Research Outline

RF Radiation and Health Effects


To identify additional research studies regarding radio frequency radiation and health risks to further inform the client's knowledge base.

Early Findings


Continued research notes a variety of studies conducted on RF radiation and associated health risks.

Risks to Health and Well-Being from Radio-Frequency Radiation Emitted by Cell Phones and Other Wireless Devices”

  • Published: 2019
  • Research conducted by: Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Ottowa Hospital Research Institute, Environmental Health Trust, Environment and Cancer Research Foundation, School of Public Health and Health Systems (Univ of Waterloo), School of Public Health (Univ of Alberta), and Health Research Institute (Univ of Canberra)
  • Findings: Although largely dismissed in the US, research has proven that RFR has high levels of carcinogenicity, causes infertility, and does extreme cell damage with daily exposure. The research also indicates that current standards are not sufficient to protect public health from the dangers of RFR.
  • Important Points: Research on RF radiation caused by various technologies is difficult because of how quickly the technologies are being adapted and updated. “This rapid obsolescence restricts the amount of data on human RFR exposure to particular frequencies, modulation, and related health outcomes” that can be collected on any particular technology during its shelf-life.

High Exposure to Radio Frequency Radiation Associated with Cancer in Male Rats”

  • Published: 2018
  • Research conducted by: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
  • Findings: Research from this decade-long $30 M study provides evidence that radio frequency radiation (RFR) used in cell phones (like 2G and 3G) cause cancerous heart tumors in male rats. In female rats, the evidence was unclear if the tumors in the rats were caused by the RFR exposure.
  • Important Points: The studies did not investigate RFR-types that are used in 4G, 5G, or wifi networks since these technologies were emerging during the tenure of the long-term study. Additionally, the US FDA released a response to this longitudinal study stating that they do not agree with the findings and this information “should not be directly extrapolated to human cell phone usage.”

On the Clear Evidence of the Risks to Children from Smartphone and Wifi Radio Frequency Radiation”

  • Published: 2019
  • Research conducted by: Tom Butler, UCC
  • Findings: Despite the fact that some scientists have operated under the belief that non-ionizing RFR (the kind found in cell phones) was not dangerous, this has been proven to be inaccurate. In addition to cancer, this type of RFR “elicits a range of pathophysiological conditions.”
  • Important Points: The risks from RFR have not been properly studied in children, as most studies are based on adult-levels rather than those that may be harmful to children.

Effects of Radiofrequency Radiation on Reproductive Health”

  • Published: 2018
  • Research conducted by: Department of Environmental Studies (Delhi, India) and the Division of Reproductive Biology & Maternal Health, Children Health, Indian Council of Medical Research
  • Findings: This is a review of studies conducted on reproductive health and RF radiation, with conflicting findings. Some studies indicated that in vitro exposure to RF radiation causes cancer, DNA damage, and chromosomal damage, while other studies have indicated that there are no negative health risks associated with RF radiation.
  • Important Points: In vitro studies in humans have shown that RF radiation causes significant damage to healthy sperm cells, including lower motility and viability, lower ROS levels, DNA damage, “changes in protein folding, increased level of stress protein, and induced apoptosis.” Multiple developed countries have instituted health recommendations and policies based on RF radiation safety, especially as it relates to the use of cell phones.