Effects of radiofrequency radiation on the nervous system
Wireless devices like cell phones, tablets and Wi-Fi routers and many other types of communications equipment give off radiofrequency radiation, a type of electromagnetic wave.
Radiofrequency radiation is absorbed by the body – more in parts with higher salt and water content. Children have a thinner bone structure, thinner skin and higher tissue conductivity. So, as studies show, their bodies, including the brain, absorb more radiation, compared to adults’. 1, 2, 3
In human and animal studies, exposure to radiofrequency radiation has been associated with changes in electrical activity and biochemical alterations in the nervous system, as well as behavioral and cognitive changes (see table below). The changes include alteration in glucose metabolism in the brain 4 and changes in brain blood flow 5 and electrical activity in the brain detected by electroencephalography 6 . Radiofrequency radiation exposure has also been linked to changes in behavior 7, sleep 8 , learning capacity and memory 9 , and an increased risk of headaches 10 and brain tumors. 11
These effects have been observed within the radiofrequency range emitted by cell phones and from cell phone towers. They’ve also been observed when the exposure lasts between 20 and 50 minutes, or up to 24 hours per day in animal studies.
Scientists are still studying the effect of radiofrequency radiation on the nervous system. Research suggests the effects may result from disruption of the blood-brain barrier and changes to cell membrane permeability and how well membrane channels are functioning. Radiofrequency radiation exposure also increases the formation of reactive oxygen species, which can cause wide-ranging effects on cell signaling and function in the body.
Studies usually consider how specific frequencies in the radiofrequency range affect the nervous system. The Federal Communications Commission has defined these frequencies as spanning from 9 kilohertz, or kHz, to 3,000 gigahertz, or GHz. In this range, the frequency of exposure, and how long it lasts, influence how deeply it penetrates and affects the body. 12, 1