EMR Updates - EMR & Health March 2016 Issue

ELF fields (from electrical sources)


Magnetic fields can promote cancer, according to a major new study from Italy. Researchers exposed 650 rats to a magnetic field of 200 or 10,000 mG, from before birth, for their entire lives and exposed them to a single dose of ionizing radiation when they were 6 weeks of age. The exposed rats had increased rates of mammary gland (breast) cancers, schwannomas of the heart and leukemia/lymphoma. The authors suggested their results called for a ‘re-evaluation of the safety of non- ionizing radiation.’ (Soffritti, M et al, Int J Radiat Biol, Feb, 1-13 2016.)


Magnetic fields increased the permeability of mitochondrial membranes. (Feng, B et al, Int J Radiat Biol Feb 5:1-8, 2016.)

RF/wireless radiation


A mother’s exposure to mobile phone radiation may affect the reproductive capacity of her son. Turkish scientists exposed pregnant rats to a 900 MHz mobile phone signal during 7 days of pregnancy. They found that offspring had altered sperm quality and death of large numbers of cells in the seminiferous tubule epithelium. (Odaci, E et al, Biotech Histochem, 2016 Jan;91(1) )


Similarly, mobile phone use in pregnancy may affect her child’s heart. Scientists exposed pregnant rats to a 900 MHz mobile phone signal during pregnancy and found that her offspring showed various signs of heart damage. (Türedi S et al, Electromagn Biol Med, 34(4):390-7, 2015.)

Children’s brains

Children’s brains do absorb more radiation than adults’ brains, say researchers from the USA and Brazil. Their skulls are smaller and thinner and have different electrical properties to adults’. Higher exposures could ‘have more severe implications in the young,’ the authors said. (Fernandez-Rodriguez, C et al, http:// ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/articleDetails.jsp? reload=true&arnumber=7335557)


Wireless radiation can have a harmful effect on plants, say researchers from Belgium and Sweden. They exposed two groups of cress seeds to different levels of wireless radiation. The seeds exposed to the lowest levels of radiation (2-3 μW/m2) grew normally. Those exposed to 70-100 μW/m —primarily from base stations—failed to germinate. When the more highly exposed seeds were moved to a lower field, they began to germinate after two days. The authors suggest that ‘the prodigious wireless technology may affect and seriously impact nature’. (Cammaerts MC and Johansson O, Phyton, International Journal of Experimental Botany, 84: 132-137, 2015.)


How much do university students use their mobile phones after lights-out and how does it affect their sleep? To answer these questions, Iranian researchers surveyed 358 medical students. They found that 60% of them used their phones after lights -out and this caused insomnia which may have affected their learning and the quality of the medical care they provided. (Zarghami M, Iran J Psychiatry Behave Sci ;9(4), Dec 2015.)

Adults’ sleep

Similarly, adults' sleep is affected by their mobile phone use, according to a study from Flanders. The researchers examined the sleep patterns and electronic media used of 844 adults, 60% of whom took their phones into their bedrooms at night. They found that texting or calling after lights-out was related to more fatigue and later waking in adults in their 40s and shorter sleep in people in their 60s. (Exelmans, L and Van den Bulck, J, Soc Sci Med, 148:93-101, 2016.)


Mobile phone radiation affected immunity in the blood of healthy volunteers. In blood samples exposed to the radiation from a smartphone for 30 minutes, neutrophils (white blood cells involved in immunity) were activated. (Lippi, G et al, Clin Chem Lab Med, Feb 12, 2016.)

Blood-brain barrier

Mobile phone radiation could increase the permeability of the blood-brain-barrier (BBB) whose role is to prevent harmful substances from entering the brain. Turkish researchers exposed male and female rats to mobile phone radiation of 900 and 1800 MHz. They found that 1800 MHz increased permeability of the BBB in males and 900 MHz increased permeability in females. Effects occurred at low (nonthermal) levels of exposure. (Sırav B and Seyhan N, J Chem Neuroanat, Dec 23, 2015.)


Mobile phone radiation may cause damage to the spinal cord, according to research from Turkey. Researchers exposed young rats to mobile phone radiation of 900 MHz for one hour for 25 days. At the end of that time, the rats were found to have ‘pathological’ changes, including loss of myelin sheath. (İkinci A et al, J Chem Neuroanat, Dec 17, 2015.)


Brazilian researchers conducted a review of studies concerned with electromagnetic radiation and tinnitus. They concluded that ‘there might be a common pathophysiology between electrosensitivity and tinnitus’ and advised precautionary use of mobile phones to prevent the condition. (Medeiros, LN and Sanchez, TG, Braz J Otorhinolaryngol 82(1):97-104, 2016.)


Could radiofrequency radiation affect reproduction in women? To answer this question, researchers investigated exposure levels and symptoms among a group of 349 female factory workers. They found that menstrual disorders increased with the intensity of exposure and were greater than in unexposed controls. (Xu, Y et al, J Occup Environ Med, 58(2):148-53, 2016.)

Other studies showing effects from RF radiation

  • A slight increase in gliomas was found in people using a mobile phone on the same side of the head as their tumour. (Yoon, S et al, Environ Health Toxicol, Dec 21, 2015.)
  • Mobile phone radiation of 1.8 GHz affected acetylcholinesterase which is involved in learning, memory and neurodegenerative diseases. (Valbonesi, P et al, Int J Radiat Biol, 92 (1):1-10, 2016.)
  • Mobile phone radiation caused inflammatory responses in saliva of the human parotid gland. (Siqueira EC et al, J Oral Pathol Med, Feb 14, 2016.)



Myopia in children is on the rise and increased use of screen-based activities is contributing, say scientists from China. The scientists tested children from 60 primary and middle schools in China. They found that the incidence of myopia increased with age, from nearly 36% in children aged 6 to 8 to over 80% in children aged 16 to 18. Among the factors that influenced the incidence of myopia was distance between the computer screen and the eyes, time spent outdoors, and the time spent watching TV and playing on the computer. (Zhou, J et al, Zhonghua Liu Xing Bing Xue Za Zhi 37 (1):29-34 2016.)