This is where all the debate regarding EMFs and the coming 5G safety concerns begin. The answer is, it depends who you ask...
The picture pretty much tells the story. There are 2 types of scientist debating this issue. The first are industry associated scientists responsible for setting the official safe levels. If you had asked them 10 years ago if the EMFs we’re exposed to daily were really harmful they would have said “What? Harmful? Of course not! Where did you hear this conspiracy nonsense?”. However if you ask them today they will reluctantly say... “possibly”.
The second type of scientist are the rest i.e. those not associated with policy making or the industry. 10 years ago they would have said “absolutely”, and today they would say “absolutely, but way more than we ever thought”. It is difficult to explain the discrepancies in the findings between these 2 groups without consideration of funding bias or some other form of corrupted science.
We therefore must examine the science for ourselves and ultimately decide for ourselves who to believe. Could it be the scientists who are funded by the companies who stand to profit enormously from the technology, or those who aren't?
This section is an attempt to make the science a little bit more accessible listing some of the main detrimental effects EMF exposure has on the human body. Those effects range from poor sleep and headaches all the way to leukaemia and cancer. However if you want to really get deep into the science the Bioinitiative Report is the place to go. It is an overview study of over 4000 studies relating to EMFs and health effects and is the gold standard of EMF health effects science. They have summary tables which are pages upon pages of summaries like this which allow you to scan through and find the particular studies you're interested in.
There are many sites that have a large list of EMF health effects but don't have any sources for the claims. The list below is definitely not a comprehensive list of all EMF health effects, there are more, but it is meant as an introduction to the science on specific effects. The intent as time permits is to continually add more relevant studies in order to help people do their own research.
I’ve read a fair chunk of the studies in the Bioinitiative Report, sat through numerous lectures and seminars and have many hours research behind me on this subject so rather than just start listing studies demonstrating detrimental health effects let me first try to give an overview of what to expect. What we’ve been told is that low frequency, low strength EMF radiation from mobile phones and cell towers passes harmlessly through our bodies, not interfering with anything. However, to say it passes harmlessly through not interfering with anything couldn't be more incorrect.
Here's my attempt to summarize why…
Our bodies are complex bio-electric systems made up of many moving molecular parts. In the human brain alone there are about 150 known proteins which are then combined with numerous neurotransmitter chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine which produce about 200 known signals/messages to the brain. How many of each of these are present and in what quantity determines how you’re feeling at any particular moment in time.
Now, let’s replace our complexed brain with a trusty kitchen knife. Run a magnet along the knife a few times in one direction. The knife appears unharmed. But, although the physical structure of the knife is unchanged something has actually happened. Even though the magnet did not damage the knife its presence created change within the knife. Molecules in the knife were attracted/repelled by the magnet's charge as it passed by resulting in a ‘lining up’ of molecules by charge and actually magnetizing the knife.
Every molecule in our bodies has a tiny amount of electric charge and the scientific studies in the Bioinitiative Report describe a similar thing to the magnet and knife a thousand different ways with our bodies as the knife, and EMFs as the magnet. Where the knife magnetizes the EMFs affect production and grouping of different molecules within the body in different ways.
For example EMF radiation has been shown to increase production or occurrence of molecules known as ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) which then freely roam attacking healthy tissue much like oxygen rusts iron. Further studies exist which show certain EMFs cause these ROS molecules to group together making them even more damaging to healthy tissue. Other studies demonstrate these types of effects with different molecules resulting in different effects, elevated levels of the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) which can directly lead to hypothyroidism for example, or blood cell clumping causing headaches.
The effects can be less direct also, such as certain EMFs shown to expand the blood-brain barrier, which in turn allows toxins into the brain area, the list of detrimental health effects is very long. Each study you read will be either describing a newly discovered effect, or confirming a previously discovered effect. It's also worth noting the findings aren't always intentional or expected so some of the studies can be on something completely unrelated with the bit we're interested in as a small part. So don't feel you need to read every part of every paper, there's just too much for any one person.
Please feel free to help grow this section by sending any links to studies you feel should be included.Suggest link
Studies have shown that EMF exposure inhibits the pineal gland’s ability to produce melatonin, the hormone responsible for the quality and quantity of sleep we get. Obvious knock-on effects of this can be fatigue and low energy but our bodies also repair themselves, clear out toxins etc. when we sleep so there are many less obvious side effects also.
There are lots of studies linking headaches to EMF exposure, particularly in relation to mobile phone use. Phones are a particular problem due the fact that they are usually held right next to the head, often for long periods of time.
It seems that the EMFs emitted from mobile phones have a negative effect on the blood-brain barrier causing it to open more than it should and allow toxins to cross into the brain. They also affect the dopamine-opiate systems of the brain as well as causing blood cell clumping, all of which are involved in headaches.
Fatigue along with many other symptoms of EMF exposure is a knock on effect of poor quality sleep. Sleep is crucial to our bodys' feedback and repair processes. Your body is actually hard at work during sleep recovering from damage, clearing toxins and protecting itself against illness. When these processes get interrupted by EMF exposure there are many ways our bodies can suffer, with general low energy all the way to chronic fatigue being possibilities.
EMF exposure has been found to have a detrimental effect on the body's immune system. They can stimulate various allergic and inflammatory responses, as well as hinder the tissue repair processes. This has a dual effect of both lengthening the recovery time the body needs to repair itself while also leaving us more susceptible to a variety of other illnesses.
These detrimental health effects are grouped together because the same neurological mechanisms in the brain relate to them all.
The levels of the 143 odd proteins in the brain combined with the levels of neurotransmitter chemicals such as serotonin and dopamine which transmit over 200 known messages will determine how you're feeling at any given time.
EMFs have been shown to disrupt production of these chemicals resulting in chemical imbalances that can cause adverse effects on mood, memory, learning, and stress levels.
Emfs interfere with our immune system in many different ways and a number of studies have reported asthma as one of the symptoms. The mechanism appears to be interference with the immune system causing excessive release of protective measures such as histamines and cytokines, resulting in the familiar wheezing and shortness of breath. Other studies however have found greatly increased risk of asthma in children where the pregnant mother has been exposed to EMFs.
A 2016 study summarizing data from 27 other studies found that 21 of the them demonstrated that radio frequency radiation caused damage to sperm. The conclusion is that the mechanism for the damage arises from mitochondria dysfunction leading to elevated ROS (reactive chemicals) production in the body, although outright DNA damage in the sperm was also found in some.
On the female side a 2017 study of over 900 pregnant women demonstrated exposure to magnetic field radiation greater than 2.5mG meant women were almost 3 times more likely to experience miscarriage. This reinforces data found in other studies associating EMF exposure with miscarriage but just to put this into perspective in 2010 the ICNIRP decided to revise its official safe level of magnetic field radiation from 1000mG... to 2000mG!
Studies have shown that EMF exposure can affect affect heart rhythm and blood pressure and directly and/or indirectly have a negative effect on the cardiovascular system.
The same neurological mechanisms that are associated with anxiety, depression and mood swings are also associated with our memory. Also known as brain fog memory loss deserves it's own section due to the devastating effect it can have to both the individual and their families when chronic levels are reached.
Unfortunately alzheimers and dementia levels are only likely to increase in the future.
Studies have demonstrated that EMF exposure can result in elevated levels of the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) which can directly lead to hypothyroidism. Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain and fatigue as well as depression, memory loss and a host of other problems.
Autism levels have increased 60 fold since the 1970s and the last decade has seen the largest rise. Studies link EMF exposure to Autism through the bodies reduced ability to detoxify from heavy metals.
Studies have demonstrated associations between EMF exposure and cancer. There is still plenty of debate regarding leukemia. At least one study has found increased leukemia occurrence in homes with magnetic EMF levels above 3 to 4 mG.
In 2016 the US National Toxicology Program spent $25 million investigating whether radio frequency radiation similar to that coming from 2G and 3G mobile phones could induce cancer in rodents.
Conclusion: "Clear evidence of malignant tumours"
Bradford Hill’s viewpoints from 1965 on association or causation were used on glioma risk and use of mobile or cordless phones.
Conclusion: "RF radiation should be regarded as a human carcinogen causing glioma."