Mobile Phone Radiation: the Largest Biological Experiment Ever

For years, scientists have been trying to find out whether mobile phones negatively affect our health. Some believe that this is the case, while others are opposed to this view. Discussions can go on forever, but a study conducted by Dr. Leif Salford shows that electromagnetic waves penetrate into our brain, breaking through its natural protective barrier[1].

Alarming findings

More than three decades ago, an American biophysicist and neurologist Allan Frey found that microwaves enter the cells of the brain[2]. It was evident that the natural blood-brain barrier, which is a kind of shield between the blood vessels and nervous tissue, is not enough to protect our brain from electromagnetic waves.

Another scientist, who has largely contributed to the study of the influence of electromagnetic radiation on the brain, is Swedish neurosurgeon Dr. Leif Salford. Since 1998, he has been testing the effect of microwaves on thousands of rats by using the radiation produced by mobile phones. The results are alarming.

Salford’s laboratory tests have shown that electromagnetic waves get through the blood-brain barrier in only two minutes. What’s more, exposure to radiation for two hours, even at reduced power, leads to the destruction of up to 2% of brain cells, which undergo deformation and degradation. Exposing rats to radiation for six hours resulted in memory disorders and genetic changes[3].

Salford’s findings were confirmed by the study of National Toxicology Program in 2016[4], NTP found a link between mobile phones and cancer. The tumours identified were gliomas, which arise from the glial cells of the brain, and schwannomas of the heart. More than 2,500 rats and mice had been exposed to radio-frequency energy at various intervals for over two years. The complete results of this study are said to be released by autumn 2017. Find out more about it in one of our first blog posts: What is SAR?

The largest biological experiment ever

Salford defines the use of mobile phones as ‘the largest biological experiment ever’ and you might be able to guess why. Mobile phones are ubiquitous and almost everyone is exposed to mobile phone radiation these days. Still, we’re not usually aware of its potential health risks, which include[5]:

● Irritability

● Fatigue

● A headache

● Immune deficiency

● Sleep disorder

● Memory disorder

● Infertility

● Different types of tumours (in 2011 the WHO classified mobile devices as a group 2B risk, which means that they have the potential to be carcinogenic)[6]

We’re so used to mobile phones that most of us can’t imagine our lives without them. Isn’t it about time we tried to spend more time offline rather than online? We won’t stop technological development but we can limit the negative impact it might have on us.

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[1]Salford, L. et al. (2003) Nerve cell damage in mammalian brain after exposure to microwaves from GSM mobile phones. [Online] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1241519/ (Accessed 22/06/2017)

[2]Frey, A.H. et al. (1975) Neural Function and Behavior: Defining the Relationship http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1749-6632.1975.tb36019.x/full (Accessed 22/06/2017)

[3]Salford, L. et al. (2003) Nerve cell damage in mammalian brain after exposure to microwaves from GSM mobile phones. [Online] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1241519/ (Accessed 22/06/2017)

[4]Wyde, M. et al. (2016) Report of Partial findings from the National Toxicology Program Carcinogenesis Studies of Cell Phone Radiofrequency Radiation in Hsd: Sprague Dawley® SD rats (Whole Body Exposure) [Online] http://biorxiv.org/content/early/2016/05/26/055699 (Accessed 22/06/2017)

[5]WHO (2014) Electromagnetic fields and public health: mobile phones [Online] http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs193/en/ (Accessed 22/06/2017)

[6]WHO (2011) IARC classifies radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans [Online] http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2011/pdfs/pr208_E.pdf (Accessed 22/06/2017)