In previous blogs, we’ve explored the reasons why EMF radiation emitted by our devices can be extremely harmful for our bodies in the long run. But the first thing that opponents are skeptical of is – is there any empirical data to provide substance? Well, yes, contrary to popular belief, there’s actually a plethora of available data, and we’ll aim to summarize key findings here. We know that EMFs can cause a variety of physical and mental effects impairing many of our biological systems – but the 3 we’ll focus on are: the brain, our reproduction system, and the nervous system.
The first area we’ll delve into is the nervous system – a critical part of our biological system that protects us from dangerous diseases and enables healthy functioning.
A meta analysis by Schuermann & Mevissen indicated evidence of oxidative stress increasing with exposure to EMFs – this was evident in the majority of animal studies, within the range of the regulatory limits and recommendations of the FDA. The existence of such stress compromises the body’s defense mechanisms, including the production of antioxidants that are really an integral part of protecting and strengthening our immune response. Individuals that suffer from pre-existing conditions are also more likely to experience adverse health effects. The analysis also demonstrated that individuals that are very young or old, can react in a less efficient way to oxidative stress.
This was also supported by Lai H (2019), who found that changes in free radical concentrations (due to the oxidative stress inflammation) were seen to have an effect on many physiological functions such as DNA damage; immune response; inflammatory response; cell proliferation and differentiation; wound healing; neural electrical activities; and behavior. The reason that such changes in free radical concentrations had such an effect was because this creates an imbalance against the available antioxidants which act as neutralizing force.
Another study describing the mechanism of low radiation EMFs and its impact on the nervous system, called the “periodic and parametric excitation of brain bioelectric oscillations” . The main idea here is that neurotransmitter transit time and resting potential (in rest state) was disturbed due to the waves and this weakened the immune response, even at low radiation levels. This study explored the effects on children and adolescents of constant, involuntary exposure to EMF radiation from a very young age. They discovered the sensitivity of a developing nervous system and how the effects can be varied from their metabolic rate, and their ability to fight diseases as they age.
Overall, the bulk of studies paint a stark picture, and although there is a need for more research to come to concrete conclusions, there is merit in taking immediate action for protection against harmful radiation.
We’ve explored the effects of EMFs on both the male and female reproductive systems in other blogs, but the amount of data available is growing by the day, adding reason for concern.
A study by Houston, B.J., et al. conducted an analysis of 27 studies on the effects of radiation on male reproductive systems and found negative outcomes in 21. This alarming number demonstrated the existence of effects on the male reproductive system such as decreased sperm motility (movement and swimming of sperm), elevated levels of reactive oxygen species (molecules with ability to react with other cells that can cause cell DNA damage), increased DNA damage, and decreased antioxidant levels (less defense against increased free radical concentrations).
Another meta analysis by Adams, Jessica A., et al., set out to investigate whether there were actual effects on the quality of male sperm directly from EMF radiation, and found a direct link: exposure to mobile phones was associated with reduced sperm motility and overall quality.
Another study found that EMFs from both the power density and frequency range of mobile phones (1.8 GHz covering a SAR range from 0.4 to 27.5 W/kg) were proven to enhance the production of mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (which have the potential to increase production of cancer cells), decrease the motility and vitality in sperms, and ultimately cause DNA fragmentation within them.
This abundance of data on the effect of male fertility continues to shed light on our need to be careful with our use of devices. In terms of female fertility, as we’ve explored previously, there’s not enough research on humans to establish a causal relationship yet, but the current data from animal studies points to the same direction as male fertility.
In the last few years, many researchers have also delved into the effects of EMFs on our cognitive abilities, and in specific the impact on our brain’s functioning. This study studied the connection between prenatal cell phone use and hyperactivity in children, finding that mice exposed before birth not only were hyperactive and had impaired memory, but also the recordings revealed that these effects were due to drastically altered neural developmental programming. In other words, the research suggested the way our brains are wired can be changed before birth due to inflammation from EMF radiation.
This study on Swiss adolescents found the performance of their cognitive functions deteriorated when exposed to mobile phones for long periods of time – however, research is required on other populations for generalization. Research also came to a conclusion that compared to individuals with no exposure, a 50-minute cell phone exposure was associated with increased brain glucose metabolism in certain regions – and such levels are normally associated with people who suffer from OCD, ADHD and other mental/cognitive illnesses.
There is a host of data exploring the impacts of radiation, but so far the results emphasize the need to control and monitor our technology usage.