The Evolution of EMF Science
The most succinct way to explain the debate around electromagnetic fields is that industry and the agencies that regulate them are working from an outdated playbook. The most sophisticated technology companies in the world are relying upon science from fifty years ago to justify product safety.
A perfect example of this can be seen in this recent clip where podcaster Andrew Huberman asks Matthew MacDougall, MD, the head neurosurgeon at Neuralink, whether he is concerned about Bluetooth radiation. His answer is straight out of a textbook from the 1970’s.
The truth is that EMF research has evolved tremendously the last 30 years. The old idea that radio frequency radiation is only harmful if it heats you is no longer scientifically valid. There are now hundreds of quality studies that show biological effects at exposures similar to consumer technology. In fact, there are now at least 49 studies from scientists in multiple countries that show non-ionizing radio frequency (e.g. smartphone radiation) damages our DNA.
This disconnect between what the regulatory agencies say is safe and what science increasingly shows has made its way to the courts. In 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled that the FCC is not doing their job. They are ignoring the negative studies showing biological effects and possibly endangering the public. This recent NPR story about a Los Angeles couple that stopped a cell tower from being installed next to their home explains how this court ruling has thrown everything upside down. The recent realization that RF safety standards don’t protect nature is also a significant new wildcard in EMF science.
The coming years should be quite interesting as this issue eventually comes to a head. Society simply cannot ignore scientific reality forever, especially with wireless technology expanding exponentially.
You will find some of the most prominent EMF research below, which I have curated over the past decade. Additionally, here is a comprehensive article I wrote about the evolution of EMF science that was published by the National Engineering Honor Society. The response was overwhelmingly positive from some of the best science and engineering minds in the United States.
The Most Important EMF Research
2016 NTP study results showing that cell phone radiation causes cancer and DNA damage in rats. This $30 million study is the gold standard of EMF research and makes it clear that our current wireless safety standards do not adequately protect the public. This 2018 study by the prestigious Ramazzini Institute in Italy has confirmed the tumor results of the NTP study (research paper found here). This 1992 study also shows cancer in rats from RF exposure.
2,300 studies by the US Navy showing biological impacts of EMF: Naval Medical Research Institute 2300 Studies on EMF Health Effects
Sperm damage was found in 21 of 27 studies reviewed in this 2016 meta-study. Multiple studies in this group also found DNA damage within the sperm. The mechanism is thought to be mitochondria dysfunction leading to elevated ROS production.
2022 research paper detailing how wireless networks greatly impact wildlife and plants, being particularly deleterious to insect life.
Of the 440 research papers on RF genotoxicity published globally the past twenty years, 70% show biological effect.
This 2017 study published in Nature shows how AC magnetic field exposure increases the risk of miscarriage.
This 2000 report from the British Journal of Cancer states that low-frequency AC magnetic fields of 4 mG is the level at which childhood leukemia increases. Here is an excellent summary of research on the biological effects of AC magnetic fields.
2017 meta-analysis performed in the EU looking at 24 major brain tumor studies (24,000 cases vs 50,000 controls) shows a significantly higher risk of brain tumors after 10 years of mobile phone use.
2017 meta-analysis published in Nature showing an increase in headaches for mobile phone users.
List of radio frequency studies compiled by Joel Moskowitz, PhD, of the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.
German report on 878 Russian studies from 1960-1997 regarding the health effects of EMF. This report was buried by the German government as soon as it was published because of the consequences of its findings.
“Captured Agency” report on how the FCC is completely dominated by the wireless industry that it supposedly regulates. Published June 2015 by investigative journalist Norm Alster and the Harvard University Center for Ethics. Mr. Alster also wrote about the Dot Com Crash and the 2008 Financial Crisis before they happened. Click for free PDF or Kindle versions.
EMF Research on Wi-Fi
2017 study showing 2.45 GHz WiFi significantly impacts the endocrine system of young rats, particularly the pancreas. The study showed that “serum glucose, lipase and amylase levels were higher in the EMR group, and the results were significant, indicating both endocrine and exocrine cell damage.” You can view the study results here.
2015 study showing that 2.45 GHz WiFi may be accepted as one of the major risk factors for brain tumors and other neurodegenerative diseases: Effects of 2.4 GHz WiFi on microRNA Brain Tissue
2015 study showing 2.45 GHz WiFi decreases sperm function. Researchers conclude that “there should be major concern regarding the exposure to Wi-Fi networks existing in the vicinity of our living places.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4503846/
Harvard Pediatric Neurologist states dangers of Wi-Fi in classrooms and potential autism link: Harvard Pediatrician EMF Dangers for Children
Research article by Dr. Carl Blackman showing that frequency modulation (not the carrier wave) is the primary reason for non-thermal biological effects: Dr. Carl Blackman Modulation 2009 Paper
Comprehensive German data bank of global EMF research showing biological effects of RF/EMF: http://www.emf-portal.de
2015 paper showing that polarized EMF (man-made) is much more biologically active than non-polarized EMF (natural sources such as infrared, ultraviolet and visible light from the sun): http://www.nature.com/articles/srep14914
2015 paper showing that rabbits experience heart arrhythmia and increased blood pressure when exposed with 2.4 GHz WiFi: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1382668915300594
Long-term study from Swedish scientist Lennart Hardell (published October 2014) on glioma and acoustic neuroma brain tumors showing that RF is carcinogenic. The scientist calls for RF to be labeled an IARC Class 1 Carcinogen (meaning definitely carcinogenic to humans) and recommends urgent revision to safety guidelines. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0928468014000649
2011 study by Nora Volkow showing that cell phone radiation increases brain glucose metabolism in areas next to antenna. Increased glucose metabolism is associated with cancer. Study shows that biological changes occur at levels lower than FCC guidelines. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3184892/
2015 Study by leading industry RF scientist shows that 3G GSM cell phone technology causes cancer in animals: http://www.microwavenews.com/news-center/rf-animal-cancer-promotion
Mechanism for non-thermal EMF cellular damage confirmed: EMF Effects via Voltage Gated Calcium Channels Dr Martin Pall
The above graphic shows the mechanism by which EMF can cause DNA damage without the heating (thermal) effect of cells. This mechanism was found in 17 different studies and is essentially a smoking-gun that shows EMF can cause serious damage at levels far below government safety standards.
2012 BioInitiative Report – References 1,900 new studies showing biological impacts from non-thermal EMF: http://www.bioinitiative.org/
2014 Japanese study showing significant decrease in clinical symptoms of building residents once the cell tower was removed from the location.
2002 letter from EPA stating that FCC guidelines do not cover long-term, chronic, non-thermal microwave radiation exposures (that which we are exposed to every day by consumer wireless devices). It confirms that FCC guidelines only relate to damage from heating (thermal) effects: EPA Letter Stating FCC Guideliness are only based on Thermal Effects
World Health Organization and IARC classifies microwave radiation as a “possible carcinogen” – May 31, 2011: http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2011/pdfs/pr208_E.pdf
Sufficient evidence exists for microwave radiation to be labeled a definite carcinogen (presentation by Dr. Anthony Miller): http://smartgridawareness.org/2013/12/04/rf-fields-possibly-probably-or-definitely-carcinogenic/
Internal FDA memo from 1993 states that data “strongly suggests” that microwave radiation promotes cancer: http://www.goaegis.com/fda0203.html
Swisscom admits elevated risk of cancer and genetic damage from Wi-Fi: http://www.safeschool.ca/Swisscom__WiFi_Harms.html
Motorola has “war-gamed” the science since 1994: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/devra-davis-phd/cell-phones-brain-cancer_b_3232534.html
Nokia has held patents since 1998 that would reduce the irradiation of cell phone users – but did not utilize the technology: http://betweenrockandhardplace.wordpress.com/2014/10/20/former-nokia-ctos-multiple-sclerosis-and-nokias-patents-to-prevent-it/
Ford Motor Company commissioned this study in 1965 which shows the numerous damaging biological effects of microwave radiation. It notes in particular how damaging microwave radiation is to the central nervous system.
1994 U.S. Air Force study confirming existence of non-thermal EMF effects, including alterations to the central nervous system and cardiovascular system: Air Force Study showing non-thermal effects
Declassified 1976 Defense Intelligence Agency report showing that military personnel exposed to non-thermal microwave radiation experienced “headaches, fatigue, dizziness, irritability, sleeplessness, depression, anxiety, forgetfulness and lack of concentration.” Defense Intelligence Agency 1976 Report on Biological Effects of EMF
Australian research agency collection of RF research from government agencies around the world.
This video shows the biological impact of FCC guidelines that do not consider non-thermal effects of EMF pollution.
EMF Science on Smart Meter Biological Effects
Dr. Paul Dart gives smart meter presentation outlining how inadequate FCC rules regulating microwave radiation are: http://smartgridawareness.org/2013/11/24/oregon-eweb-votes-for-opt-in-for-smart-meters/
Australian study showing health effects of wireless smart meters: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25478801
Survey of 210 respondents whose health was harmed by smart meters: http://www.mainecoalitiontostopsmartmeters.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Exhibit-10-Smart-Meter-Health-Effects-Report-Survey2.pdf
52 Medical Doctors and Researchers respond to industry PR that “smart” meters are safe: https://maisonsaine.ca/sante-et-securite/electrosmog/smart-meters-correcting-gross-misinformation.html
Red blood cells are affected by microwave radiation from wireless smart meters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4JDEspdx58
Report warning about Smart Meters by Santa Cruz Public Health Advisor, Poki Namkung, MD: http://emfsafetynetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Health-Risks-Associated-With-SmartMeters.pdf
UK Department of Health concerned about cancer risks associated with wireless “smart” meters.
Graph with 67 studies that show health effects well below government limits and the corresponding effects of smart meters – See the following PDF, as well as the graphic:
The above graphic shows that 67 peer-reviewed, repeated studies show significant health issues (e.g. cancer, tumors, infertility) at levels far below the government safety standards (gray line). The yellow line is what the standards should be if public safety is considered.
Brain cancer rates have doubled in Denmark the past 10 years: http://microwavenews.com/short-takes-archive/spike-brain-cancer-denmark
Swedish brain cancer rates have increased 30% since 2008: http://www.stralskyddsstiftelsen.se/2014/10/increase-brain-tumors/
Thousands of studies showing links between EMF pollution and biological effects – studies are noted for showing effects or showing no effect: http://www.powerwatch.org.uk/science/studies.asp
1981 NASA paper showing numerous health affects from non-thermal electromagnetic fields. NASA report on EMF effects on human body
“Electromagnetism and Life” book by Robert O. Becker: Robert O. Becker and Andrew A. Marino 1982 Electromagnetism and Life
Journal of Neuroscience double-blind study showing evidence of electro-hypersensitivity (EHS): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21793784
A follow-up to the above study by the lead scientist can be seen here.
Proposed statement on electromagnetic hypersensitivity by the European Economic and Social Committee: http://www.iemfa.org/wp-content/pdf/EESC-TEN559.pdf
Study shows Secondhand Radiation from Cell Phones is Considerable: http://emfsafetynetwork.org/?p=8621
New study calls for cell phone radiation to be considered human carcinogen: http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/11/10/10790
Italian Supreme Court rules that brain tumor is caused by cell phone.
Children’s brains absorb much higher amounts of microwave radiation than adults because of their thinner skulls. Their nervous systems are also easily damaged by EMF because they do not yet have the protection afforded by nerve cell myelination.
Use of fluorescent lighting leading to an increase in eye disease in developed countries: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3222423/
Bee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) can be partially explained by the increased microwave radiation in our environment from wireless technologies the past decade – a new study out of Switzerland.
2021 study showing that pesticides and EMFs play a role in honeybee decline.
2021 research paper on the effects of EMFs on flora and fauna by B. Blake Levitt.
Chart showing numerous health effects from laptop and iPad radiation:
Dr. Franz Adlkofer – Austrian Reflex Study showing genetic damage from cell phone microwave radiation – results were suppressed (see following video and Reflex graphic): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9ycyWd8GMs
This study from Austria shows that 24 hours of mobile phone radiation causes as much DNA damage as 1,600 chest x-rays. The results were so damaging to the wireless industry that the scientist, Dr. Franz Aldkofer, was attacked from many angles. The results still stand though.
This presentation by Dr. Martin Pall in Norway November 2014 shows that our understanding of the health effects of weak EMF’s is about to completely change.
The following are some of the top EMF organizations in the world:
Originally published July 2013. Last Updated August 2023