Newly Published Scientific Review Finds Numerous Impacts To Insects From Wireless Radiation and Non-Ionizing EMFs 

Teton Village, WY (November 29, 2023) – A systematic review and metaanalysis of studies on the biological effects to insects of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields, including cell tower and Wi-Fi radiation, was published in the journal Reviews on Environmental Health finding the “vast majority of studies found effects, generally harmful ones” with toxic effects such as impacts to reproduction and immune health occurring at legally allowed exposure levels. 

The study entitled “Biological effects of electromagnetic fields on insects: a systematic review and meta-analysis” was authored by Alain Thill Marie-Claire Cammaerts and Alfonso Balmori. 

The study considered 185 papers on the effects of EMF on insects, and 145 studies on insect magnetic sensing published since 1980. The researchers caution on rising levels of non-ionizing EMFs as a factor in the worldwide insect decline stating: 

Based on an assessment of the overall study situation on insects, we must warn against a careless deployment of further mobile telephony infrastructure, as harmful effects on insect populations would be likely, especially if interactions with other noxious agents are taken into account (including high-voltage power lines and artificial lighting). This might lead to further declines of already dwindling populations of pollinators, and would thereby entail costs for humanity.   

Regarding sources of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields (EMFs) in the environment such as cell towers, 5G/4G, cell phones and Wi-Fi networks the researchers concluded that “the existence of consistent results from numerous studies conducted by various research groups using various protocols make an irrefutable case for adverse effects.” 

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Key Findings From the Review

  • The Majority of Studies: The majority of studies on insects found effects compared those that did not find effects. The review evaluated 185 papers and 145 studies published since 1980. 
  • Numerous Biological Effects: The review documented a range of effects including  impacts to reproductive capacity, development, metabolism, behavior, orientation and memory. Oxidative stress and DNA damage were found.  
  • Caution for 5G: Insects are uniquely vulnerable to higher frequencies (5G and new networks) due to their smaller size. 
  • Government Limits Do Not Protect : Effects to insects wee found at levels well below ICNIRP and FCC limits. The basis for these outdated limits (that heat is the only harm) has “been proven false” 
  • Duration of  Exposure Impacts Effects: Experiments using cell phones found effects within 10 min of irradiation, whereas field experiments at cell towers/base stations found harmful effects usually after several weeks or months. Field studies on insects, birds and pine trees around cellular towers point to chronic detrimental effects even at legally allowed power levels. 

The paper refers to earlier published reviews on flora and fauna by Levitt et al 2022, Cucurachi et al 2013 and Balmori 2021 as well as the mechanisms for toxicity described by Panagopoulos et al., 2021 which explains how EMFscan first cause oxidative stress, leading to defective transposon silencing, causing chromosomal aberrations and DNA damage, which finally causes reduced reproductive capacity. 

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Devra Davis PhD, MPH, President of Environmental Health Trust stated, “the researchers conclude that the biological effects of non-thermal EMF on insects are ‘clearly proven’ in the laboratory. Although more field data is needed, they state that the current body of scientific evidence ‘warrants increasing the threat level’ of environmental EMF to insects. We must act now.” 

“Pollinators must be protected. This study found toxic effects on insects at radiation levels that are considered safe for humans. The continued use of irrelevant U.S. FCC and ICNIRP limits is reckless,” continued Theodora Scarato, Executive Director of Environmental Health Trust .

Scientific citation: Thill A, Cammaerts MC, Balmori A. Biological effects of electromagnetic fields on insects: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Rev Environ Health. 2023 Nov 23 

An excerpt from the review stating that exposure limits for chronic exposure may need to be as low as 1000 times below ICNIRP limits.

Panagopoulos et al. detected a bioactive window at a distance of 20–30 cm from GSM mobile phones, where the power density equaled 100 mW/m2 (∼6 V/m), and where toxic effects in Drosophila are already observed after a 1-min exposure. These results have been replicated several times [148], [149], [150]. If this is generally true for insects, the limit for toxic effects would be 100 times below the current ICNIRP limit (10 W/m2 or 61 V/m), which protects only against thermal effects (in humans), and possibly 1,000 times lower than current limits for chronic exposure, i.e. 10 mW/m2 or 2 V/m (all comparisons based on power densities, i.e. energy per surface area units) [94]. A recent study found significant effects on gene transcription and chromosomal abnormalities using a WiFi signal at 4.8 mW/m2 or 1.35 V/m in Drosophila exposed for 9 days [145]. These findings of biological effects in insects starting at around 2 V/m imply that existing standards would have to be revised and made more stringent, to include nature protection/wild-life concerns.

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