Wireless radiation and free radicals

Wireless (radiofrequency) radiation (RFR) can affect the body via its effects on free radicals says a world authority on the effects of exposure on the body.

Dr Henry Lai, a Professor Emeritus of Bioengineering at the University of Washington, has put together a literature review of 290 relevant studies published since 1997.1 He found that ‘263 studies (91%) reported statistically significant effects of radiofrequency radiation on free radical-related cellular processes; only 27 studies (9%) found no significant effects.’

The studies showed that exposure to wireless radiation caused ‘consistent’ changes in multiple organs and systems of the body in humans and animals, including the brain, heart, liver, lung, kidney, eye, blood, skin, testis/semen, and embryo. It also affected plants.

He concluded, ‘Effects have been reported at different frequencies, exposure duration, and modulations, and in different biological systems, cell lines, and animal and plant species. Most of them could be caused by the effects of RFR on cellular free radical processes.’

Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that can damage molecules and cells in the body. Free radical damage, also known as oxidative stress, has been linked to a wide range of health problems, including atherosclerosis, heart disease, inflammatory diseases (arthritis etc), cancers, neurological disease (Alzheimer’s Disease, Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy), acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, aging and others.2

Lai says that ‘Radiofrequency radiation (RFR) can affect oxidative processes (free radicals) in many organs in the body. In addition, similar changes have also been observed after exposure to static and extremely low frequency (ELF) electromagnetic fields (EMF). There are hundreds of papers published on the topic and it is probably the most consistent effect of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields. (You can find lists of these studies (on RFR and Static/ELF EMF) in the BioInitiative Report.3) Effects on oxidative processes in cells are important and alarming because they are involved in many physiological and cellular functions. Changes in these processes can conceivably lead to detrimental health consequences, e.g., increasing risk in cancer development and neurodegenerative diseases.’

One of the important findings of Lai’s review was the fact that free radical effects occurred at very low levels of exposure, levels that are lower than those allowed by Australian and other international standards.

He says, ‘Effects of RFR have been observed in many biological systems after exposure to low field intensities (low absorption rates). (The median specific absorption rate (SAR) that a biological effect can occur is actually 0.0165 W/kg 4). All these point to a conclusion that the present exposure guidelines used by most governmental agencies are not sufficient to protect the public from possible harmful effects of RFR. Guidelines should be re-evaluated based on new research data from different exposure situations and parameters and not on a single effect, i.e. interruption of an on-going behavior’.

  1. Dr Henry Lai, The Effects of Radio Frequency Radiation Exposure on Free Radical-Related Cellular Processes (290 studies)’, Feb 4, 2023 Update.
  2. Lobo V, Patil A, Phatak A, Chandra N. Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health. Pharmacogn Rev. 2010 Jul;4(8):118-26. doi: 10.4103/0973-7847.70902. PMID: 22228951; PMCID: PMC3249911; 
  3. BioInitiative Report.
  4. Supplement 1 in Lai H, Levitt BB. The roles of intensity, exposure duration, and modulation on the biological effects of radiofrequency radiation and exposure guidelines. Electromagn Biol Med. 41(2):230-255, 2022. doi: 10.1080/15368378.2022.2065683. Epub 2022 Apr 19. PMID: 35438055.

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