International EMF projects - airestech

International EMF Projects

“The 20th century witnessed an explosion of technological applications that rely on electricity and thus produce electromagnetic fields. And there will be even more of these innovative technologies in the 21st century.”

-Christian Patermann

Table of Contents

  • Can EMFs Alter Cells?
  • Can Cell Phone Use Trigger Other Carcinogens?
  • Does EMF Exposure Change the Brain?
  • Are Cell Phones Causing Cancer?
  • How Can Policy Makers Bring About Change?

The European Commission, part of the European Union’s government, funded research into the impact of EMFs and cell phones on human health. The massive and continuing growth of cell phone use has citizens wanting to know if their mobile phones are safe for their communities, their children, and themselves. This question, which has been asked time and time again over the past decade, prompted the Commission to seek answers about the effects of long-term exposure to EMFs.

Among this series of research projects were several that specifically answered questions related to how EMFs affect human bodies. This includes the Reflex Project, the Cemfec Project, Ramp2001, and the Interphone Project. Through human and animal cell studies, interviews, and monitoring, researchers discovered eye-opening answers to these questions.


Can EMFs Alter Cells?

The Reflex Project sought to answer whether or not extremely low-frequency and radio-frequency electromagnetic fields cause biological changes in cells. Researchers involved in this project conducted a study on individual cells within a laboratory. They exposed both human and animal cells to electromagnetic fields at levels within “safe limits” and analyzed the outcomes.

Scientists with the Reflex project found an intriguing pattern. Intermittent exposure to EMF had genotoxic effects on some human and animal cells. There was a direct correspondence between the duration and intensity of EMF exposure and the number of DNA breakages. These findings were a valuable addition to the understanding of the effects EMFS have on individual cells, but more research would be needed to determine the effect on the body as a whole.

Can Cell Phone Use Trigger Other Carcinogens?

The Cemfec Project centered around whether or not using cell phones could promote the action of chemical carcinogens. Cell phones transmit radio frequency (RF) EMFs in order to connect to their networks. Our bodies absorb some of this energy, particularly in the area of the head where the cell phone comes into contact. This research project came about because of the concern that long-term exposure to RF from using our cell phones could result in hazards to health, specifically cancer.

Most carcinogens act by altering DNA in cells. We are exposed to small amounts of “environmental carcinogens” every day in different scenarios at levels that are deemed safe. The question brought to light by the Cemfec Project asks whether EMFs from cell phones could interact with these “safe” amounts of chemical carcinogens in our bodies in such a way that promotes their toxicity and could further the risk of cancer.


This four-year project in which rats were exposed to both environmental carcinogens and cell phone EMFs concluded with no increased risk for cancer in these animals. The impacts of the long-term consistent exposure humans today are experiencing, however, remains unknown.

Does EMF Exposure Change the Brain?

The Ramp2001 team investigated the question of whether “exposure to RF-EMFs within current safety limits can nevertheless cause cellular or molecular changes in the brain or nervous system that are not due to heating of the tissues.” This team studied the side effects of cell phone use, specifically due to the body absorbing some of the waves that cause body tissue to heat up.

For years cell phones have remained within set safety limits for thermal effects on the body. However, research suggests that these low-frequency RF fields could have biological effects that are unrelated to heat. To look for any other effects, the Ramp2001 researchers experimented on rats by exposing them to RF for different durations of time. Then, they performed memory and behavioral tests on them before later scanning their brains to look for any abnormal function. This three-year experiment produced inconclusive results.

Are Cell Phones Causing Cancer?

The Interphone Project asked the simple question on many of our minds: Are our cell phones causing cancer?

The Interphone Consortium was coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), part of the World Health Organization. The Interphone Project consisted of three multinational studies who each focused on a different type of tumor. Researchers worked in 13 different countries using exactly the same methods, then the IARC compiled all of the data for analysis.

The European Union funded national research teams in Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, the UK and Israel. Other funding came from national and local groups from these countries, as well as several trade associations. All contributions were channeled through the International Union Against Cancer in order to protect research from any conflicts of interest. The other countries involved - Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and Japan - all funded their own studies.

The studies under the Interphone Project looked at people ages 30-50 who had a recently confirmed diagnosis of one of the three types of cancer the group was investigating. For a comparison group, the researchers also chose a random assortment of people from the same age group and geographic area. Through interviews, researchers identified the individuals’ history of cell phone use, any job-related exposure to EMF, and medical history.


While results varied across countries involved, the Swedish neuroma analysis found a 90% increase of tumors on the side of the head frequently used for cell phone use in subjects who had used cell phones for 10 or more years before the study. 

According to the study, “IARC now estimates that it includes approximately 1,100 acoustic-neuroma cases, 2,600 glioma, 2,300 meningioma and their matched controls – enough to detect confidently a 50% risk increase linked to mobile-phone use.”

How Can Policy Makers Bring About Change?

The question of how to approach EMF safety guidelines is complicated. As stated by the European Commission, “Behind the scenes, there are the dynamic social and political forces at work among an enormous array of stakeholders with different interests in the field.” From scientists to politicians and health professionals to consumers, everyone is invested in the outcome of these decisions that need to be made. 

The EMF-NET coordination group’s goal was to bring about an “interpretation interface” between policy makers and scientists. This would provide a framework for interpreting research projects such as the ones conducted by the European Commission so policy makers could make informed, science-backed decisions.

To make this happen, the EMF-NET project brought together representatives from research programs around the world, as well as professionals who bring relevant “real-world” perspectives to add to the research. This included manufacturers and professionals from electrical and electronic industries among others. Together, the EMF-NET team works to monitor results of current research and emerging technologies. As new information surfaces, these experts consolidate their findings and compile them into digestible reports. Then, this information is shared with policy makers, health authorities, then to the general public.

Ongoing research and transparent communication are essential to navigating the evolving landscape of EMF technology, its potential health implications, and ways we can protect ourselves and our families.

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