Forschungsgemeinschaft Funk e.V.

Edition Wissenschaft

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Edition No. 18/E May 2003

Dr. Joachim Steckert
Chair for Theoretical Electrical Engineering, Bergische University- Polytechnic Wuppertal

It has been known for a long time that concentrated high frequency irradiation of biological tissue increases its temperature and at very high intensities it can also destroy it. In the meantime a controlled use of these warming effects, e.g. as a therapeutic agent or in microwave ovens is quite widespread today. The threshold for thermal effects is accurately definable and is used, for example, to derive for the maximum permissible exposure limits of electromagnetic field sizes, in particular to protect people while using technical appliances, especially those which are legally prescribed, for mobile radio radiation and especially field generators must adhere to the exposure limits. With the help of mathematical equations the thermal effects can be predicted.

The question as to whether or not biological systems are affected by mobile radio radiation below the thermal effectiveness is, as in the past, still being discussed. Since to date, no reproducible proof of biological effects of weak electromagnetic fields could be established, there are also no mathematical models, i.e., no formal relationships, which would describe this kind of mechanism and would permit the further investigation on a theoretical level.

As in the pioneer days of the discovery of today generally understood physical phenomena, one is dependent on observations, which are significant only in the context of carefully carried out scientific experiments under clearly defined boundary conditions. This way of proceeding is very cost intensive in terms of personnel and technology, however this represents the only possibility to be able to make an objective statement on the issue, when one considers the controversy involved and at times public opinion is anything but objective; this is also reflected in the media.

The Forschungsgemeinschaft Funk began 10 years ago to initiate research projects in these fringe areas between biology/medicine and between engineering/physics. The FGF has also promoted and financially supported the execution of this research with independent research institutions. What has come to light is the fact that these types of experiments have an interdisciplinary approach; what is necessary, however is collaboration between biologists and high frequency technicians who are able to design an experimental approach which is suitable to the task at hand.

For those doing the experiments the complexity of determining exposure conditions and exposure values, which are influenced by various material and geometrical factors, is always a great challenge. Many practical examples help in making the right choice concerning what research approach should be taken and which method will be used for taking measurements. Actually, one can emphasize that every experiment requires its very own approach in establishing a suitable technique for taking measurements because this decision is based on the diversity of the biological conditions. Nevertheless, a successful attempt is being made to standardize the technical measuring procedure, in order to allow for a better comparability of the experiments.

In order to support this the FGF has published a guide for experiments investigating the effects of high frequency electromagnetic fields on biological systems in “Edition Wissenschaft” (edition no. 11; September 1996; author: Professor Volker Hansen, Chair for Theoretical Electrical Engineering, Bergische University –Polytechnic Wuppertal). This article demonstrates with some examples which technical procedures were used to develop the required high frequency irradiation equipment for very different biological specimens, such as, tissue cells, small animals or test persons and to optimise the replication and symmetry of the applied electromagnetic fields. An example of this is shown in a photograph on one of the posters on display here. It is a picture of an installation of approx. 4m in diameter, in which 24 female pregnant rats were exposed to a typical mobile radio field of 900 MHz for over 3 weeks, 20 hours a day in order to find out if there were any possible effects on their offspring.

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