Forschungsgemeinschaft Funk e.V.

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Edition No. 13 June 1997
Research Project "Biological Effects of High Frequency Electromagnetic Fields":
Partial Report on the Investigated BOS-Radio Frequencies

Agencies and organizations with security tasks (in German: Behörden und Organisationen mit Sicherheitsaufgaben, BOS) need special radio equipment and communication systems for the fulfilment of their missions. The widespread use of that kind of equipment leads to significant numbers of this equipment and numerous applications. Users of such equipment and systems live at least in their services life often in the vicinity of the transmitting antennas and, therefore, are subject to low-energetic electromagnetic fields.

In the context of the supreme combined research theme "Biological effects of high frequency electromagnetic fields", an important part of the "BOS"-communication frequencies was studied with respect to their effect on human and animal cell behavior (the investigation concerned healthy cells as well as degenerated/cancerougeneously deviated cells). Working groups in the three Universities of Berlin (FU), Essen and Bonn focused either on cell growth processes of human tumor cells or peripheral lymphocytes or heart muscle cells. They were joined by two other groups from the University of Braunschweig and the Bergische Universität Wuppertal, these were responsible for the reproducible microwave exposure of the cells - the experimental setup. Intentionally, cells were selected for these tests which show a potentially high sensitivity against external influences. They were irradiated with electromagnetic fields up to the maximum allowable Specific Absorption Rate-( SAR)-Limit of 80 mW/kg.

In Berlin, the group at the Institute for Clinical Chemistry and Clinical Biochemistry investigated the growth of human tumor cells, with the prime concern of Leukemia mechanisms. Subjects of the investigation were cells, which showed already cancer-like changes, these white blood-cells had a priori higher duplication rates than intact cells. The idea was, to see whether the body's normal biological repair and suppression mechanisms against these ill cells were negatively influenced by external electromagnetic fields. Thus, the two main criteria of Thymidinkinase-Concentration and separation/ duplication rate of the cells were investigated. This in vitro-study revealed no indication for any negative influence.

The Department of Genetics in the Universität-Gesamthochschule Essen used peripheral lymphocytes for their experiments. None of the tested parameters showed a significant influence due to the applied electromagnetic fields. Cell division rates and DNA damage were of primary concern. The Physiological Institute of the University of Bonn investigated the behaviour of heart muscle cells. In a wider sense, this includes research of possible influence on the heart rhythm, as indicated in previous studies by other authors. They supposed that this might be in context with changed flow-rates of ions through the ion channels (mainly Ca2+) or changed Ca-adsorption to the cell surface. Both sorts of changes could not be verified in the actual research, but: This does not devaluate the previous studies. The exposition to electromagnetic fields was limited to 1...2 minutes. So, the question of long-term exposure can not yet be fully answered.

The result of the work of all groups may be somewhat disappointing for the researcher, but satisfactory for the users: There was no cause, mechanism or effect revealed which justifies concern in view of a health risk for the users.

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