Electromagnetic Radiation, Wildlife and Environment – Environmental Health Trust


Electromagnetic Radiation, Wildlife and Environment

The health effects of wireless radiation extend beyond human health. FCC’s limits were only designed for humans, not animals. Despite numerous studies showing harmful effects from wireless and non-ionizing radiation, the current reality is that insects, birds and airborne species like bats that live in close proximity to cell tower antennas are unprotected because RF regulations do not apply to wildlife.  Trees, plants and bacteria have also been found to be impacted by RF exposure, yet they are also ignored by FCC’s human centric regulations.  


A landmark research review by U.S experts of over 1,200 studies on the effects of non ionizing radiation to wildlife entitled “Effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields on flora and fauna”  published in Reviews on Environmental Health found adverse effects at even very low intensities including impacts to orientation and migration, reproduction, mating, nest, den building and survivorship. (Levitt et al., 2021a, Levitt et al., 2021b Levitt et al., 2021c). 

A review of the ecological effects of RF-EMF” published in Environment International reviewed found RF had a significant effect on birds, insects, other vertebrates, other organisms, and plants in 70% of the studies reviewed with development and reproduction in birds and insects the most strongly affected.  (Cucurachi 2013)

The research review  “Electromagnetic radiation as an emerging driver factor for the decline of insects” published in Science of the Total Environment found “sufficient evidence” of effects including impacts to flight, foraging and feeding, short-term memory and mortality. (Balmori 2021)

A 2022 Oregon State University study investigated the long-term behavioral effects to zebrafish from short term exposures to 5G midband 3.5 GHz. The researchers concluded “subtle but significant abnormal responses in RFR-exposed fish across the different assays evaluated that suggest potential long-term behavioral effects. Overall, our study suggests the impacts of RFRs on the developing brain, behavior, and the metabolome should be further explored.” Dasgupta et al 2022


Research Studies on Environmental Impacts

Lázaro, A. Chroni, T. Tscheulin, J. Devalez, C. Matsoukas, & T. Petanidou. (2016). Electromagnetic radiation of mobile telecommunication antennas affects the abundance and composition of wild pollinators. Journal of Insect Conservation, 20(2), 315–324. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10841-016-9868-8

Adelaja, O. J., Ande, A. T., Abdulraheem, G. D., Oluwakorode, I. A., Oladipo, O. A., & Oluwajobi, A. O. (2021). Distribution, diversity and abundance of some insects around a telecommunication mast in Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria. Bulletin of the National Research Centre, 45(1), 222.  

Balmori, A. (2006). The incidence of electromagnetic pollution on the amphibian decline: Is this an important piece of the puzzle? Toxicological & Environmental Chemistry, 88(2), 287–299. 

Balmori A. (2010). Mobile phone mast effects on common frog (Rana temporaria) tadpoles: the city turned into a laboratory. Electromagn Biol Med. Jun;29 (1-2): 31-5.  

Balmori, A. (2015). Anthropogenic radiofrequency electromagnetic fields as an emerging threat to wildlife orientation. Science of The Total Environment, 518–519, 58–60.  

Balmori A. (2014). Electrosmog and species conservation. Science of The Total Environment,  496:314-316 

Balmori A. (2022). Corneal opacity in Northern Bald Ibises (Geronticus eremita) equipped with radio transmitters. Electromagnetic Biol Med.174-176.  

Balmori A. (2021) Electromagnetic radiation as an emerging driver factor for the decline of insects. Science of the Total Environment. 767: 144913 

Borre, E. D., Joseph, W., Aminzadeh, R., Müller, P., Boone, M. N., Josipovic, I., Hashemizadeh, S., Kuster, N., Kühn, S., & Thielens, A. (2021). Radio-frequency exposure of the yellow fever mosquito (A. aegypti) from 2 to 240 GHz. PLOS Computational Biology, 17(10), e1009460. 

Cucurachi, S., Tamis, W. L. M., Vijver, M. G., Peijnenburg, W. J. G. M., Bolte, J. F. B., & de Snoo, G. R. (2013). A review of the ecological effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF). Environment International, 51, 116–140.  

Favre, D. (2011). Mobile phone-induced honeybee worker piping. Apidologie, 42(3), 270–279.  

Fedele, G., Edwards, M. D., Bhutani, S., Hares, J. M., Murbach, M., Green, E. W., Dissel, S., Hastings, M. H., Rosato, E., & Kyriacou, C. P. (2014). Genetic analysis of circadian responses to low frequency electromagnetic fields in Drosophila melanogaster. PLoS Genetics, 10(12), e1004804.  

Fernie, K. J., & Reynolds, S. J. (2005). The effects of electromagnetic fields from power lines on avian reproductive biology and physiology: A review. Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health. Part B, Critical Reviews, 8(2), 127–140.  

Halgamuge, M. N. (2017). Review: Weak radiofrequency radiation exposure from mobile phone radiation on plants. Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, 36(2), 213–235. 

Halgamuge, M. N., Yak, S. K., & Eberhardt, J. L. (2015). Reduced growth of soybean seedlings after exposure to weak microwave radiation from GSM 900 mobile phone and base station. Bioelectromagnetics, 36(2), 87–95. 

Haggerty, K. (2010). Adverse Influence of Radio Frequency Background on Trembling Aspen Seedlings: Preliminary Observations. International Journal of Forestry Research, 836278.  

Hutchison, Z. L., Gill, A. B., Sigray, P., He, H., & King, J. W. (2020). Anthropogenic electromagnetic fields (EMF) influence the behaviour of bottom-dwelling marine species. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 4219.

Kaur, S., Vian, A., Chandel, S., Singh, D. H., Batish, D., & Kohli, R. (2021). Sensitivity of plants to high frequency electromagnetic radiation: Cellular mechanisms and morphological changes. Reviews in Environmental Science and Bio/Technology, 20.  

Lee, K.-S., Choi, J.-S., Hong, S.-Y., Son, T.-H., & Yu, K. (2008). Mobile phone electromagnetic radiation activates MAPK signaling and regulates viability in Drosophila. Bioelectromagnetics, 29(5), 371–379. 

Levitt BB, Lai HC and Manville AM II (2022) Low-level EMF effects on wildlife and plants: What research tells us about an ecosystem approach. Front. Public Health 10:1000840. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2022.1000840

Levitt, B. B., Lai, H. C., & Manville, A. M. (2021). Effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields on flora and fauna, Part 3. Exposure standards, public policy, laws, and future directions. Reviews on Environmental Health.  

Levitt, B. B., Lai, H. C., & Manville, A. M. (2022a). Effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields on flora and fauna, part 1. Rising ambient EMF levels in the environment. Reviews on Environmental Health, 37(1), 81–122. 

Levitt, B. B., Lai, H. C., & Manville, A. M. (2022b). Effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields on flora and fauna, Part 2 impacts: How species interact with natural and man-made EMF. Reviews on Environmental Health, 37(3), 327–406.  

Li, S.-S., Zhang, Z.-Y., Yang, C.-J., Lian, H.-Y., & Cai, P. (2013). Gene expression and reproductive abilities of male Drosophila melanogaster subjected to ELF-EMF exposure. Mutation Research. Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis, 758(1–2), 95–103. 

Lopatina, N. G., Zachepilo, T. G., Kamyshev, N. G., Dyuzhikova, N. A., & Serov, I. N. (2019). Effect of Non-Ionizing Electromagnetic Radiation on Behavior of the Honeybee, Apis mellifera L. (Hymenoptera, Apidae). Entomological Review, 99(1), 24–29. 

Lupi, D., Palamara Mesiano, M., Adani, A., Benocci, R., Giacchini, R., Parenti, P., Zambon, G., Lavazza, A., Boniotti, M. B., Bassi, S., Colombo, M., & Tremolada, P. (2021a). Combined Effects of Pesticides and Electromagnetic-Fields on Honeybees: Multi-Stress Exposure. Insects, 12(8), 716.  

Manta, A. K., Papadopoulou, D., Polyzos, A. P., Fragopoulou, A. F., Skouroliakou, A. S., Thanos, D., Stravopodis, D. J., & Margaritis, L. H. (2017). Mobile-phone radiation-induced perturbation of gene-expression profiling, redox equilibrium and sporadic-apoptosis control in the ovary of Drosophila melanogaster. Fly, 11(2), 75–95. 

Mahmoud EA and Gabarty A (2021) “Impact of Electromagnetic Radiation on Honey Stomach Ultrastructure and the Body Chemical Element Composition of Apis mellifera,” African Entomology 29(1), 32-41, (23 March).

Migdał, P., Berbeć, E., Bieńkowski, P., Plotnik, M., Murawska, A., & Latarowski, K. (2022b). Exposure to Magnetic Fields Changes the Behavioral Pattern in Honeybees (Apis mellifera L.) under Laboratory Conditions. Animals: An Open Access Journal from MDPI, 12(7), 855.  

Odemer, R., & Odemer, F. (2019). Effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation (RF-EMF) on honey bee queen development and mating success. Science of The Total Environment, 661, 553–562.

Santhosh Kumar, S. (2018). Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) in Honey BeesCaused by EMF Radiation. Bioinformation, 14(9), 421–424. 

Schwarze, S., Schneider, N.-L., Reichl, T., Dreyer, D., Lefeldt, N., Engels, S., Baker, N., Hore, P. J., & Mouritsen, H. (2016). Weak Broadband Electromagnetic Fields are More Disruptive to Magnetic Compass Orientation in a Night-Migratory Songbird (Erithacus rubecula) than Strong Narrow-Band Fields. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 10.

Scott, K., Harsanyi, P., Easton, B. A. A., Piper, A. J. R., Rochas, C. M. V., & Lyndon, A. R. (2021). Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) from Submarine Power Cables Can Trigger Strength-Dependent Behavioural and Physiological Responses in Edible Crab, Cancer pagurus (L.). Journal of Marine Science and Engineering, 9(7), Article 7. 

Soran, M.-L., Stan, M., Niinemets, Ü., & Copolovici, L. (2014). Influence of microwave frequency electromagnetic radiation on terpene emission and content in aromatic plants. Journal of Plant Physiology, 171(15), 1436–1443. 

Stefi, A. L., Margaritis, L. H., & Christodoulakis, N. S. (2016). The effect of the non ionizing radiation on cultivated plants of Arabidopsis thaliana (Col.). Flora, 223, 114–120. 

Thielens, A., Bell, D., Mortimore, D. B., Greco, M. K., Martens, L., & Joseph, W. (2018). Exposure of Insects to Radio-Frequency Electromagnetic Fields from 2 to 120 GHz. Scientific Reports, 8(1), 3924. 

Thielens A, Greco MK, Verloock L, Martens L, Joseph W. Radio-Frequency Electromagnetic Field Exposure of Western Honey Bees. Scientific Reports. 2020 Jan 16;10(1):461.  

Tonelli, B. A., Youngflesh, C., & Tingley, M. W. (2023). Geomagnetic disturbance associated with increased vagrancy in migratory landbirds. Scientific Reports, 13(1), Article 1. 

Waldmann-Selsam, C., Balmori-de la Puente, A., Breunig, H., & Balmori, A. (2016). Radiofrequency radiation injures trees around mobile phone base stations. Science of The Total Environment, 572, 554–569. 

Wang, Y., Jiang, Z., Zhang, L., Zhang, Z., Liao, Y., & Cai, P. (2022b). 3.5-GHz radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation promotes the development of Drosophila melanogaster. Environmental Pollution (Barking, Essex: 1987), 294, 118646. 

Wang, Y., Zhang, H., Zhang, Z., Sun, B., Tang, C., Zhang, L., Jiang, Z., Ding, B., Liao, Y., & Cai, P. (2021). Simulated mobile communication frequencies (3.5 GHz) emitted by a signal generator affects the sleep of Drosophila melanogaster. Environmental Pollution (Barking, Essex: 1987), 283, 117087. 

Wiltschko, R., Thalau, P., Gehring, D., Nießner, C., Ritz, T., & Wiltschko, W. (2015). Magnetoreception in birds: The effect of radio-frequency fields. Journal of The Royal Society Interface, 12(103), 20141103.  

Zhong, Z., Wang, X., Yin, X., Tian, J., & Komatsu, S. (2021). Morphophysiological and Proteomic Responses on Plants of Irradiation with Electromagnetic Waves. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 22(22), Article 22.