Human studies A-Z
Citations re electromagnetic radiation

Borbely A.A. et al. Pulsed high-frequency electromagnetic field affects human sleep and sleep electroencephalogram. Neurosci. Lett. 1999; 275(3): 207-210.

Goldsmith JR. Epidemiologic evidence relevant to radar (microwave) effects. Environ Health Perspect. 1997 Dec;105 Suppl 6:1579-87. Review. PMID: 9467086 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
    Public and occupational exposures to microwave (RF) radiation are of two main types. The first type of exposures are those connected with military and industrial uses and, to some extent, broadcast exposures. It is this type that most of the data cited in this study draw upon. The second type, cellular telephones and their associated broadcast requirements, have raised concerns about current exposures because of their increasingly widespread use. Four types of effects were originally reported in multiple studies: increased spontaneous abortion, shifts in red and white blood cell counts, increased somatic mutation rates in lymphocytes, and increased childhood, testicular, and other cancers. In addition, there is evidence of generalized increased disability rates from a variety of causes in one study and symptoms of sensitivity reactions and lenticular opacity in at least one other. These findings suggest that RF exposures are potentially carcinogenic and have other health effects. Therefore, prudent avoidance of unneeded exposures is recommended as a precautionary measure. Epidemiologic studies of occupational groups such as military users and air traffic controllers should have high priority because their exposures can be reasonably well characterized and the effects reported are suitable for epidemiologic monitoring. Additional community studies are needed. -- Environ Health Perspect 105(Suppl 6):1579-1587 (1997)

Goldsmith JR.   Epidemiologic Evidence of Radiofrequency Radiation (Microwave) Effects on Health in Military, Broadcasting, and Occupational Studies.Int J Occup Environ Health. 1995 Jan;1(1):47-57. PMID: 9990158 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
    In this opinion piece, the author brings together and discusses the collective relevance of possible health effects of microwave or radar exposure in military, broadcasting, and occupational circumstances, with a view to assuring optimal protective practices. Sources of the information presented include 1) historical data, 2) experiences of Polish soldiers, 3) a study of U.S. naval personnel using radar in the Korean War, 4) preliminary findings of exposures to the Skrunda, Latvia, transmitter, 5) data obtained near Hawaiian broadcasting facilities, 6) occupational studies of electronic and electrical workers, including ham radio operators, 7) reproductive outcomes among physiotherapists using short-wave and microwave diathermy, and 8) U.S. foreign service personnel exposed at Embassies in Eastern Europe. Some of the data are available in the peer-reviewed literature, others in abstracts, reports, or other non-peer-reviewed forms. Some were obtained under Freedom of Information statutes and are incomplete. For some of these, there is reason to believe that further evidence desired by the investigator was not obtained. Some are case-referent studies, but most are not. Some are ecological, and all are retrospective. Few have reliable dose estimations, and none has accurate dosage information on each subject. None includes evidence of tissue heating or any short-term effect. Possible outcomes considered included 1) blood count changes, 2) evidence of somatic mutation, 3) impairment of reproductive outcomes, especially increased spontaneous abortion, and 4) increase in cancer incidence and mortality, especially of the hematopoietic system, brain, and breast. The author presents evidence that sufficient microwave exposures are associated with all four of these outcomes, concluding that the possible effects and their timings with respect to exposure are qualitatively similar to those on ionizing radiation. A prudent course of action would be to provide more protection for those exposed than required by present regulations. No systematic effort to include negative studies is made; thus this review has a positive reporting bias.

Hocking B, Westerman R. Neurological effects of radiofrequency radiation. Occup Med (Lond). 2003 Mar;53(2):123-7. Review. PMID: 12637597 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
BACKGROUND: The health effects of radiofrequency radiation (RFR) and the adequacy of the safety standards are a subject of debate. One source of human data is case reports regarding peripheral neurological effects of RFR, mainly noxious sensations or dysaesthesiae. AIM: To investigate health effects, neurophysiological mechanisms and safety levels for RFR. METHODS: We conducted a literature search for case reports and case series associated with mobile phone technology as well as other RFR sources using specific search terms on PubMed. RESULTS: We identified 11 original articles detailing case reports or case series and matching the search criteria. Five of the identified papers were written by at least one of the authors (B.H. or R.W.). CONCLUSIONS: Cases have arisen after exposure to much of the radiofrequency range. In some cases, symptoms are transitory but lasting in others. After very high exposures, nerves may be grossly injured. After lower exposures, which may result in dysaesthesia, ordinary nerve conduction studies find no abnormality but current perception threshold studies have found abnormalities. Only a small proportion of similarly exposed people develop symptoms. The role of modulations needs clarification. Some of these observations are not consistent with the prevailing hypothesis that all health effects of RFR arise from thermal mechanisms.

Hocking B, Gordon I, Hatfield GE. Childhood leukaemia and TV towers revisited. Aust N Z J Public Health. 1999 Feb;23(1):104-5. No abstract available. PMID: 10083700 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Hocking B, Gordon I, Hatfield G. TV towers and childhood leukaemia (continued)Aust N Z J Public Health. 2000 Apr;24(2):216-7. No abstract available. PMID: 10790947 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Hocking B, Gordon I, Hatfield G, Grain H.Re: "Cancer incidence near radio and television transmitters in Great Britain. I. Sutton Coldfield transmitter. II. All high power transmitters".Am J Epidemiol. 1998 Jan 1;147(1):90-1. No abstract available. PMID: 9440406 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Hocking B, Gordon IR, Grain HL, Hatfield GE. Cancer incidence and mortality and proximity to TV towers.Med J Aust. 1996 Dec 2-16;165(11-12):601-5. Erratum in: Med J Aust 1997 Jan 20;166(2):80.  PMID: 8985435 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
OBJECTIVE: To determine whether there is an increased cancer incidence and mortality in populations exposed to radiofrequency radiations from TV towers. DESIGN: An ecological study comparing cancer incidence and mortality, 1972-1990, in nine municipalities, three of which surround the TV towers and six of which are further away from the towers. (TV radiofrequency radiation decreases with the square of the distance from the source.) Cancer incidence and mortality data were obtained from the then Commonwealth Department of Human Services and Health. Data on frequency, power, and period of broadcasting for the three TV towers were obtained from the Commonwealth Department of Communications and the Arts. The calculated power density of the radiofrequency radiation in the exposed area ranged from 8.0 microW/cm2 near the towers to 0.2 microW/cm2 at a radius of 4km and 0.02 microW/cm2 at 12 km. SETTING: Northern Sydney, where three TV towers have been broadcasting since 1956. OUTCOME MEASURES: Rate ratios for leukaemia and brain tumour incidence and mortality, comparing the inner with the outer areas. RESULTS: For all ages, the rate ratio for total leukaemia incidence was 1.24 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.09-1.40). Among children, the rate ratio for leukaemia incidence was 1.58 (95% CI, 1.07-2.34) and for mortality it was 2.32 (95% CI, 1.35-4.01). The rate ratio for childhood lymphatic leukaemia (the most common type) was 1.55 (95% CI, 1.00-2.41) for incidence and 2.74 (95% CI, 1.42-5.27) for mortality. Brain cancer incidence and mortality were not increased. CONCLUSION: We found an association between increased childhood leukaemia incidence and mortality and proximity to TV towers.


Mann K, Roschke J. Effects of pulsed high-frequency electromagnetic fields on human sleep. Neuropsychobiology. 1996;33(1):41-7. PMID: 8821374 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
    In the present study we investigated the influence of pulsed high-frequency electromagnetic fields of digital mobile radio telephones on sleep in healthy humans. Besides a hypnotic effect with shortening of sleep onset latency, a REM suppressive effect with reduction of duration and percentage of REM sleep was found. Moreover, spectral analysis revealed qualitative alterations of the EEG signal during REM sleep with an increased spectral power density. Knowing the relevance of REM sleep for adequate information processing in the brain, especially concerning mnestic functions and learning processes, the results emphasize the necessity to carry out further investigations on the interaction of this type of electromagnetic fields and the human organism.

OBERFELD et al. 1may04 The Microwave Syndrome: Further Aspects of a Spanish Study 

A health survey was carried out in La ora, Murcia, Spain, in the vicinity of two GSM 900/1800 MHz cellular phone base stations. The E-field (~ 400 MHz 3 GHz) measured in the bedroom was divided in tertiles (0.02 0.04 / 0.05 0.22 / 0.25 1.29 V/m). Spectrum analysis revealed the main contribution and variation for the E-field from the GSM base station. The adjusted (sex, age, distance) logistic regression model showed statistically significant positive exposure-response associations between the E-field and the following variables: fatigue, irritability, headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, sleeping disorder, depressive tendency, feeling of discomfort, difficulty in concentration, loss of memory, visual disorder, dizziness and cardiovascular problems. The inclusion of the distance, which might be a proxy for the sometimes raised "concerns explanation", did not alter the model substantially. These results support the first statistical analysis based on two groups (arithmetic mean 0,65 V/m versus 0,2 V/m) as well as the correlation coefficients between the E-field and the symptoms (Navarro et al, "The Microwave Syndrome: A preliminary Study in Spain", Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, Volume 22, Issue 2, (2003): 161 169). Based on the data of this study the advice would be to strive for levels not higher than 0.02 V/m for the sum total, which is equal to a power density of 0.0001 W/cm or 1 W/m, which is the indoor exposure value for GSM base stations proposed on empirical evidence by the Public Health Office of the Government of Salzburg in 2002.

Richter E, Berman T, Ben-Michael E, Laster R, Westin JB. Cancer in radar technicians exposed to radiofrequency/microwave radiation: sentinel episodes. Int J Occup Environ Health. 2000 Jul-Sep;6(3):187-93. PMID: 10926722 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
    Controversy exists concerning the health risks from exposures to radiofrequency/microwave irradiation (RF/MW). The authors report exposure-effect relationships in sentinel patients and their co-workers, who were technicians with high levels of exposure to RF/MW radiation. Information about exposures of patients with sentinel tumors was obtained from interviews, medical records, and technical sources. One patient was a member of a cohort of 25 workers with six tumors. The authors estimated relative risks for cancer in this group and latency periods for a larger group of self-reported individuals. Index patients with melanoma of the eye, testicular cancer, nasopharyngioma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, and breast cancer were in the 20-37-year age group. Information about work conditions suggested prolonged exposures to high levels of RF/MW radiation that produced risks for the entire body. Clusters involved many different types of tumors. Latency periods were extremely brief in index patients and a larger self-reported group. The findings suggest that young persons exposed to high levels of RF/MW radiation for long periods in settings where preventive measures were lax were at increased risk for cancer. Very short latency periods suggest high risks from high-level exposures. Calculations derived from a linear model of dose-response suggest the need to prevent exposures in the range of 10-100 microw/cm(2).

Sobel and Davanipour (1996) outline the etiological process they hypothesize by which EMR produces Alzheimer's disease. The first step involves EMR exposure upsetting the cellular calcium ion homeostasis through calcium ion efflux from cells increasing the intracellular calcium ion concentrations. This cleaves the amyloid precursor protein to produce soluble amyloid beta (sA().  sA( is quickly secreted from cells after production, increasing the levels of sA( in the blood stream. sA( then binds to Apolipoprotein E and apolipoprotein J to be transported to and across the Blood Brain Barrier. Over time, when sufficient sA( have been transported to the brain, a cascade of further events lead to the formation of insoluble neurotoxic beat pleated sheets of amyloid fibril, senile plaques, and eventually AD. The biological mechanism for EMR to cause Alzheimer's disease is well advanced and entirely plausible, commencing with calcium ion efflux. Safe exposure levels by Dr. Neil Cherry

(Altpeter et al. (1995) and Abelin (1998) - The Schwarzenburg Study) found a causal relationship between sleep disturbance and subsequent chronic fatigue, and short-wave radio exposures at extremely low mean levels. The causal relationship between RF radiation exposure and deterioration in sleep quality is identified through a significant dose response relationship (p<0.001), Figures 17 and 18, improvements in sleep quality which changing the direction of the beams and turning the transmitter off, and reduced melatonin as the biological mechanism.
The causal relationship with human sleep disturbance is strong evidence of a significant neurological effect of RF radiation on people, associated with mean exposures down to less than 0.4 nW/cm. Hence, it is highly likely that cell phone users, with brain exposures many millions of times higher than the Schwarzenburg exposure levels, will experience significant neurological effects. The significant bovine behavioural effects of extremely low RF exposure is confirmed by Lscher and Ks (1998).

Mild et al. (1998) survey around 11,000 cell phone users in Norway and Sweden, Figure 19. They found significant dose response relationships for a number of crucial symptoms that had been clinically described and associated with cell phone use by Hocking (1998). The symptoms include dizziness, a feeling of discomfort, difficulty with concentration, Memory Loss, Fatigue, Headache, Burning Skin and tinglingness and tightness of the skin near the phone. The symptoms were consistent across analogue and digital (GSM) phone users. A dominant physical symptom was a sensation of warmth on the ear and behind the ear. These is not a sensation which is experienced with a conventional telephone but are unique to the cell phone which exposes the user's head to moderate to high intensities of microwaves. It was significant that the neurological symptoms were highly correlated to the warm sensations. The symptoms are consistent with the Schwarzenburg symptoms. The headache symptoms were found with microwave exposure during microwave hearing" experiments, Frey (1998).

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. 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.
    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.

Name of Paper or Study
Levels in micro watts per centimeter squared, uW/cm2
Moscow Embassy Exposures, "Epidemiological Evidence of Radiofrequency Radiation (Microwave) Effects on Health in Military, Broadcasting , and Occupational Studies" J. R. Goldsmith
15 Outside, 2.4 Inside
18 hr /day, 8 months Humans Leukemia, cancer p141, 169
Polish Military, "Cancer morbidity in subjects occupationally exposed to high frequency (radio frequency and microwave) electromagnetic radiation" S. Szmigielski
150 to 3500 MHz
19.9 avg., 4-8 hr below 200, minutes at 200-1000
5-15 years Humans 6.3 fold increase in leukemia rates, cancer p142, 150
"Cancer incidence and mortality and proximity to TV towers" B. Hocking, I.R. Gordon, H.L. Grain & G.E. Hatfield
TV & FM, 4km radius
0.4 to 8
many years Humans 2.74 fold increase in childhood leukemia mortality, 30% increase in brain cancer p154
"Cancer incidence near radio and television transmitters in Great Britain" Dept. of Epidemiology and Public Health at Imperial College, London, Dolk et al.
TV & FM,
1 to 6
children <15 yrs children <15 yrs Increased cancer and leukemia's in children  
"Effects of low power microwave on the mouse genome" S. Searcher et al.
2hr/da, 200 days mice DNA damage p125
"Effects of chronic microwave irradiation on mice" Univ. OF CA, Berkeley Dr S. Prausnitz, Prof. C. Suspend
4.5min/day, 5day/wk, 59 wk mice Leukosis, Cancer, Testicular degeneration p130
"Effects of long-term low-level radio frequency radiation exposure on rats" Univ. of Washington Prof. A. Guy et al.
<0.4W/kg= 1000
13 to 25 months mice Led to recommendation that US EPA classify RF/MW as a possible carcinogen. p132
"Study of non-ionizing Microwave Radiation Effects on the Central Nervous System and Behavior Reactions" Shandala M.G. et al.
10 & 50
7hr/ day 30days rats, rabbits EEG Disruption p87
"Low frequency pulsed electromagnetic fields influence EEG of man" Von Kitzing
  School Children EEG Disruption p83
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome "Study of health effects of Short-wave Transmitter Station of Schwarzenburg, Berne, Switzerland" Altimeter et al.
3.8 Median
  Humans Sleep disorders  
"Effects of weak microwave fields amplitude modulated at ELF on EEG of symmetric brain areas in rats" Vorobyov et al.
100 to 200
short term mice changed calcium ion efflux in brain p87
2450 MHz
0.6W/kg = 1.5mW
45 min rats neurological changes p43
Bawin & Adley 1976 147MHz     chicks changed calcium ion efflux in brain p74
Summary Compiled by Jim Martin, February 4, 1999