We're surrounded by electromagnetic radiation constantly. If you have cell phone reception, radio reception, WiFi, Bluetooth, or any other wireless communication tech available you're swimming in a sea of electromagnetic radiation. We don't seem to care much about the potential dangers of electromagnetic fields (EMF). Conversely, many cities are adopting 5G and WiFi saturation plans that will further increase the level of EMR exposure. That's a bad thing, according to a new report. The UK based EKLIPSE project has found that electromagnetic radiation "poses a credible threat" to wildlife including birds, insects, and even the metabolic health of plants.
The EKLIPSE review was undertaken after a proposal by the UK conservation group Buglife. From reviewing the available studies done on electromagnetic radiation EKLIPSE concluded that "electromagnetic wireless signals, including from powerlines, radar, TV/radio broadcasting, Wi-Fi and 2G/3G/4G" might all harm wildlife.
An international expert group led by Bill Sutherland of Cambridge University identified electromagnetic radiation as one of the 15 emerging threats to biodiversity in a 2018 paper . According to that paper, published in Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 100 billion devices are expected to be wirelessly connected by 2025. The paper out the potential damage that may cause:
During use, mobile telephones and other smart devices generate radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs), a form of nonionising radiation, which may change biological processes such as neurotransmitter functions, cellular metabolism, and gene and protein expression in certain types of cells, even at low intensities.
Sutherland acknowledges that EMR's effect on humans is controversial, but states "there is limited evidence of increased tumour risk in animals."
According to Buglife there haven't been many other studies done on electromagnetic radiation's effect on wildlife. That's concerning, they say, because the existing studies point to a serious environmental risk if our saturation of the earth with wireless signals goes unchecked. From the EKLIPSE review:
"[There is] an urgent need to strengthen the scientific basis of the knowledge on EMR and their potential impacts on wildlife. In particular, there is a need to base future research on sound, high-quality, replicable experiments so that credible, transparent and easily accessible evidence can inform society and policy-makers to make decisions and frame their policies.”
An international group of electromagnetic field scientists (EMFscientist.org) has appealed to the U.N. for further examination and action on the EMF issue. So far, 237 scientists have signed the appeal. The group goes so far as to say that the World Health Organization is "failing to fulfill its role as the preeminent international public health agency" because of its inaction on what they see as a dire threat to the planet.
If you're the type that likes to freak yourself out, head over to their page of scientists' quotes on the health impacts of electromagnetic fields. Here's a juicy one from biologist Alfonso Balmori:
“Trees and animals are showing important signs that mankind does not comprehend. We know with certainty that anthropogenic electromagnetic radiation is slowly eroding the health of living organisms: animals, plants and people. It is urgent that society as a whole address this serious environmental and health problem.”
Is this just overreaction by a bunch of tree-huggers and technophobes, or will we look back at our cavalier approach to electromagnetic radiation the same way we look at the smog of Victorian London? The only way to know for sure is through taking a hard, impartial, and scientific look at the potential ramifications of humanity's favorite toys.