Braces, earrings, and hip replacements: metal in or near the body can increase a person’s absorption of wireless radiation (RFR)

From Environmental Health Trust

Metal Can Increase Wireless Radiation Absorption Into The Body

 Published Research Indicates That Metal Implants Effect Electromagnetic Radiation Absorption Into The Body

The presence of metal in or near the body can significantly increase a person’s wireless exposure. Metal can reflect and refocus wireless radiation, resulting in much higher SAR absorption rates into the body. The FCC, states, “Electrically conductive objects in or on the body may interact with sources of RF energy in ways that are not easily predicted. Examples of conductive objects in the body include braces, orthodontics and implanted metallic objects. Examples of conductive objects on the body include eyeglasses, jewelry, or metallic accessories.”  

Published research shows that eyeglasses with metal frames and metal jewelrycan affect the SAR levels. For example, a study found the SAR measured in the eye closest to the phone increased up to almost 30% when metal glasses were a part of the calculation. Similarly, publications have reported that the peak SAR can be up to 25% higher when a 900 MHz phone is pressed up to an ear pierced with a metallic object such as an earring. Another study looked at the SARs into the leg and reproductive organs when a cell phone was placed in a pocket alongside a keychain with a metal ring and found that the presence of a metallic ring significantly increases the averaged 10g SAR inside the testicle by more than 20% at 1.8 GHz.

People have a variety of metal implants in their body, from dental implants, the pins used for broken bones, hip replacements and brain implants.  Metallic implants inside the body have been found to increase the SAR levels in several studies.  Increased SAR levels in the brain from implanted metal is a serious concern that regulatory agencies have not addressed.   

Wireless and Other Types of Electromagnetic Radiation Can Increase the Metal Released In The Body From Dental Fillings and Braces 

Research has shown that radiofrequency radiation can increase metal interactions in the body, allowing the body to be exposed to higher amounts of toxic and carcinogenic metals. For example research has found MRI and microwave radiation emitted from mobile phones to result in higher mercury release from dental amalgam restoration. MRIs have been shown to result in higher  mercury release from dental amalgam fillings.

Another study found that the exposure of patients with amalgam restorations to RF from  Wi-Fi devices increased mercury release from the amalgam. In response to these findings some researchers have hypothesized that maternal exposure to electro magnetic fields in mothers with dental amalgam fillings could cause elevated levels of mercury and be a trigger related to the increase in autism rates.  

A study published in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics  found that cell phone wireless radiation significantly increased nickel concentration in the saliva of patients who wear dental braces. Participants who spoke more on their cell phone had a greater increase in salivary nickel concentration. Women were more affected because they spoke more on their cell phones. Research studies indicate that nickel at minimal concentrations can impact physiology and research has established the carcinogenic effect of nickel. Therefore, the combination of wireless radiation and nickel poses a critical public health issue for teenagers with braces. 

Manufacturers Warn Consumers About Metal Cases in their Fine Print Warnings.

Manufacturers warn consumers about metal cases in their fine print warnings for all cell phones and wireless devices. For example the Apple iPhone 5 states, “Cases with metal parts may change the RF performance of the device, including its compliance with RF exposure guidelines, in a manner that has not been tested or certified.”

However, the wireless companies do not warn with easy to understand language. They do not clarify that eyeglasses, earrings, metal implants or placing a cell phone in a pocket next to a keyring can increase consumers cell phone exposures.

However, it is notable that in 2012, the Indian government issuedrecommendations to reduce cell phone radiation which included, “Metal & water are good conductors of radio waves so avoid using a mobile phone while wearing metal-framed glasses or having wet hair.”  

Cell Phone and wireless device testing does not consider the effects of body metal or metal eyeglass frames.

So far, governments have neglected to consider metal in their regulatory compliance testing, despite the fact that metal (body-worn or internal) will interact with the cell phone radiation absorption into the user’s body. The SAR test dummy does not have any metal (e.g., dental fillings, dental braces, earrings, piercings, orthopedic implants, wire-supported bras, or eyeglass frames) that could increase the radiation absorption beyond the laboratory measurements. Yet people use cell phones near metal. This is yet another important reason why current SAR testing is inadequate.

In addition, what about underwire bras? Women may place the cell phone in their bra close to the wire. Women may lean in next to a wireless laptop with an underwire bra. To what degree does the radiation penetrate due to this line of metal?

The US Government is Seeking Answers to How Metal Affects Radiation From Wireless Devices- Yet Is Not Informing The Public

The FCC opened an Inquiry into human exposure to radiofrequency in 2012 and specifically asked about issues related to medical implant exposure. The FCC in documents Reassessment of Federal Communications Commission Radio frequency Exposure Limits and Policies (page 83 of 202) states,  

Electrically conductive objects in or on the body may interact with sources of RF energy in ways that are not easily predicted.  Examples of conductive objects in the body include implanted metallic objects. Examples of conductive objects on the body include  eyeglasses, jewelry, or metallic accessories.”

The FCC states that they seek comment “on whether the present volume-averaged  SAR limits are protective for the more localized SAR that may occur near the tip of a conductive object…”  

Despite the FCC Inquiry opened in 2012, no action has been taken to protect the public. Cell phones are exponentially increasing in use by all ages and especially by teenagers who wear braces and who brains are developing. 


Mortazavi, Gh, et al. “Increased release of mercury from dental amalgam fillings due to maternal exposure to electromagnetic fields as a possible mechanism for the high rates of autism in the offspring: introducing a hypothesis.” Journal of Biomedical Physics & Engineering 6.1 (2016): 41.

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), factors such as growing electricity demand, ever-advancing technologies and changes in social behaviour have led to steadily increasing exposure to man-made electromagnetic fields.  Dental amalgam fillings are among the major sources of exposure to elemental mercury vapour in the general population. Although it was previously believed that low levels are mercury (i.g. release of mercury from dental amalgam) is not hazardous, now numerous data indicate that even very low doses of mercury cause toxicity. There are some evidence indicating that perinatal exposure to mercury is significantly associated with an increased risk of developmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Furthermore, mercury can decrease the levels of neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin, noreprenephrine, and acetylcholine in the brain and cause neurological problems. On the other hand, a strong positive correlation between maternal and cord blood mercury levels is found in some studies. We have previously shown that exposure to MRI or microwave radiation emitted by common mobile phones can lead to increased release of mercury from dental amalgam fillings. Moreover, when we investigated the effects of MRI machines with stronger magnetic fields, our previous findings were confirmed. As a strong association between exposure to electromagnetic fields and mercury level has been found in our previous studies, our findings can lead us to this conclusion that maternal exposure to electromagnetic fields in mothers with dental amalgam fillings may cause elevated levels of mercury and trigger the increase in autism rates. Further studies are needed to have a better understanding of the possible role of the increased mercury level after exposure to electromagnetic fields and the rate of autism spectrum disorders in the offspring.” 

Mortazavi, Ghazal, and S. M. J. Mortazavi. “Increased mercury release from dental amalgam restorations after exposure to electromagnetic fields as a potential hazard for hypersensitive people and pregnant women.” Reviews on Environmental Health 30.4 (2015): 287-92.

  • Our findings regarding the effect of exposure to electromagnetic fields on the release of mercury from dental amalgam fillings lead us to this conclusion that pregnant women with dental amalgam fillings should limit their exposure to electromagnetic fields to prevent toxic effects of mercury in their fetuses. Based on these findings, as infants and children are more vulnerable to mercury exposures, and as some individuals are routinely exposed to different sources of electromagnetic fields, we possibly need a paradigm shift in evaluating the health effects of amalgam fillings.” 

Othman, N., et al. “Specific Absorption Rate in the human leg and testicle due to metallic coin and zip.” RF and Microwave Conference (RFM), 2015. IEEE (2015).

  • This research identifies and evaluates the effect of human body and conductive metallic objects in the vicinity of radiation source on Specific Absorption Rate (SAR). The results have shown that the presence of metallic objects near to human body could alter the energy absorption by the body. The presence of coin close to dipole antenna increases the 1g SAR in the leg by 58 %. In addition, the zip could significantly increases SAR inside the testicle by 30 % at 0.9 GHz.” 

Othman, Nazirah, Noor Asmawati Samsuri, and Mohamad Kamal A. Rahim. “ESTIMATION OF SPECIFIC ABSORPTION RATE IN THE HUMAN LEG AND TESTICLE DUE TO A METALLIC RING.” JURNAL TEKNOLOGI 77.10 (2015): 85-90.

  • The results have shown that the presence of human body near to the antenna significantly distorted the antenna radiation pattern. The antenna gain is decreased approximately 10 dB at 0.9 GH and 25 dB at 1.8 GHz in the direction of body. Nevertheless, the presence of metallic ring do not have any profound effect on antenna radiation pattern due to their size which is relatively small compared to the size of the human body. Additional metallic ring close to the human leg could alter the SAR and the effect varies depending on the size of the rings. The presence of metallic ring significantly increases the averaged 10g SAR inside the testicle by more than 20% at 1.8 GHz.” 

Saghiri, Mohammad Ali, et al. “Effect of mobile phone use on metal ion release from fixed orthodontic appliances.” American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics 147.6 (2015): 719-724.

  • The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of exposure to radiofrequency electromagnetic fields emitted by mobile phones on the level of nickel in saliva. Mobile phone usage has a time-dependent influence on the concentration of nickel in the saliva of patients with orthodontic appliances.” 

Mortazavi, S. M. J., et al. “High-field MRI and mercury release from dental amalgam fillings.” The International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (2014) 5.2: 101-5.

  • This study was conducted to assess the effect of high-field MRI on mercury release from dental amalgam filling. The mean±SD urinary mercury levels in MRI-exposed individuals increased linearly from a baseline value of 20.70±17.96 to 24.83±22.91 μg/L 72 hrs after MRI. In the control group, the concentration decreased linearly from 20.70±19.77 to 16.14±20.05 μg/L. The difference between urinary mercury in the exposed and control group, 72 hrs after MRI (96 h after restoration),was significant (p=0.046). These findings provide further support for the noxious effect of MRI (exposure to strong magnetic field)and release of mercury from dental amalgam fillings.” 

Bengleil, Mudafara S., Juma M. Orfi, and Iman Abdelgader. “Evaluation of salivary nickel level during orthodontic treatment.” Int J Med Health Pharmacol Biomed Eng 7 (2013): 735-7.

  • An increase in level of nickel was followed by decrease 4 and 8 weeks after applying the arch wire (0.208± 0.112) and (0.077±0.056 mg/L) respectively. Nickel levels in saliva of the second group were showed minimal variation and ranged from 0.061± 0.044mg/L to 0.083±0.054 throughout period of study. It may be concluded that there could be a release of nickel from the appliances used in first group but it doesn’t reach toxic level in saliva.” 

Yilmaz, Selmi, and M. Misirlioğlu. “The effect of 3 T MRI on microleakage of amalgam restorations.” Dentomaxillofacial Radiology 42.8 (2013): 20130072.

  • Statistical analysis showed significant differences in microleakage between the groups exposed to MRI and controls, whereas differences in microleakage between amalgam types were insignificant.The primary risk of MRI systems arises from the effects of its strong magnetic field on objects containing ferromagnetic materials. An MRI of 1.5 T is known to be safe for amalgam restorations. However, our research indicates that MRI is not completely devoid of any effects on amalgam restorations.” 

Chervona, Yana, Adriana Arita, and Max Costa. “Carcinogenic metals and the epigenome: understanding the effect of nickel, arsenic, and chromium.” Metallomics 4.7 (2012): 619-627.

  • Here, we propose that the iron- and 2-oxoglutarate-dependent dioxygenase family enzymes, as well as, other histone modifying enzymes are important intracellular targets that mediate the toxicity and carcinogenicity of nickel, and maybe potential targets in chromium and arsenic induced carcinogenesis. Our data demonstrate that all three metals are capable of inducing post-translational histone modifications and affecting the enzymes that modulate them.” 

Lahcen, Ousehal and Lazrak, Laila. “Change in nickel levels in the saliva of patients with fixed orthodontic appliances.” International Orthodontics 10.2 (2012): 190–197

  • Results showed a significant increase in nickel levels just after NiTi archwire insertion. However, the difference was non-significant 8 weeks later. In conclusion, orthodontic appliances release nickel ions mainly at the start of orthodontic treatment.” 

Shahidi S.H., et al. “Effect of magnetic resonance imaging on microleakage of amalgam restorations: an in vitro study.” Dentomaxillofacial Radiology 38.7 (2009): 470–4.

  • The results of this study suggest that MRI is not a completely safe technique in patients with amalgam restorations. It was shown that the main effect of fields led to the appearance of thermoelectromagnetic convection, which is responsible for the enhancement of the diffusion process, grain boundary migration and vacancy formation resulting in microleakage.” 

Das, K. K., S. N. Das, and S. A. Dhundasi. “Nickel, its adverse health effects & oxidative stress.” Indian Journal of Medical Research 128.4 (2008): 412.

  • This article presents a selective review on nickel and effect of its acute, subchronic and chronic doses on certain metabolically active tissues in human as well as animals.Nickel exposure causes formation of free radicals in various tissues in both human and and animals which lead to various modifications to DNA bases, enhanced lipid peroxidation, and altered calcium and sulphhydryl homeostasis.” 

Mortazavi, S. M., et al. “Mercury release from dental amalgam restorations after magnetic resonance imaging and following mobile phone use.” Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences 11.8 (2008): 1142-6.

  • A statistical significant (p<0.05) higher concentration was observed in the students used mobile phone. It appears that MRI and microwave radiation emitted from mobile phones significantly release mercury from dental amalgam restoration. Further research is needed to clarify whether other common sources of electromagnetic field exposure may cause alterations in dental amalgam and accelerate the release of mercury.” 

Whittow, W. G., et al. “On the effects of straight metallic jewellery on the specific absorption rates resulting from face-illuminating radio communication devices at popular cellular frequencies.” Physics in Medicine and Biology 53.1167 (2008).

  • This paper presents simulated and measured phantom results for the possible effects that head worn jewelry may have on the relative levels of energy absorbed in the human head with cellular enabled mobile communication devices. Although, the pins increased the SAR, the SAR standards were not breached and the jewellery produced lower values than those of previous studies when the source was positioned close to the ear.” 

Fayos‐Fernandez, Jose, et al. “Effect of pierced metallic objects on SAR distributions at 900 MHz.” Bioelectromagnetics 27.5 (2006): 337-353.

  • A study of the interaction between mobile phone antennas and a human head in the presence of different types of metallic objects, attached and pierced to the compressed ear, is presented in this article. Despite the measuring accuracy limitations of the study, both simulated and measured results suggest that special attention has to be paid to peak SAR averaged values when wearing metallic objects close to the radiation source, since some increment of peak SAR averaged values is expected.” 

Virtanen, Hanna, Jafar Keshvari and Reijo Lappalainen. “Interaction of radio frequency electromagnetic fields and passive metallic implants—A brief review.”Bioelectromagnetics 27.6 (2006): 431-9.

  • A summary of results indicates that a conductive object in tissues may cause notable local enhancement of the EM field and thus enhanced power absorption. The degree of enhancement depends, for example, on the orientation, the dimensions, the shape, and the location of the implant. However, in most of the cases, the field enhancement has not been strong enough to cause remarkable excess heating (more than 1 °C) of tissues.” 

Whittow, W., Rob M. Edwards. “A study of changes to specific absorption rates in the human eye close to perfectly conducting spectacles within the radio frequency range 1.5 to 3.0 GHz.” IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation52.12 (2003): 3207-12.

  • This paper investigates relative changes in specific absorption rates due to perturbing metallic spectacles in proximity to the face. Results show that metallic spectacles may significantly alter SAR level distributions within the head. Specific attention is given to energy interactions with the eyes. Results are given for several common spectacle frame shapes.” 

Grimsrud, T.K., et al. “Exposure to different forms of nickel and risk of lung cancer.” American Journal of Epidemiology 156.12 (2002): 1123–32.

  • In a case-control study of Norwegian nickel-refinery workers, the authors examined dose-related associations between lung cancer and cumulative exposure to four forms of nickel: water-soluble, sulfidic, oxidic, and metallic. A clear dose-related effect was seen for water-soluble nickel (odds ratio = 1.7 per unit in the loge-transformed exposure, ln[(cumulative exposure) + 1], originally given in (mg/m3) × years (95% confidence interval: 1.3, 2.2)). A general rise in risk from other types of nickel could not be excluded, but no further dose-dependent increase was seen. Smoking was a weak to moderate confounder. The study suggests an important role of water-soluble nickel species in nickel-related cancer.” 

Anderson, V., and K. H. Joyner. “Specific absorption rate levels measured in a phantom head exposed to radio frequency transmissions from analog hand‐held mobile phones.” Bioelectromagnetics 16.1 (1995): 60-9.

  • Although the SARs are below peak spatial limits recommended in the U.S. and Australian national standards- Metal-framed spectacles enhanced SAR levels in the eye by 9-29%. In the brain, maximum levels were recorded at the measurement point closest to the phone and ranged from 0.12 to 0.83 W/kg. 

Lee YW, et al. “Carcinogenic nickel silences gene expression by chromatin condensation and DNA methylation: A new model for epigenetic carcinogens.”Mol Cell Biol. 15.5 (1995): 2547–57.

  • This paper further supports the emerging theory that nickel is a human carcinogen that can alter gene expression by enhanced DNA methylation and compaction, rather than by mutagenic mechanisms.”

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