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The existence of biological effects of radio frequency (RF) radiation on living tissue is well established, including also effects which are non-thermal, that is not caused by plain uniform warming. Still the exact mechanisms of interaction between the RF radiation and the living tissue are mostly unknown. In this work a thermodynamic perspective relevant to some aspects of those yet unknown mechanisms is presented. This perspective reveals that living tissue under RF radiation should not be assumed to be in thermal equilibrium since it is governed by two temperatures: the ambient temperature of its surroundings and a vastly higher temperature TR which is assigned by certain criteria to the RF radiation. The criteria presented here to determine the radiation temperature TR are not unique and other approaches may lead to different temperature values, however TR as presented here has an interesting physical significance. The possible relevance of this approach to the interaction mechanisms is presented; specifically some molecules in the living tissue may acquire much more energy than the one associated with the ambient temperature and biological effects may occur.
International Journal of Biophysics 2012, 2(1): 1-6
DOI: 10.5923/j.biophysics.20120201.01
A Thermodynamic Perspective on the Interaction of Radio
Frequency Radiation with Living Tissue
Michael Peleg
Rafael Ltd, Haifa, Israel and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel
Abstract The existence of biological effects of radio frequency (RF) radiation on living tissue is well established, in-
cluding also effects which are non-thermal, that is not caused by plain uniform warming. Still the exact mechanisms of in-
teraction between the RF radiation and the living tissue are mostly unknown. In this work a thermodynamic perspective
relevant to some aspects of those yet unknown mechanisms is presented. This perspective reveals that living tissue under
RF radiation should not be assumed to be in thermal equilibrium since it is governed by two temperatures: the ambient
temperature of its surroundings and a vastly higher temperature TR which is assigned by certain criteria to the RF radiation.
The criteria presented here to determine the radiation temperature TR are not unique and other approaches may lead to dif-
ferent temperature values, however TR as presented here has an interesting physical significance. The possible relevance of
this approach to the interaction mechanisms is presented; specifically some molecules in the living tissue may acquire
much more energy than the one associated with the ambient temperature and biological effects may occur.
Keywords radio frequency, thermodynamics, statistical physics, biology, electromagnetic, cancer, nonionizing radia-
tion, black body radiation
1. Introduction
The existence of biological effects of Radio Frequency
(RF) radiation on living tissue is well established by works
such as[1-3] and many others which identified specific bio-
logical effects on cells and organs. Many of those effects
are non-thermal, that is they are not caused by plain and
uniform warming. Carcinogenic influence was indicated by
many researches such as[4,5] and [6] and RF radiation is
classified as a possible carcinogen for humans by the Inter-
national Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Still, the
exact interaction mechanisms between the RF radiation and
the living tissue are mostly unknown as pointed out recently
also by IARC although many possibilities have been dis-
cussed, e.g. [7]. Some works such as[1] identified biological
effects of RF radiation on separated living cells floating in a
homogenous solution without any large antenna-like struc-
tures. Thus one should look also for direct interactions be-
tween RF radiation and cellular or biochemical processes.
The interaction mechanisms may be very complex as is the
living tissue itself, thus state of the art physics, chemistry
and biology will be required to identify them. Indeed, initial
interesting research attempting this has been reported, see
for example[8] with its many references and[9].
* Corresponding author: (Michael Peleg)
Published online at
Copyright © 2012 Scientific & Academic Publishing. All Rights Reserved
In this paper I present a new thermodynamic perspective
which may illuminate an interesting aspect of some of the
interaction mechanisms. It shows that a living tissue under
RF radiation should not be assumed to be in thermal equi-
librium since it is governed by two temperatures: The am-
bient temperature of its surroundings denoted TA and a
vastly higher temperature denoted TR which is assigned by
certain criteria to the RF radiation. The criteria presented
here to determine TR are not unique and other approaches
may lead to different temperatures, however TR as presented
here has an important physical significance which will be
explained. Hypotheses about possible interaction mecha-
nisms based on this perspective are presented.
RF comprises the electromagnetic spectrum of frequen-
cies from about 0.5 MHz to about 200 GHz. In this paper I
shall use a RF of 109 Hz or 1 GHz as a representative value
for cellular transmission frequencies which typically occupy
bands centred on 0.9 GHz and on 1.8 GHz.
This paper examines interaction of systems with different
temperatures thus involving non-equilibrium thermody-
namics. This is treated here using the approximation of Lo-
cal Thermodynamic Equilibrium (LTE). LTE is a state in
which a system of particles achieves approximately the
same properties as a system in a full (global) thermody-
namic equilibrium despite an external influence such as
slow flow of energy which may change its temperature.
LTE occurs when the interaction between the particles in
the system is fast enough to redistribute the incoming in-
fluence and achieve statistical distributions similar to those
2 Michael Peleg: A Thermodynamic Perspective on the Interaction of Radio Frequency Radiation with Living Tissue
associated with thermodynamic equilibrium. LTE is used
widely to accommodate the concept of meaningful and
non-uniform temperature, see[10,11] for examples involv-
ing radiation.
2. The Radiation Temperature
Let us consider man-made RF radiation at some intensity
d in watts/m2 radiated by some transmitter, for example the
Israeli safety limit of 50 microwatts/cm2 at the frequency
f=1GHz. Assigning a temperature value to this intensity is
not straightforward because radiation is not a classical closed
system in a thermodynamic equilibrium. We shall assign the
temperature by similarity to the classical black body radia-
tion using the two following ad-hoc rules:
Rule 1: The radiation temperature TR will be defined as the
temperature at which the black body radiation achieves the
same energy density in J/m3 as the man-made radiation in
question where J denotes Joule and m is meter.
Rule 2: The energies of the man-made and of the black
body radiations will be summed over the 0 to f Hz frequency
band where f is the maximal frequency used by the trans-
mitter; we shall use 1 GHz in our examples. Thus the energy
of the black body radiation outside this band will be dis-
carded. This rule has the intuitive appeal of comparing the
same frequencies of both the types of radiation and its exact
significance will be demonstrated in the thought experiment
section below.
Deriving TR by following those rules is straightforward.
The energy per unit volume per bandwidth in J/m3/Hz of
black body radiation is, by the RayleighJeans law e.g. [12,
chapter 16]:
8πν kT
is the frequency in Hz, k is the Boltzmann constant
in J/OK, c is the speed of light in m/sec and T is the absolute
temperature in OK (Degrees Kelvin). See Figure 1.
Figure 1. Black body radiation spectra at 300 OK. The shaded area is
integrated over in eq. (2)
Following the rule 2 above, ED, the energy per unit volume
in the frequency band of 0 to f Hz in J/m3 is obtained by
integrating eq.(1):
8πν kT 8πf kT
E (f)= dν=
c 3c
The man-made RF radiation comprising plane waves of
intensity d watts/m2 has energy density of
in J/m3. The radiation temperature is obtained by equating
the man-made and the black body radiation densities fol-
lowing rule 1, that is
E =E
and using equations (2) and
Using d=50 microwatt/cm2=0.5 watt/m2 and f=109 Hz
yields TR= 3.89x1011 OK. This extreme temperature does not
reflect the total radiation intensity; the transmitted radiation
intensity d is vastly lower than the total intensity of a black
body radiation at temperature TR because the frequencies
above 1 GHz, which contain most of the energy, are dis-
carded in eq. (2) following the rule 2 above. This is illus-
trated in figure 1. Still TR has a strong physical meaning as
shown in the next thought experiment.
3. A Thought Experiment
3.1 Thermally insulating enclosure
We construct a large enclosure and place it on the Earth's
surface near a cellular base-station at a distance where the
radiation density is d=50 microwatt/cm2 as in figure 2.
Figure 2. Large enclosure in an RF radiation field
The following reasoning is rigorous if the spectral power
density of the transmitter over frequencies in the 0 to f band
has the same shape as that of the black body radiation and if
the radiation power is distributed among many components,
each arriving at the enclosure from different direction as
does the natural black body radiation; otherwise it is an
approximation. Indeed a very rough approximation is suffi-
cient for our purpose because TR is very high and all the
arguments below which are based on it remain valid even if
the true TR is changed by an order of magnitude.
The walls of the enclosure will be made of an ideal mate-
rial with the following properties:
Property 1: Perfect thermal insulator.
Property 2: Perfect reflector at all frequencies except for
the 0 to f band.
Property 3: Transparent or partially transparent to RF ra-
International Journal of Biophysics 2012, 2(1): 1-6 3
diation in the 0 to f band.
We shall begin our experiment with our base-station
switched off. Then the enclosure interior and exterior will be
in a common global thermodynamic equilibrium and the
classic equilibrium thermodynamics can be used. Thus,
according to statistical physics and to its theorem of energy
equipartition e.g. [12, chapter 15], the energy inside the
enclosure is evenly distributed between modes (thermody-
namic degrees of freedom) such as for example kinetic en-
ergies of individual molecules, changing shapes of molecular
electronic clouds, many others and also the electromagnetic
standing wave patterns permitted by the geometry which
account for the classical black body radiation. Each mode
acquires on average the energy of
E =kT /2 Joules
while the probability density of the individual modes ener-
gies follows the Boltzmann distribution. In the following we
shall denote the standing wave patterns as RF modes and the
other modes as non-RF modes. As explained [12, chapter 16]
each RF mode acquires on the average
for each polarization because it involves both electric and
magnetic fields.
All the modes can exchange energy among themselves
while, due to the particular properties of the enclosure en-
velope material, the black body radiation in the 0 to f band is
the only energy exchange mechanism between the interior
and the exterior. The standing wave patterns inside the en-
closure will be shaped by the enclosure if the walls are only
slightly transparent and by the whole system if the walls are
fully transparent, the difference is not qualitatively signifi-
cant to our reasoning.
According to the black body radiation theory, each
standing wave pattern (RF mode) at temperature of 300 OK
and above is occupied by a multitude of RF photons while
the black body radiation is not governed by the energies of
individual photons unlike the black body radiation in the
ultraviolet range where photon energies become relevant and
eq. (1) is replaced by the Planck's law [12, chapter 16], see
figure 1. This irrelevance of photon energies is common to
many known RF phenomena as pointed out by [13] and [14].
Photon energies are relevant to RF in a few cases such as
Microwave Amplification by Stimulated Emission (MASER)
reflecting the dual nature of all electromagnetic radiation as
waves and as particles (photons).
Now let us power up our base station transmitter. Fol-
lowing the definition of TR above, the energy density of the
RF radiation in the 0 to f band outside and inside the enclo-
sure is the one associated with TR, that is kTR per RF mode
and it is constantly replenished by the external radiation, see
the details in the appendix. In the steady state reached after
sufficient time there is no net flow of RF or other energy into
the enclosure. Let us consider first the case in which the
enclosure walls are only slightly transparent at RF. As shown
in the appendix, the low transparency of the enclosure does
not reduce the energy of the RF modes inside after reaching a
steady state. Since the walls are only slightly transparent at
RF and perfectly insulating otherwise, the interior is only
weakly coupled to the outside world and can be considered
as in a Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium (LTE), thus the
equipartition principle applies. The only deviation from LTE
is the RF energy flow through the enclosure which can be
reduced to any value by reducing the enclosure wall trans-
parency. After sufficient time, all the non-RF modes will
acquire the average energy corresponding to TR, eq. (5)
following the energy equipartition principle. Then the real
temperature of the interior will be indeed TR. This is the
physical significance of TR as defined by the rules 1 and 2
The concentration of the RF power in a narrow band as
characteristic for a cellular base-station and in one direction
only as depicted in figure 1 would not change the tempera-
ture much, certainly not by orders of magnitude.
With the walls only slightly transparent at RF, the high
energy RF modes inside the enclosure will be very similar to
black body radiation; with more transparency their wave
patterns will change and the system may deviate from the
local equilibrium but the energies of all the modes will be
still roughly similar to those corresponding to TR, see the
appendix for details.
3.2 Partially Heat Conducting Enclosure
Next let us change the wall material to one having some
thermal conductivity. Then the system comprising the
non-RF modes in the interior will be at an intermediate
temperature TI somewhere in the range between TA and TR.
The temperature will depend on the coupling between the
radiation and the enclosure interior which will determine the
energy transfer rate from the incoming radiation to the inte-
rior non-RF modes and on the thermal conductivity of the
enclosure walls which will determine the thermal energy
transfer rate from the interior. Clearly the enclosure interior
isn't now in a thermal equilibrium since the RF modes are at
higher energies than the non-RF modes. The coupling of the
RF modes to the non-RF modes typical to the human body
is very low relatively to the coupling between the non-RF
modes and between those and the surroundings; otherwise
the non-RF modes would reach temperatures of the order of
TR which would be catastrophic. Thus the strong coupling
between the non-RF modes facilitates redistribution of the
slow inflow of energy from the RF modes and the non-
equilibrium system can be modelled as a union of three
sub-systems with heat transfer between them, each being in
LTE. The first subsystem comprises the RF modes in the
enclosure interior, the second the non-RF modes in the en-
closure and the third the enclosure exterior at temperature
TA, see figure 3.
The thought experiment and the calculations could have
been carried out by exactly the same method over a narrower
frequency band identical to that used by the actual base
station by integrating eq. (2) from f1 to f2 defining the limits
of the frequency band. However then the transparency of the
4 Michael Peleg: A Thermodynamic Perspective on the Interaction of Radio Frequency Radiation with Living Tissue
wall enclosure would have to be limited to the same fre-
quency band, which is not an expected attribute of a living
Figure 3. The thought experiment with thermally conducting enclosure
wall - the three subsystems in Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium (LTE)
4. Two Models of a Living Tissue
Let us examine the relevance of the thought experiment to
a living tissue exposed to RF radiation in a realistic setting
with no enclosure. We shall focus on the distribution of
energy between the modes as discussed above while using
the homogenous and non-homogenous models presented
4.1. The Homogenous Model
In this model the non-RF modes in the living tissue can
exchange energy freely among themselves and their coupling
to the RF modes is existent but weak. Then the energy be-
tween the non-RF modes is distributed evenly. This model is
very similar to our thought experiment with thermally con-
ducting enclosure wall depicted in figure 3 where now the
enclosure interior corresponds to the living tissue. The sys-
tem comprising the non-RF modes will be at LTE at some
temperature TI and all the non-RF modes will acquire typi-
cally the same average thermal energy of kTI/2. With the
weak RF coupling and high thermal conductivity typical to
the human body, the temperature TI will be only slightly
above the usual 36.5 (degrees Celsius) at radiation inten-
sities below the thermal limits set by the International
Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (IC-
NIRP). This is the model fitting the ICNIRP assumptions.
4.2. The Non-Homogenous Model
Now suppose that some non-RF mode, due to the structure
of some special molecule, is more strongly coupled to the RF
radiation field then the other modes and is more loosely
thermally coupled to the other non-RF modes. The energy
per RF mode will be still kTR.
The energy transfer from the RF modes to this special
non-RF mode will be faster and the rate at which this energy
is dissipated to the other modes will be slower than the av-
erage. Thus this mode will acquire more energy from the
radiation field than the average kTI/2 energy set by the
temperature TI of its surroundings. To apply the concept of
temperature let us examine small regions of such special
modes, see figure 4 with 3 such regions, each at LTE at
temperature Δi + TI, i=1,2,3. Let us assume that the energy
transfer R in watt/sec from any region at temperature T1 to
another region at temperature T2 in our model are linear
functions of temperature difference such that
R=σ(T -T )
where σ denotes the region-specific thermal conductance
and denote σRi and σi the thermal conductance from the RF
modes to the special region number i and from this region
to the surrounding tissue respectively. Then an easy deriva-
tion yields at the steady state
i RI
i Ri
Δ =(T -T ) σ +σ
This relationship highlights the dependence of the tem-
perature on the thermal conductance of each special region
which can create different temperatures at different regions
and the influence of TR which drives the temperature dif-
ferences. Non-uniform heating of a living tissue was indeed
reported by [16] at the level of parts of a living cells. It is of
interest if this extends to smaller scales such as single
molecules and single special non-RF modes. In such case the
energy of a special non-RF mode will be a random variable
and the concept of temperature of the single mode will be
replaced by its particular energy.
A remark on classification is in place: In the literature on
biological influence of non-ionizing radiation the term
"thermal effect" is used for processes caused by uniform
warming as fitting the uniform model above. The term "non
thermal" or "athermal" corresponds to our non-homogenous
model when applied to a single special non-RF mode while
the classification of a model involving regions of special
non-RF modes is ambiguous.
Figure 4. Details of the non-homogenous model
RF modes
RF modes in the tissue
Energy flow
Energy flow
Special Non
modes in the
RF modes inside the enclosure
RF modes inside the enclosure
RF modes outside the enclosure
Energy flow
Energy flow
International Journal of Biophysics 2012, 2(1): 1-6 5
5. Examining Relevance to Known
Biological Effects
The minimal energy required to change a living tissue is
hard to estimate. One clue is the fact that the human body
feels well at 36.5 and ill at 40, thus a ΔT=3.5 tem-
perature difference has a significant influence on some tis-
sues in the human body. This corresponds to incrementing
the average energy per mode by kΔT/2, this is 1.47x10-4 eV
(electron-Volt), much less then the thermal energy per
thermodynamic degree of freedom kT/2. See an interesting
discussion of known sub-kT biological effects in[15].
It is conceivable that in the presence of RF radiation some
special modes will acquire more energy than dictated by the
average temperature TI as described above and a biological
change will occur. Such a process will be impeded by the
weak coupling of the RF field to the non-RF modes and by
the strong thermal coupling between the non-RF modes, and,
on the other hand, it will be driven by the huge temperature
TR which is vastly larger than the small temperature differ-
ence ΔT capable of inducing a biological change, see eq.(7).
The interaction mechanism may operate on a few molecules
out of many taking them out of the thermal equilibrium
without noticeable increase in the average tissue tempera-
Such processes are not identified yet at the detail of the
interaction between the RF field and a particular molecule;
however, using[1] as a prominent example, it was estab-
lished that a biological process in human cells starting with
the activation of NADH oxidase and identified exactly at the
molecular level was initiated by a weak RF field, thus there is
some mechanism of interaction. Also the review paper[3]
presents many experimental results on DNA damage in
human cells caused by RF radiation, states that the exact
interaction mechanism is yet unknown and describes possi-
ble mechanisms involving free radicals, mitochondria, iron
atoms catalysing the Fenton reaction which produces the free
radicals and notes that brain cells may be sensitive to RF
damage due to high free iron levels and high metabolism. As
stated in the introduction, the existence of non-thermal ef-
fects of RF fields is firmly established, the only open ques-
tion are the mechanisms of interaction themselves. The
thermodynamic perspective presented here may be relevant
to some of the mechanisms of interaction; other mechanisms
to which this perspective is less relevant are possible such as
the hypotheses on interaction with groups of water molecules
examined for example by[9].
The absorption of RF energy in the living tissue is not
uniform but varies widely over parts of each single cell as
shown by[16]; the measured Specific Absorption Rate (SAR)
reflects the average, not the actual absorption of RF energy
in various parts of each cell. Thus the interaction of the RF
modes discussed above with the living tissue is already
known to be non-uniform. There are many sources of
non-uniformity and non-equilibrium in the living tissue apart
of the RF radiation discussed here. Some of those fulfil es-
sential roles in the living process. The known biological
non-uniformities may cause non-uniform interaction with
the RF fields. Mitochondria which are utilizing chemical
energy for life processes in every human cell are just one
example of non-uniformity listed in[3] as a site of a possible
interaction mechanism.
6. Conclusions
A new thermodynamic perspective on possible interaction
mechanisms between RF radiation and the living tissue has
been presented. From this perspective the RF radiation can
be considered as extremely hot and as weakly coupled to the
molecules of the living tissue. The energy acquired by a
particular molecule depends on how fast the energy flows
from the electromagnetic field to the molecule and how fast
it is then dissipated to the surroundings. Significant interac-
tion between RF radiation and the living tissue at sub-
thermal radiation levels is compatible with this perspective if
the interaction is not uniform and some molecules or modes
acquire significantly more energy than the average.
This paper did not discover a new mechanism of interac-
tion; rather it showed possible attributes of such a mecha-
nism and demonstrated that the existence of such an inter-
action mechanism is well compatible with known physical
principles and with known biology. It is also possible that an
actual mechanism will turn out to be very different.
I wish to thank Osmo Hänninen and Zamir Shalita for
valuable advice on biology and Iris Atzmon for insightful
remarks. I thank the anonymous reviewer for important
comments and suggestions which improved the quality of the
The Energy of the Rf Modes in the Enclosure
The transparency of the enclosure wall, that is the ratio
between the energy passing thru the wall to the energy in-
cident on the wall, is similar in both the incoming and the
outgoing directions. This is guaranteed under very mild
conditions by the well-known reciprocity of RF propagation.
Also, after sufficient time, the total flow of the RF energy
into the enclosure must be equal to the flow escaping from
the enclosure to reach a steady state. Thus the radiation
density inside the enclosure is similar to that outside it for
any transparency of the enclosure wall.
When the transparency of the wall is low, the enclosure
interior is nearly isolated from its exterior and most of the RF
energy inside the enclosure is stored in the RF modes which
are shaped by the enclosure geometry. The classical black
body radiation theory exhibits one to one relationships be-
6 Michael Peleg: A Thermodynamic Perspective on the Interaction of Radio Frequency Radiation with Living Tissue
tween the temperature, between the RF energy density in
J/m3 and between the average energy per RF mode, see eq.(1)
and (6). Then, since the interior and the exterior radiation
density is related to TR by eq. (1) where T=TR, the average
energy per RF mode is kTR by eq.(6).
With higher transparency the energy density inside the
enclosure cannot change much as explained in the beginning
of this appendix, only the standing wave patterns are modi-
fied and more coupled to the outside radiation. This will
modify the details of the coupling of the RF modes to the
other modes but will not change drastically the coupling
magnitude, the energy of the non-RF modes and the interior
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... Radiation is not a classical closed system in a thermodynamic equilibrium [142]. Yet it has been repeatedly put forth that devices and infrastructure must be safe because a single microwave photon, for instance, does not have enough energy to break a chemical bond. ...
... What may be the most accurate model has yet to be determined but may evolve into a new hybrid. It is already well known that distribution of absorbed RF energy in living tissue is not uniform, varying widely within cells and different body areas and organs, which is why SARs are generally averaged [142]. If nonuniformity can be more accurately factored in, subthermal interactions may make sense with or without new mechanistic models being delineated. ...
Ambient levels of electromagnetic fields (EMF) have risen sharply in the last 80 years, creating a novel energetic exposure that previously did not exist. Most recent decades have seen exponential increases in nearly all environments, including rural/remote areas and lower atmospheric regions. Because of unique physiologies, some species of flora and fauna are sensitive to exogenous EMF in ways that may surpass human reactivity. There is limited, but comprehensive, baseline data in the U.S. from the 1980s against which to compare significant new surveys from different countries. This now provides broader and more precise data on potential transient and chronic exposures to wildlife and habitats. Biological effects have been seen broadly across all taxa and frequencies at vanishingly low intensities comparable to today’s ambient exposures. Broad wildlife effects have been seen on orientation and migration, food finding, reproduction, mating, nest and den building, territorial maintenance and defense, and longevity and survivorship. Cyto- and geno-toxic effects have been observed. The above issues are explored in three consecutive parts: Part 1 questions today’s ambient EMF capabilities to adversely affect wildlife, with more urgency regarding 5G technologies. Part 2 explores natural and man-made fields, animal magnetoreception mechanisms, and pertinent studies to all wildlife kingdoms. Part 3 examines current exposure standards, applicable laws, and future directions. It is time to recognize ambient EMF as a novel form of pollution and develop rules at regulatory agencies that designate air as ‘habitat’ so EMF can be regulated like other pollutants. Wildlife loss is often unseen and undocumented until tipping points are reached. Long-term chronic low-level EMF exposure standards, which do not now exist, should be set accordingly for wildlife, and environmental laws should be strictly enforced.
... The possible carcinogenicity of RFR was studied extensively by epidemiology of humansfor example in Coureau et al., 2013), by animal studies with carcinogenicity possibly indicated in Chou et al. (1992); and Wyde et al. (2016); physical mechanisms such as influence on the radical oxide species in Barnes et al., 2015;and Friedman et al. (2007); and physical principles (e.g. Vistnes et al., 2001, andPeleg, 2012). In 2011, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified RFR as a possible human carcinogen (IARC group 2B), see IARC (2013). ...
... Supporting evidence comes from epidemiological studies on brain and salivary gland cancers in humans such as (Coureau et al., 2013), , (Hardell et al., 2015), (Sadetzki et al., 2008); animal experiments such as (Chou et al., 1992) and (Wyde et al., 2016); experiments on human cells such as (Friedman et al., 2007); and physical principles e.g. (Vistnes et al., 2001), (Barnes et al., 2015), and (Peleg, 2012). Our findings on occupational exposures and HL appear to satisfy the view-points and suggestions of causality by Bradford Hill (Hill, 1965), as was the case of cell phone and brain cancer reviewed by While complete measurements of RFR exposures were not available and rough exposure assessments from patients interviews and from partial exposure data were used instead, we have demonstrated increased HL cancers in occupational groups with relatively high RFR exposures. ...
Background and aim: We reexamine whether radio frequency radiation (RFR) in the occupational and military settings is a human carcinogen. Methods: We extended an analysis of an already-reported case series of patients with cancer previously exposed to whole-body prolonged RFR, mainly from communication equipment and radar. We focused on hematolymphatic (HL) cancers. We used analysis by percentage frequency (PF) of a cancer type, which is the proportion of a specific cancer type relative to the total number of cancer cases. We also examined and analyzed the published data on three other cohort studies from similar military settings from different countries. Results: The PF of HL cancers in the case series was very high, at 40% with only 23% expected for the series age and gender profile, confidence interval CI95%: 26-56%, p<0.01, 19 out of 47 patients had HL cancers. We also found high PF for multiple primaries. As for the three other cohort studies: In the Polish military sector, the PF of HL cancers was 36% in the exposed population as compared to 12% in the unexposed population, p<0.001. In a small group of employees exposed to RFR in Israeli defense industry, the PF of HL cancers was 60% versus 17% expected for the group age and gender profile, p<0.05. In Belgian radar battalions the HL PF was 8.3% versus 1.4% in the control battalions as shown in a causes of deaths study and HL cancer mortality rate ratio was 7.2 and statistically significant. Similar findings were reported on radio amateurs and Korean war technicians. Elevated risk ratios were previously reported in most of the above studies. Conclusions: The consistent association of RFR and highly elevated HL cancer risk in the four groups spread over three countries, operating different RFR equipment types and analyzed by different research protocols, suggests a cause-effect relationship between RFR and HL cancers in military/occupational settings. While complete measurements of RFR exposures were not available and rough exposure assessments from patients interviews and from partial exposure data were used instead, we have demonstrated increased HL cancers in occupational groups with relatively high RFR exposures. Our findings, combined with other studies, indicate that exposures incurred in the military settings evaluated here significantly increased the risk of HL cancers. Accordingly, the RFR military exposures in these occupations should be substantially reduced and further efforts should be undertaken to monitor and measure those exposures and to follow cohorts exposed to RFR for cancers and other health effects. Overall, the epidemiological studies on excess risk for HL and other cancers together with brain tumors in cellphone users and experimental studies on RFR and carcinogenicity make a coherent case for a cause-effect relationship and classifying RFR exposure as a human carcinogen (IARC group 1).
... The ionizing radiation is capable of ionization by breaking the bonds between atoms and electrons due to its high energy content. Single photon of RF radiation cannot ionize atoms, aggregates of RF photons can and do [14]. The radio frequency range falls in the nonionizing part of the spectrum. ...
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Power densities of telecommunication base stations were carried out in some selected communities in Burutu Local government area of Delta State, Nigeria. A well calibrated radiofrequency field strength meter (ALRF05 Model, Toms Gadgets) was used in this studied. Measurements were done at distances of approximately 25 m, 50 m, 75 m, 100 m, 125 m, 150 m, 175 m and 200 m for each telecommunication base stations. The highest power density value measured was 860.41 µW/m 2 at 25m away from Ogulagha (TCBS4) telecommunication Base Station, while the least value 34.17 µW/m 2 was obtained from Ayakoromor (TCBS15) telecommunication Base Station at 200 m away. The values obtained were all far lower than the global ICNIRP standard limit of 4.5 W/m 2. This work has, therefore shown that the radiation emitted by the telecommunication base stations are within the regulatory standards, However, it may pose some long-term health side effects on the workers, residents and the members of the public.
... Possible physical principles were reported e.g. Barnes andGreenebaum, 2014, Vistnes andGjotterud (2001) and Peleg (2012). ...
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Introduction: In 2018, we reported a case series of 47 patients diagnosed with cancer following several years of exposure to high-intensity whole-body radiofrequency radiation (RFR) using the parameter of percentage frequency (PF). Consistent high and statistically significant PFs of hematolymphoid (HL) cancers were found in this group and in four previous reports on RFR-exposed groups in Belgium, Poland and Israel together with increased all-cancers rates. In this paper we report a new series of 46 young cancer patients who were exposed during military service to such radiation. Materials and methods: The new group of patients comprises Israeli soldiers previously exposed to occupational RFR. The patients were self-selected to enroll in the research in cooperation with an NGO assisting patients with administrative counseling and legal and social services. The new group of patients was studied with respect to distribution (proportion) of cancer types using the method of PF. When possible, cancer risk ratios (RR) were estimated too. The results are compared to those of other occupational groups in three countries. Results: Median age at diagnosis was 23 years; duration of exposure was between 1-3 years and the latencies were short, median 4.6 years. The PF of HL cancers was 41.3%, 95% CI (27% - 57%), versus 22.7% expected in non-exposed subjects matched for age and gender profiles, p=0.003; 19 out of the 46 patients had HL cancers. The PF of Hodgkin lymphoma cancers was 21.7%, 95%CI (11% - 36%), versus 11.6% expected, p=0.033. For a subgroup of 6 patients, the number of soldiers in the units was known, and we were able estimate approximately the overall cancer risk ratio (RR) after 8 years as being 8.0 with 95% CI (2.9, 17), p<0.002, with only 0.75 cases expected from the Cancer Registry data. In this subgroup, there were 3 HL cancer cases and 3 non-HL cases. Sarcoma PF was higher than expected, 7 out of the 46 patients were diagnosed with sarcoma, PF=15.2%, 95%CI (6.3%- 28.9%), p=0.04 versus the expected PF of 7%. Conclusion: The HL PF was high and consistent with previous reports. Epidemiological studies on excess risk for HL and other cancers, brain tumors in cellphone users, and experimental studies on RFR and carcinogenicity strongly point to a cause-effect relationship. It is mandatory to reduce the RFR exposure of all personnel to that of the typical community levels, including the peak level of radar pulses. Radiation protection, safety instructions, cancer risk warnings and quantitative data on individual exposure together with regular medical monitoring must be instituted for all personnel exposed to such risks. The findings from our study add to the growing body of evidence underscoring the gross inadequacy of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) thermal standards. Based on our findings and on the previous accumulated research, we endorse the recommendations to reclassify RFR exposure as a human carcinogen, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) group . Keywords: Radio-frequency radiation, non-ionizing radiation, radar, hematolymphoid cancers, hematopoietic malignancies, sarcoma
Due to the continuous rising ambient levels of nonionizing electromagnetic fields (EMFs) used in modern societies-primarily from wireless technologies-that have now become a ubiquitous biologically active environmental pollutant, a new vision on how to regulate such exposures for non-human species at the ecosystem level is needed. Government standards adopted for human exposures are examined for applicability to wildlife. Existing environmental laws, such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in the U.S. and others used in Canada and throughout Europe, should be strengthened and enforced. New laws should be written to accommodate the ever-increasing EMF exposures. Radiofrequency radiation exposure standards that have been adopted by worldwide agencies and governments warrant more stringent controls given the new and unusual signaling characteristics used in 5G technology. No such standards take wildlife into consideration. Many species of flora and fauna, because of distinctive physiologies, have been found sensitive to exogenous EMF in ways that surpass human reactivity. Such exposures may now be capable of affecting endogenous bioelectric states in some species. Numerous studies across all frequencies and taxa indicate that low-level EMF exposures have numerous adverse effects, including on orientation, migration, food finding, reproduction, mating, nest and den building, territorial maintenance, defense, vitality, longevity, and survivorship. Cyto- and geno-toxic effects have long been observed. It is time to recognize ambient EMF as a novel form of pollution and develop rules at regulatory agencies that designate air as 'habitat' so EMF can be regulated like other pollutants. Wildlife loss is often unseen and undocumented until tipping points are reached. A robust dialog regarding technology's high-impact role in the nascent field of electroecology needs to commence. Long-term chronic low-level EMF exposure standards should be set accordingly for wildlife, including, but not limited to, the redesign of wireless devices, as well as infrastructure, in order to reduce the rising ambient levels (explored in Part 1). Possible environmental approaches are discussed. This is Part 3 of a three-part series.
Epidemiology studies (case-control, cohort, time trend and case studies) published since the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) 2011 categorization of radiofrequency radiation (RFR) from mobile phones and other wireless devices as a possible human carcinogen (Group 2B) are reviewed and summarized. Glioma is an important human cancer found to be associated with RFR in 9 case-control studies conducted in Sweden and France, as well as in some other countries. Increasing glioma incidence trends have been reported in the UK and other countries. Non-malignant endpoints linked include acoustic neuroma (vestibular Schwannoma) and meningioma. Because they allow more detailed consideration of exposure, case-control studies can be superior to cohort studies or other methods in evaluating potential risks for brain cancer. When considered with recent animal experimental evidence, the recent epidemiological studies strengthen and support the conclusion that RFR should be categorized as carcinogenic to humans (IARC Group 1). Opportunistic epidemiological studies are proposed that can be carried out through cross-sectional analyses of high, medium, and low mobile phone users with respect to hearing, vision, memory, reaction time, and other indicators that can easily be assessed through standardized computer-based tests. As exposure data are not uniformly available, billing records should be used whenever available to corroborate reported exposures.
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Background. There are reports that intense prolonged occupational exposure to non-ionizing radiation may increase risks for cancer. We previously have reported a sentinel cluster,of 7 workers with high exposures and short latent periods, and individual patients with brain cancer high occupational exposures and short latent periods. We present a sentinel case series (n=47, 40M, 7F) of cancer patients, referred to our medical unit with occupational exposures to non-ionizing radiation of all types. Objectives. Our aims were to report the findings on tumour types,age of first diagnosis, and latency, to describe their exposures and to examine the hypothesis that latencies for all tumour types (solid tissue, hematolymphatic, testicular) were coherently related to high occupational exposures starting at young ages. Methods. We divided the patients into groups by latency. We categorized each patient’s exposures in regard to types of radiation, far or near field exposure and direct body contact. For some we had data on frequencies, for others we provided assessments. We also present the patient data categorized by age of diagnosis.We used a case-case type comparison to examine latencies for tumour types [solid, hematolymphatic (HL), testicular]. Results. 15 patients developed cancer with latent periods of less than 5 years and 12 patients with latent periods between 5 and 10 years. The remaining 20 patients had longer latent periods between first occupational exposure to EMF and diagnosis of cancer. 6 patients (12.7%) had multiple tumours. 12 patients (25.5%) reported cancer cases in co-workers. In the <5 years latency group there were 8 hematolymphatic cancers, 3 testicular cancers and 6 solid tumours [head & neck (including brain) and GI tract]. In all latency groups there were patients who were exposed to intense levels of electromagnetic fields (EMF), to several types of EMF, or to EMF in combination with ionizing radiation (IR) or other exposures, and patients who had direct body contact with the equipment, were in direct focus of high radiation, or worked in small, electronically dense environments. Case classification by age showed shorter latencies with younger ages, but this association is complicated by the fact that shorter latencies co-vary with younger ages especially for testicular tumours. But patients with testicular and hematolymphatic tumours had shorter latencies than those with solid tumours. Conclusion. Man of the patients were young and had extremely short latent periods, especially for HL and testicular cancers. The fact that latent periods for testes were very short, HL longer and solid still longer suggests a coherent and biologically plausible pattern of latency in relation to the onset of exposure to EMF and other agents. The findings strengthen the hypothesis that these exposures may possibly be the major cause of many of these tumours. The findings state the case for (1) better modelling of exposure sources and penetration into the body and (2) preventive and protective measures based on control of exposure at source, barriers, and personal protection. Eur. J. Oncol., 16(1),21-54,2011 Keywords: non ionizing radiation (NIR), electromagnetic fields (EMF), occupational exposures, cancer, short latencies
Conference Paper
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This paper addresses the argument stating that since the energy of a single Radio Frequency (RF) photon is extremely small it cannot influence matter significantly and therefore RF radiation cannot cause cancer. The argument is shown to be wrong since most known phenomena and uses of RF radiation involve many photons acting in unison. For example, in a particle accelerator, a multitude of RF photons act simultaneously on a single elementary charged particle. We show that his holds for particle physics, capacitors, fluorescent tubes, radio communications, RADAR and living tissues. These phenomena are best treated in most cases by considering RF radiation as a wave phenomenon. On the other hand the possibility of a single RF photon per molecule producing a biological effect also cannot be ruled out.
Conference Paper
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A cancer cluster which occurred among young workers in an antenna ranges facility is reported. Five out of about 30 workers were diagnosed with cancer. The calculated odds ratio (OR) was 8.3 with confidence interval (CI 95%) of 2.3 to 19. Since this is a single cluster no definite conclusions can be drawn from it by itself, however together with other similar cases reported elsewhere it tends to indicate a severe cancer risk for groups of young people exposed repetitively and over years to non-ionizing radio-frequency radiation at levels limited only by the ICNIRP thermal limits.
When evaluating possible mechanisms by which low frequency electromagnetic fields may have a biological effect, arguments based on photon energy have often been used in a misleading way. For visible light the concept of photons has proved to be very useful in explaining experimental findings. However, the concept of photons cannot be used without major modifications in describing phenomena related to near field problems at power frequency (50 or 60 Hz) electric and magnetic fields. For this regime, the photon description is very complex. A very high number of highly coherent photons must be used in a quantum electrodynamic description of low frequency electromagnetic field phenomena. Thus, one-photon interaction descriptions must be replaced by multiple-photon interaction formalism. However, at low frequencies, a classical electromagnetic field description is far more useful than quantum electrodynamics. There is in principle no difference in how much energy an electron can pick up from a low frequency electric field as compared to from a high frequency photon. Thus, the total gain in energy is not limited to the energy carried by a single photon, which is E = hν, where h is Planck's constant and ν is the frequency of the radiation. However, the time scale of the primary event in a mechanism of action is very different for ionizing radiation compared to power line frequency fields. The advice is to consider the time scale given by the inverse of the frequency of the fields, rather than photon energy, when one use physics as a guidance in evaluating possible mechanisms for biological effects from low frequency electromagnetic fields. Bioelectromagnetics 22:200–204, 2001. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
The possible mechanisms of interactions of electromagnetic fields (EMF) with biological systems are often discussed in bioelectromagnetics in light of thermal versus nonthermal mechanisms. This paper attempts to show the principle difference between the biophysical and engineering approaches to biological mechanisms of EMF initiated bioeffects. While biophysical approach is based on experimentally obtained data on biological responses to the applied EMF, the engineering approach strongly relies on specific absorption rate (SAR) value. With experimental data, comparing effects of low- and high-frequency electromagnetic fields, discussing modulation of radiofrequency (RF) signals, the author demonstrates the superiority of the nonthermal approach. Biological windows, resonance mechanism, and various reported biological effects of geomagnetic fields are also in favor of the nonthermal mechanisms. Finally, one potential nonthermal mechanism involving the role of calmodulin in cellular functions is shown in this paper. KeywordsElectromagnetic fields–Nonthermal effects–Magnetic field detection–Calmodulin
Microwave irradiation (f = 36 GHz) changes the properties of distilled water within the first 1-10 min. The new state is retained for at least tens of minutes and manifests itself as changes in power density spectrum of periodic fading voltage fluctuations that are generated during discharge of a capacitor in which water is used as a dielectric. It is assumed that long-term changes in water properties mediate the effect of electromagnetic fields on biological systems.
The spatial distributions of induced 27 or 2450 MHz radiofrequency (RF) electric fields (E-fields) and specific absorption rates (SARs) in a three-component spherical cell model (cytoplasm, membrane, extracellular space) were determined by Mie scattering theory. The results were compared to results for the same cell model but with 0.5 nm thick of bound water on the inner (cytoplasmic) and outer (extracellular) membrane surfaces (i.e., five-component cell model). The results provide insight regarding direct frequency-dependent RF radiation effects at the cellular level. Induced E-fields and SARs were calculated for two bound-water characteristic frequencies (400 or 1000 MHz) and ionic conductivities (1-1000 mS/m). In order to estimate the dependence of the results on bound water within the membrane per se, the model was revised to include bound water within the inner and outer membrane surfaces. The results were as follows: 1) on the x-axis, the y- and z-components of the induced E-field were of insignificant magnitude compared to the x-component for an incident E-field parallel to the x-axis; 2) the ratio of transmembrane E-fields induced by 2450 MHz vs. 27 MHz RF [i.e., Ex (2450 MHz)/Ex (27 MHz)] was 0.1; 3) for the three-component cell model, the corresponding SAR ratios [SAR (2450 MHz)/SAR (27MHz)] in the cytoplasm and extracellular space were 1.66 and 5.0, respectively; 4) the SAR rations [SAR (2450 MHz)/SAR (27 MHz)] for the cytoplasm and extracellular space for the five-component cell model were 1.66 and 5.0, respectively; 5) the ratio of the E-fields induced in the cytoplasmic and extracellular layers of bound water in the five-component cell model [E (2450 MHz)/ E (27Mhz)] were 0.62 and 0.63, respectively; 6) the SAR ratios [SAR (2450 MHz)/SAR (27 MHz)] for the cytoplasmic and extracellular bound-water layers were 66 and 65.3, respectively; and 7) variation of bound-water characteristic frequency, ionic conductivity, or bound-water incorporation inside the membrane surfaces, per se, did not significantly affect the E-field or SAR ratios. These results indicate that frequency-dependent nonuniformities may occur in the distribution of induced RF E-fields and SARs at the cellular level.
Life on earth has evolved in a sea of natural electromagnetic (EM) fields. Over the past century, this natural environment has sharply changed with introduction of a vast and growing spectrum of man-made EM fields. From models based on equilibrium thermodynamics and thermal effects, these fields were initially considered too weak to interact with biomolecular systems, and thus incapable of influencing physiological functions. Laboratory studies have tested a spectrum of EM fields for bioeffects at cell and molecular levels, focusing on exposures at athermal levels. A clear emergent conclusion is that many observed interactions are not based on tissue heating. Modulation of cell surface chemical events by weak EM fields indicates a major amplification of initial weak triggers associated with binding of hormones, antibodies, and neurotransmitters to their specific binding sites. Calcium ions play a key role in this amplification. These studies support new concepts of communication between cells across the barriers of cell membranes; and point with increasing certainty to an essential physical organization in living matter, at a far finer level than the structural and functional image defined in the chemistry of molecules. New collaborations between physical and biological scientists define common goals, seeking solutions to the physical nature of matter through a strong focus on biological matter. The evidence indicates mediation by highly nonlinear, nonequilibrium processes at critical steps in signal coupling across cell membranes. There is increasing evidence that these events relate to quantum states and resonant responses in biomolecular systems, and not to equilibrium thermodynamics associated with thermal energy exchanges and tissue heating.