Panagopoulos: Comparing DNA damage induced by mobile telephony and other types of man-made electromagnetic fields

Published in

Mutation Research/Reviews in Mutation Research

Volume 781, July – September 2019
Available online March 11, 2019

Dimitris J.Panagopoulosabc


The number of studies showing adverse effects on living organisms induced by different types of man-made Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) has increased tremendously. Hundreds of peer reviewed published studies show a variety of effects, the most important being DNA damage which is linked to cancer, neurodegenerative diseases, reproductive declines etc. Those studies that are far more effective in showing effects employ real-life Mobile Telephony (MT) exposures emitted by commercially available mobile phones. The present review – of results published by my group from 2006 until 2016 – compares DNA fragmentation induced by six different EMFs on the same biological system – the oogenesis of Drosophilamelanogaster – under identical conditions and procedures. Such a direct comparison between different EMFs – especially those employed in daily life – on the same biological endpoint, is very useful for drawing conclusions on their bioactivity, and novel. It shows that real MT EMFs are far more damaging than 50 Hz alternating magnetic field (MF) – similar or much stronger to those of power lines – or a pulsed electric field (PEF) found before to increase fertility. The MT EMFs were significantly more bioactive even for much shorter exposure durations than the other EMFs. Moreover, they were more damaging than previously tested cytotoxic agents like certain chemicals, starvationdehydration. Individual parameters of the real MT EMFs like intensity, frequency, exposure duration, polarization, pulsing, modulation, are discussed in terms of their role in bioactivity. The crucial parameter for the intense bioactivity seems to be the extreme variability of the polarized MT signals, mainly due to the large unpredictable intensity changes.

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    Summary by a colleague:

    While cytotoxic chemical agents caused damage only at certain stages of the egg’s development, cell phone radiation was found to cause damage at ALL stages of egg development and heritable DNA mutations which could be passed on to the next generation.

    Results were statistically significant:

    There was 35.77% more DNA damage from GSM 1800 cell phone exposure at 36 minutes compared to non-exposed eggs (p<0.0005), and 50.16% more DNA damage from GSM 900 cell phone exposure at 36 minutes compared to non-exposed eggs (p<0.0002).

    In contrast, DNA damage from magnetic fields comparable to power lines for 120 hours was only up to 7.5% (p<0.001)

    Even though all the sources of EMF in the studies were non-ionizing and thus cannot cause DNA damage directly, the DNA damage was caused by release within the cells of oxidative free radicals or hydrolytic enzymes like DNAses.

    The study found that the most important physical parameters of EMFs causing bioactivity, are: 1) polarization (in combination with coherence), 2) ELF components (pulsing, modulation, etc.), 3) field/radiation intensity, 4) exposure duration, 5) field variability. The crucial parameter for the intense bioactivity seems to be the extreme variability of the polarized MT signals, mainly due to the large unpredictable intensity changes. This applies to all forms of microwave wireless communication, including 2nd, 3rd, and 4th generations of cell phones, DECT cordless phones, and Wi-Fi.

    The results of these studies are applicable to mammals, including humans, because 

    “all cells in both insects (including Drosophila) and mammals (including humans) have the same type of cell membranes, are full with billions of identical free ions like calcium (Ca+2), potassium (K+), sodium (Na+) etc, initiating and accompanying all cellular events, and have the same intracellular organelles like mitochondria, ribosomes, endoplasmic reticulum, nucleus containing the cells genomic DNA with the same basic structure… These similarities at the cellular level between all animals are more fundamental than differences in volume, mass, shape, macroscopic functions, intelligence, etc, since all health effects are initiated at the cellular level. Thus, it is reasonable to assume that a cellular effect caused by EMFs on Drosophila (e.g. DNA damage) can be expected to occur also in the human organism.”

    The importance of exposure variability implies the need to define safety standards for EMF-exposures not only by the frequency components and average intensity values (which is currently done in the US and other countries), but by the maximum and minimum intensity, frequency variations, pulsing or continuous wave, modulation, and polarization as well.

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