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The identification of an intensity 'window' on the bioeffects of mobile telephony radiation

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The identification of an intensity 'window' on the bioeffects of mobile telephony radiation

Abstract

The increased bioactivity 'windows' of GSM 900 and 1800 MHz radiations, (Global System for Mobile telecommunications) revealed recently by us and published in this issue, manifesting themselves as a maximum decrease in the reproductive capacity of the insect Drosophila melanogaster, were examined to discover whether they depend on the intensity of radiation-fields. In each experiment, one group of insects were exposed to the GSM 900 or 1800 radiation at 30 or 20 cm distances, respectively, from the antenna of a mobile phone, where the bioactivity 'window' appears for each type of radiation and another group was exposed at 8 or 5 cm, respectively, behind a metal grid, shielding both microwave radiation and the extremely low frequency (ELF) electric and magnetic fields for both types of radiation in a way that radiation and field intensities were roughly equal between the two groups. Then the effect on reproductive capacity was compared between groups for each type of radiation. The decrease in the reproductive capacity did not differ significantly between the two groups. The bioactivity window seems to be due to the intensity of radiation-field (10 microW/cm(2), 0.6-0.7 V/m) at 30 or 20 cm from the GSM 900 or 1800 mobile phone antenna, respectively.
The identification of an intensity ‘window’ on the bioeffects of mobile
telephony radiation
DIMITRIS J. PANAGOPOULOS & LUKAS H. MARGARITIS
Department of Cell Biology and Biophysics, Faculty of Biology, University of Athens, Athens, Greece
(Received 10 June 2009; Revised 2 December 2009; Accepted 9 December 2009)
Abstract
Purpose: The increased bioactivity ‘windows’ of GSM 900 and 1800 MHz radiations, (Global System for Mobile
telecommunications) revealed recently by us and published in this issue, manifesting themselves as a maximum decrease in
the reproductive capacity of the insect Drosophila melanogaster, were examined to discover whether they depend on the
intensity of radiation-fields.
Methods: In each experiment, one group of insects were exposed to the GSM 900 or 1800 radiation at 30 or 20 cm
distances, respectively, from the antenna of a mobile phone, where the bioactivity ‘window’ appears for each type of radiation
and another group was exposed at 8 or 5 cm, respectively, behind a metal grid, shielding both microwave radiation and the
extremely low frequency (ELF) electric and magnetic fields for both types of radiation in a way that radiation and field
intensities were roughly equal between the two groups. Then the effect on reproductive capacity was compared between
groups for each type of radiation.
Results: The decrease in the reproductive capacity did not differ significantly between the two groups.
Conclusions: The bioactivity window seems to be due to the intensity of radiation-field (10 mW/cm
2
, 0.6–0.7 V/m) at 30 or
20 cm from the GSM 900 or 1800 mobile phone antenna, respectively.
Keywords: GSM, DCS, distances, intensity, window effects, intensity windows
Introduction
The increased bioactivity of digital Mobile Tele-
phony Radiation currently used widely is already
confirmed by an increasing number of studies
(Hyland 2000; Navarro et al. 2003; Salford et al.
2003; Kundi 2004; Panagopoulos et al. 2004, 2007a,
2007b, 2010; Aitken et al. 2005; Barteri et al. 2005;
Belyaev et al. 2005, 2009; Caraglia et al. 2005; Diem
et al. 2005; Markova et al. 2005; Hardell et al. 2006,
2007, 2009; Hardell and Hansson Mild 2006; Hutter
et al. 2006; Nylund and Leszczynski 2006; Remon-
dini et al. 2006; Eberhardt et al. 2008; Blettner et al.
2009; Garaj-Vrhovac and Orescanin 2009; Hardell
and Carlberg 2009; Kundi and Hutter 2009; Lopez-
Martin et al. 2009; Viel et al. 2009).
Recent experiments we have carried out (Panago-
poulos and Margaritis 2008; Panagopoulos et al.
2009) have revealed the existence of increased
bioactivity ‘windows’ of digital mobile telephony
radiation. These bioactivity windows appeared for
both types of digital mobile telephony radiation used
in our experiments, GSM 900 MHz (Global System
for Mobile telecommunications) and GSM 1800
MHz, (reported also as DCS 1800 MHz-Digital
Cellular System). Under controlled conditions with-
in our laboratory the bioactivity window of GSM 900
MHz appeared at the distance of 30 cm from the
mobile phone antenna and the bioactivity window of
GSM/DCS 1800 MHz at 20 cm distance from the
antenna of the same handset. At these distances, the
intensity of both types of radiation in the radio
frequency (RF) range was about 10 mW/cm
2
,the
extremely low frequency (ELF) electric field inten-
sity 0.6–0.7 V/m, the ELF magnetic field intensity
0.10–0.12 mG (also for both types of radiation), and
the bioactivity of each type of radiation was
maximum compared to smaller or larger distances.
The bioactivity of radiation was assessed by its
effect on the reproductive capacity of the insect
Drosophila melanogaster. The reproductive capacity of
this insect, as this is defined by the number of F
1
Correspondence: Dr Dimitris Panagopoulos, Department of Cell Biology and Biophysics, Faculty of Biology, University of Athens, Panepistimiopolis, 15784,
Athens, Greece. Tel: þ30210 7274117. Fax: þ30210 7274742. E-mail: dpanagop@ biol.uoa.gr
Int. J. Radiat. Biol., Vol. 86, No. 5, May 2010, pp. 358–366
ISSN 0955-3002 print/ISSN 1362-3095 online Ó2010 Informa UK Ltd.
DOI: 10.3109/09553000903567979
(first filial generation) pupae derived during the three
days of the insect’s maximum oviposition, is a valid
estimate for the bioactivity of mobile telephony
radiation, according to our previous experiments
(Panagopoulos et al. 2000a, 2004, 2007a, 2007b,
2010; Panagopoulos and Margaritis 2002, 2003a,
2008). The maximum decrease in the reproductive
capacity at 30 cm and 20 cm distance from the
mobile phone antenna, for GSM 900 and 1800 MHz
respectively, found in our recent experiments (Pa-
nagopoulos et al. 2010), compared to smaller or
longer distances from the antenna, is reported here
as ‘increased bioactivity windows’. The decrease in
reproductive capacity at these distances was as high
or even higher than the corresponding decrease in
contact with the mobile phone antenna where the
intensity was higher than 250 mW/cm
2
.
‘Window effects’ in regards to the bioactivity of
electromagnetic radiation/fields (EMF), found to be
dependent on the intensity or frequency of the
radiation/field, have been reported since many years
(Bawin et al. 1975, 1978; Bawin and Adey 1976;
Oscar and Hawkins 1977; Blackmanet al. 1980, 1989;
Salford et al. 1994; Goodman et al. 1995; Persson
et al. 1997; Shcheglov et al. 1997) and until today
there is no definite explanation for their existence. The
‘windows’ represent the fact that increased bioactivity
appears within certain values of a physical parameter
of the field/radiation, like intensity or frequency, but
not for lower or higher values of this parameter. Before
our recent experiments (Panagopoulos and Margaritis
2008; Panagopoulos et al. 2010), no bioactivity
windows regarding real signals of digital mobile
telephony radiation were ever reported.
The aim of the present experiments was to identify
whether the recorded windows of increased bioac-
tivity are due to the RF (*10 mW/cm
2
) or ELF (0.6–
0.7 V/m, and 0.10–0.12 mG) radiation-field inten-
sities within these windows (or to any combination of
the three of them), or due to any other possible
effects related to the distance from the antenna, like
for example, the radiation wavelengths which happen
to be close to the distances where the windows
appeared for each type of radiation, i.e., 33 cm
approximately for 900 MHz and 17 cm approxi-
mately for 1800 MHz.
Phenomena of wave interference can take place
and become most evident between waves of the same
polarisation and wavelength l, emitted by different
sources or between emitted and reflected waves from
the same source. At certain location points where the
difference in distances between the point and the two
sources is an integer multiple of l, these interfering
waves can have an additive result increasing the
amplitude of the resultant wave and consequently the
wave intensity (Alonso and Finn 1967). Although we
had only one source and no reflecting-metallic
surfaces around the exposure area and additionally,
radiation and field intensity measurements were
performed and did not record any increase in RF
or ELF intensities at the certain distances where the
windows appear or at any other distance, possibilities
of wave interference cannot be excluded. We note
that these windows of increased bioactivity were
recorded in the ‘far field’ of the mobile phone
antenna at a distance of 20–30 cm from this
(Panagopoulos et al. 2010). Therefore, the near field
zone of the antenna does not interfere with the
existence of the observed ‘windows’.
Materials and methods
Wild-type strain Oregon R Drosophila melanogaster
flies were cultured according to standard methods
and kept in glass vials with standard food. Culture
methods and food composition were described
previously (Panagopoulos et al. 2004).
A dual band cellular mobile phone that could be
connected to either GSM 900 or 1800 networks was
used as the exposure device (Panagopoulos et al.
2007a, 2007b, 2010). The highest Specific Absorption
Rate (SAR), given by the manufacturer for the human
head is 0.89 W/Kg. The basic exposure procedure was
the same as in earlier experiments of ours (Panago-
poulos et al. 2004, 2007a). The handset was fully
charged during each set of exposures. The emitted
GSM 900 or 1800 radiation during the exposures was
‘modulated’ by the human voice (‘speaking emis-
sions’). The experimenter spoke on the mobile phone
during the exposures-same voice, reading the same
text in every exposure session, as previously described
(Panagopoulos et al. 2004). Radiation and field
intensities were monitored constantly during the
exposures. Measurements at 900 MHz and 1800
MHz were made with a RF Radiation Survey Meter,
NARDA 8718 (Hauppauge, NY, USA). Measure-
ments of electric and magnetic field intensities in the
ELF range were made with a Holaday HI-3604 ELF
Survey Meter (Eden Prairie, MN, USA). The
exposures (and the measurements) were performed
at the same place within our laboratory where the
mobile phone had full perception of both GSM 900
and 1800 signals, as described before (Panagopoulos
et al. 2004, 2007a). [The measured GSM radiation
intensity within the lab, from the base stations in the
area around the University was 0.1–0.2 mW/cm
2
both
in 900 and 1800 MHz and the receiver of the handset
showed constantly full perception of both signals-all
bars were illuminated in the bar scale that measures
the receiving signal].
After having recorded that the effect on reproduc-
tive capacity becomes a maximum at 30 and 20 cm
distances from the mobile phone antenna for GSM
900 MHz and 1800 MHz radiations respectively,
Intensity window of mobile telephony radiation 359
where the intensity of both radiations was found to
be close to 10 mW/cm
2
, as described (Panagopoulos
et al. 2010), one group of insects (named as ‘E1’)
was exposed at a distance of 30 cm for GSM 900
MHz, or 20 cm for GSM/DCS 1800 MHz, respec-
tively. A second group (named as ‘E2’) was exposed
right behind (and in contact with) a ferromagnetic
metal grid shield (of appropriate total surface so as to
hide the whole glass vial), made from galvanized iron
wire (wire diameter 0.6 mm with square mesh
opening 2.57 62.57 mm – Hebei Anping Hongrui-
da Hardware Mesh Products Factory, Hengshui,
Hebei, P.R. China), which diminishes both electro-
magnetic radiation and ELF electric and magnetic
fields, at a distance of 8 or 5 cm, respectively, from
the antenna where radiation and field intensities were
measured and found to be roughly equal as in the
corresponding first group. Average values of measur-
ements +standard deviation (SD) are given below.
As explained before (Panagopoulos et al. 2007a,
2007b), the GSM 900 MHz intensity at the same
distance from the antenna and with the same handset
was higher than the corresponding GSM/DCS 1800
MHz. [The ferromagnetic metal grid shield placed at
distances 8 or 5 cm from the antenna, was outside of
the antenna’s near field, which extends to a distance
of 5.2 or 2.6 cm, for GSM 900 or 1800 mobile
phone antenna respectively, according to the relation
r5l/2p,(rthe distance of near field far limit from
the antenna for antennas smaller than the wavelength
lof the emitted radiation, (World Health Organisa-
tion [WHO] 1993). Any metallic surfaces reflect
electromagnetic radiation, therefore decreasing its
intensity behind them and in their internal area if
they are closed, without altering its frequency/
wavelength. In addition metallic objects or closed
surfaces, or metallic wirings-grids, diminish the
electric field behind them and in their internal area,
because of free electron cloud displacement within
their mass on their surface. The displacement of the
free electron cloud against the direction of the
external electric field diminishes the electric field
(‘Faraday’ cage). If in addition, the metallic surface
or wiring-grid is made from ferromagnetic metal (Fe,
Co, Ni), it also diminishes the magnetic field as it
gets magnetized in the opposite direction than the
external magnetic field (Alonso and Finn 1967; Reitz
and Milford 1967; Jackson 1975). Finally a third
group (named as SE) was the sham-exposed. The SE
group was ‘exposed’ at 10 cm distance from the
mobile phone antenna with the mobile phone turned
off during the 6 min ‘exposures’. During initial
experiments we had already verified that there was
no difference in what distance the SE group was
‘exposed’ or whether it was ‘exposed’ with or without
the use of the ferromagnetic metal grid shield (see
Appendix). After this, we were able to compare both
exposed groups with the same sham-exposed group.
The SE groups were otherwise treated exactly as the
exposed ones (same voice applied during the sham-
exposures as during the exposures). Each group
consisted of 10 male and 10 female insects.
If the recorded effect was due to possible wave
interference at distances 30 and 20 cm which are
close to the wavelengths of 900 MHz and 1800
MHz, respectively, or to any other possible effect
related to these distances, then the effect would be
stronger in the E1 groups than in the E2 groups. If
the effect was due to the intensity of the radiation-
fields (i.e., intensity ‘window’), then no important
difference would be recorded between E1 and E2
groups.
The mean power density on the E1 group during
the exposures was 10 +3mW/cm
2
for GSM 900
MHz and 11 +3mW/cm
2
for GSM/DCS 1800
MHz, and almost equal for E2 for both types of
radiation, (10.1 +2.8 mW/cm
2
and 10.8 +3.2 mW/
cm
2
, respectively). Although the RF radiation
intensities were roughly equal between the E1 and
E2 groups, there was a small difference in the ELF
electric and magnetic field intensities between the
two exposed groups, for both types of radiation.
These intensities were a little higher in the E2 than in
the E1 groups, suggesting that the ferromagnetic
metal grid shield used to insulate E2 was not as
effective in the ELF range as it was in the RF range of
the electromagnetic spectrum. The measured ELF
electric and magnetic field intensities, excluding the
ambient electric and magnetic fields of 50 Hz were,
0.61 +0.11 V/m, 0.10 +0.02 mG for E1 and
0.65 +0.10 V/m, 0.12 +0.03 mG for E2, respec-
tively; for the GSM 900 MHz signal and almost
equal corresponding values for GSM 1800 MHz,
(0.6 +0.13 V/m, 0.09 +0.03 mG for E1 and
0.66 +0.12 V/m, 0.13 +0.02 mG for E2, respec-
tively). The ELF survey meter used to measure the
ELF fields cannot discriminate between the 217 Hz
pulse repetition of the radiation and the fields in the
handset. The measured ELF values given above
include both contributions. The above-mentioned
measured values of radiation/field intensities are
averaged over six separate measurements of each
kind +SD. These values are typical for digital
mobile telephony handsets under the above condi-
tions and distances from the antenna and they are
within the established current exposure criteria,
(International Commission for Non-Ionising Radia-
tion Protection [ICNIRP] 1998).
The total duration of exposure was 6 min per day
in one dose and the exposures were started on the first
day of each experiment (day of eclosion). In each
experiment the two exposed groups were simulta-
neously exposed during the 6-min exposure sessions.
After each exposure session, the corresponding SE
360 D. J. Panagopoulos & L. H. Margaritis
group was sham-exposed. The exposures took place
for five days in each experiment, as previously
described (Panagopoulos et al. 2004, 2009). The
daily exposure duration of 6 min, was chosen for
reasons we have explained before (Panagopoulos
et al. 2004, 2007a) and for keeping the same exposure
conditions as in the previous experiments. The
mobile phone during the exposures was parallel to
the vials’ axis.
In each experiment we kept the 10 males and the
10 females of each group in separate vials for the first
48 h, as before (Panagopoulos et al. 2004). After the
first 48 h of each experiment, the males and females
of each group were put together (10 pairs) in another
glass vial with fresh food, allowed to mate and lay
eggs for the next 72 h, during which, the daily egg
production of Drosophila is at its maximum (Pana-
gopoulos et al. 2004).
At the sixth day from the beginning of each
experiment, the flies were removed from the glass
vials, and the vials with the food and the laid eggs
were maintained in the culture room for six addi-
tional days, without further exposure, in order to
count the F
1
pupae as in previous experiments
(Panagopoulos et al. 2000a, 2004, 2007b).
Following the same procedure of our earlier
experiments, during the last six days we inspected
the surface of the food within the glass vials under
the stereo-microscope for any non-developed laid
eggs or dead larvae, something that we have not
observed in our experiments (whereas empty egg-
shells can be seen after hatching). The number of
observed exceptions (non-developed eggs or dead
larvae), both in exposed and control groups (less
than 4%) are within the Standard Deviation of
progeny number. [The insignificant percentage of
F
1
egg and larvae mortality is due to the fact that
the paternal-maternal flies were newly emerged
during the first 2–5 days of their adult lives].
Therefore, the number of pupae in our experi-
ments corresponds to the number of laid eggs
(oviposition). Furthermore, the counting of pupae
can be done without any error at all, whereas the
counting of laid eggs under a stereo-microscope is
subject to considerable error.
The temperature during the exposures was mon-
itored within the vials by a mercury thermometer with
an accuracy of 0.058C (Panagopoulos et al. 2004).
The temperature was 25 +0.58C within the room
where the exposures (and sham-exposures) were
performed (and within the vials with the insects).
The results were analysed by single factor Analysis
of Variance test which calculates the probability (P),
that the differences in the reproductive capacity
between groups are due to random variations.
Results
The mean values of reproductive capacity (number
of F
1
pupae per maternal fly) from five identical
experiments with each kind of radiation are shown in
Table I and represented in Figure 1.
Table I. Effect of GSM 900 and 1800 radiation-fields on the reproductive capacity of groups exposed at ‘window’ intensity and sham-
exposed groups.
Experiment No. Groups
Mean number
of F
1
pupae
per maternal
fly, for GSM
900 MHz
Deviation from
sham-exposed
group
Mean number
of F
1
pupae
per maternal
fly, for GSM
1800 MHz
Deviation from
sham-exposed
group
1 SE 14.2 13.8
E1 8.3 741.55 % 9.5 731.16 %
E2 7.9 744.36 % 8.9 735.51 %
2 SE 13.4 13.5
E1 7.8 741.79 % 8.5 737.04 %
E2 8.2 738.81 % 8.2 739.26 %
3 SE 12.7 14
E1 7.3 742.52 % 7.6 745.71 %
E2 7.2 743.31 % 8.1 742.14 %
4 SE 14.5 14.3
E1 9.2 736.55 % 9 737.06 %
E2 8.7 740 % 9.3 734.97 %
5 SE 13.7 12.6
E1 6.7 751.09 % 7.3 742.06 %
E2 7.2 747.45 % 7.3 742.06 %
Average +SD SE 13.7 +0.70 13.64 +0.65
E1 7.86 +0.95 742.63 % 8.38 +0.93 738.56 %
E2 7.84 +0.65 742.77 % 8.36 +0.77 738.71 %
Intensity window of mobile telephony radiation 361
The results show that the reproductive capacity
between the two exposed groups did not differ
significantly for both types of radiation, (P40.97 in
both cases, meaning that differences between the two
exposed groups have more than 97% probability to be
due to random variations according to the statistical
analysis). In contrast, the reproductive capacity of each
exposed group was significantly decreased compared
to the sham-exposed group as expected for both types
of radiation, (P510
75
in all cases).
Therefore, the reproductive capacity of both
exposed groups was significantly decreased com-
pared to the sham-exposed ones, as it was expected,
but the difference in reduction was not statistically
important between the two exposed groups, for both
types of radiation. The decrease in reproductive
capacity caused by GSM 900 in both exposed groups
(742.63% for E1, 742.77% for E2) was higher than
the corresponding decrease caused by GSM/DCS
1800 (738.56%, 738.71%, respectively) for the
same radiation-field intensity, although differences
were within the standard deviation (Table I). The
results also show that for both types of mobile
telephony radiation, the reproductive capacity of E2
was slightly more decreased than that of E1 (Table
I), although these differences were again within the
standard deviation.
No detectable temperature increase was found
within the vials during the exposures, as measured by
the sensitive mercury thermometer.
Discussion and conclusion
In the present experiments we showed that the
increased bioactivity ‘window’ of digital mobile
telephony radiation revealed in our recent experi-
ments (Panagopoulos and Margaritis 2008; Pana-
gopoulos et al. 2010), is actually an ‘intensity
window’ around the value of 10 mW/cm
2
(in regards
to the RF intensity), [or around the values of 0.6–
0.7 V/m and 0.10–0.12 mG (in regards to the ELF
electric or magnetic field intensities, respectively),
or to any combination of the three of them]. Within
this ‘window’ the bioactivity of mobile telephony
radiation becomes even more intense than at
intensities higher than 250 mW/cm
2
(or higher than
13 V/m and 0.6 mG, respectively). Under normal
conditions and without obstacles between the
antenna and the exposed object, the intensity
around 10 mW/cm
2
where the window appears
exists at a distance of approximately 30 cm from a
GSM 900 or 20 cm from a GSM/DCS 1800 mobile
phone antenna, which corresponds to a distance of
about 30 or 20 m, respectively, from a correspond-
ing base station antenna, as base station antennas
emit the same kind of radiation at about 100 times
higher power than the corresponding mobile phones
(Hyland 2000; Panagopoulos and Margaritis 2008;
Panagopoulos et al. 2010).
We have shown that this window is only indirectly
related with the distance from the antenna; therefore,
it does not seem to be related with the wavelength (or
the frequency) of the radiation. This window is
directly dependent on the intensity of the radiation/
field, no matter on what distance from the antenna
this intensity exists. This conclusion comes from the
results of our present experiments, that there is no
significant difference between the E1- and E2-
exposed groups for both types of radiation.
Our present results show that GSM 900 exposure
decreases reproductive capacity a little more than
DCS/GSM 1800 exposure for the same radiation/
field intensity. This is in agreement with our previous
results which showed that GSM 900 is slightly more
bioactive than DCS/GSM 1800 even under the same
radiation intensity (Panagopoulos et al. 2007a). This
possibly means that the carrier frequency of the
radiation, which is the only difference in this case,
plays a small but statistically significant role in the
bioactivity of mobile telephony radiation, implying
that lower frequency fields are more bioactive than
higher frequency ones with the same rest character-
istics. This is explained by the mechanism we have
proposed for the action of electromagnetic fields on
cells (Panagopoulos et al. 2000b, 2002).
For both types of mobile telephony radiation, the
reproductive capacity of E2 was slightly more
decreased than that of E1, although differences were
within standard deviation. This is possibly due to the
fact that the ferromagnetic metal grid shield we used
to diminish radiation and field intensities in the E2
groups was more effective in the RF than in the ELF
region of the electromagnetic spectrum, resulting in
slightly higher values of the ELF electric and
Figure 1. Reproductive capacity +SD of exposed and sham-
exposed groups to GSM 900 MHz and 1800 MHz radiation at
‘window’ intensity (10 mW/cm
2
). The decrease in reproductive
capacity of the exposed groups E1 and E2 for both types of
radiation is significant in relation to the sham-exposed groups, but
there is no significant difference between them.
362 D. J. Panagopoulos & L. H. Margaritis
magnetic field intensities in the E2 than in the
corresponding E1 groups, although the RF intensity
was roughly the same between the two groups. In
other words, the slightly more decreased reproduc-
tive capacity of E2 groups in relation to the
corresponding E1 ones is possibly due to the more
increased values of the ELF fields. This might mean
that not only the RF carrier wave intensity but also
the pulsing ELF field intensities play an important
role in the bioactivity of digital mobile telephony
signals and in the existence of the recorded intensity
windows.
We consider that the effect of the ferromagnetic
metal grid shield on diminishing the effects on
reproductive capacity was due to the decrease of
the RF-ELF intensities and not to any possible near-
far field structure alteration, because this grid was
placed well outside of the near field zone (almost at
double the distance from the antenna than the far
limit of the near field zone) for both types of
radiation. Although any conductive object (like the
ferromagnetic metal grid shield that we used) within
the near field of the antenna can alter the character-
istics of the near field, (basically the local intensity
and the pattern of radiation) as, especially in the
reactive near field (the closest region to the antenna),
conductive objects may practically become parts of
the antenna, no considerable similar changes take
place for conductive objects in the far field zone
(Slater 1991). Even if the grid had caused an
alteration in the zones, this alteration would basically
reflect consequent alterations in radiation and field
intensities which would have been measured. It is
known that exposure in the near or far field of the
same antenna can produce quantitatively different
biological effects (Gapeyev et al. 1997) but in the
present experiments both E1 and E2 groups were
exposed in the far field of the antenna. Even if there
were alterations in the structure of the zones caused
hypothetically by the presence of the ferromagnetic
metal grid shield that were not measured by the
instrument, these alterations would influence equally
both the exposed groups since both groups were
within the same zone.
Since there was no detectable temperature in-
crease during the exposures, the recorded effects are
considered as non-thermal.
The intensity ‘window’ found in our experiments
could possibly be correlated with the recent results of
another experimental group reporting that GSM
radiation caused increased permeability of the blood-
brain barrier in rat nerve cells and the strongest effect
was produced by the lowest SAR values correspond-
ing to the weakest radiation intensity (Eberhardt
et al. 2008).
As shown in previous experiments of ours (Pana-
gopoulos et al. 2007b, 2010), the large decrease in
the reproductive capacity of the insects exposed to
mobile telephony radiation is due to the elimination
of large numbers of egg chambers during early and
mid oogenesis, either via stress-induced apoptosis or
necrosis of their constituent cells.
We do not know whether the intensity window
found is related exclusively to the specific experi-
mental animal we used or if it concerns other
organisms as well. Experiments with different experi-
mental animals exposed to different intensities of
mobile telephony radiation are necessary in order to
answer this question. Since the effect of cell death
induction especially within the above intensity window
was observed in all kinds of female reproductive cells
(nurse cells, follicle cells and the oocyte) (Panago-
poulos et al. 2010) and since most cellular functions
are identical in both insect and mammal cells, it is
possible that this intensity window concerns a variety
of cell types in different organisms and humans as well.
A possible explanation for the existence of bioac-
tivity ‘windows’ may come from our proposed theory
on the biophysical mechanism of action of electro-
magnetic fields (EMF) on cells (Panagopoulos et al.
2000b, 2002; Panagopoulos and Margaritis 2003b).
According to this theory, the action of external EMF
on cells is dependent on the irregular gating of
membrane electrosensitive ion channels whenever a
force on the channel sensors exceeds the force exerted
on them by a change in the membrane potential of
about 30 mV which is necessary to gate the channel
normally. If in some kind of cells there is an upper
limit for this value of membrane potential change,
then the channel would be gated whenever the force
exerted on its sensors is within this ‘window’.
For example, the intensity window that we have
recorded, in terms of the ELF electric field intensity,
is around 0.6–0.7 V/m. Let us assume that it ranges
from 0.5 to 1 V/m. According to our theory, these
limits correspond to a single-valence, single ion
displacement between @r
1
¼1.3 610
711
m and
@r
2
¼2.6 610
711
m, in the vicinity of the chan-
nel’s sensors, according to the equation (Panago-
poulos et al. 2002):
@r¼Eozqe
lo
where: E
o
the amplitude of the external oscillating
electric field which is equal to Effiffiffi
2
pwhere Ethe
measured (root mean square) value of electric field
intensity, zthe ion’s valence (for example, z¼1 for
K
þ
ions), q
e
the unit charge (¼1.6 610
719
Cb),
l6.4 610
712
Kg/s the attenuation coefficient
for the ion movement within a cation channel,
o¼2pn (nthe frequency of the external oscillating
field, in our case let us take n¼217 Hz the pulse
repetition frequency of the ELF pulses).
Intensity window of mobile telephony radiation 363
These displacements @r
1
and @r
2
would exert on
each channel’s sensor (S4 domain) corresponding
forces @F
1
¼2.5 610
712
N and @F
2
¼5610
712
N according to the equation
@r¼2peeo@F:r3
q:zqe
where e¼4, the relative dielectric constant in the
internal of a channel-protein, e
o
¼8.854 610
712
N
71
m
72
Cb
72
the dielectric constant of vacuum,
r10
79
m the distance between the oscillating ion
and the effective charge of the channel’s sensor, and
q¼1.7 q
e
the effective charge of the channel’s sensor
(S4 domain) (Panagopoulos et al. 2002, 2000b).
A force between 2.5 and 5 610
712
N on the
channel’s sensor, in turn, corresponds according to
the equation
@F¼@DC q
s
(Panagopoulos et al. 2000b) to a change @DC in the
membrane voltage between 90 and 180 mV, (q¼1.7
q
e
and s 10
78
m the membrane’s width). Thus we
have shown that the intensity window found in our
present experiments corresponds to a gating voltage
change between 90 and 180 mV in the membrane
potential.
Channel gating is usually studied on nerve cells,
and in these kind of cells possibly no upper limit
exists, but the possibility of an upper limit (like the
value of 180 mV that we found in our example),
cannot be excluded for other kinds of cells which
have not been studied until now in terms of their
channel voltage gating. Our hypothesis for the
explanation of the existence of bioactivity ‘windows’
is reported here for the first time. The above
numerical example is just an indication that the
bioactivity windows reported for many years in
electromagnetic and radiation biology experiments
but not explained so far, can possibly be theoretically
explained according to our theory.
Our present results show that mobile telephony
radiation at lower intensities might be even more
bioactive than at higher ones. Since insects are found
to be more resistant to radiations than mammals
(Abrahamson et al. 1973; Koval et al. 1977), our
results may indicate a danger for human health as
well. The intensities of the increased bioactivity
window found in our experiments are already much
lower than those adopted by the current exposure
criteria (ICNIRP 1998). The results of this and our
other latest study (Panagopoulos et al. 2010), suggest
that exposure limits should be restricted at values not
higher than 1 mW/cm
2
. Since in the case of base
station mobile telephony antennas this intensity
exists at about 100 m from the antennas (Panago-
poulos et al. 2010), our latest results suggest that the
base station antennas should be located at distances
of at least a few hundred meters from residential and
working areas.
Declaration of interest: The authors report no
conflicts of interest. The authors alone are respon-
sible for the content and writing of the paper.
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Appendix
Reproductive capacity of sham-exposed groups in four identical
experiments.
Experiment No. Groups
Mean number
of F
1
pupae
per maternal
fly, for GSM
900 MHz
sham exposure
Mean number
of F
1
pupae
per maternal
fly, for GSM
1800 MHz
sham exposure
1 SE1 13.7 14.6
SE2 13.5 12.6
SE 12.9 13.2
2 SE1 12.7 11.8
SE2 14.8 15
SE 14.4 10.9
3 SE1 14.4 12.6
SE2 14.1 11.1
SE 14.3 14.3
4 SE1 14.7 13.4
SE2 13.2 12.9
SE 13.5 13.8
Average +SD SE1 13.87 +0.89 13.1 +1.19
SE2 13.9 +0.71 12.9 +1.61
SE 13.77 +0.71 13.05 +1.5
The SE1 groups were sham-exposed at 30 and 20 cm from the GSM
900 or 1800 mobile phone antenna correspondingly, without use of
any electromagnetic shielding. The SE2 groups were sham exposed at
8 or 5 cm correspondingly from the GSM 900 or 1800 mobile phone
antenna behind the ferromagnetic metal grid shield. The SE groups
were sham-exposed in both cases at 10 cm distance without any shield.
Single factor Analysis of Variance test showed that the three different
sham-exposed groups did not differ significantly in their reproductive
capacity, (P40.97 both for GSM 900 and 1800 sham exposures).
Therefore in our experiments we used only one sham-exposed group
at 10 cm distance from the antenna without any shielding.
366 D. J. Panagopoulos & L. H. Margaritis
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A number of serious non thermal biological effects, ranging from changes in cellular function like proliferation rate changes or gene expression changes to cell death induction, decrease in the rate of melatonin production and changes in electroencephalogram patterns in humans, population declinations of birds and insects, and small but statistically significant increases of certain types of cancer, are attributed in our days to the radiations emitted by mobile telephony antennas of both handsets and base stations. This chapter reviews briefly the most important experimental, clinical and statistical findings and presents more extensively a series of experiments, concerning cell death induction on a model biological system. Mobile telephony radiation is found to decrease significantly and non thermally insect reproduction by up to 60%, after a few minutes daily exposure for only few days. Both sexes were found to be affected. The effect is due to DNA fragmentation in the gonads caused by both types of digital mobile telephony radiation used in Europe, GSM 900MHz, (Global System for Mobile telecommunications), and DCS 1800MHz, (Digital Cellular System). GSM was found to be even more bioactive than DCS, due to its higher intensity under equal conditions. The decrease in reproductive capacity seems to be non-linearly depended on radiation intensity, exhibiting a peak for intensities higher than 200 μW/cm 2 and an intensity "window" around 10μW/cm 2 were it becomes maximum. In terms of the distance from a mobile phone antenna, the intensity of this "window"corresponds under usual conditions to a distance of 20-30 cm. The importance of different parameters of the radiation like intensity, carrier frequency and pulse repetition frequency, in relation to the recorded effects are discussed. Finally, this chapter describes a plausible biophysical and biochemical mechanism which can explain the recorded effects of mobile telephony radiations on living organisms.
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