Scientific Research on 5G, Small Cells and Health
Published Scientific Research on 5G, Small Cells and Health
Published peer reviewed science already indicates that the current wireless technologies of 2G, 3G and 4G – in use today with our cell phones, computers and wearable tech – creates (create) radiofrequency exposures which poses (pose) a serious health risk to humans, animals and the environment. Scientists are cautioning that before rolling out 5G, research on human health effects urgently needs to be done first (redundant…you already said “before”) to ensure the public and environment are protected.
5G will utilize not only the frequencies currently in use, but also higher millimeter wave and sub-millimeter wave frequencies. Small cells being installed in cities are usually 4G technology with a wide variety of frequencies. Thus, when we consider the health impacts of 5G and small cells we are looking at research on current technologies and frequencies in use in addition to research on sub-millimeter and millimeter waves. The 5G standard is new there are no studies that have looked at long term human exposure to 5G. However the current body of research finding effects from current wireless technology provides enough data for scientists to call for a moratorium.
This page lists important research on 5G, cellular antennas, the environment and human health.
- Learn more about 5G on EHT’s database of resources here.
- Click here for EHT’s list of Scientists letters on Health Impacts of 5G
- Click here to read research in cell tower radiation linked to health effects
- Click here to get the EHT factsheet on 5G
- Dr. Martin Pal, “5G: Great risk for EU, U.S. and International Health! Compelling Evidence for Eight Distinct Types of Great Harm Caused by Electromagnetic Field(EMF) Exposures and the Mechanism that Causes Them”
- Published article on the EMF Scientist Appeal in the European Journal of Oncology.
Russell CL. 5G wireless telecommunications expansion: Public health and environmental implications. Environmental Research. Available online 11 April 2018. in press.
- “On the horizon, a new generation of even shorter high frequency 5G wavelengths is being proposed to power the Internet of Things (IoT).”
- “It is argued that the addition of this added high frequency 5G radiation to an already complex mix of lower frequencies, will contribute to a negative public health outcome both from both physical and mental health perspectives.”
- “Like other common toxic exposures, the effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (RF EMR) will be problematic if not impossible to sort out epidemiologically as there no longer remains an unexposed control group. This is especially important considering these effects are likely magnified by synergistic toxic exposures and other common health risk behaviors. Effects can also be non-linear. Because this is the first generation to have cradle-to-grave lifespan exposure to this level of man-made microwave (RF EMR) radiofrequencies, it will be years or decades before the true health consequences are known. Precaution in the roll out of this new technology is strongly indicated.”
- “Current radiofrequency radiation wavelengths we are exposed to appear to act as a toxin to biological systems. A moratorium on the deployment of 5G is warranted, along with development of independent health and environmental advisory boards that include independent scientists who research biological effects and exposure levels of radiofrequency radiation. Sound regulatory policy regarding current and future telecommunications initiative will require more careful assessment of risks to human health, environmental health, public safety, privacy, security and social consequences. Public health regulations need to be updated to match appropriate independent science with the adoption of biologically based exposure standards prior to further deployment of 4G or 5G technology.”
Betzalel N, Ben Ishai P, Feldman Y., The human skin as a sub-THz receiver – Does 5G pose a danger to it or not? Environ Res. 2018 May;163:208-216. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2018.01.032. Epub 2018 Feb 22.
- Experimentally we showed that the reflectance of the human skin in the sub-THz region depends on the intensity of perspiration, i.e. sweat duct’s conductivity, and correlates with levels of human stress (physical, mental and emotional). Later on, we detected circular dichroism in the reflectance from the skin, a signature of the axial mode of a helical antenna. The full ramifications of what these findings represent in the human condition are still unclear. We also revealed correlation of electrocardiography (ECG) parameters to the sub-THz reflection coefficient of human skin. In a recent work, we developed a unique simulation tool of human skin, taking into account the skin multi-layer structure together with the helical segment of the sweat duct embedded in it. The presence of the sweat duct led to a high specific absorption rate (SAR) of the skin in extremely high frequency band.
- In this paper, we summarize the physical evidence for this phenomenon and consider its implication for the future exploitation of the electromagnetic spectrum by wireless communication. Starting from July 2016 the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has adopted new rules for wireless broadband operations above 24 GHz (5 G). This trend of exploitation is predicted to expand to higher frequencies in the sub-THz region. One must consider the implications of human immersion in the electromagnetic noise, caused by devices working at the very same frequencies as those, to which the sweat duct (as a helical antenna) is most attuned.
- We are raising a warning flag against the unrestricted use of sub-THz technologies for communication, before the possible consequences for public health are explored.
Thielens et al., “Exposure of Insects to Radio-Frequency Electromagnetic Fields from 2 to 120 GHz” Scientific Reports volume 8, Article number: 3924 (2018)
- Excerpts from abstract: “Insects are continually exposed to Radio-Frequency (RF) electromagnetic fields at different frequencies. This paper is the first to report the absorbed RF electromagnetic power in four different types of insects as a function of frequency from 2 GHz to 120 GHz. A set of insect models was obtained using novel Micro-CT (computer tomography) imaging. These models were used for the first time in finite-difference time-domain electromagnetic simulations. All insects showed a dependence of the absorbed power on the frequency. All insects showed a general increase in absorbed RF power at and above 6 GHz, in comparison to the absorbed RF power below 6 GHz. Our simulations showed that a shift of 10% of the incident power density to frequencies above 6 GHz would lead to an increase in absorbed power between 3–370%.”
- “This could lead to changes in insect behaviour, physiology, and morphology over time due to an increase in body temperatures, from dielectric heating. The studied insects that are smaller than 1 cm show a peak in absorption at frequencies (above 6GHz), which are currently not often used for telecommunication, but are planned to be used in the next generation of wireless telecommunication systems.”
Miller AB, Morgan LL, Udasin I, Davis DL. Cancer epidemiology update, following the 2011 IARC evaluation of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (Monograph 102). Available online Sep 6, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2018.06.043
• Nine studies (2011–2017) report increased risk of brain cancer from mobile phone use.
• Four case-control studies (3 in 2013, 1 in 2014) report increased risk of vestibular nerve tumors.
• Concern for other cancers: breast (male & female), testis, leukemia, and thyroid.
• Based on the evidence reviewed it is our opinion that IARC’s current categorization of RFR as a possible human carcinogen (Group 2B) should be upgraded to Carcinogenic to Humans (Group 1).
Betzalel, Y. Feldman, and P. Ben Ishai, “The Modeling of the Absorbance of Sub-THz Radiation by Human Skin,” IEEE Trans. THz Sci. Tech. (Paris) 7(5), 521–528 (2017).
- In 2008, we demonstrated that the coiled portion of the sweat duct in upper skin layer could be regarded as a helical antenna in the sub-THz band. The full ramifications of what these findings represent in the human condition are still very unclear, but it is obvious that the absorption of electromagnetic energy is governed by the topology for the skin and its organelles, especially the sweat duct.
Di Ciaula, Towards 5G communication systems: Are there health implications?, Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2018 Feb 2.
- “Preliminary observations showed that MMW increase skin temperature, alter gene expression, promote cellular proliferation and synthesis of proteins linked with oxidative stress, inflammatory and metabolic processes, could generate ocular damages, affect neuro-muscular dynamics.”
- “Further studies are needed to better and independently explore the health effects of RF-EMF in general and of MMW in particular. However, available findings seem sufficient to demonstrate the existence of biomedical effects, to invoke the precautionary principle, to define exposed subjects as potentially vulnerable and to revise existing limits.
Nasim I, Kim S. Human Exposure to RF Fields in 5G Downlink. Submitted on 10 Nov 2017 to IEEE International Communications Conference.
- “Prior research on human exposure to radio frequency (RF) fields in a cellular communications system has been focused on uplink only due to the closer physical contact of a transmitter to a human body. However, this paper claims the necessity of thorough investigation on human exposure to downlink RF fields, as cellular systems deployed in mmW bands will entail (i) deployment of more transmitters due to smaller cell size and (ii) higher concentration of RF energy using a highly directional antenna.
- In this paper, we present human RF exposure levels in downlink of a Fifth Generation Wireless Systems (5G). Our results show that 5G downlink RF fields generate significantly higher power density (PD) and specific absorption rate (SAR) than a current cellular system. This paper also shows that SAR should also be taken into account for determining human RF exposure in the mmW downlink.”
Soubere Mahamoud Y, Aite M, Martin C, Zhadobov M, Sauleau R, Le Dréan Y, et al. (2016) Additive Effects of Millimeter Waves and 2-Deoxyglucose Co-Exposure on the Human Keratinocyte Transcriptome. PLoS ONE 11(8): e0160810.
- Millimeter Waves (MMW) will be used in the next-generation of high-speed wireless technologies, especially in future Ultra-Broadband small cells in 5G cellular networks. Therefore, their biocompatibilities must be evaluated prior to their massive deployment. Using a microarray-based approach, we analyzed modifications to the whole genome of a human keratinocyte model that was exposed at 60.4 GHz-MMW at an incident power density (IPD) of 20 mW/cm2 for 3 hours in athermic conditions. No keratinocyte transcriptome modifications were observed. We tested the effects of MMWs on cell metabolism by co-treating MMW-exposed cells with a glycolysis inhibitor, 2-deoxyglucose (2dG, 20 mM for 3 hours), and whole genome expression was evaluated along with the ATP content. We found that the 2dG treatment decreased the cellular ATP content and induced a high modification in the transcriptome (632 coding genes). The affected genes were associated with transcriptional repression, cellular communication and endoplasmic reticulum homeostasis. The MMW/2dG co-treatment did not alter the keratinocyte ATP content, but it did slightly alter the transcriptome, which reflected the capacity of MMW to interfere with the bioenergetic stress response. The RT-PCR-based validation confirmed 6 MMW-sensitive genes (SOCS3, SPRY2, TRIB1, FAM46A, CSRNP1 and PPP1R15A) during the 2dG treatment. These 6 genes encoded transcription factors or inhibitors of cytokine pathways, which raised questions regarding the potential impact of long-term or chronic MMW exposure on metabolically stressed cells.
Mandl P, Pezzei P, Leitgeb E. Selected Health and Law Issues Regarding Mobile Communications with Respect to 5G. Presented at 2018 International Conference on Broadband Communications for Next Generation Networks and Multimedia Applications (CoBCom). Graz, Austria. July 11-13, 2018.
- Abstract: Over the next years the demand of wireless communication will increase tremendously. More and more mobile end devices require a high data rate connection e.g. to a smart home (Internet of Things, IoT) or to the internet. The radiation power pattern of base stations and mobile end devices will completely change for the 5G Next Generation Mobile Network technology which will use frequency bands up to 100 GHz. Therefore the electromagnetic exposure especially to human body will increase in the future, because most of the wireless connections are realized in RF technology. In this contribution two different measurement setups are presented. The first shows the electromagnetic radiation regarding a base station powered by a mobile phone provider over a timespan of a number of days. The second figures out the electromagnetic radiation of a handheld mobile end device to a human head in an area with very poor reception values. The results of those measurements where compared with legal and health limits. All measured and calculated results regarding the base stations were within the legal exposure limits. The calculated legal exposure limits of mobile devices were exceeded twice in areas within very poor reception values. Regarding the expected higher bandwidth and corresponding higher electromagnetic exposure to human bodies in future there have to be periodic measurements to comply with radiation limits.
Excerpts: “Regarding the above mentioned circumstances it will be necessary to measure the radiation exposure of base stations in the future on a regular basis in order to ensure the legal limits and to reduce possible health hazards. It also will be necessary to develop new measurement strategies and/or technologies regarding the large frequency spectrum 5G will use up to 100 GHz. …When measuring directly on a mobile phone (simulating the use of an end device directly on the human head), it was found that the calculated SAR of 3.834 W/kg exceeds the legal limit of 2 W/ kg. This shows clearly that the legal limit values can be exceeded significantly in areas with very poor reception values …Increasing the distance between a mobile end device and the head, e.g. by using a hands-free set or a headset can significantly reduce the human exposure to electromagnetic radiation when such a device is used in badly supplied areas and transmits with maximum power.”
Neufeld E, Kuster N. Systematic Derivation of Safety Limits for Time-Varying 5G Radiofrequency Exposure Based on Analytical Models and Thermal Dose. Health Phys. 2018 Sep 21.
Extreme broadband wireless devices operating above 10 GHz may transmit data in bursts of a few milliseconds to seconds. Even though the time- and area-averaged power density values remain within the acceptable safety limits for continuous exposure, these bursts may lead to short temperature spikes in the skin of exposed people.
- In this paper, a novel analytical approach to pulsed heating is developed and applied to assess the peak-to-average temperature ratio as a function of the pulse fraction α (relative to the averaging time [INCREMENT]T; it corresponds to the inverse of the peak-to-average ratio).
- To stay consistent with the current safety guidelines, safety factors of 10 for occupational exposure and 50 for the general public were applied.
- The results demonstrate that the maximum averaging time, based on the assumption of a thermal time constant of 100 s, is 240 s if the maximum local temperature increase for continuous-wave exposure is limited to 1 K and α ≥ 0.1. For a very low peak-to-average ratio of 100 (α ≥ 0.01), it decreases to only 30 s.
- The results also show that the peak-to-average ratio of 1,000 tolerated by the International Council on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection guidelines may lead to permanent tissue damage after even short exposures, highlighting the importance of revisiting existing exposure guidelines.
TRIPATHI et al., Frequency of the resonance of the human sweat duct in a normal mode of operation, BIOMEDICAL OPTICS EXPRESS 130, Vol. 9, No. 3 | 1 March 2018
- This result indicates that careful consideration should be given while designing electronic and photonic devices operating in the sub-terahertz frequency region in order to avoid various effects on human health due to these waves.
Pakhomov et. al., Current state and implications of research on biological effects of millimeter waves: a review of the literature. Bioelectromagnetics. 1998;19(7):393-413.
- “This paper analyzes general trends in the area and briefly reviews the most significant publications, proceeding from cell-free systems, dosimetry, and spectroscopy issues through cultured cells and isolated organs to animals and humans.
- The studies reviewed demonstrate effects of low-intensity MMW (10 mW/cm2 and less) on cell growth and proliferation, activity of enzymes, state of cell genetic apparatus, function of excitable membranes, peripheral receptors, and other biological systems. In animals and humans, local MMW exposure stimulated tissue repair and regeneration, alleviated stress reactions, and facilitated recovery in a wide range of diseases (MMW therapy). Many reported MMW effects could not be readily explained by temperature changes during irradiation.”
Wu T, Rappaport TS, Collins CM, “The Human Body and Millimeter-Wave Wireless Communication Systems: Interactions and Implications,” (2015). Accepted in 2015 IEEE International Conference on Communications (ICC), NYU WIRELESS. 2015
- This paper gives examples of today’s regulatory requirements, and provides an example for a 60 GHz transceiver. Also, the propagation characteristics of millimeter-waves in the presence of the human body are studied, and four models representing different body parts are considered to evaluate thermal effects of millimeter-wave radiation on the body. Simulation results show that about 34% to 42% of the incident power is reflected at the skin surface at 60 GHz. This paper shows that power density is not suitable to determine exposure compliance when millimeter wave devices are used very close to the body. A temperature-based technique for the evaluation of safety compliance is proposed in this paper.
Wu T et al., Safe for Generations to Come. IEEE Microw Mag. 16(2): 65–84. 2015
“A literature survey representing the most recent available results related to the biological effects of mmWave exposure, from the well-understood and well-accepted effects of thermal heating to recent reports of nonthermal effects and the attempt to motivate further discussion and research for appropriate emission standards.”
- “We highlighted the findings of mmWave radiation studies on the eyes and skin since, in communication applications, these tissues would receive the most radiation, with other tissues receiving, by comparison, a negligible amount. Ocular injury can be induced by short-term high-intensity exposure (e.g., 2,000 mW/cm2, 1.5–5 s) far beyond the anticipated future communication device levels, but the eyes do not appear to suffer damage from longer low-intensity exposure (e.g., 10 mW/cm2, 8 h), which might be experienced from mmWave communication technologies in the far field.
- More work may be required to determine the possible effects from exposure above 10 mW/cm2 that might be experienced in the near field from specific communication devices with adaptive antennas as well as to ensure that mechanisms are in place to ensure that no hazardous levels of energy are transmitted into the eyes. We also showed that using typical power levels, there would be no unsafe temperature increase caused by exposure of skin to mmWave communication technologies in the far field.
- As with the eyes, however, more work is required to determine temperature increases from higher exposure levels that might be experienced in the near field from specific communication devices with high-gain antennas and to develop and demonstrate reliable mechanisms to ensure that no hazardous levels of energy are transmitted to the skin.”
Ramundo-Orlando A., Effects of millimeter waves radiation on cell membrane – A brief review. (2010) Journal of Infrared, Millimeter, and Terahertz Waves. 2010; 31(12):1400–1411.
- The millimeter waves (MMW) region of the electromagnetic spectrum, extending from 30 to 300 GHz in terms of frequency (corresponding to wavelengths from 10 mm to 1 mm), is officially used in non-invasive complementary medicine in many Eastern European countries against a variety of diseases such gastro duodenal ulcers, cardiovascular disorders, traumatism and tumor. On the other hand, besides technological applications in traffic and military systems, in the near future MMW will also find applications in high resolution and high-speed wireless communication technology. This has led to restoring interest in research on MMW induced biological effects. In this review emphasis has been given to the MMW-induced effects on cell membranes that are considered the major target for the interaction between MMW and biological systems.
Scientific Citations from the published study “Potential Risks to Human Health Originating from Future Sub-MM Communication Systems” by Paul Ben-Ishai, PhD and Yuri Feldman, PhD
- Feldman, Yuri and Paul Ben-Ishai. “Potential Risks to Human Health Originating from Future Sub-MM Communication Systems.” Abstract, 2017.
- Feldman, Yuri, et al. “Human skin as arrays of helical antennas in the millimeter and submillimeter wave range.” Physical Review Letters, vol. 100, no. 12, 2008.
- Hayut, Itai, et al. “Circular polarization induced by the three-dimensional chiral structure of human sweat ducts.” Physical Review, vol. 89, no. 4, 2014.
- Hayut, Itai, et al. “The Helical Structure of Sweat Ducts: Their Influence on the Electromagnetic Reflection Spectrum of the Skin.” IEEE Transactions on Terahertz Science and Technology, vol. 3, no. 2, 2013, pp. 207-15.
- Professor Yuri Feldman – Research Study Summaries, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem Department of Applied Physics, Dielectric Spectroscopy Laboratory
RESEARCH ON MILLIMETER WAVES
Gandhi OP, Riazi A. Absorption of millimeter waves by human beings and its biological implications. IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques, vol. 34, no. 2, 1986, pp. 228-235.
Protein changes in macrophages induced by plasma from rats exposed to 35 GHz millimeter waves. (2010) Sypniewska RK et al. Bioelectromagnetics. 2010 Dec;31(8):656-63.
The Active Denial System: A Revolutionary, Non-lethal Weapon for Today’s Battlefield. (2009). Levine S. Center for Technology and National Security Policy National Defense University. National Defense University Press.
The response of giant phospholipid vesicles to millimeter waves radiation. (2009) Ramundo-Orlando et al. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) – Biomembranes. 1788(7):1497–1507.
[Effects of millimeter wave on gene expression in human keratinocytes]. (2008) Chen et al. Zhejiang Da Xue Xue Bao Yi Xue Ban. 37(1):23-8.
Human skin as arrays of helical antennas in the millimeter and submillimeter wave range. (2008) Feldman et al. Phys Rev Lett. 100(12):128102
Gene expression changes in the skin of rats induced by prolonged 35 GHz millimeter-wave exposure. (2008) Millenbaugh NJ et al. Radiat Res. 2008 Mar;169(3):288-300.
[Thermoelastic excitation of acoustic waves in biological models under the effect of the high peak-power pulsed electromagnetic radiation of extremely high frequency]. (2007) Gapeev AB et al. Biofizika. 2007 Nov-Dec;52(6):1087-92.
Comparison of blood pressure and thermal responses in rats exposed to millimeter wave energy or environmental heat. (2006) Millenbaugh et al., Shock. 25(6):625-32.
Low-Intensity Electromagnetic Millimeter Waves for Pain Therapy.(2006) Taras et al. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 3(2): 201–207.
[The study of the mechanisms of formation of reactive oxygen species in aqueous solutions on exposure to high peak-power pulsed electromagnetic radiation of extremely high frequencies]. (2005) Gugkova OIu. Biofizika. 2005 Sep-Oct;50(5):773-9.
[Indirect and repeated electromagnetic irradiation of extremely high freguency of bacteria Escherichia coli]. (2005) Isakhanian and Trchunian Biofizika. 50(4):689-92.
Effect of millimeter waves on natural killer cell activation. (2005) Makar et al., Bioelectromagnetics. 26(1):10-9.
Effects of low-intensity ultrahigh frequency electromagnetic radiation on inflammatory processes. (2004) Lushnikov et al., Bull Exp Biol Med. 137(4):364-6.
[A comparison of the effects of millimeter and centimeter waves on tumor necrosis factor production in mouse cells]. (2004) Sinotova OA et al. Biofizika. 2004 May-Jun;49(3):545-50.
[Effects of low-intensity extremely high frequency electromagnetic radiation on chromatin structure of lymphoid cells in vivo and in vitro]. (2003) Gapeev et al. Radiats Biol Radioecol. (1):87-92.
[Decrease in the intensity of the cellular immune response and nonspecific inflammation upon exposure to extremely high frequency electromagnetic radiation]. (2003) Lushnikov et al. Biofizika. 48(5):918-25.
[Effects of extremely high-frequency electromagnetic radiation on the immune system and systemic regulation of homeostasis]. (2002) Lushnikov Radiats Biol Radioecol. 42(5):533-45.
[Effect of millimeter waves on the immune system in mice with experimental tumors]. (2002) Novoselova EG et al. Biofizika. 2002 Sep-Oct;47(5):933-42.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11424160Nonthermal effects of extremely high-frequency microwaves on chromatin conformation in cells in vitro—Dependence on physical, physiological, and genetic factors. (2000) Belyaev IY et al. IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques. 2000; 48(11):2172-2179.
Effects of Microwave and Millimeter Wave Radiation on the Eye. (2000) In: Klauenberg B.J., Miklavčič D. (eds) Radio Frequency Radiation Dosimetry and Its Relationship to the Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Fields. D’Andrea and Chalfin. NATO Science Series (Series 3: High Technology), vol 82. Springer, Dordrecht.
Skin heating effects of millimeter- wave irradiation-Thermal modeling results. (2000) Nelson et al. IEEE Transactions on Microwave Theory and Techniques 48:2111-2120..
Heating and pain sensation produced in human skin by millimeter waves: comparison to a simple thermal model. (2000) Walters et al., Health Physics 78:259- 267
Haas AJ, et al. “Effect of acute millimeter wave exposure on dopamine metabolism of NGF-treated PC12 cells.” Journal of Radiation Research, 2017.
Haas AJ, et al. “Effects of 60-GHz millimeter waves on neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells using high-content screening.” Neuroscience Letters, vol. 618, 2016, pp. 58-65.
Le Dréan Y, et al. “State of knowledge on biological effects at 40–60 GHz.” Comptes Rendus Physique, vol. 14, no. 5, 2013, pp. 402-411.
Sivachenko IB, et al. “Effects of Millimeter-Wave Electromagnetic Radiation on the Experimental Model of Migraine.” Bulletin of Experimental Biology and Medicine, vol. 160, no. 4, 2016, pp. 425-8.
Soghomonyan D, K. Trchounian and A. Trchounian. “Millimeter waves or extremely high frequency electromagnetic fields in the environment: what are their effects on bacteria?” Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, vol. 100, no. 11, 2016, pp. 4761-71.
Ramundo-Orlando A. Effects of millimeter waves radiation on cell membrane – A brief review. Journal of Infrared Millimeter Terahertz Waves, vol. 30, no. 12, 2010, pp. 1400-1411.
American Academy of Pediatrics Website
“Electromagnetic Fields: A Hazard to Your Health?” on Cell Tower Radiation
“In recent years, concern has increased about exposure to radio frequency electromagnetic radiation emitted from cell phones and phone station antennae. An Egyptian study confirmed concerns that living nearby mobile phone base stations increased the risk for developing:
- Memory problems
- Sleep problems
Short-term exposure to these fields in experimental studies have not always shown negative effects, but this does not rule out cumulative damage from these fields, so larger studies over longer periods are needed to help understand who is at risk. In large studies, an association has been observed between symptoms and exposure to these fields in the everyday environment.”
Compilation of Research Studies on Cell Tower Radiation and Health
Zothansiama, et al. “Impact of radiofrequency radiation on DNA damage and antioxidants in peripheral blood lymphocytes of humans residing in the vicinity of mobile phone base stations.” Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine 36.3 (2017): 295-305.
- This study evaluated effects in the human blood of individuals living near mobile phone base stations (within 80 meters) compared with healthy controls (over 300 meters). The study found higher radiofrequency radiation exposures and statistically significant differences in the blood of people living closer to the cellular antennas. The group living closer to the antennas had for example, statistically significant higher frequency of micronuclei and a rise in lipid peroxidation in their blood. These changes are considered biomarkers predictive of cancer.
Neurobehavioral effects among inhabitants around mobile phone base stations Abdel-Rassoul et al, Neurotoxicology, 2007
- This study found that living nearby mobile phone base stations (cell antennas) increased the risk for neuropsychiatric problems such as headaches, memory problems, dizziness, tremors,depression, sleep problems and some changes in the performance of neurobehavioral functions.
Biological Effects from Exposure to Electromagnetic Radiation Emitted by Cell Tower Base Stations and Other Antenna Arrays, Levitt & Lai, Environmental Reviews, 2010
- This review of 100 studies found approximately 80% showed biological effects near towers. “Both anecdotal reports and some epidemiology studies have found headaches, skin rashes, sleep disturbances, depression, decreased libido, increased rates of suicide, concentration problems, dizziness, memory changes, increased risk of cancer, tremors, and other neurophysiological effects in populations near base stations.”
Mortality by neoplasia and cellular telephone base stations. Dode et al. (Brazil), Science of the Total Environment, Volume 409, Issue 19, 1 September 2011, Pages 3649–3665
- This 10 year study on cell phone antennas by the Municipal Health Department in Belo Horizonte and several universities in Brazil found a clearly elevated relative risk of cancer mortality at residential distances of 500 meters or less from cell phone transmission towers. Shortly after this study was published, the city prosecutor sued several cell phone companies and requested that almost half of the cities antennas be removed. Many antennas were dismantled.
Epidemiological Evidence for a Health Risk from Mobile Phone Base Stations Khurana, Hardell et al., International Journal of Occupational Environmental Health, Vol 16(3):263-267, 2010
- A review of 10 epidemiological studies that assessed for negative health effects of mobile phone base stations (4 studies were from Germany, and 1 each from Austria, Egypt, France, Israel, Poland, Spain) found that seven showed altered neurobehavioral effects near cell tower and three showed increased cancer incidence. The review also found that eight of the 10 studies reported increased prevalence of adverse neurobehavioral symptoms or cancer in populations living at distances < 500 meters from base stations. Lower cognitive performance was found in individuals living ≤ 10 meters from base stations. None of the studies reported exposure above accepted international guidelines, suggesting that current guidelines may be inadequate in protecting the health of human populations.
Health effects of living near mobile phone base transceiver station (BTS) antennae: a report from Isfahan, Iran. Shahbazi-Gahrouei et al, Electromagnetic Biology Medicine, 2013.
- This cross-sectional study found the symptoms of nausea, headache, dizziness, irritability, discomfort, nervousness, depression, sleep disturbance, memory loss and lowering of libido were statistically increased in people living closer than 300 m from cell antennas as compared to those living farther away. The study concludes that “antennas should not be sited closer than 300 m to people to minimize exposure.”
Long-term exposure to microwave radiation provokes cancer growth: evidences from radars and mobile communication systems. Yakymenko (2011) Exp Oncology, 33(2):62-70.
- Even a year of operation of a powerful base transmitting station for mobile communication reportedly resulted in a dramatic increase of cancer incidence among population living nearby.
Association of Exposure to Radio-Frequency Electromagnetic Field Radiation (RF-EMFR) Generated by Mobile Phone Base Stations (MPBS)with Glycated Hemoglobin (HbA1c) and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus , Sultan Ayoub Meo et al, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2015
- Elementary school students who were exposed to high RF-EMFR generated by MPBS had a significantly higher risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus relative to their counterparts who were exposed to lower RF-EMFR.
How does long term exposure to base stations and mobile phones affect human hormone profiles? Eskander EF et al, (2011), Clin Biochem
- RFR exposures significantly impacted ACTH, cortisol, thyroid hormones, prolactin for females, and testosterone levels for males.
Investigation on the health of people living near mobile telephone relay stations: Incidence according to distance and sex Santini et al, 2002 , Pathol Bio
- People living near mobile phone masts reported more symptoms of headache, sleep disturbance, discomfort, irritability, depression, memory loss and concentration problems the closer they lived to the installation. Study authors recommend that the minimal distance of people from cellular phone base stations should not be < 300 m.
Navarro EA, Segura J, Portoles M, Gomez-Perretta C, The Microwave Syndrome: A preliminary Study. 2003 (Spain) Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, Volume 22, Issue 2, (2003): 161 – 169
- Statistically significant positive exposure-response associations between RFR intensity and fatigue, irritability, headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, sleeping disorder, depressive tendency, feeling of discomfort, difficulty in concentration, loss of memory, visual disorder, dizziness and cardiovascular problems.
Two Important Animal Studies on Radiofrequency Radiation
These studies indicate that government limits are non protective. Government limits are based on the assumption that radiofrequency radiation is only harmful at thermal levels. However, the cancers developed in animals in these studies at radiation levels that were non thermal.
Belpoggi et al. 2018, “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 base station environmental emission” Environmental Research Journal
- Researchers with the renowned Ramazzini Institute (RI) in Italy performed a large-scale lifetime study of lab animals exposed to environmental levels (comparable to allowable limits from cell towers) of RFR radiation and found the rats developed increased cancers- schwannoma of the heart in male rats. This study confirms the $25 million US National Toxicology Program study which used much higher levels of cell phone radiofrequency (RF) radiation, but also reported finding the same unusual cancers as the Ramazzini- schwannoma of the heart in male rats. In addition, the RI study of cell tower radiation also found increases in malignant brain (glial) tumors in female rats and precancerous conditions including Schwann cells hyperplasia in both male and female rats.
- “Our findings of cancerous tumors in rats exposed to environmental levels of RF are consistent with and reinforce the results of the US NTP studies on cell phone radiation, as both reported increases in the same types of tumors of the brain and heart in Sprague-Dawley rats. Together, these studies provide sufficient evidence to call for the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) to re-evaluate and re-classify their conclusions regarding the carcinogenic potential of RFR in humans,” said Fiorella Belpoggi PhD, study author and RI Director of Research.
- The Ramazzini study exposed 2448 Sprague-Dawley rats from prenatal life until their natural death to “environmental” cell tower radiation for 19 hours per day (1.8 GHz GSM radiofrequency radiation (RFR) of 5, 25 and 50 V/m). RI exposures mimicked base station emissions like those from cell tower antennas, and exposure levels were far less than those used in the NTP studies of cell phone radiation.
- Watch Press Conference
Wyde, Michael, et al. “National Toxicology Program Carcinogenesis Studies of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Radiation in Hsd: Sprague Dawley® SD rats (Whole Body Exposure).Statement on conclusions of the peer review meeting by NIEHS, released after external peer review meeting and the DNA damage presentation.
- This 25 million dollar study is the most complex study completed by the NTP and the world’s largest rodent study on radiofrequency radiation exposure to date which found long term exposure at non thermal levels associated with brain cancer and schwannomas of the heart in male rats. In addition damage to heart was found in all exposure levels. The full report is expected to be released in Fall 2018.
More Important Studies on Cell Tower Radiation
Cindy L. Russell, 5 G wireless telecommunications expansion: Public health and environmental implications, Environmental Research, 2018, ISSN 0013-9351
- Radiofrequency radiation (RF) is increasingly being recognized as a new form of environmental pollution. This article reviews relevant electromagnetic frequencies, exposure standards and current scientific literature on the health implications of 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G.
- Effects can also be non-linear. Because this is the first generation to have cradle-to-grave lifespan exposure to this level of man-made microwave (RF EMR) radiofrequencies, it will be years or decades before the true health consequences are known. Precaution in the roll out of this new technology is strongly indicated.
Noa Betzalel, Paul Ben Ishai, Yuri Feldman, The human skin as a sub-THz receiver – Does 5G pose a danger to it or not?, Environmental Research, Volume 163, 2018, Pages 208-216, ISSN 0013-9351,
- Researchers have developed a unique simulation tool of human skin, taking into account the skin multi-layer structure together with the helical segment of the sweat duct embedded in it. They found that the presence of the sweat duct led to a high specific absorption rate (SAR) of the skin in extremely high frequency band that will be used in 5G. “One must consider the implications of human immersion in the electromagnetic noise, caused by devices working at the very same frequencies as those, to which the sweat duct (as a helical antenna) is most attuned. We are raising a warning flag against the unrestricted use of sub-THz technologies for communication, before the possible consequences for public health are explored.”
Mobile phone infrastructure regulation in Europe: Scientific challenges and human rights protection Claudia Roda, Susan Perry, Environmental Science & Policy, Volume 37, March 2014, Pages 204-214.
- This article was published in Environmental Science & Policy by human rights experts. It argues that cell tower placement is a human rights issue for children.
- “We argue that (1) because protection of children is a high threshold norm in Human Right law and (2) the binding language of the Convention on the Rights of the Child obliges States Parties to provide a higher standard of protection for children than adults, any widespread or systematic form of environmental pollution that poses a long-term threat to a child’s rights to life, development or health may constitute an international human rights violation.
- In particular we have explained how the dearth of legislation to regulate the installation of base stations (cell towers) in close proximity to children’s facilities and schools clearly constitutes a human rights concern according to the language of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a treaty that has been ratified by all European States.
SAFETY ZONE DETERMINATION FOR WIRELESS CELLULAR TOWER Nyakyi et al, Tanzania (2013)
- This research looked at the radiation that cell towers emit and states a safety zone is needed around the towers to ensure safe sleeping areas. The authors state that “respective authorities should ensure that people reside far from the tower by 120m or more depending on the power transmitted to avoid severe health effect.”
- This cross-sectional case control study on genetic damage in individuals living near cell towers found genetic damage parameters of DNA were significantly elevated. The authors state,” The genetic damage evident in the participants of this study needs to be addressed against future disease-risk, which in addition to neurodegenerative disorders, may lead to cancer.”
Human disease resulting from exposure to electromagnetic fields, Carpenter, D. O. Reviews on Environmental Health, Volume 28, Issue 4, Pages 159172.
- This review summarizes the evidence stating that excessive exposure to magnetic fields from power lines and other sources of electric current increases the risk of development of some cancers and neurodegenerative diseases, and that excessive exposure to RF radiation increases risk of cancer, male infertility, and neurobehavioral abnormalities.
Signifikanter Rückgang klinischer Symptome nach Senderabbau – eine Interventionsstudie. (English-Significant Decrease of Clinical Symptoms after Mobile Phone Base Station Removal – An Intervention Study) Tetsuharu Shinjyo and Akemi Shinjyo, 2014 Umwelt-Medizin-Gesellschaft, 27(4), S. 294-301.
- Japanese study Showed Statistically Significant Adverse Health Effects from electromagnetic radiation from mobile phone base stations. Residents of a condominium building that had cell tower antennas on the rooftop were examined before and after cell tower antennas were removed. In 1998, 800MHz cell antennas were installed, then later in 2008 a second set of antennas (2GHz) were installed. Medical exams and interviews were conducted before and after the antennas were removed in 2009 on 107 residents of the building who had no prior knowledge about possible. These results lead researchers to question the construction of mobile phone base stations on top of buildings such as condominiums or houses.
Effect of GSTM1 and GSTT1 Polymorphisms on Genetic Damage in Humans Populations Exposed to Radiation From Mobile Towers. Gulati S, Yadav A, Kumar N, Kanupriya, Aggarwal NK, Kumar R, Gupta R., Arch Environ Contam Toxicol. 2015 Aug 5. [Epub ahead of print]
- In our study, 116 persons exposed to radiation from mobile towers and 106 control subjects were genotyped for polymorphisms in the GSTM1 and GSTT1 genes by multiplex polymerase chain reaction method. DNA damage in peripheral blood lymphocytes was determined using alkaline comet assay in terms of tail moment (TM) value and micronucleus assay in buccal cells (BMN). Our results indicated that TM value and BMN frequency were higher in an exposed population compared with a control group and the difference is significant. In our study, we found that different health symptoms, such as depression, memory status, insomnia, and hair loss, were significantly associated with exposure to EMR. Damaging effects of nonionizing radiation result from the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and subsequent radical formation and from direct damage to cellular macromolecules including DNA.
Subjective symptoms, sleeping problems, and cognitive performance in subjects living near mobile phone base stations, Hutter HP et al, (May 2006), Occup Environ Med. 2006 May;63(5):307‐13
- Found a significant relationship between some cognitive symptoms and measured power density in 365 subjects; highest for headaches. Perceptual speed increased, while accuracy decreased insignificantly with increasing exposure levels.
Oberfeld, A.E. Navarro, M. Portoles, C. Maestu, C. Gomez-Perretta, The microwave syndrome: further aspects of a Spanish study,
- A health survey was carried out in La Ñora, Murcia, Spain, in the vicinity of two GSM 900/1800 MHz cellular phone base stations. The adjusted (sex, age, distance) logistic regression model showed statistically significant positive exposure-response associations between the E-field and the following variables: fatigue, irritability, headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, sleeping disorder, depressive tendency, feeling of discomfort, difficulty in concentration, loss of memory, visual disorder, dizziness and cardiovascular problems.
- Residents close to mobile phone masts reported: more incidences of circulatory problems, sleep disturbances, irritability, depression, blurred vision and concentration difficulties the nearer they lived to the mast.
- The performed studies showed the relationship between the incidence of individual symptoms, the level of exposure, and the distance between a residential area and a base station.
Wolf R and Wolf D, Increased Incidence of Cancer Near a Cell-phone Transmitter Station, International Journal of Cancer Prevention, (Israel) VOLUME 1, NUMBER 2, APRIL 2004
- A significant higher rate of cancer (300% increase) among all residents living within 300m radius of a mobile phone mast for between three and seven years was detected.
- 900% cancer increase among women alone
- In the area of exposure (area A) eight cases of different kinds of cancer were diagnosed in a period of only one year. This rate of cancers was compared both with the rate of 31 cases per 10,000 per year in the general population and the 2/1222 rate recorded in the nearby clinic (area B). The study indicates an association between increased incidence of cancer and living in proximity to a cell-phone transmitter station.
- German study showing elevated levels of stress hormones (adrenaline, noradrenaline), and lowered dopamine and PEA levels in urine in area residents during 1st 6 months of cell tower installation. Even after 1.5 years, the levels did not return to normal.
The Influence of Being Physically Near to a Cell Phone Transmission Mast on the Incidence of Cancer (Umwelt·Medizin·Gesellschaft 17,4 2004) Eger et al, 2004 (Germany)
- 200% increase in the incidence of malignant tumors was found after five years’ exposure in people living within 400m radius of a mobile phone mast. The proportion of newly developing cancer cases is significantly higher among patients who live within 400 meters of a cell phone transmitter. Early age of cancer diagnosis.
Microwave electromagnetic fields act by activating voltage-gated calcium channels: why the current international safety standards do not predict biological hazard. Martin L. Pall. Recent Res. Devel. Mol. Cell Biol. 7(2014).
- “It can be seen from the above that 10 different well-documented microwave EMF effects can be easily explained as being a consequence of EMF VGCC activation: oxidative stress, elevated single and double strand breaks in DNA, therapeutic responses to such EMFs, breakdown of the blood-brain barrier, cancer, melatonin loss, sleep dysfunction, male infertility and female infertility.”
Pall ML. 2015. Microwave frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) produce widespread neuropsychiatric effects including depression. J. Chem. Neuroanat. 2015 Aug 20.
- Non-thermal microwave/lower frequency electromagnetic fields (EMFs) act via voltage-gated calcium channel (VGCC) activation.
- Two U.S. government reports from the 1970s to 1980s provide evidence for many neuropsychiatric effects of non-thermal microwave EMFs, based on occupational exposure studies. 18 more recent epidemiological studies, provide substantial evidence that microwave EMFs from cell/mobile phone base stations, excessive cell/mobile phone usage and from wireless smart meters can each produce similar patterns of neuropsychiatric effects, with several of these studies showing clear dose–response relationships.
- Lesser evidence from 6 additional studies suggests that short wave, radio station, occupational and digital TV antenna exposures may produce similar neuropsychiatric effects. Among the more commonly reported changes are sleep disturbance/insomnia, headache, depression/depressive symptoms, fatigue/tiredness, dysesthesia, concentration/attention dysfunction, memory changes, dizziness, irritability, loss of appetite/body weight, restlessness/anxiety, nausea, skin burning/tingling/dermographism and EEG changes. In summary, then, the mechanism of action of microwave EMFs, the role of the VGCCs in the brain, the impact of non-thermal EMFs on the brain, extensive epidemiological studies performed over the past 50 years, and five criteria testing for causality, all collectively show that various non-thermal microwave EMF exposures produce diverse neuropsychiatric effects.