Many different life forms, from plants and animals to insects and bacteria, have been shown to be adversely affected by EMFs. The environment, more appropriately described as the Earth system, is a highly complex, intricately connected and dynamic entity. From the depths of the soil to the highest layers of the atmosphere, minor imbalances can result in far-reaching consequences on the entire system.
According to a recent study, non-ionizing electromagnetic fields are a ubiquitous, continuous and biologically active environmental pollutant. They state, “numerous studies across all frequencies and taxa indicate that current low-level anthropogenic EMF can have myriad adverse and synergistic effects, including on orientation and migration, food-finding, reproduction, mating, nest and den building, territorial maintenance and defense, and on vitality, longevity and survivorship itself.” Based on the available evidence, the authors of the study urge regulatory agencies to recognize EMFs as a novel form of pollution and develop rules that allow them to be regulated as such.
In August 2021, The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in favor of Children’s Health Defense (CHD) in its landmark case against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), challenging the FCC’s decision not to review its health and safety guidelines regarding 5G and wireless technology. The court ruled that the FCC failed to provide a reasoned explanation for its determination that its current guidelines adequately protect against harmful effects of exposure to radiofrequency radiation and failed to review the extensive evidence that was filed with the FCC. The court also found that the FCC 2019 decision was arbitrary and capricious in its failure to respond to comments concerning environmental harm caused by RF radiation. The court’s decision continued to say: “… the FCC completely failed to acknowledge, let alone respond to, comments concerning the impact of RF radiation on the environment …The record contains substantive evidence of potential environmental harms.”
What life forms are affected by radiofrequency radiation?
Plants and Trees
Plants, including trees, are integral to life on Earth. Among their numerous benefits, they produce oxygen for living creatures, provide food and habitats for animals and insects, store carbon in the environment, improve water quality, prevent soil erosion and regulate extreme temperatures. Studies have shown that radiofrequency EMFs can have detrimental impacts on plant species, some of these impacts include:
- Shorter life spans in certain plant species.
- Damage to trees, which begins on the side exposed to a cell tower and gradually spreads to the entire tree.
- Adverse effects on growth rate and potentially an underlying factor in rapid species decline.
Animals play an integral role in the proper functioning of ecosystems. For example, birds pollinate plants, mammals distribute seeds and nutrients and grazing animals stimulate new plant growth. Along with plant species, radiofrequency EMFs have also been shown to adversely affect a variety of animals such as birds, frogs, rats and mice. These studies show:
- Electromagnetic pollution from wireless telecommunications may be a factor in the decline of certain mammal populations.
- A decrease in the number of newborns and irreversible infertility in mice due to radiofrequency radiation.
- Radiation emitted from cell towers may affect the development and result in increased mortality rates of exposed tadpoles.
- The inability of birds to use their magnetic compass due to the presence of urban electromagnetic noise, which they rely on for basic functions such as navigation.
- Behavioral and cognitive development of rat offspring, which may be associated with altered genetic expression in the brain.
Insects, like animals, play an integral role in the proper functioning of ecosystems and are an integral part of our food chain. Some of these important functions include the pollination of plants, the decomposition of waste and organic matter and the control of pests. Documented impacts of radiofrequency EMFs on insects show:
- Exposure to frequencies above 6 GHz, which are utilized by 5G networks, can result in changes in insect behavior, physiology and morphology.
- Electromagnetic radiation may be a driver in the dramatic decline of insects, recommending that the precautionary principle be invoked regarding the deployment of 5G.
- Affected fertility and cell-death apoptosis function of fruit flies from exposure to EMF sources such as cell phones, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and baby monitors, even at levels well below ICNIRP’s guidelines.
- Affected behavior and physiology, specifically reduced motor activity of honey bees exposed to cell phone radiation.
- A significant decline in colony strength and in the egg-laying rate of the queen in bees exposed to cellphone radiation.
- Adverse impacts on the visual memory of ants from radiofrequency radiation, which may have catastrophic effects on other insects as well.
- Colony deterioration in ants from exposure to radiofrequency radiation, concluding that “Electromagnetic radiation obviously affects social insects’ behavior and physiology.”
- Destruction and cell death induction of egg chambers and DNA damage in fruit flies from exposure to microwave radiation.
Among their many functions, bacteria play an integral role in the decomposition of organisms in the environment. In addition to the adverse effects on plants, animals and insects, radiofrequency radiation from EMF sources such as Wi-Fi have also been shown to significantly alter the growth rates of certain types of bacteria.
Studies have shown that even the extremely low frequency EMFs from power lines can produce modification effects in the magnetosphere, the region of space around the Earth in which its internally generated magnetic field is the predominant magnetic field. The deployment of 5G and other new internet services will require tens of thousands of additional satellites in low earth orbit, which are well within the boundaries of the magnetosphere. This has already been shown to produce bright lights in the night sky and may produce, as of yet unknown, environmental consequences.