The matrix of life
The Earth’s ecosphere or sphere of life is permeated by the Earth’s magnetic field and its occasional perturbations caused by interaction with the solar wind plasma. Local geomagnetic fields are also slightly modified by natural atmospheric electricity. Electromagnetic fields influence our basic biological processes. In plants, magnetic fields have been shown to modify seed germination and affect seedling growth and development in many types of plants. Science is just beginning to investigate the “distinct role of electromagnetic and geomagnetic fields in biological regulation, including the regulation of patterns of expression of genes in every living thing.” (1)
By Fred Hageneder
All living things are finely tuned to the Earth’s magnetic field which enables them to navigate in three-dimensional space as well as geographical distances, exchange signals and, in some species, even locate food sources. Electromagnetic receptors have been found in countless species and enable them to respond to even the smallest changes in magnetic field strength.
Honeybees, for example, have magnetite crystals in their abdomen that serve as a compass to orient themselves in the Earth’s magnetic field, so they always find their way between the hive and the remembered flower locations. (2) Robins (Erithacus rubecula) have a magnetic compass in both eyes and can thus “see” the Earth’s magnetic field and orient themselves within it. (3) Bacteria produce microscopic magnets called magnetosomes that align the entire bacterium like a compass needle in the Earth’s magnetic field. And loggerhead sea turtles are known for their epic journeys back to the beaches where they were born; they are able to find them by navigating the Earth’s magnetic field and seeking out unique magnetic signatures along the coast. (4)
Since life appeared on planet Earth, the natural high-frequency environment has consisted only of broadband noise from space (galactic noise), lightning (atmospheric noise), and a small amount of radio emissions from the Sun (solar noise). Plants and animals have evolved in harmony with this weak natural high-frequency background, using the periodic nature of its fluctuations to regulate some of their metabolic functions.
But in the 1920s, human-made radiofrequencies became a worldwide phenomenon, and its intensity has been increasing ever since, even exponentially in recent years. From an evolutionary point of view, this change is sudden and dramatic, living beings have no chance to adapt to this new and challenging exposure to electromagnetic field (EMF) pollution.
Thus, depending on the intensity and duration of exposure, colonies of different types of bacteria can be inhibited, decimated or even wiped out by certain high frequencies (5); others, for example lactic acid bacteria, may even flourish. (6) Electromagnetic signals with high frequencies can also trigger (or end) antibiotic resistance in bacteria (7) – a growing problem, especially in hospitals. People are beginning to wonder: how is the ever-increasing electrosmog changing the bacteria in our gut and the other microbes that are important for our health? What about cells and DNA? And what about animals and plants?
It is becoming clear that blindly interfering with these processes of the living world is a very dangerous game. There have been few studies on this subject so far, but the results are disturbing. Some examples:
– Electrosmog disrupts essential processes in the life of marine animals. So far, this has been demonstrated for the American lobster and the small ray. (8) (Anthropogenic sources of marine electrosmog include ships, bridges and underwater cables).
– Soybean seedlings show reduced growth when exposed to microwave radiation (900 MHz) from mobile phones (4G). (9)
– Electromagnetic radiation induces stress in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris): it reduces the formation of lignin (a key structural component of cell walls) and accelerates resin production, leading to premature ageing. (10)
– The decline of trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides), which has increased throughout North America since the 1950s, has been linked to radiowave pollution. Test seedlings shielded from today’s ubiquitous artificial “background noise” (from 1 MHz to 3 GHz) developed 60 per cent more leaf area than the exposed trees. (11)
– Birds lose their sense of direction when exposed to artificial electromagnetic interference. Frequencies in the AM radio range – one hundred to one thousand times below the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for the protection of human health! – are sufficient to disable the magnetic compass of robins. (12)
– Weak high-frequency magnetic fields (190 microtesla at 1.4 MHz) disrupt the orientation ability of migratory birds such as the garden warbler (Sylvia borin). (13)
– A Spanish study showed that microwaves interfere quite significantly with the reproduction of the white stork (Ciconia ciconia). (14)
Insects are disproportionately affected due to their small size. Radiofrequency radiation from mobile phones affects the behaviour and physiology of honey bees (Apis mellifera). An Indian study (15) from 2001 first showed reduced motor activity of exposed worker bees on the combs, then restlessness and mass migration. It also showed metabolic changes, especially an increase in proteins, carbohydrates and lipids. It is not surprising that bees are sensitive to electromagnetic phenomena because apart from their magneto-receptor in the abdomen (which helps them with orientation flight), their exoskeleton has semiconductor functions; and thirdly, the antennae of flying insects – sensors of smell, taste, moisture and temperature – are part of the bioelectrical nervous system (the changes in the electrical potentials of the antennae to different smells can even be measured). (16)
A 2018 Swiss study confirms that EMF exposure is harmful to insects. Frequencies above 6 GHz lead to changes in insect behaviour, body shapes and functions. The amount of energy absorbed by insects can increase up to 370 per cent – frying them in the air. (17)
Insect heating, Earth heating. That the heating of the entire surface of the Earth by artificial high-frequency radiation must also have an effect on weather and climate patterns is obvious, but has not yet been investigated.
5G is so worrying because the planned network involves an extraordinarily high number of transmitting antennas (tens of millions in each country), an extraordinarily high power of radiated energy, and with extraordinarily high pulsation.
Plants, birds, humans and all other animals are being heated up…. We are aggravating the fever in an already imperiled biosphere. 5G takes this to a whole new level. The industrialised nations’ plans to “cover all urban areas, railways and major roads with uninterrupted fifth generation wireless communication can only be achieved by creating a very dense network of antennas and transmitters. In other words, the number of higher frequency base stations and other devices will increase significantly”, which means “constant exposure for the whole population, including children”, according to a 2020 briefing of the EU Parliament. (18)
To power all this radiation, the coming “gigabit societies” with their self-driving cars and the “internet of things” will require enormous amounts of energy, so that by 2030 digitisation is expected to consume at least 2.5 times more energy worldwide than today (19). Contrary to all supposed climate protection measures.
What is being done?
To avoid irreversible damage to human health and the environment, the European Environment Agency (EEA) has long advocated precaution concerning EMF exposure: “The EEA requests that EU Member States do more to inform citizens about the risks of EMF exposure, especially to children.” (18) But no government seems to be taking this directive to heart.
Hundreds of scientists and medical doctors have signed a 5G appeal to the United Nations (20) and another to the EU (21), calling “to Protect Nature and Humankind from Electromagnetic Fields (EMF)” by imposing a morartorium on the roll out of 5G until its health and environmental effects are better understood.
But the public remains disinformed and 5G proceeds. Countless trees are being felled along roads because they interfere with 5G data streaming. The smartphone market is worth several hundred billion dollars – per year. The electronics sector has a strong lobby, as can be seen from the fact that radiation limits are not checked and critical scientific studies are hardly echoed in the mainstream media. From the beginning, mobile phones had an easy start: they were allowed onto the US market and that of many other countries without government safety testing. (22)
It’s not that there was no science on the matter. Studies indicating harmful effects of radiofrequency (RF) radiation have been around for decades. For example, in 2003, Swedish neurosurgeon Leif Salford and his team found that low-level pulsed microwaves lead to a significant leakage across the blood-brain barrier, as well as “highly significant evidence for neuronal damage in the cortex, hippocampus, and basal ganglia in the brains of exposed rats”. (23)
After all, in 2011, the World Health Organisation (WHO) classified radiofrequency (RF) radiation as a Class 2B “possible carcinogen”, in the same category as lead and nickel. (24)
In March 2018, when a landmark US government study of the health effects of cell phone radiation (900-1900 MHz) was published, “not a single major news organisation in the US or Europe reported this scientific news”. Until finally The Guardian had the courage to publish it four months later (“The inconvenient truth about cancer and mobile phones”). The study – one of the most comprehensive conducted on mobile phone radiation – concludes that there is “clear evidence” that radiation from cell phones can cause heart tissue cancer, and evidence of cancer in the brain and adrenal glands. (22) Another metastudy found that EMFs induce DNA damage. (25)
Three years later (July 2021), the renowned Ramazzini Institute for cancer research, on behalf of the EU Parliament, published a major study of wireless communication technologies which concluded that…
– “exposure to 450-6000 MHz “probably causes cancer, and in particular gliomas and acoustic neuromas in humans”,
– “These frequencies clearly affect male fertility. These frequencies possibly affect female fertility. They possibly have adverse effects on the development of embryos, foetuses and newborns.” (26)
Also, the criticism and warnings of hundreds of citizens’ initiatives and associations across Europe (27) seem to be bearing fruit after many years: the Economic and Social Committee of the European Union (EESC) calls for protection against electromagnetic pollution, especially from 5G, in the Official Journal of the EU of 04.03.2022. (28) And another ray of hope:
After all, there are already technical alternatives to 5G and microwaves. In particular, Li-Fi (Light Fidelity), wireless data transmission by means of light, is a technology that can largely eliminate the damage to human health and the entire living environment. (29) The Fraunhofer Institute, for example, lists the advantages of Li-Fi as follows:
– Fast wireless data transmission
– Real-time communication
– High data security due to the need for line of sight
– No interference. (30)
However, it is to be expected that those corporations that have already invested in 5G will not be willing to let go anytime soon or without great resistance.
What can I do?
– Be careful with all cordless phones (including DECT). To protect your own head, use the loudspeaker whenever possible. Radiation decreases with the square of the distance, i.e. doubling the distance to the ear results in only a quarter of the radiation.
– If you are considering a headset, prefer wire to Bluetooth.
– Stream as little as possible, because the huge server parks consume vast amounts of energy, and wireless broadcasting irradiates and heats up the biosphere. Streaming music and especially video brought no relief to the Earth: streaming a 90-minute feature film costs about as much energy and causes as much emissions as mailing a DVD (including production of the DVD and delivery to the rental company). (31) And this applies only to the minimum streaming rate of 3 Mbps. Mostly, however, streaming happens at 6 Mbps by now, and the target is 15 Mbps for Ultra HD or 4K quality. This high end will thus have five times the energy demand and emissions of the postal rental service (and will not even have the audio and video quality of a BluRay disc of 20 Mbps).
– Write to your local MPs and demand that the above studies, 5G petitions and EU documents will be taken into account.
- Valeriy Zaporozhan, Andriy Ponomarenko 2010. Mechanisms of Geomagnetic Field Influence on Gene Expression Using Influenza as a Model System: Basics of Physical Epidemiology. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2010 March; 7(3): 938-965. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2872305/
- V. Lambinet, ME Hayden, et al. 2017. Linking magnetite in the abdomen of honey bees to a magnetoreceptive function. Proc. R. Soc. B284: 20162873. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2016.2873
- Christine Maira Hein, Svenja Engels, et al. 2011. Robins have a magnetic compass in both eyes. Nature volume 471, E1. https://www.nature.com/articles/nature09875
- J. Roger Brothers, Kenneth J. Lohmann 2018. Evidence that Magnetic Navigation and Geomagnetic Imprinting Shape Spatial Genetic Variation in Sea Turtles. Current Biology volume 28, issue 8, 1325-1329. April 23. https://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(18)30351-8
- EC Wietzikoski Lovato, PAG Velasquez, et al. 2018. High frequency equipment promotes antibacterial effects dependent on intensity and exposure time. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol, 2018; 11: 131-135. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5868622/
- SV Larionov, DV Krivenko, AV Avdeenko 2011. Effect of electromagnetic radiation of the extremely high frequency millimeter range on thermophilic cultures of bacteria of lactic acid products. Russian Agricultural Sciences volume 37, 434-435. https://link.springer.com/article/10.3103/S1068367411050156
- Diana Soghomonyan, et al. 2016. Millimeter waves or extremely high frequency electromagnetic fields in the environment: what are their effects on bacteria? Appl Microbiol Biotechnol, June 2016; 100 (11): 4761-71. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27087527/
- Zoë L. Hutchison, et al. 2020. Anthropogenic electromagnetic fields (EMF) influence the behaviour of bottom-dwelling marine species. Scientific Reports volume 10, article 4219. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-60793-x
- Malka N. Halgamuge, et al. 2015. Reduced Growth of Soybean Seedlings After Exposure to Weak Microwave Radiation From GSM 900 Mobile Phone and Base Station. Bioelectromagnetics 36 (2), January. doi: 10.1002/BEM.21890
- Turs Selga, Maija Selga 1996. Response of Pinus sylvestris L. needles to electromagnetic fields. Cytological and ultrastructural aspects. Science of The Total Environment volume 180, issue 1, 2 February 1996, 65-73. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0048969795049215
- Katie Haggerty 2010. Adverse Influence of Radio Frequency Background on Trembling Aspen Seedlings: Preliminary Observations. International Journal of Forestry Research volume 2010, 836278. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijfr/2010/836278/
- Susan McGrath 2014. Cracking Mystery Reveals How Electronics Affect Bird Migration. nationalgeographic.com, May 7. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/5/140507-birds-migration-electromagnetic-robins-henrik-mouritsen-science-broadband/
- Kirill Kavokin, et al. 2014. Magnetic orientation of garden warblers (Sylvia borin) under 1.4 MHz radiofrequency magnetic field. Journal of the Royal Society, 06 August 2014. https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rsif.2014.0451
- Alfonso Balmori 2005. Possible Effects of Electromagnetic Fields from Phone Masts on a Population of White Stork (Ciconia ciconia). Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine volume 24, Issue 2. https://doi.org/10.1080/15368370500205472
- Neelima R. Kumar, Sonika Sangwan, Pooja Badotra 2011. Exposure to cell phone radiations produces biochemical changes in worker honey bees. Toxicol Int., 2011 Jan-Jun; 18(1): 70-72. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3052591/
- Christine Merlin, Robert J. Gegear, Steven M. Reppert 2009. Antennal circadian clocks coordinate sun compass orientation in migratory monarch butterflies. Science 325 (5948): 1700-1704. doi: 10.1126/science.1176221
- Arno Thielens, Duncan Bell, et al. 2018. Exposure of Insects to Radio-Frequency Electromagnetic Fields from 2 to 120 GHz. Scientific Reports volume 8, 3924. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-22271-3
- Steffen Lange, Tilman Santarius 2018: Smarte grüne Welt? – Digitalisierung zwischen Überwachung, Konsum und Nachhaltigkeit. oekom, München. S. 34.
- Mark Hertsgaard and Mark Dowie 2018. The inconvenient truth about cancer and mobile phones. theguardian.com, 14 July. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jul/14/mobile-phones-cancer-inconvenient-truths
- Leif G. Salford, et al. 2003. Nerve Cell Damage in Mammalian Brain after Exposure to Microwaves from GSM Mobile Phones. Environmental Health Perspectives volume 111, number 7, June 2003, 881-883. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1241519/pdf/ehp0111-000881.pdf
- World Health Organization 2011. IARC classifies radio frequency electromagnetic fields as possibly carcinogenic to humans. Press release N° 208, 31 May. http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2011/pdfs/pr208_E.pdf