Microwave radiation from cordless phone base station affects the heart and the autonomic nervous system: A replication provocation study

In 2010 we published a paper entitled:  Provocation study using heart rate variability shows microwave radiation from 2.4 GHz cordless phone affects autonomic nervous system.  Our test subjects consisted of 25 volunteers in Colorado.

The most intriguing result in this study was that a small group of subjects responded immediately and dramatically to microwave (MW) exposure generated by a digital cordless DECT phone with double-blinded and sham exposure. Heart rate (HR) increased significantly for 4 subjects (16%) (10 to 93 beats per minute) and the sympathetic/parasympathetic balance changed for an additional 6 subjects (24%) while they remained in a supine position. This is the first study documenting such a dramatic change brought about immediately and lasting as long as the subject was exposed.

We repeated this study with an additional 75 volunteers from both Canada and the U.S. and presented our results at the 7th International Workshop on Biological Effects of EMF in Malta, October 2012.  Title of the paper: Replication of Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Provocation Study with 2.4 GHz Cordless Phone.

Highest exposure in this study when the base station was plugged into a live electrical outlet was between 3 and 8 microW/cm2 at the head of the subjects while they were lying down.  Background levels of radio frequency radiation (sham exposure) ranged from less than 0.004 to 0.05 microW/cm2.   FCC (U.S. Federal Communication Commission) recommended guideline for this frequency (2.4 GHz) is 1000 microW/cm2.  What this study shows is that people react to levels that are well below FCC and international guidelines.  Exposure to the cordless phone base station was 100 to 1000 higher than background levels and the FCC guideline was more than 100 times higher than the levels that altered heart rate!   Clearly the thermal effect–upon which the guidelines are based–does not protect our autonomic nervous system!

Participants also completed a wellness questionnaire.  39% of the participants claimed they were moderately to extremely sensitive and 31% claimed they were moderately to severely debilitated (Fig. 4 in publication) by their symptoms.  The most frequent and severe symptoms were headache, sleep disorder, difficulty concentrating and chronic fatigue (Fig. 6).

One subject told us he had a delayed reaction to exposure.  We repeated the orthostatic test two hours after exposure to the cordless phone base station and his supine heart rate increased from 57 to 124 bpm; total power increased from 249 to 2706; HF increased from 162 to 734; LF1 increased from 24 to 1182 and LF2 increased from 62 to 790.  His orthostatic ratio decreased from 1.42 to 0.45 2-hours after exposure (Fig. 9).

In addition to testing the response of the volunteers we also tested for electromagnetic interference (EMI) and found none.  We present this in our publication as well as in a youtube video available here.

In this study we conclude the following:

Our results show that some individuals are highly sensitive to electromagnetic frequencies generated by a cordless phone base station at 2.4 GHz. In this double-blind, sham-controlled study, we document an increased heart rate, altered HRV, and changes in the sympathetic and parasympathetic control of the autonomic nervous system similar to our previous study. The results are not due to electromagnetic interference (EMI) since exposure of the sensors to much higher levels of microwave radiation than we used in the original testing of subjects (100 μW/cm2 rather than 2 μW/cm2) did not elicit a reaction in a non-reactor. Our results demonstrate that pulsed microwave radiation affects the autonomic nervous system and may put some individuals with preexisting heart conditions at risk when exposed to electromagnetic frequencies to which they are sensitive.

How does this correspond to real life situations?

An RF remediation expert was invited to the home of an elderly woman who had recently lost her husband to cancer.  She wanted her home measured and remediated for electromagnetic pollution.  As an elderly person living alone in a large house she did not want to miss phone calls and had several (at least three cordless phone base stations with additional satellite phones in her home). She lived in a small community and as such was not exposed to radio frequency radiation from sources external to her home. She was taking heart medication at the time.  The RF technician replaced all her cordless phones with corded phones and reduced the levels of RFR considerably.  Several months later the RF technician bumped into this woman and heard that her heart condition had improved and she no longer needed heart medication!

Students at school with Wi-Fi also complain of heart irregularities that they experience only in school with industrial strength routers.  CBC and Global News both did stories on this issue that can be viewed here.

This information was available decades ago and the recommendation was that individuals with heart issues should not be exposed occupational to microwave radiation.  See link here.

How many people are in the same situation?  Cardiologists need to know more about this so they can better help their patients who are suffering from heart irregularities.  Please share this with those who need to know.