Most recently Updated 4/15/04
Click here to view: A possible association between fetal/neonatal exposure to radiofrequency electomagnetic radiation and the increased incidence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
The Associated Bioelectromagnetics Technologists provide this forum, which is comprised of independent scientific researchers and other individuals dedicated to disseminating the findings of published research. Each takes an active role in performing investigative research and/or reporting the biological effects of man-made electromagnetic fields with respect to humans and the environment.
Through this site we present, in terms suitable for the general public, the information provided in the extensive scientific literature base that is relevant to the issue of radiofrequency radiation and other electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure hazards. Statements made herein are based on published scientific reports that, generally, have been ignored by the media and unpublicized by the telecommunication and power industries.
Let us commence at a time near the beginning of scientific understanding regarding radiofrequency radiation exposure to humans. It was also a time when the newly emerging telecommunication industry could have taken steps to ward off the present sharp and justified implications that have recently been leveled against it. The implications, supported by the published evidence, clearly indicate what the industry and our government knew, when they knew it, and what could have been done to prevent the current crisis of confidence.
During 1955 biophysics researchers under contract with the U.S. Navy reported that in order to prevent deep-tissue burning, radiofrequency radiation exposures should not take place when an exposed individual is wearing or carrying any metal objects such as hair pins, metal implants, buckles, coins, or metal-framed eye glasses, "[a]s any of these objects may concentrate the field and cause burning."
When considering tissue burning the researchers pointed out that radiation can be absorbed deeply and is actually greater in tissue such as muscle or the brain compared to the poorer absorption in the bone and fatty layers near a body surface. They also noted that radiofrequency energy exposure of arterially blocked tissue can result in serious tissue damage and cautioned against exposure of ischemic individuals, those suffering from any such arterial blockages, to radiofrequency radiation.
Even in normal, non-ischemic individuals, the body must compensate for the absorption of radiofrequency radiation through an increase in blood flow to carry away excess energy. However, for a given exposure, the compensation mechanism does not take effect immediately, but occurs over a period of minutes. These researchers reported that maximum increased blood flow, that is maximum compensation, took place only near the end of an exposure. Prior to that time the body was not fully coping, in the thermal sense, with the absorbed radiation. But in any event, they were considering compensation only in the thermal equilibrium context and emphatically indicated that microwave or radiofrequency radiation exposure should be avoided during pregnancy.
Extending that early research to our present circumstances causes us to consider, in particular, the portable cell phone and other radiofrequency radiating devices such as the wireless local area network. In that pre-cell-phone era those researchers were not focused on the effects from portable devices, but their work is a wonderful indication of what the scientific community had determined long before the personal communication revolution became reality.
As long ago as 1967, Biological effects researchers determined, through experiment with living tissue, that exposure to radiofrequency radiation, such as that emitted by cellular telephones or portable phones, causeschromosome damage in the cells of that tissue. The researchers also reported finding fragmented nuclei and fragmented chromosomes among the cells that had been exposed to radiofrequency radiation. It is important to note that the radiation exposures were performed at a radiation level that rules out any effects due to overt heating, and was at a level identical to that which cell phone users experience. Further, it is generally accepted that chromosome and nucleus damage can be the initiator in a process of mutagenic transformation, cancer. Other researchers have repeatedly confirmed the initial reports.
During 1977 another U.S. Navy-funded researcher reported that his experiments of exposing primates to radiofrequency radiation resulted in "gross morphological damage in the brains" of the test subjects. For example, this researcher reported that Rhesus monkeys exposed to 10 mw/cm2, for 2 - 3 weeks, exhibited considerable brain tissue damage. Analysis of the brain tissue after the animals were "sacrificed" indicated cloudy endoplasm, uncharacteristic phagocytosis and evidence of change to the blood-brain barrier. Observation of heavily damaged cells, those having experienced severe morphological change, indicated that the damage was not repairable. Soon thereafter, this researcher’s funding was cancelled, the remaining laboratory animals were killed, and he was out of work.
Berman, et al, have reported in Health Physics (Dec. 1978, Pp. 791 - 801) the results of exposing mouse fetuses to radiofrequency radiation (2.45 GHz). Radiation exposure took place daily for 100 minutes during the gestation period. The work was performed at the Environmental Protection Agency Health Effects Research Laboratory from September 1974 through December 1976. After inducing the birth of the fetuses of each litter, the researchers examined the RF radiation exposed neo-natal mice to determine the presence of any gross external morphologic alterations. The experiments were performed at a number of different power levels, resulting in a correspondingly different RF radiation absorption level for each exposed group ranging from 0.2 mw/g to 2.2 mw/g. In total there were 318 RF radiation exposed litters and 336 unexposed control litters. Each litter was comprised of about ten mice. 12 control litters exhibited defects while there were 27 exposed litters with morphologic defects. (3.6% control 8.5% exposed) The experimental end-point was to determine if RF radiation could be causal with respect to fetal malformation. As such, long-term data, such as cancer incidence, was not provided.
The researchers concluded from the data that fetal exposure to RF radiation resulted in a significant increase in the number of litters that contained malformed (morphologically damaged) fetuses. In particular, they noted that cranioschisis (brain hernia, or exposed brain) was observed at all exposure levels, the lowest being about 0.2 mw/g, which is a lower level than the radiation absorption in humans from many presently available portable cell phones. Cranioschisis was not found in any of the control litters. The researchers also reported a significantly lower birth weight among the litters exposed to the highest radiation level - about 2.2 mw/g. The stunting effect was determined to be permanent.
Kaplan, et al, have reported in Radio Science, Sept. - Oct. 1982, Pp. 135 - 144 the effects of exposing squirrel monkey fetuses and neo-natal squirrel monkeys to various levels of radiofrequency (RF) radiation of 2.45 GHz for 3 hours per day and five days per week. The authors selected the squirrel monkey "because of its similarities to man in prenatal and postnatal environment". This work was performed during 1977 at SRI International, formerly the Stanford Research Institute, under a funding grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The results were submitted for publication during 1978, accepted for publication during 1980, and subsequently published during 1982. Calorimetric assessment was used to determine the average radiation absorption rate (SAR). For the experiment the researchers selected 0.0 mw/g (control), 0.034 mw/g, 0.34 mw/g, and 3.4 mw/g as the RF exposure levels. Only the last of these, 3.4 mw/g falls beyond the present RF radiation exposure maximum limit. Pregnant dams and, of course, their respective fetuses were exposed to the RF radiation five days per week, commencing with the second trimester of gestation. This was in spite of prior knowledge that morphologic defects were previously indicated to be more prevalent when RF radiation exposure of a fetus is commenced during organogenesis - the first trimester. In addition to the fetal exposure about one-half of the squirrel monkeys continued to be exposed for 6 months post-natally.
Three of the thirty-three pregnant mothers in the exposed group died a few days after birth of the fetuses and without any prior indication. Previously, over a five-year period of experiments, no such unexplained spontaneous deaths occurred. There were no deaths of mothers from the control group. The mothers that died were exposed to 0.34 mw/g or 3.4 mw/g Nine of the exposed neo-natal squirrel monkeys died during the first few months after birth. Two such deaths were for animals exposed only pre-natally and were from the lowest exposure group, 0.034 mw/g. A third death occurred to a pre-natally exposed animal at four days after birth. Six of the animals that were exposed post-natally also died. Two were from the 0.34 mw/g exposure group and four were from the 3.4 mw/g exposure group. None of the eight control mothers or their offspring died.
Since the purpose of the experiment was to note visually apparent morphological damage, no efforts were made to perform post-mortem microscopic examination to ascertain any part that neoplasia or micro-focal tissue mass might have had in the infant deaths. A series of maze experiments were conducted during the sixth through eighth week of age for all surviving infants of each group. The authors noted a significant cognitive retardation among the animals exposed to all RF radiation levels. The test parameter was to determine the percent of exposed animals that could traverse the maze, and thereby reach the mother, in 30 seconds or less. The unexposed (control) infants achieved an 80% success level during week 6 and 100% success at ages 7 and 8 weeks. Each of the exposed groups performed less well. The group exposed to 3.4 mw/g pre-natally and post-natally completed the task only 40% of the time. The group exposed to the same energy density only pre-natally completed the task 0% of the time during the sixth and seventh weeks. During the eighth week they completed the maze 50% of the time.
CHICAGO, July 22 /PRNewswire/ -- The cell phone headset has become popular as a way to reduce the cognitive impairment and cancer risk associated with radiofrequency (RF) radiation exposure. However, the possibility of embryonic and fetal damage is now increasing as the radiating cell phone units are being moved elsewhere on or near the body. In many cases the devices are relocated immediately adjacent to the area where an embryo or fetus is carried. Researchers have emphatically reported that an embryo/fetus should not be exposed to radiofrequency radiation, such as that emitted by the portable cell phone or portable telephone. One particular reason to avoid RF radiation exposure during pregnancy is that an embryo/fetus may not be fully protected by amniotic fluid for extended periods of time due to the natural movement of the mother or the embryo/fetus within the womb. Secondly, the pelvic structure promotes deep RF radiation penetration and that radiation can be absorbed within the developing embryo/fetus.
Published research results continue to reinforce the general understanding that human exposure to RF radiation can cause damaging genetic effects. These effects include chromosome damage, DNA damage, cancer, memory loss, and cognitive impairment. One area not yet adequately investigated by researchers may determine the significance of any link between the increasing rate of Autism Spectrum Disorder or, Pervasive Developmental Disorder, and damage to an embryo or fetus caused by increasing levels of RF radiation exposure. During this time of increased Autism/PDD incidence, no other environmental substance has become so globally widespread as has human-generated RF radiation.
During the last several years, industry-funded researchers have repeatedly reported a link between RF radiation exposure and genetic damage. After making their results known many of those researchers have found that their research programs were prematurely terminated. This also happened to researchers a generation ago when RF radiation biological effects were first made known.
Be aware that research findings, both industry-sponsored and independently conducted, continue to yield additional data that show the same results. Human exposure to RF radiation, electromagnetic fields, at levels typically encountered by using a portable cellular telephone or living in close proximity to a cell tower may be hazardous to your health, or to your unborn child's health.
During 1982, Motorola researchers reported that the electric field close to the head of a human operating a portable radio was so high that the only way to comply with radiation exposure standards was to reduce the radiation to such a low level that the device would be useless as a communication tool. But, it seems that it was easier to change the radiation standard than it was to change the design of the cell phones even as they were still being developed. With the guidance of Motorola engineers, and with no scientific basis, the exposure standard was changed to make the cell phone wholly and entirely exempt from any provisions of any existing radiation exposure safety standard. And with that unfounded exemption the die was cast for unfettered marketing and development of a complete product line that has been repeatedly shown to create damage in those exposed to the products’ radiations.
In 1983 University of Washington researchers, funded by the U.S. Air Force, reported that exposure of laboratory animals to low-level radiofrequency radiation resulted in a nearly four-fold, (400%) increase in malignant cancers among the exposed animals. This was a long-term study, spanning more than two years of daily RF radiation exposures and evaluations. Again, the exposure level was lower than that which is typically experienced by operating present generation cell phones.
Periodically throughout the test period some animals were "sacrificed" and examined. For the final analysis there remained 12 exposed and 11 control animals from the 100 exposed and 100 controls that formed the population at the outset.
Although the researchers recorded a four-fold increase in malignancies it can be proposed that the cancer incidence would have been even higher if the lab animals had been allowed to live out their full lives rather than being "sacrificed" during the two years of the experiment.
The long-term exposure study was designed specifically to learn the effects of RF radiation exposure to children. The frequency and exposure levels were determined with that in mind. However, the significant result of increased malignant tumor incidence has never been reported publicly with that relationship.
These are but a select few examples, taken from hundreds of published reports, of what the telecommunication industry has known since the earliest time of the development and sale of the portable cell phone to the unsuspecting public.
Swicord and Sagripanti, Int. J. Radiation Biology, 1986, vol. 50, no.1, Pp. 47 ‚ 50, observed a strong resonant absorption when plasmid DNA was exposed to radiofrequency radiation at 2550 MHz. The researchers state that, " we have investigated physiochemical changes. This work reports an observed power-dependent and temperature-dependent irreversible effect on DNA molecules including single- and double-strand breaks as shown by an accompanying increase in the linear (uncoiled) forms of the molecule."
"Connection with experimental and epidemiological studies suggesting carcinogenic, mutagenic and chromosome-damaging effects cannot be discounted."
The absorbed energy levels were reportedly from 2.0 to 8.5 mw per gram. The resonant absorption frequency is near the frequency range used for the present PCS devices, 1700 ‚ 1900 MHz.
At the time of publication the researchers were employed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration¼s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.