Swiss Experts on Wireless Radiation and Health


Swiss experts say that electromagnetic fields, at levels that comply with international standards, increase oxidative stress which is implicated in many adverse health conditions.

In a special issue of their newsletter, BERENIS, the Swiss expert group on electromagnetic fields and non-ionising radiation, released the results of their review of approximately 150 animal and cell studies conducted between 2010 and 2020. ‘...the majority of the animal and more than half of the cell studies provided evidence of increased oxidative stress caused by RF-EMF [radiofrequency/wireless electromagnetic fields] or ELF-MF [power-frequency fields]. This notion is based on observations in a large number of cell types, applying different exposure times and dosages … also in the range of the regulatory limits.’

Oxidative stress and health

Oxidative stress occurs when the body has more free radicals—molecules that contain oxygen and have an uneven number of electrons so that they react easily with other molecules—than antioxidants—molecules that neutralise free radicals. (The reaction of free radicals with other molecules is called oxidation.)

Oxidative stress is a factor in many health problems and diseases. The report says, ’If this state persists over a longer period of time or occurs repeatedly, it can lead to changes in the biological material and thereby to health-related malfunctions of cells and organs. Thus, increases in biomarkers for oxidative stress … are observed in many diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, congenital malformations or neurodegenerative diseases.’ Other conditions linked to oxidative stress include herosclerosis (the hardening of blood vessels), inflammatory conditions, high blood pressure and heart disease. Oxidative stress is also involved in ageing.

Effects on nervous system

The BERENIS team found that exposure to electromagnetic fields had harmful effects on the nervous system and negatively affected cognitive abilities, such as memory. ‘Associated with longer exposure periods of weeks or months, even for just a few hours per day, an increase occurrence of ROS [free radicals], an overload and exhaustion of antioxidative protective mechanisms and damage to the DNA were reported for RF-EMF at various frequencies and doses …, even at SAR [specific absorption rate] below the regulatory limits.’

The authors suggested that oxidative stress from wireless radiation may be increasing calcium influx into cells and this mechanism may be causing the damage to the body. They say,’ Voltage-dependent calcium channels … for instance the TRP1 … channels are involved in pain transmission and can be activated not only by stimuli such as heat, capsaicin, but also by oxidative stress.’

Effects on immune system

The BERENIS team investigated the effects of EMF-induced oxidative stress on the immune system. While they found no conclusive evidence that exposure affected immunity, they found ‘indications in immune cells that RF-EMF influences the response to other stress factors.

Effects on reproductive system

Studies also showed that the oxidative stress from exposure had negative effects on the reproductive system. ‘The majority of the findings from the animal studies indicate a functional and morphological impairment of spermatozoa by RE-EMF exposure, which is associated with an increase of ROS, reduction of antioxidant capacity and lipid peroxidation.’

Vulnerability to oxidative stress

The report showed that age affected the response of exposed organisms. In both the nervous and immune systems ‘very young animals could not compensate for oxidative stress.’ In the nervous system, the elderly were more vulnerable to exposure ‘due to reduced antioxidative capacity in the brain’.

People with existing health problems may be more vulnerable to exposure. ‘Pre-existing conditions, such as immune deficiencies or diseases (diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases), compromise the body’s defence mechanisms, including antioxidative protection, and it is therefore possible that individuals with these conditions experience more severe health effects,’ the expert team wrote.

‘Is there evidence for oxidative stress caused by electromagnetic fields? A summary of relevant observations in experimental animal and cell experiments related to health effects in the last ten years’, Prof Meike Mevissen, University of Bern Dr David Schürmann, University of Basel, BERENIS – The Swiss expert group on electromagnetic fields and non-ionising radiation Newsletter – Special Issue January 2021, file:///C:/Users/User/Downloads/Newsletter%20BERENIS%20-%20Special%20Issue%20January%202021.pdf


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