Why does wireless radiation affect us and are we being protected? Part 2

Why does wireless radiation affect us and are we being protected? Part 2

Will the wireless radiation your body is exposed to affect you?

Will it cause harmful biological effects?

That depends on a number of factors and one of them is how long the exposure lasts, say Professor Henry Lai, from the University of Washington, and science journalist Blake Levitt in a paper published recently in the journal Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine.

It’s no surprise that the duration of a person’s exposure affects the outcome. The longer you spend in the sun, the worse the sunburn you develop. Similarly, the longer you’re exposed to wireless (radiofrequency) radiation, the more likely you are to develop symptoms.

Professor Henry Lai and Blake Levitt examined studies in which organisms were exposed to wireless radiation for different periods of time. ‘The majority of the studies, as expected, show that long-term exposure is more effective in causing effects than short-term exposure’, they say.

However, the authors noticed that the link between exposure time and symptoms wasn’t always straight forward. For example, some studies showed evidence that the exposed organism displayed symptoms then recovered or partly recovered. They explain it as follows.

‘There are three basic phases of response to stressors – alarm, adaptation, and exhaustion – proposed by Selye (1951). For example, a response at even shorter duration of exposure may have occurred and gone unnoticed, after which the system adjusted, compensated and returned to normal after a longer period of exposure. But if exposures continue or are repeated, systems can break down and effects are then observed.’

Because duration of exposure is such an important factor for causing reactions, we could reasonably expect that international guidelines and standards would address it convincingly.

Not so, according to the authors.

They say that the Guidelines of the International Commission on Nonionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP), on which the Australian standard is based, and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) standard address only short-term exposures – exposures of 30 minutes for the whole body and six minutes for parts of the body.

These guidelines/standards are based on the results of just two studies (by De Lorge and Ezell, 1980, and De Lorge, 1984), as explained last week. Exposures in one lasted for 40 minutes; the other for 60 minutes.


However, Lai and Levitt say those experiments are not good indicators of duration and effects.


‘…the animals used in the de Lodge studies were actually exposed to RFR many times at different intensities. … The same test animals were used repeatedly during different sessions over many days. But since we do not know if animals “remember” or “forget” previous exposures and simply adjust temporarily, we can’t even be sure that the behavioral effects seen were due to acute exposures. Animals may have thermoregulated in idiosyncratic ways per animal, per species, and at different times.’

What does this mean for the adequacy of international standards to protect against the harmful effects of radiofrequency radiation?

The authors draw this conclusion: ‘What we do know is that the supposition that all exposures are the same above and below the SAR threshold set by FCC/INCIRP is fundamentally flawed in light of the most current research. One feasible and logical solution to such uncertainties regarding duration as an exposure factor would be to adopt an SAR level commensurate with the studies summarized in Supplement 1 at no higher than 0.00165 W/kg, no matter the exposure conditions.’

Lai H, Levitt BB. The roles of intensity, exposure duration, and modulation on the biological effects of radiofrequency radiation and exposure guidelines. Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine. 2022 Apr;41(2):230-255. DOI: 10.1080/15368378.2022.2065683. PMID: 35438055, 

We would like to thank Professor Henry Lai for his assistance with this article.

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