...]

The data about the effects of microwaves at super low intensities and significant role of duration of exposure in these effects along with the data showing that adverse effects of non-thermal microwaves from GSM/UMTS mobile phones depend on carrier frequency and type of the microwave signal suggest that microwaves from base stations/masts can also produce adverse effects at prolonged durations of exposure and encourage the mechanistic in vitro studies using real signals from base stations/masts. Further investigations with human primary cells under well controlled conditions of exposure, including all important parameters as described above, are urgently needed to elucidate possible adverse effects of microwave signals that are currently used in wireless communication, especially in new technologies such as UMTS mobile telephony."

Non-thermal Biological Effects of Microwaves, Belyaev, I.

Although non-thermal effects may be cumulative, they are not proportionate to the level of exposure or to the degree of any direct tissue-heating effect. They are non-linear effects, which means that they are not experimentally measurable in the way that thermal effects are (that is, by measuring the internal heat-increase of dummy heads). They are also present environmentally, due to the proximity of cell-towers, and the general distribution of mobile devices. These effects have been largely ignored by telecoms providers, when advising on the relative safety of mobile communication devices.

The human body has been described as an "electromagnetic instrument of great and exquisite sensitivity". There is what has been referred to as an "oscillatory similitude"*, between certain frequencies of microwave radiation, and the specific frequencies of electro-chemical processes at the cellular-electrolytic level, so that corresponding microwave frequencies may interfere with and disrupt those physiological processes.

It is not so much the intensity or proximity of a source of microwave emission which is relevant to a non-thermal or micro-thermal effect, but its frequency, which does not vary with intensity. In this way low-intensity microwave radiation, at an appropriate frequency, may interfere 'synergistically' with critical regulatory bodily functions. When we consider this, in the light of recent research, as a problem which may accumulate biologically, the potential effects upon the population, and upon children in particular, can neither be quantified nor fully anticipated.

* How Exposure to GSM & TETRA Base-station Radiation can Adversely Affect Humans, Dr. G J Hyland (full details below).

Further references:

Balmori, A., Electromagnetic pollution from phone masts. Effects on wildlife, Pathophysiology 16, 2009, pp.191-199:

Belpomme, D., Professor of Clinical Oncology, University of Paris-Descartes, Clinical and biological description of the electromagnetic field intolerance syndrome (EMFIS), 8th National Congress on Electrosmog, Berne, 2011:

Belyaev, I., Non-thermal Biological Effects of Microwaves, Microwave Review, Vol.11/2, Nov. 2005:

Belyaev, I., Non-thermal biological effects of microwaves: current knowledge, further perspective and urgent needs, Workshop: "Do sinusoidal versus non-sinusoidal waveforms make a difference?" Zurich, Switzerland, Feb. 2005:

Belyaev, I., Risk Assessment of Chronic Exposures to Non-Thermal Microwaves from Mobile Communication, Stockholm University, Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Toxicology:

Cherry, N., Health Effects of Electromagnetic Radiation. Evidence for the Australian Senate Committee, Lincoln University Christchurch, Po Box 84, Canterbury, New Zealand:

Cherry, N., Probable Health Effects Associated with Base Stations in Communities: The Need for Health Surveys (Short Version), Lincoln University Christchurch, Po Box 84, Canterbury, New Zealand:

Dabrowski M.P.; Stankiewicz W.; Kubacki R.; Sobiczewska E.; et al, Immunotropic effects in cultured human blood mononuclear cells pre-exposed to low-level 1300 MHz pulse-modulated microwave field, Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine vol.22, no.1, pp.1-13, 2003.,%20Ph.D_Szmigielski/Immunotropic%20Effects.pdf

De Pomerai D. I.; Dawe A. S., Brette Smith & John Worthington School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK. Non-thermal Biological Effects of Microwave Radiation on Caenorhabditis Elegans: [last accessed 28/02/2012].

European Parliament, Directive 1999/5/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 1999 on radio equipment and telecommunications terminal equipment and the mutual recognition of their conformity: [last accessed 24/10/2013].

Hyland, G. J., How Exposure to GSM & TETRA Base-station Radiation can Adversely Affect Humans, Associate Fellow, Department of Physics, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK; Executive Member-International Institute of Biophysics, Neuss-Holzheim, Germany, August 2002:

Hyland, G. J., The Physiological and Environmental Effects of Non-Ionising Electromagnetic Radiation, Publisher: European Parliament Directorate General for Research, Directorate A, The STOA Programme, University of Warwick, UK International Institute of Biophysics, March 2001:

Hyland, G. J., Physics and biology of mobile telephony, Department of Physics, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK, and the International Institute of Biophysics, Neuss-Holzheim, Germany:

Lai, H., Neurological effects of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Radiation, Bioelectromagnetics Research Laboratory, Department of Bioengineering, School of Medicine and College of Engineering, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA:

Microwave News, Changes in Protein Folding: A Nonthermal RF Mechanism. Is There a Risk of Neurological Disease?, Microwave News, May/June 2003:

Moulder, J., Professor of Radiation Oncology, Static Electric and Magnetic Fields and Human Health (FAQ), Medical College of Wisconsin. Milwaukee, Wisc., U.S.A.:

Murphy E., PhD. (facilitator), EMF Effects on Cellular Calcium, EMF Science Review Symposia Theoretical Mechanisms and In Vitro Research Findings (1997):

ORGALIME, Conference on the Application of the Precautionary Principle to EMF, Draft speaker's notes of Philippe Portalier, 24 February 2003, Luxembourg: [last accessed 24/10/2013].

ORGALIME & WEM Position, Coherence of the EU policy with regard to the protection from exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF), Paper 1: Annexes & Recommendations, 13 December 2002. [last accessed 28/02/2012].

Royal Society of Canada, A Review of the Potential Health Risks of Radiofrequency Fields from Wireless Telecommunication Devices, An Expert Panel Report prepared at the request of La Société royale du Canada, March 1999. ISBN 920064-68-X:

Sandyk R.; Anninos P.A.; Tsagas N., Magnetic fields and seasonality of affective illness: implications for therapy, Department of Psychiatry, Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY 10461. Source: International Journal of Neuroscience, June 1991: 58(3-4):261-7:

Sivani, S.; Sudarsanam, D., Impacts of radio-frequency electromagnetic field (RF-EMF) from cell phone towers and wireless devices on biosystem and ecosystem – a review, Biology and Medicine, v.4(4), pp.202-216, 2012:

Sri Nageswari K., Biological Effects of Microwaves and Mobile Telephony, Professor & Head, Department of Physiology, Govt. Medical College & Hospital, Prayaas, Building Sector 38, Chandigarh, India:

World Health Organisation, Electromagnetic Fields and Public Health: Mobile Telephones and Their Base Stations:

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