30 July 2000
Evidence that Electromagnetic Radiation is Genotoxic:
The implications for the epidemiology
of cancer and cardiac, neurological and reproductive effects
Dr Neil Cherry
For presentations in May to NZ Parliament
and June 2000 in Italy, Austria, Ireland and at the
European Parliament in Brussels.
Environmental Management and Design Division
P.O. Box 84
Canterbury, New Zealand
Evidence that Electromagnetic Radiation is Genotoxic: The implications for the epidemiology of cancer and cardiac, neurological and reproductive effects
Dr Neil Cherry
Lincoln University, New Zealand
"Our frame of reference determines what we look at and how we look. And as a consequence, this determines what we find."
Burke J, The Day the Universe Changed, 1985.
The way we perceive things determines how we make decisions. To move from picturing ourselves as physical beings to biological beings significantly changes our view of health and fitness. Too much exercise and oxygen free radicals really damage our cells. To move from biological to bioelectrical incorporates intelligence and emotion and leads to a radically fundamental change in our way of seeing things that it forms the basis of a new paradigm.
Principles of Approach:
This paper attempts to follow basic classical scientific principles to counter the dismissive and biased approach of industry and many government and international authorities, including the WHO and ICNIRP.
The principles found to be important are that biology reveals that brains, hearts and cells use electromagnetic signals, charged ions, voltage-gated ion channels, ion regulated gap junctions, all of which can be interfered with by external electromagnetic fields in subtle but vital ways in relation to health.
A primary physical principle of resonant absorption explains why external and internal signals that share the same part of the spectrum, resonantly exchange energy at levels well below the thermal threshold. This is also true for radio and TV receivers. It involves tuned circuits and resonant absorption.
Laboratory experiments provide evidence of effects. Replicated and/or extended studies provided confirmation and establish an effect. Multiple studies confirm and strengthen the cause and effect relationship.
In assessing genotoxicity, any evidence of genetic damage, cell death or neoplastic transformation is evidence of genotoxicity. The genetic material is fundamentally the double helix of the DNA molecule. During the cell cycle the helix unwinds and clones itself. They then fold themselves into the set of chromosomes that are so large that they can be seen in powerful microscopes. In the second half of the cell cycle the chromosomes clone themselves so that at mitosis, cell division, each cell has a full set of chromosomes. They then unfold themselves to form the DNA strands.
Any substance that damages DNA or chromosomes, or changes genetic activity, is genotoxic because it is acting on the same material, i.e. the DNA molecule. A genotoxic substance is mutagenic, carcinogenic and teratogenic.
Strength of evidence for public health has a classical hierarchy that has dose-response relationship at the top and biological mechanism at the bottom, Hill (1965). This is seen by considering Sir Austin Bradford Hill's descriptions of his 'view points' from which the question of cause and effect is being considered. Of dose-response he says:
"The simple dose-response curve admits of a simple explanation and obviously puts the case in a clearer light", i.e. cause and effect.
Sir Austin considers many other forms of evidence from which cause and effect can be decided in the absence of a dose-response. These include strength of association and consistency, although he points out that the lack of strength and apparent inconsistency, is not necessarily arguments against cause and effect. Of biological mechanism, or plausibility, he states:
"It will be helpful if the causation we suspect is biologically plausible. But this is a feature I am convinced we cannot demand. What is biologically plausible depends upon the biological knowledge of the day."
Thus biological plausibility has a low status and dose-response has a very high status.
When epidemiological evidence is available it should be used to set public health standards, where possible, using the dose-response relationships. In the absence of these, the level of lowest observed effect, with a safety margin to allow for uncertainly, the vulnerable, the size of the population at risk, are appropriate.
Dose response relationships for epidemiological studies
of cancer are likely to be linear because of the cumulative cell damage/repair/mistake
mechanism. At very high levels approaching lethal levels the curve become
asymptotic. At very low levels, around the optimum homeostatic levels,
curves can become "U" shaped. Thus, with the great sensitivity of the brain
the neurological effects at extremely low exposure levels might be curved.
EMR Spectrum Principle:
It is observed that both biological effects and epidemiological effects appear to be the same or very similar from ELF exposure and from RF/MW exposures, including calcium ion efflux, melatonin reduction, DNA strand breakage, chromosome aberrations, leukaemia, brain cancer, breast cancer, miscarriage and neurological effects.
A frequently used method for falsely dismissing evidence of effects is to consider effects in small frequency and intensity bands. In fact, biophysics shows that the dielectric constant decreases monotonically with carrier frequency across the EMR spectrum, Schwan (1985). Vignati and Giuliani (1997) show that for a unit field exposure, the induced current increases significantly as a function of frequency, Figure 1.
The EMR Spectrum Principle predicts that effects that are associated with ELF exposure are very probably found with low intensity RF/MW exposure.
These biophysical observations show that the impacts of RF/MW fields are higher than those of ELF fields of the same external intensity. It also indicates that the impact rises with carrier frequency. All of the EMR genetic damage effects are shown to occur with ELF and RF/MW frequencies, including cell phone frequencies. As the high frequencies couple more strongly with tissue, the depth of penetration decreases.
While this paper is primarily about RF/MW exposures, confirmation of effects is given by studies involving mixed and ELF exposure.
The Bioelectrical nature of biology:
The bioelectrical nature of brains, hearts and cells is poorly appreciated but it is extremely well documented. Frey (1993, 1995) advocates a change in mind-set from that which he describes as the toxicological approach of treating EMR as an external disease agent, to one that considers EMR as an intrinsic feature of cells and bodies.
Neurological Electrical Sensitivity:
Coherent thoughts and synchronized biological processes involve a structured set of low frequency electrical signals that are monitored as the electroencephalogram (EEG). Figure 2 shows the spectrum of an awake EEG signal.
The Schumann Resonances are global signals that radiate from tropical thunderstorms. They propagate around the world within the cavity created by the earth and the ionosphere. The intensity and spectrum of the Schumann Resonances vary markedly from day to night and with solar activity. At night both the EEG and the Schumann Resonances are dominated by very low frequencies (<5 Hz). With the coincidence of the frequency ranges, some of the high frequency peaks and the diurnal variation of the EEG and Schumann Resonances, it is biologically plausible that there is a resonant interaction between, and EEG reaction to the changing Schumann Resonance signals.
This biological plausibility is significantly strengthened by the observation that mammal brains contain and use phase-locked loop circuitry to detect and react to incoming ELF signals, Ahissar et al. (1997). Hence our brains contain a highly efficient, tuned FM receiver, Motluk (1997).
Konig (1974) reports on the results of an experiment carried out at the Munich Transport Exhibition of 1953, Figure 4. About 49,500 people were recorded in a visual reaction time experiment. Their reaction times were extremely highly correlated with the intensity of the Schumann Resonance signals.
These experiments give substantial proof that extremely small natural and artificial ELF signals interact significantly with human brains. The signal level of this interaction is 2,000,000,000 times below the ELF standard. This standard is based on avoiding acute shocks and not on avoiding proven neurological effects. The maintenance of the standard is obtained by ignoring or rejecting any and all evidence that contradicts it.
This early German research, done at the Technical University of Munich and the Max Planck Institute, König (1974) and Wever (1974), respectively. This gives a very strong basis for this paradigm shift that recognizes the exquisite sensitivity of the human brain and its regulation and synchronization by these very weak naturally occurring signals.
Electromagnetic activity in cells:
Cells consist of a nucleus surrounded by the fluid cytoplasm that is contain within the cell membrane. The cell membrane consist of a bimolecular layer which is penetrated by many complex structures, Figure 5.
Figure 5: A schematic diagram of the cell membrane,
showing the alpha helix of the signal transduction apparatus, with its
"Y" shaped receptors.
One of the types of structures that helps to regulate cell activity is the voltage-gated ion channels. They act like transistors, regulating a current flow of ions within voltage ranges, Figure 6.
One of the first biological mechanisms to be identified, confirmed and established is calcium ion efflux (positive and negative), Blackman (1990). One of the early results, Bawin and Adey (1976), is shown in Figure 7.
Calcium ions were induced to flow out of or into cells, depending of the combination of exposure conditions. These combinations are known as "windows" because nearby conditions have markedly different effects. Figure 7 shows RF induced Ca2+ efflux which is associated with enhanced programmed cell death (Apoptosis). The ELF induced and Ca2+ influx is associated with enhanced cell survival of damaged cells, i.e. it enhances cancer.
Gap junctions are protein bridges between cells.
They are fundamental to the cell-to-cell communication that is necessary
to maintain healthy cells, Figure 8.
As shown in Figure 1 above, RF signals couple more strongly to cells and produce far higher induced fields than ELF fields. Hence RF fields are much more likely to alter Gap Junction functions at far lower intensities than ELF fields.
Given the fundamental bioelectrical nature of cells and the ability of imposed electrical signals to alter the voltage of the outsides of cells, the opening or closing the ion channels, is an obvious biological mechanism for altering the nature and future of every cell. Calcium ion efflux from pinealocytes is a plausible mechanism for EMR induced melatonin reduction. In this, and other ways, alteration of cellular calcium ions and melatonin reduction both strongly suggest that EMR is likely to be genotoxic.
Cardiac Electrical Sensitivity:
Hearts are obviously bioelectrical organs. The electrocardiogram (ECG) is a fundamental monitoring tool of cardiologists in diagnosing the state of the heart muscle. The heart-beat occurs as a series of regular electrical pulses Each electric pulse initiates a cascade of calcium ions to flood the heart muscle and cause it to contract. Interference with this regular electrical pulse leads to heart disease and heart attack of the Arrhythmic kind. We would therefore expect electromagnetic radiation to cause arrhythmia and heart attack.
Substances that damage cellular genetic material, such as DNA and chromosomes, are called "genotoxic". Genotoxic substances cause cancer, reproductive health effects and neurological damage. Chromosome aberrations are visible through powerful microscopes. Chromosomes are formed from folded segments of DNA. Damage to chromosomes is therefore evidence of damage to DNA.
DNA is frequently damaged by natural processes, such as oxygen free radicals. Gey (1993) comments that free radicals may be involved in the etiology of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. In epidemiological studies poor plasma levels of antioxidants (free radical scavengers) are associated with increased relative risks of cancer and ischemic heart disease. Cells have elaborate DNA repair mechanisms because DNA stability is vital for species survival. Uncorrected DNA damage is mutation, Alberts et al. (1994). Alberts et al. outline many DNA repair mechanisms, including Repair Enzymes. They also outline the way apoptosis can digest and destroy damaged cells by internal "programming" of the process. The Immune System has B lymphocytes that produce antibody proteins to protect against 'foreign' cells, such as mutated cells. Natural Killer (NK) cells kill some types of tumours and some virus-infected cells, Alberts et al.
Enhanced DNA strand breakage leads to enhanced DNA repair. Hence enhanced DNA repair rates are also used as evidence of DNA damage, Meltz (1995).
Many studies have shown that radiofrequency/microwave (RF/MW) radiation and extremely low frequency (ELF) fields cause increased DNA strand breakage and chromosome aberrations. This has been shown in cell lines, human blood, animals and living human beings. This means that epidemiological studies of people exposed to electromagnetic radiation (EMR) are likely to show increased cancer, miscarriage and reproductive adverse effects. In fact many epidemiological studies have shown these effects, Goldsmith (1995, 1996, 1997, 1997a), Szmigielski (1991, 1996).
Two plausible biological mechanisms involving free radicals are involved in this effect. The first involves increased free radical activity and genetic damage as a response to exposure. The second involves increased free radical activity and genetic damage because of an induced reduction of a free radical scavenger, e.g. reduced melatonin, Reiter (1994). It is clear however, that both mechanisms have the same effect of damaging the DNA and chromosomes. Another established biological mechanism, EMR-induced alteration of cellular calcium ion homeostasis, Blackman (1990), is also involved in cell regulation, cell survival and apoptosis, DNA synthesis and melatonin regulation.
Direct measurements of Chromosome aberrations:
Direct evidence that EMR induces significant increases in chromosome damage, with significant dose response relationships, is evidence of a causal effect when replicated or extended by independent laboratories.
Chromosome damage from RF/MW exposure:
The first identified study that showed that pulsed RF radiation cause significant chromosome aberrations was Heller and Teixeira-Pinto (1959). Garlic roots were exposed to 27 MHz pulsed at 80 to 180 Hz. for 5 min and then they were examined 24 hrs later. The concluded that this RF signal mimicked the chromosomal aberration produced by ionizing radiation and c-mitotic substances. No increased temperature was observed.
Blood samples were taken from the staff of the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. They had been chronically exposed to a low intensity radar signal. Significant increases in chromosome damage was reported, Tonascia and Tonascia (1966) cited in Goldsmith (1997a).
Garaj-Vrhovac et al. (1990) noted the differences and similarities between the mutagenicity of microwaves and VCM (vinyl chloride monomer). They studied a group of workers who were exposed to 10 to 50 m W/cm2 of radar produced microwaves. Some were also exposed to about 5 ppm of VCM, a known carcinogen. Exposure to each of these substances (microwaves and VCM) produced highly significant (p<0.01 to p<0.001) increases in Chromatid breaks, Chromosome breaks, acentric and dicentric breaks in human lymphocytes from blood taken from exposed workers. The results were consistent across two assays, a micronucleus test and chromosome aberration assay.
Chromosome aberrations and micronuclei are significantly higher than the controls, (p<0.05, p<0.001, p<0.0001), for each of the exposure intensity.
Garaj-Vrhovac, Horvat and Koren (1991) exposed Chinese hamster cells to 7.7 GHz microwave radiation to determine cell survival and chromosome damage. They assayed chromosome aberrations and micronuclei and found that microwaves increased these in a dose response manner, Figure 10, to levels that were highly significantly elevated (p<0.02 to p<0.01).
This is very strong evidence of genotoxic effects from RF/MW exposures. When chromosomes are damaged one of the primary protective measures is for the immune system natural killer cells to eliminate the damaged cells. Alternatively the cells can enter programmed cell suicide, apoptosis. Garaj-Vrhovac, Horvat and Koren (1991) measured the cell survival rates. They found that cell survival reduced and the cell death increased in a time dependent and exposure dose response manner, Figure 11.
Figure 11 shows that cell death varies with time and intensity of exposure, down to very low exposure levels. An apparent 'saturation' at high levels also becoming evident. This is probably because of the lethal effect of high intensity microwaves. Since this is an isothermal experiment it raised important questions about the reasons for the cell death as acute genetic damage which is continuously related to microwave exposure down to non-thermal levels.
Figure 13: The time-dependent decrease in the number
of chromosome aberrations for subjects with high numbers of chromosomal
impairments, y = 0.318 - 0.010x, r=0.98. Garaj-Vrhovac and Fucic (1993).
Garaj-Vrhovac (1999) found that 12 workers occupationally exposed to microwave had significantly increased chromosome damage as well as disturbances in the distribution of cells over the first, second and third mitotic divisions.
Quite independently, Maes et al. (1993) found highly significant (p<0.001) increases is the frequency of chromosome aberrations (including dicentric and acentric fragments) and micronuclei in human blood exposed to 2.45 GHz microwaves to 30 to 120 minutes in vitro. The micronuclei assay showed a dose response with time, Figure 15.
Vijayalaxmi et al. (1997) chronically exposed cancer prone mice to 2.45 GHz CW microwaves at an SAR of 1 W/kg for 20 hr/day, 7 days/week for 18 months. Their aim was to determine whether microwaves were genotoxic through determining if there was significant chromosome damage. They found highly significant increases in micronuclei in peripheral blood, from 8 per 2000 cells in sham exposed mice to 9 per 2000 cells microwave exposed mice, and increase of 12.5 %, p<0.001. There was a significant increase of 6.6%, p<0.025, of micronuclei in the bone marrow. They also observed a significant 41 % increase in tumours in the exposed mice compared to the sham exposed mice.
This was a totally unexpected result from this group. A great deal of effort was put into playing down the implications. They describe the increase in peripheral blood as a 0.05%, by dividing the increase of 1 by 2000. This is not a significant increase and this is not the right comparison. It is a deliberate attempt to disguise their true result that shows that microwaves are genotoxic.
Multiple independent studies, in 15 papers, show significant increases in chromosome aberrations from RF/MW exposure. Four studies show dose-response relationships. This is more than adequate to classify RF/MW radiation as genotoxic.
Chromosome damage from ELF exposure:
El Nahas and Oraby (1989) observed significant dose-response dependent micronuclei increase in 50 Hz exposed mice somatic cells. Elevated CA have been recorded in a number of workers in electrical occupations. In Sweden Nordenson et al. (1988) found significant CA in 400 kV-substation workers and with 50 Hz exposures to peripheral human lymphocytes, Nordenson et al. (1984) and human amniotic cells, Nordenson et al. (1994). Significant CA in human lymphocytes exposed to 50 Hz fields are also reported by Rosenthal and Obe (1989), Khalil and Qassem (1991), Garcia-Sagredo and Monteagudo (1991), Valjus et al. (1993) and Skyberg et al. (1993). Skyberg et al. collected their samples from high-voltage laboratory cable splicers and Valjus et al. from power linesmen.
Hence chromosome damage has been recorded from exposes across the EMR spectrum from ELF to RF/MW exposures, in plants, mammal and human cells, animals and human beings, and from many independent laboratories. This confirms that EMR does damage chromosomes and establishes EMR induced chromosome aberrations as a biological effect. For a neoplastic cell to survive it must have an altered genetic structure to store the damage and to hide this from the immune system so that NK cells do not kill the neoplasm transformed cells.
Chromosome Aberrations Conclusions:
Many studies, from independent laboratories, have shown that ELF, RF/MW and cell phone radiation, significantly increases chromosome aberrations in exposed cells, including cells taken from human beings who have been exposed to EMR in occupational situations. Even at very low intensity radar exposures that were experienced at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, significant increases in chromosome damage was measured from human blood samples. This evidence shows conclusively that across the EMR spectrum, EMR is genotoxic. Hence it is carcinogenic and teratogenic.
Direct evidence of neoplasm in microwave exposed cells:
Balcer-Kubiczek and Harrison (1991) observed a significant dose response increase of neoplastic transformation in a standard cell set (C3H/10T1/2) from a 24 hr exposure to 2.45 GHz microwaves. The transformation was assayed after 8 weeks of exposure to a known cancer promoter chemical TPA, Figure 16. The method was confirmed with a positive control using X-rays. This also showed that 60Hz magnetic fields also significantly increased neoplasmic transformation.
Sarkar, Ali and Behari (1994) investigated the effect on DNA of exposures accepted a safe by the Non-ionizing Radiation Committee of IRPA (International Radiation Protection Association - the predecessor of ICNIRP).
The Comet Assay Method:
A very advanced assay of DNA strand breakage has been developed by Dr N.P. Singh at the University of Washington. This is called the microgel electrophoresis or Comet Assay, Singh et al. (1994). The Comet Assay involves migration of segments of DNA down an electric field gradient, Figure 18.
DNA is closely associated with protein and RNA. They help to fold the DNA. To release DNA from these bonds, one has to use Proteinase K to digest proteins and RNAase A to digest RNA. Hence in the morning the slides were treated with DNAase-free proteinase K for 2 hr at 37 ° C to remove the bound protein from the DNA. They were then places on the horizontal slab of an electrophoretic assembly. An electrophoresis buffer is added and the sample is left for 20 min to allow the DNA to unwind. The buffer includes antioxidants to counter the free radicals produced by electrophoresis.
The electrophoresis was then carried out for 60 minutes with 0.4 V/m, 250 mA. During this process the fluid in the assembly is re-circulated at the rate of about 100 ml/min. The negatively charged segments of DNA migrate down the electric field gradient, forming a comet-like tail, the mass of which is proportional to the amount of damaged DNA material and the electric field gradient and time of exposure.
For DNA double-strand breaks the microgel preparation is the same as above. Slides are then treated with ribonuclease A for 2 hr and then proteinase K for 2 hr. They are then placed in the neutral electrophoresis buffer (pH 9) for 20 mins and then electrophorezed for 1 hr at 0.4 V/cm. For both single- and double- strand assays the sample are stained with an intense florescent dye solution of YOYO-1 and then examined in a vertical florescent microscope.
The proteinase K treatment is vital. It removes the bound protein from the DNA strands. DNA and protein have the opposite charge and so for the electric field to cause migration, the protein must be removed. Four slides were prepared for each animal, two for single and two for double-strand assays. Fifty representative cells were scored off each slide, giving 100 cells scored for each of the single and double-strand DNA breaks. Frequency distributions for the 100 assayed cells are presented, Figure 19, and the comet tail moment calculated.
Motorola Funded Counter Research on DNA breakage:
Motorola funded Dr Joseph Roti Roti's group at Washington University, St Louis, to replicate the Lai/Singh DNA damage research and to extend it to cell phone frequencies. "Replication" requires the work to be very closely following the method and conditions of the earlier study. While both groups used 2.45 GHz microwaves for exposure, the follow up study used a cell line (C3H/10T1/2) compared to living rats, and they used a very different DNA damage assay based on Olive et al. (1992) not Singh et al. (1994). This follow up study used a much weaker fluorescent stain, an overall weaker electrophoresis field (0.6 V/cm for 25 mins c.f. 0.4 V/cm for 60 mins) and did not use proteinase K to separate the bound protein from the DNA strands. It is therefore understandable why they didn't observe DNA stand breakage from MW exposure.
There are five primary differences between the Lai and Singh Comet Assay method derived from Singh at al. (1994) used at the University of Washington and the Comet assay method used at Washington University by Malyapa et al, derived from Olive et al. (1992).
The following factors make the Lai/Singh Assay more sensitive than that of Malyapa et al.:
The Comet Assay and EMR effects:
Drs Lai and Singh have now shown that ELF and RF/MW radiation both cause single and double strand DNA breakage and are associated with free radical and reduced melatonin in living exposed rats. Lai and Singh (1995) observed a dose response increase in Single-strand DNA breakage in the ratís brain and hippocampus that increased significantly after 4 hours, Figure 21. The increases in DNA single-strand breakage after 4 hrs is highly significant, p<0.001 and they show a dose-response relationship.
This shows that both continuous and pulsed microwaves cause single and double DNA strand breakage, but pulsed microwaves cause more than continuous waves. Hence pulsed cell phone signals and radar signals are highly likely to cause DNA damage. This has been confirmed for radar and chromosome aberrations above and for cell phones by Phillips et al. (1998).
Figure 23: Effect of treatment with melatonin for
RFR-induced increase in DNA single-strand (left) and double-strand (right)
breaks in rats brain cells. Data was analysed using the one-way ANOVA,
which showed a significant treatment effect (p<0.001) for both cases.
"vehicle" involves injecting with the physiological saline without the
active substance. Lai and Singh (1997)
Two other laboratories have recorded RF/MW produced significant DNA stands breaks. Verschave et al. (1994), who used a GSM cell phone signal to expose human and rat peripheral blood lymphocytes, found significantly increased strand breaks at high, but non-thermal exposure levels. Phillips et al. (1998) exposed Molt-4 T-lymphoblastoid cells the a range of cell phone radiation in the SAR range 0.0024 W/kg to 0.026 W/kg for both iDEN and TDMA signals. Using the basic equations, these SARs at the 813-836 MHz range [SAR = s E2/2r , s =1 S/m, r =800 kg/m3, and S = E2/3.77 m W/cm2, E: the electric field gradient in V/m and S the exposure in m W/cm2] result in 1.0 to 11.0m W/cm2. A 2 hr exposure to these low levels of cell phone radiation significantly increased (p<0.0001) or decreased (p<0.0001) the DNA damage. Decreased DNA damage is evidence of increased repair that is evidence of damage, Meltz (1995).
Hence RF/MW radiation has been confirmed to enhance DNA damage under RF/MW exposure from radar-like and cell phone exposures, including an exposure level which is 0.22% of the ICNIRP guideline.
ELF Exposure and DNA strand breakage:
Four independent laboratories have also published data on ELF induced DNA strand breaks confirming that ELF EMR damages DNA strands; Lai and Singh (1997a), Svedenstal et al. (1998), Phillips et al. (1998a), and Ahuja et al. (1997). Lai and Singh (1997a) also demonstrate the involvement of free radicals and the protective effect of melatonin. With the evidence above that EMR reduces melatonin this confirms that reduced melatonin causes higher concentrations of free radicals which produce more DNA strand breaks from EMR exposure from ELF to RF/MW frequencies. Increased DNA strand breaks will result in increased chromosome aberrations.
Multiple evidence from independent laboratories established that EMR from ELF to RF/MW causes DNA single- and double-strand breaks at very low, non-thermal exposure levels. This extends and confirms the genotoxic evidence from chromosome aberration studies.
EMR Altered Gene Activity
There is also evidence that EMR not only can damage chromosomes and DNA strands, but it is observed to alter cellular calcium ions and the activity levels of proto oncogenes (cancer genes).
Blackman (1990) concluded that there was overwhelming evidence that EMR can alter normal calcium ion homeostasis and lead to changes in the response of biological systems to their environment. On of these changes is altered gene transcription and expression. The lowest published exposure level associated with significant EMR-induced alteration of cellular calcium ions occur is reported by Schwartz et al. (1990). It was 0.00015 W/kg in a 30 min exposure to a 240 MHz signal modulated at 16 Hz. The medium was frog hearts. This is equivalent to an exposure level of about 0.06 m W/cm2.
Calcium ion fluxes occur in "windows" of exposure parameter combinations. Two studies associate EMR exposure alteration of gene transcription with exposure windows. Litovitz et al. (1990) identified amplitude (intensity) windows, and Wei et al. (1990) frequency windows in the range 15 to 150 Hz. They observed a peak effect in c-myc gene transcription at 45 Hz. Liburdy et al. (1993) show that c-myc induction occurs in a direct sequence from calcium ion influx. Increased c-myc gene transcripts by 50/60 Hz fields has also been observed, Goodman et al. (1989, 1992) and Lin et al. (1994). Phillips et al. (1992, 1993) observed time-dependent changes in the transcription of c-fos, c-jun, c-myc and protein kinase C, from 60 Hz exposure and a linear reduction in ras p21 expression by a 72 Hz signal. 50/60 Hz signals altered c-jun and c-fos gene expression as observed by and Lagroye and Poncy (1998) and c-fos expression by Rao and Henderson (1996) and Campbell-Beachler et al. (1998). The ppSom gene is very important in human neurological disorders, and is regulated by calcium ions Capone, Choi and Vertifuille (1998).
Cell phone radiation (836.55 MHz) significantly altered c-jun transcript levels, Ivaschuk et al. (1997). Cell phone radiation significantly enhances the proto oncogene c-fos activity in C3H 10T 1/2 cells, from a 40 % (p=0.04) increase from a digital cell phone and a 2-fold increase (p=0.001) from an analogue cell phone, Goswami et al. (1999).
Hence proto oncogene activity is altered and enhanced in multiple independent experiments from ELF and RF/MW exposure, including cell phone radiation.
Immune system impairment by EMR
Impairment of the immune system is related to calcium ion efflux, Walleczek (1992) and to reduced melatonin, Reiter and Robinson (1995). Cossarizza et al. (1993) showed that ELF fields increased both the spontaneous and PHA and TPA- induced production of interleukin-1 and IL-6 in human peripheral blood. Rats exposed to microwaves showed a significant reduction in splenic activity of natural killer (NK) cells, Nakamura et al. (1997).
Dmoch and Moszczynski (1998) found that microwave exposed workers had decreased NK cells and a lower value of the T-helper/T-suppressor ratio was found. Moszczynski et al. (1999) observed increased IgG and IgA and decreased lymphocytes and T8 cells in TV signal exposed workers. Quan et al. (1992) showed that microwave heating of human breast milk highly significantly suppressed the specific immune system factors for E.Coli bacteria compared with conventional heating. Chronic, 25 year, exposure to an extremely low intensity (<0.1m W/cm2) 156-162 MHz, 24.4 Hz pulse frequency, radar signal in Latvia produced significant alterations in the immune system factors of exposed villagers, Bruvere et al. (1998).
EMR Reduces Melatonin in Animals and People
DNA strand breaks, Chromosome Aberrations, impaired immune system competence and many other biological and health effects, are caused by reduced melatonin, Reiter and Robinson (1995). Light-at-night and electromagnetic radiation, are proven to reduce melatonin and hence pose significant adverse health effects.
The evidence for EMR reduction of melatonin is summarized here. Rosen, Barber and Lyle (1998) state that seven different laboratories have reported suppression of nighttime rise in pineal melatonin production in laboratory animals. They show that a 50 m T, 60 Hz field with a 0.06m T DC field, over 10 experiments, averages a 46% reduction in melatonin production from pinealocytes. Stark et al. (1997) observed a significant increase in salival melatonin in a group of 5 cows when the short-wave radio transmitter at Schwarzenberg, Switzerland, was turned off for three days, compared to 5 cows that had much lower RF exposure. Hence there are now nine independent observations of melatonin reduction in animals from ELF and RF exposure.
Fifteen studies from show that ELF and RF/MW exposure reduces melatonin and enhances serotonin in people. Evidence that EMR reduced melatonin in human beings commenced with Wang (1989) who found that workers who were more highly exposed to RF/MW had a dose-response increase in serotonin, and hence indicates a dose-response reduction in melatonin. Fourteen studies have observed significant EMR associated melatonin reduction in humans. They involve a wide range of exposure situations. This includes 16.7 Hz fields, Pfluger et al. (1996); 50/60 Hz fields, Wilson et al. (1990), Graham et al. (1994), Wood et al. (1998), Karasek et al. (1998), Burch et al. (1997, 1998, 1999a, 2000), Juutilainen et al. (2000) and Graham et al. (2000a); combination of 60 Hz fields and cell phone use, Burch et al. (1997,1999a); VDTs ELF/RF exposures, Arnetz et al. (1996), and a combination of occupational 60Hz exposure and increased geomagnetic activity around 30nT, Burch et al. (1999b).
The fourteenth human melatonin reduction study is from 6.1-21.8 MHz SW RF exposure as reported during the shutting down process of the Schwarzenburg shortwave radio tower, Professor Theo Abelin (seminar and pers.comm.). Urinary melatonin levels were monitored prior to and following the closing down of the Schwarzenburg short wave radio transmitter. This showed a significant rise in melatonin after the signal was turned off.
Fifteen studies is sufficient to establish that EMR reduces melatonin in people from exposures across the EMR spectrum, and at extremely low mean exposure levels.
There is more than sufficient evidence of chromosome aberrations, DNA strand breakage altered oncogene activity and neoplastic transformation if cells to conclude that EMR across the spectrum from ELF to RF/MW is genotoxic. This is independently confirmed by the established biological mechanisms of calcium ion efflux and melatonin reduction.
His is also totally independent of over a hundred occupational groups showing elevated cancer from EMR exposure, scores showing significantly to extremely significantly elevated cancer incidence and mortality, and dozens of dose response relationships.
Epidemiological dose-response relationships from RF/MW exposures:
Dose-response relationships are shown here because they are very strong evidence of cause and effect and they give guidance as to the exposure levels involved. It should be noted however, that many other studies show significant increases in all of the cancer, cardiac, neurological and reproductive effects reported here. All occur at long-term mean exposure levels more than 100 times below the ICNIRP guideline, and residential studies involve mean exposures more than 1000 times lower than the public exposure guideline.
The guidance given by Sir Austin Bradford Hill, Hill (1965) shows that even a consistent non-significant relationship can be assessed as a causal effect. When a dose response relationship is obtained then it is very strong evidence of a causal effect.
"Classic" RF/MW studies:
Two U.S. radar exposure studies are classically quoted as showing no effects. This is not true to the data contained in Lilienfeld et al. (1978) and Robinette et al. (1980). Both show significantly elevated mortality and morbidity for a range of diseases, including cancer, cardiac and neurological diseases. Some symptoms also occur with significant dose-response relationships.
Lilienfeld et al. (1978) report on the health effects of staff and dependents exposed to low level radar signals during tours of duty at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.
Dose-response relationships as a function of years of exposure to these radar signals are shown in Figure 25 for Present Health Summary (p=0.05), Arthritis/Rheumatism (p=0.02), Back Pain (p=0.04), Skin and Lymphatic disease (p=0.02) and Vaginal Discharge (p=0.04). Figure 26 shows the dose-responses for Vascular System disease (p=0.004) and Ear Problems (p=0.02).Hence this study suggests that chronic exposure to extremely low intensity RF/MW radiation from radar produces a wide range of illnesses in a dose-response manner.
Global Leukaemia dose response for RF/MW exposure:
Leukaemia is frequently significantly raised in RF/MW exposed populations. Table 1 summarizes several studies that are ranked in mean exposure order. Military, occupational and residential studies shows a global dose response relationship for increased adult leukaemia and RF/MW exposure with a dose-response threshold close to zero.
When actual residential exposures are considered,
dose responses for residential cancer are also shown by Dolk et al. (1997
a,b) and Michelozzi et al. (1998). These show a causal effect of adult
and childhood leukaemia are levels of residential exposure involving exposure
levels produced by cell sites out to over 500m.
Category Type Ratio Interval
Polish Military Szmigielski (1996) High ALL 5.75 1.22-18.16
(Mortality) CML 13.90 6.72-22.12
CLL 3.68 1.45-5.18
AML 8.62 3.54-13.67
All Leuk. 6.31 3.12-14.32
Korean War Robinette et al. (1980) High Leuk/Lymp 2.22 1.02-4.81
Radar Exposure (Mortality) AT/ET
Radio and TV Milham (1985) Moderate Acute Leuk. 3.44
Repairmen Leuk. 1.76
Amateur Radio Milham (1988) Moderate AML 1.79 1.03-2.85
UK Sutton Dolk et al. (1997a) Moderate Leuk 1.83 1.22-2.74
North Sydney Hocking et al.(1996) Low All Leuk. 1.17 0.96-1.43
TV/FM towers ALL+CLL 1.39 1.00-1.92
(Mortality) AML+CML 1.01 0.82-1.24
Other Leuk 1.57 1.01-2.46
UK TV/FM Dolk et al. (1997b) Low Adult Leuk. 1.03 1.00-1.07
Note: ALL : Acute Lymphatic Leukemia; CLL: Chronic Lymphatic Leukaemia; AML Acute Myeloid Leukaemia; CML: Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia; and All Leuk.: All Adult Leukaemia.
Childhood Cancer in the vicinity of the Sutra Tower, San Francisco:
Many studies have identified elevated childhood leukaemia for children living in the vicinity of high voltage powerlines, Hardell et al. (1995), including a dose-response relationships, Wertheimer and Leeper (1979), Savitz et al. (1988), London et al. (1991) and Feychting et al. (1995). These should be sufficient for a causal relationship.
Brains are very electromagnetically sensitive because our sight, thoughts, memories, learning and emotions use complex electromagnetic signals. Research in Germany in the post war period proved that human brains detect and use extremely small natural low frequency (ELF) EMR signals, Wever (1974), Konig (1974). Since RF/MW signals induce higher currents in human tissues and low frequency signals it is inevitable that we will observe neurological effects from chronic RF/MW exposures.
Recent studies have revealed some neurological dose response relationships for sleep disturbance, Multiple Sclerosis and Suicide at extremely low exposures to RF and ELF exposures. Beale et al. (1997) found significant dose response for psychological symptoms, including anxiety and depression, living in proximity to high voltage powerlines. This strongly confirms the sensitivity of human brains to EMR exposure.
These studies have early roots in U.S. Embassy in Moscow study. Lilienfeld et al. (1978), showed significant neurological effects from chronic low level radar exposure, including Depression (p=0.004), Irritability (p=0.009), Memory Loss (p=0.008) and Difficulty in Concentrating (p=0.001).
These are all symptoms related to melatonin reduction. The Korean War Study, Robinette et al. (1980) also found increased neurological health effects from personnel who were exposed to radar on ships during the Korean War. These symptoms between a high exposure group (FT+AT) and a low exposure group (ET), Mental Conditions, RR = 1.68, 95%CI: 1.13-2.50, p<0.01 and Neurological illness, RR = 1.42, 95%CI: 0.74-2.72.
Mild et al. (1998) show significant dose-response relationships for cell phone usage and headaches, dizziness, memory loss, discomfort, fatigue, and loss of concentration. Dose responses were shown for both calls/day and minutes/day. Figures 33 and 34 show the minutes/day graphs for Norway and Sweden, respectively. Norway is dominantly analogue and Sweden digital.
The analogue phones used in Norway typically have higher SAR levels than the digital phones used in Sweden. The sensation of warmth on an behind the ear is much stronger in Norway. The symptoms reported in Norway are somewhat more prevalent than in Sweden. For example, the Fatigue prevalence in Norway for more than 60 mins per day is 28% and in Sweden it is 20%. The difference is quite marked for all symptoms except Concentration and Memory Loss. These are the same symptoms that have frequently been reported as "Microwave Sickness Syndrome" or "Radiofrequency Sickness Syndrome", Baranski and Czerski (1976) and Johnson-Liakouris (1998).
The Schwarzenburg Study, Alpeter et al. (1995) and Abelin (1999) showed a causal relationship of sleep disturbance with exposure to a short wave radio signal. The effect is assessed as causal because of the significant dose response relationship, the variation of sleep disturbance in two experiments, one involving changing the beams and one turning the transmitter off, and the identification of significant melatonin reduction. Professor Abelin told seminars in Christchurch that they had measured a significant increase in melatonin after the tower transmission was turned off permanently compared to the levels while it was on.
Groups B, R and C are all exposed to a mean RF signal of less than 0.1m W/cm2 and they experienced highly significant sleep disturbance and reduced melatonin. Since sleep disturbance, Mann and Roschkle (1995), and melatonin reduction, Burch et al. (1997), has been observed with cell phone exposure. Hence these observations also apply to cell phones and cell sites.
A study of 26,124 men working in Danish utility companies were studied for their incidence of multiple sclerosis (MS) in relation to average work-related exposure to electromagnetic fields. A small group of 15 men were shown to have a dose-response incidence of MS as a function of EMF exposure, Figure 37. The lowest group is used as a reference (RR=1.0).
Suicide in U.S. Electric Utility Workers:
A very large study of men working in U.S. electric utility companies included monitoring time weighted average ELF exposures of 2842 people and the identification of 536 deaths from suicide and 5348 controls. For recent exposure and 1 to 5 years of recent exposure there were significant dose-response relationships with cumulative exposure to electromagnetic fields. The recent exposure result is shown in Figure 38.
This confirms the results of Perry et al. (1981)
who found a highly significant association between suicide and the exposure
to magnetic fields from High Voltage Powerlines. Baris and Armstrong (1990)
also found RF exposure shows a significant 53% increase in suicide or British
Radio and Radar Mechanics, and 156 % increase for Telegraph radio operators.
Brain Tumour with VDT exposure:
Beall et al. (1997) found significant increases in brain tumour, especially glioma, among long-term workers using computers who are exposed to a mix of ELF and RF radiation from the VDTs. For long-term computer users, Engineering/technical users show a non-significant dose response, but computer programmers show a significant dose-response relationship, Figure 39.
GABA is a primary neurotransmitter that is involved in many neurological processes. Many neurological systems have up to 60% of the synapses that are regulated by GABA (gamma-amino butyric Acid). Substances that alter GABA can cause abnormal pathologies. Kolomytkin et al. (1995) conclude that GABA systems are very sensitive to microwaves. GABA indicator molecules are altered in a dose-response manner by microwaves in living rat brains, Figure 40.
Since human brains detect and use naturally occurring ELF signals under 1pW/cm2 then our brains can detect and react to signals many orders of magnitude higher than this. Interactions include resonant absorption of signals with particular ELF signal or modulation frequency ranges, and interference with the natural signals so that they cannot reliably perform their functions. These functions include regulations of hormones such as melatonin and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). Both of these have been shown to be reduced by cell phone exposures. Reduced melatonin leads to increased DNA strand breaks and chromosome aberrations. These in turn lead to cancer and reproductive effects.
Cardiac Effects of EMR:
Hearts use natural electric pulses to produce heart-beats. An electric pulse produces a cascade of calcium ions that cause the heart muscle to contract. The Electrocardiogram (ECG) is used to monitor heart activity and can detect heart disease through the altered electrical signals. Hence it is biologically plausible that electric signals, that are shown to interfere with artificial pacemakers, can also interfere with the natural heart-beat. This has been shown in several studies in relation to reduction of the heart rate variability (HRV). This is a known risk factor for heart disease.
Satre, Cook and Graham (1998) observed significantly reduced heart rate variability (HRV) in volunteers sleeping in 60Hz fields. Extrinsic EMR signals interfere with hearts and cause heart disease and death. Bortkiewicz et al. (1995, 1996, 1997) and Szmigielski et al. (1998) found that RF exposure altered heart rate variability and blood pressure. Forman et al.(1982) present case studies of microwave exposed personnel with induced hypertension. Braune et al. (1998) showed that cell phone significantly increased blood pressure. Savitz et al. (1999) found a highly significant dose response relationship for mortality from Arrhythmia related heart disease and heart attack (Acute Myocardial Infarction) for exposed electrical occupations and for individual occupations of electrician, lineman and power plant operator.
Hamburger, Logue and Silverman (1983) observed significant dose responses for heart disease for male physiotherapists as a function of treatments per month with microwaves, OR = 2.51 (1.09-5.78), Trend p<0.05); shortwave, OR = 3.40 (1.56-7.39), trend p=0.005; and Combined Microwave and Shortwave, OR = 2.88 (1.21-6.70), trend p=0.025.
This is a powerful set of epidemiological evidence showing that EMR across the spectrum increases the incidence and mortality from arrhythmia related heart disease and from heart attack. The following graph shows the dose-response curve for Acute Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack) in electric utility workers, Figure 41.
Miscarriage in microwave exposed Physiotherapists, United States:
Physiotherapists have been exposed to microwaves and shortwave radiation in the course of diathermy of patients. From a large survey group 6,684 women reported using microwave or shortwave radiation at some time during their work history. A total of 1753 pregnancies involving first trimester miscarriage were matched to 1753 control pregnancies. This revealed a 7%, but non-significant rise in miscarriage associated with shortwave exposure and a significant 28% increase in first trimester miscarriage for those exposed to microwaves, including a highly significant (p<0.005) dose response relationship, Figure 42.
Exposure levels were based on 3 minutes exposure per treatment to 600m W/cm2, a peak exposure level near the middle of the reported range. This gives 0.042m W/cm2 per treatment per month, to give a month mean dose response based on treatments per month.
Reproductive effects in mice has been shown in residential RF exposures by Magras and Xenos (1997). Mice became totally infertile after 3 generations in 1.05m W/cm2 and after 5 generations exposed to 0.17m W/cm2, Figure 44. This shows a dose-response for RF induced infertility. Youbicier-Simo et al. (1998) showed that mobile phone significantly increased the mortality of chicken embryos.
Since calcium ion efflux and melatonin reduction are established biological effects of EMR exposure from ELF to RF/MW, impair immune systems should be observed in EMR exposures. Multiple independent evidence is available for RF exposures, down to extremely low chronic mean levels, and many dose response relationships are established to prove that these biological effects from EMR exposure is genotoxic. Significant DNA strand breakage has been observed down to 1 m W/cm2, Phillips et al. (1998), with elevated DNA damage below this. Therefore there is extremely strong evidence that EMR across the spectrum is genotoxic, even at very low exposure levels found in the vicinity of cell sites, Figure 45.
Cell Phone Conclusions:
Cell phones will high probably increase many neurological diseases and brain tumours over the next 10 to 20 years
Cell sites will highly probably increase miscarriage, many cancers, many diseases, significant neurological and cardiac diseases and death.
Thousands of cell sites being installed in communities, are significantly raising the exposure of millions of people to RF/MW at levels that are know to cause serious adverse health effects.
The problems are going to increase unless rapid, drastic and determined moves are made to reverse the trend and only install new sites in locations that produce extremely low mean residential exposures,
somewhat less than 10 nW/cm2 (0.01m W/cm2).
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