Can we produce a single controlled electromagnetic radiation

Electrosmog - biological effects of electromagnetic fields and waves on humans and some relevant protective measures


1. Introduction
1.1 The phenomenon of "electrosmog"
1.2 Objectives of the work

2. Physical principles and definitions
2.1 Definition of "electrosmog"
2.2 Physical fields
2.2.1 Electric field
2.2.2 Magnetic field
2.2.3 Alternating fields and electromagnetic radiation
2.3 Frequency spectrum

3. Research methods of science regarding the biological effects of electromagnetic fields
3.1 Epidemiological studies
3.2 Human experiments
3.3 Animal experiments
3.4 Cell experiments
3.5 Creation of impact models

4. The different fields, their biological effects and the possible medical consequences
4.1 Preliminary remark
4.2 Fields in the low frequency range
4.2.1 hormonal balance
4.2.2 Biorhythm
4.2.3 Immune system
4.2.4 Cancer
4.2.5 Nervous system, behavior, psyche
4.2.6 Impact models Body current density Calcium Cell membrane Cyclotron resonance model Direct neural effects
4.3 Fields in the high frequency range
4.3.1 Basics
4.3.2 Thermal effects
4.3.3 Non-thermal effects
4.4 Natural fields in the human environment
4.4.1 Magnetic fields (earth's magnetic field and magnetic storms)
4.4.2 Electric fields (fair weather field and small ion concentration)

5. Legal limit values ​​and some relevant measures to protect against electromagnetic radiation
5.1 Legal regulations and guidelines (limit values)
5.2 Personal protective measures
5.2.1 Structural measures Shielded and twisted power cables Earthed metal pipes Aluminum foil, wire mesh, metallic wallpaper and shielding paint Mains isolator
5.2.2 Safety distance
5.3 Own experiment

6. Outlook

7. Summary Bibliography Explanation

1 Introduction

1.1 The phenomenon of "electrosmog"

Electrical energy is an essential basis of today's affluent society. No telephone, no computer, no light bulb can do without electricity.

We take its presence for granted, but often only perceive its real role in our (survival) life in the event of a power failure.

Apart from the generation (e.g. by coal-fired power plants), the consumption of electrical energy was considered to be free of stress and harmless to humans and nature. It is only recently that findings have come to light that have identified the harmful effects of electrical energy on the human biological organism.

Wherever electrical energy is generated, distributed or consumed, electrical and magnetic fields occur (see 2nd physical fundamentals). This means that high-voltage lines, but also electrical lines in the house and at work, as well as electrical household appliances and machines, are surrounded by electrical and magnetic fields to which humans are inevitably exposed.

Although these fields have been scientifically investigated and discussed for a long time, the risks they pose for health or the environment, for doctors, laypeople and politicians, are only now a serious issue. Due to the controversial discussion, the public's attention is increasingly focused on the phenomenon known colloquially as "electrosmog".

Despite the numerous scientific studies in recent years, no conclusive results are yet available. The topic has by no means been fully investigated, and especially with medical effects and biological effects, numerous relationships and mechanisms of action have so far remained undiscovered.

1.2 Objectives of the work

With this thesis I would like to give an overview of the most important fundamentals of the topic, of the fields relevant to humans, the medical consequences of their impact that are currently being discussed and / or already proven, and of selected research methods in this field of science. Furthermore, legal limit values ​​and some individual protective measures should be discussed. In view of the extremely different scientific points of view, I will try to present the topic as differently and as objectively as possible.

Since humans are exposed to natural electric / magnetic fields in addition to the artificially generated fields, this work will not only involve high-frequency alternating electromagnetic fields, but also deal with the natural electromagnetic environment of humans.

In order to adhere to the given framework, however, it is necessary to restrict oneself to the essential aspects.

2. Physical principles and definitions

Before I talk about the effects of electromagnetic fields and waves, the colloquial term "electrosmog" as well as the physical principles of the creation of electric or magnetic fields must be clarified.

2.1 Definition of "electrosmog"

"The term" electrosmog "(smog from the English Smoke + Fog), which is not very scientific but has now become established, subsumes the entirety of the electromagnetic fields to which people are exposed nowadays, especially in industrialized countries." (Dr. Barnbas Kunsch in gsf report 20/93, p.23)

2.2 Physical fields

Physically, the field describes a space in which physical forces of a certain order of magnitude act. With electromagnetic radiation, the electric and magnetic fields are important. In their static state (i.e. the fields do not change as a function of time) they are not as important for the subject of electrosmog as the electric and magnetic alternating fields (i.e. the fields change as a function of time). (König / Folkerts 1992, p.12) However, these simple fields serve well to explain your theory, since one can clearly separate the electric and magnetic field from one another in the steady state, which is no longer possible in the area of ​​the alternating fields and here especially in the high frequency range is.

2.2.1 The electric field

Physically, the electric field is defined as a space in which forces are exerted on charged bodies.

So-called field lines are used to describe the electric field clearly.

If you let semolina grains or elongated synthetic fibers float on a thin layer of oil and subject them to an electric field, you can make these electric field lines easily visible (see Fig. 1 and 2 on the next page). (Müller / Leitner / Maráz 1991, p.28)

In addition, electric field lines have the following defined properties:

- They always start from the positive charge and end with the negative one.
- They always hit the conductor surface perpendicularly.
- You don't cut yourself.
- The tangent on a field line indicates the direction of force for a charge at the point of contact (see Figure 3).
- The density of the drawn field lines indicates the amount of force.

(Lecture notes physics LK K12 1996, "The el. Field")

If the field lines run parallel to each other, it is a homogeneous electric field. The natural electrostatic field of the earth (see 4.4.2) or the field of a plate capacitor are well-known representatives of this type of field.

In practice, electrical fields occur as soon as voltage is applied to an electrical device, even if no current is flowing. As soon as the plug of a device is plugged into the socket, an electric field builds up around the device and the connecting cable. The strength of the electric field depends on the voltage of the system. The electric field strength (E) is measured in volts per meter (V / m) (see also Fig. 4).

Electric fields can be shielded relatively easily, even normal building and biological materials weaken electric fields very strongly. Normally built house walls reduce external electrical fields by around 90 percent.

(König / Folkerts 1994, pp. 16-19)

2.2.2 The magnetic field

Magnetic fields only affect moving electrical charges and magnetized matter. They can be generated by permanent magnets (static fields) or by electrical currents (static fields by direct currents, alternating fields by alternating currents).

In contrast to the electric field lines, the magnetic ones are closed (see Fig. 5 and 6). The magnetic field of a current-carrying conductor spreads in circular paths perpendicular to its plane. The strength of the magnetic field depends on the level of the current flowing. Magnetic fields only appear on electrical devices or systems when they are switched on, i.e. when electricity flows. The strength of the magnetic field depends on the level of the current flowing.

The unit of measurement for the magnetic field strength (physically described by an H) is ampere per meter (A / m). However, it is common to describe the magnetic field by another quantity, namely the "magnetic force flux density" (symbol B). Its unit of measurement is Tesla (T) (see also Fig. 4). The magnetic permeability (also called magnetic conductivity; symbol µ) , a constant specific to each material, establishes the relationship between the field strength H and the magnetic flux density B in the following way: F ​​= B / µ. For humans, the magnetic properties of air in particular are of outstanding importance (König / Folkerts 1992 , P.14) The table on page 28 (Fig. 24) provides an overview of some household appliances and their specific magnetic flux density.

2.2.3 Alternating fields and electromagnetic radiation

So far we have only spoken of fields that are constant over time, which are also called stationary or static fields. In connection with "electrosmog", however, the temporal character of the fields is of great importance.

"If an electric or magnetic field is periodically reversed symmetrically within certain time intervals, it is called a classic alternating field." (König / Folkerts 1992, p. 15) As a result, the field that is caused by the flowing charges is no longer constant. In terms of time, it changes in the same rhythm as the movement of the charge. (Nimtz / Mäcker 1994, p. 60)

In physical terms, a complete reversal of the polarity of the field is called an oscillation. The number of oscillations per second ultimately results in the frequency of a field, which physically describes the temporal character of alternating fields. The frequency has the unit Hertz (1 Hz = 1 oscillation per second) (see also Figure 4). (Sievers 1997, p. 31)

Already in the last century Maxwell calculated that in free space an alternating field of one kind (electric or magnetic) always generates an alternating field of the other kind (electrical or magical). This is known as an electromagnetic wave, which consists of two components and travels at the speed of light. The distance from one wave maximum to the next is the wave length (see Fig. 7).

(König / Folkerts 1992, p. 15)

2.3 Frequency spectrum

Since fields with a low number of oscillations per second have different properties than those with a high number of oscillations, a distinction is made between low-frequency (0Hz-30kHz) and high-frequency (30kHz-300GHz) alternating fields. In the case of alternating fields in the high frequency range, the electric and magnetic fields are particularly closely coupled to one another. One speaks of electromagnetic radiation (see Figure 7). The table on the right gives an overview of the entire electromagnetic spectrum (see Fig. 8).

3. Research methods in science relating to the biological effects of electromagnetic fields

There is an unmanageable number of scientific examinations, studies and papers on the subject of electrosmog. For a better understanding of the biological effects of electromagnetic fields and waves on humans addressed in this work, the various research methods used in science in this area should first be briefly presented. (Catalysis e.V. 1994, p. 42)

3.1 Epidemiological studies:

Epidemiological studies look for a possible connection or independence between sickness or death statistics and a burdensome variable. The group of people examined is usually divided into several exposure categories. You also need a control group that is as unencumbered as possible. It is then examined how often, or to what extent, diseases that are suspected to be caused or promoted by the level of exposure (e.g. electrical radiation from cell phones) occur in the different groups compared to the control group. The data on which these examinations are based mostly come from health, cancer or death registers and are often of little informative value due to their age.

When creating such studies, the following factors usually play a major role in terms of reliability:

1) Dependence on the number of cases (= number of illnesses or deaths included in the study)
2) Difficult to define value of the load size (illnesses and deaths already old; no or only inadequate measurement data, since the cases were only rarely examined for the load size)
3) Poor or no recording of possible further factors (cofactors) that may also have influenced the course of the disease
4) Lack of a plausible explanatory model for the number of cases of illness
5) Size of the risk factor (= difference in the frequency of illnesses or deaths between exposed groups and the control group)
6) There is no clearly visible, linear relationship between the size of the exposure and the number of illnesses when it comes to electrosmog

Advantages of epidemiological studies:

1) Long-term human studies
2) Practical
3) The only way to show long-term effects on the human body


1) The correlation found only provides an indication of a possible connection, but can never prove a cause-effect relationship.
2) Great effort is required for a detailed examination.

(Catalysis e.V. 1994, p. 42/43)

3.2 Human experiments ("in vivo" experiments)

Here volunteer test persons are exposed to precisely measurable external fields and effects on physiological and psychological processes are determined (e.g. heart and pulse rate, EEG, EKG, changes in blood, urine or hormone balance, feelings and perceptions, etc.)

Advantages of this type of examination:

1) Experiments are carried out directly on humans and do not have to be transferred from animal experiments or cell experiments
2) Easy repeatability
3) Easy controllability of possible cofactors


1) Limitation of the test series due to ethical principles (e.g. high field exposure in long-term tests is not justifiable, as serious damage to the test persons cannot be ruled out)
2) Practical conditions difficult to establish (trials would have to take years)
3) Test subjects mostly young, healthy adults => disregarding other groups (children, old people, sick people) (Katalyse e.V. 1994, p. 44)

3.3 Animal experiments ("in vivo" experiments)

In order to be able to prove the effects of electromagnetic fields and waves on humans, animal experiments are indispensable, as experiments can be carried out here that would never be an issue with humans (see 3.2 Human experiments / disadvantages).

Experimental animals are exposed in groups to precisely defined external fields. Well-controlled and as precise as possible test conditions are aimed for (nutrition, lighting, temperature, etc.).

Advantages of animal testing:

1) Easy repeatability
2) Possibility of investigating synergetic effects (e.g. combined effects of fields and chemicals)
3) Ethical barrier lower (long-term tests with high loads also possible)


1) Basic ethical problem (question about the relationship between knowledge gained and suffering inflicted)
2) Conditional transferability to humans (Katalyse e.V. 1994, p. 44)

3.4 Cell experiments ("in vitro" experiments)

Series of tests with cell cultures are also necessary in order to be able to make statements about the possible effects of "electrosmog".

Cell cultures are exposed to electromagnetic fields (mostly E. coli bacteria, yeast cells, Chinese hamster cells or human cancer cells). Colonies of genetically identical cells are of course the best prerequisites.

Advantages of cell experiments:

1) Little experimental and financial effort
2) No ethical justification necessary (i.e. long-term experiments and experiments with high field strengths are also possible)
3) Test conditions that can be controlled very well


The transferability of the results to humans is severely limited, as certain effects only become apparent when entire organs are irradiated or changes in individual cells can be warded off or compensated for by the body's control mechanisms.

(Catalysis e.V. 1994, p. 45)

3.5 Creation of impact models

If a hypothesis worked out in an experiment is to be scientifically recognized, a plausible effect model is required, with the help of which predictions about the outcome of further experiments under different conditions are possible.

If an impact model has been confirmed several times by various experiments, it is considered experimentally verified and becomes a theory.

The following problems arise in this context:

1) Impact models are images of reality constructed by people. Experimental results that do not agree with the theory should by no means be branded as false
2) In addition to the experiments, theories represent the basis of the scientific approach. If there is no impact model, a theory will not be scientifically recognized
3) For almost all effects caused by electromagnetic fields, there is currently no effect model (Katalyse e.V 1994, p. 45/46)

4. The different fields, their biological effects and the possible medical consequences

4.1 Preliminary remark

Scientists and biologists have completely different views on the effects of electromagnetic pollution. Titles such as "Stream of Life, Stream of Death" or "Electrosmog - the invisible sick-maker" (Steinig 1994) naturally give laypeople the impression that the danger emanating from electrical or magnetic fields has already been proven.

Among the specialist literature on this work, the book by Katalyse eV "Electrosmog - Health Risks, Limit Values, Consumer Protection" turned out to be objective. In addition, this work is clearly structured and written in an understandable manner. Therefore, in the following main part of this work, this book, which I recommended by several sides.

4.2 Fields in the low frequency range

The figure opposite provides an overview of the possible effects (see Fig. 9).

4.2.1 hormonal balance

In the area of ​​the health effects of alternating fields in the low frequency range, the influences on the human hormone balance play a particularly important role (Katalyse e.V. 1994, p. 47).

Therefore, I will go into a little more detail on this type of influencing:

Hormones are endogenous, effect-specific substances and arise in glands with internal secretion (e.g. thyroid, pineal gland). They are spread throughout the body and can act so far from their place of origin. Hormones already work in very low doses (=> usually occur in low concentrations) and are absolutely necessary for many regulatory mechanisms in the body (e.g. blood sugar regulation).

(Hoffmann-Graunke 1997, p.13)

Numerous scientific studies on the subject of electrosmog have shown that fields in the low frequency range have a strong influence on the hormone melatonin and its precursor, serotonin. The hormone melatonin controls important functions in the area of ​​biorhythms (e.g. sleep, reproduction) (see 4.2.2). Serotonin acts as a neurotransmitter, influences the bowel activity and, through its vasoconstricting effect, plays a major role in the occurrence of migraines. (Catalysis e.V. 1994, p. 47/48)

Looking for one "Central nervous structure that is able to register external magnetic fields" (Katalyse e.V. 1994, p. 48) In 1980 the pineal gland (= epiphysis or pineal organ) and the melatonin formed by it were brought into contact with electrical and magnetic fields for the first time (Semm et al.).

Melatonin is formed from serotonin, whereby the auxiliary enzymes HIOMT and NAT are required. The latter is the limiting factor in melatonin synthesis. NAT can be detected not only in the pineal gland, but also in the retina, the liver and the Hadersian glands. (Catalysis e.V. 1994, p. 48)

It has been scientifically proven that melatonin production normally increases sharply during the night and reaches its maximum about two to four hours before sunrise (about five to fifteen times the melatonin level during the day). (Sievers 1997, p. 59)

Obviously there are two different forms of NAT: A stable, always active one and one that is of particular importance for the topic of electrosmog, as it can be suppressed by light, certain chemicals or even by electromagnetic exposure (Katalyse e.V. 1994, p.48).

As confirmed by the experiments and studies carried out since 1981 (Wilson et al.), The following relationship is considered to be proven: The nocturnal melatonin synthesis is reduced by the acting electrical and magnetic alternating fields. (Effect of electromagnetic fields on the retina => less NAT => less melatonin => health effects) (see Fig. 10 above). (Catalysis e.V. 1994, p. 49)

Some possible consequences that result from a decreased nightly melatonin level can be seen in Fig. 10. The following effects are also associated with inhibited melatonin production: sleep disorders, fatigue, depression, disorders of the day-night rhythm, immune deficiency, effects on the reproductive drive, migraines, menstrual disorders, increased risk of cancer, etc.

(Catalysis e.V. 1994, p. 52)

4.2.2 Biorhythm

"Biorhythmics is understood to mean the periodically recurring occurrence of phenomena in living systems - living beings or ecosystems." (Katalyse e.V. 1994, p.54) (Ex: woman's period, day-night rhythm).

The day-night rhythm has been scientifically best investigated so far. A whole series of control and feedback mechanisms in the body (e.g. body temperature) are geared towards the 24 hour rhythm. With the natural biorhythm of humans, they all run synchronously. One speaks of an internal synchronization.

However, this can be disrupted by the absence or shifting of external timers (e.g. constant night work, flights through time zones). The person is desynchronized internally, which can lead to sleep disorders, loss of appetite or poor performance.

Some studies try to show the connection between electromagnetic fields and the day-night rhythm. Two different types of influence are considered possible.

1) Influences from weak electric fields

As early as 1967, Rütger Wever came to the conclusion in his long-term studies that external electromagnetic fields in the low frequency range have an effect on the biorhythm. His test subjects in a field-free room showed symptoms of desynchronization much more often than those in an unshielded room. Amazingly, the synchronization could even be improved in a further experiment using an artificially generated, very weak field. How exactly these influences come about has not yet been clarified.

2) Influences on melatonin levels

In experiments with rats (Reiter 1992) it could be shown that the day-night rhythm of the melatonin level can be disrupted by electromagnetic fields. The complex system of different rhythms and cycles may also have a negative impact on other biorhythms. The consequences of a changed melatonin level have already been discussed in more detail above (see 4.2.1 Hormone balance). (Catalysis e.V. 1994, pp.54-56)

4.2.3 Immune system

External electromagnetic fields in the low frequency range also act on the immune system, which is supposed to protect us from the penetration and spread of foreign substances and living beings that have already penetrated.

In various, independent series of tests, some negative effects were found, e.g.

- Disregulation of the immune system (Brinkmann / Schaefer 1992)
- Changes in the calcium metabolism of lymphocytes (Lyel et al. 1991)
- decrease in leukocyte count with simultaneous increase in granulocyte count (Schaefer 1983)

Surprisingly, as in some studies with regard to the synchronization of the biorhythms (see 4.2.2), positive influences were found throughout. In mice exposed to an electrostatic field of 200V / m, a significantly increased immunization was found in contrast to control mice kept free from stress (Möse et al. 1973).

However, the studies carried out so far only provide indications that electric / magnetic fields influence the human immune system. The connection with allergies and immune deficiencies, which could also be related to electrosmog, has not yet been sufficiently investigated to be able to show meaningful results.

(Catalysis e.V. 1994, p.56 - 58)

4.2.4 Cancer

Due to the enormous public interest in this branch of electrosmog research, there are a large number of studies on this topic.

As can be seen from the table (see Fig. 11 on the next page), almost all epidemiological studies that investigate the effects of high-voltage lines on the development of cancer determine a 1.5 to 3-fold risk of cancer and, in particular, leukemia for children. However, a rough estimate of the electromagnetic exposure and the low number of cases (leukemia is a very rare disease) significantly reduces the informative value of these studies. It is estimated that there could be almost ten cases of leukemia caused by high-voltage lines in Germany every year. For

Adults could not find any notable increase in risk. Similar conclusions can be drawn from research into the health effects of electric blankets. They suggest that electric blankets increase the risk of brain tumors and leukemia in children. (Catalysis e.V. 1994, pp. 58 - 61)

The situation is different with studies on hazards in the workplace due to electromagnetic influences. Clearly, the computer, and especially the screen, is of particular interest here.

In this context, twice the rate of abortions was found in women if they sat in front of the screen for more than 20 hours a week (König / Folkerts 1992, p. 59). Health risks were also shown for workers in electrical professions. Long-term employees in this industry estimate that the risk of brain tumors, tumors of the central nervous system and leukemia has increased by two to three times. Possible cofactors (smoking, toxic fumes, etc.) were taken into account in many studies, which additionally confirms the results. (Catalysis e.V. 1992, pp.61-63)

However, how fields in the low frequency range can cause cancer in detail is still unclear. However, the following biological mechanisms for the development of cancer are conceivable:

- Changes in the calcium ion flow (=> changed cell growth) (Sievers 1997, p.58)
- Disruption of the tumor control mechanisms that are controlled by the immune system and hormonal balance
- Disruption of cell communication
- Activation of specific gene sequences that contain cancer genes (oncogenes) (Katalyse e.V. 1992, p. 63)
- Influences on the immune system (Sievers 1997, p. 58)

4.2.5 Nervous system, behavior, psyche

Since many studies show that electric / magnetic fields also have an effect on human behavior above a certain field strength, this must also be mentioned in the context of this work.

In different studies, both an increased and a decreased respiratory rate were found as reactions to low-frequency fields. The same applies to the pulse frequency, the reaction time and the performance of the test subjects. These different results can be explained by what are known as window effects. This means that some effects only show themselves at very specific field strengths and frequencies. If the values ​​are slightly higher or lower, these effects change significantly or disappear completely. (Catalysis e.V. 1994, pp. 69-70)

Fields in the low frequency range also have an influence on the human psyche.

Complaints from amputees and brain injured persons, mental disorders and depression up to an increased risk of suicide could generally be determined. A correct explanatory model for these effects does not yet exist either. However, a close connection between the human psyche and the hormonal balance is assumed (see Effects on the melatonin level). (Catalysis e.V. 1994, p.71-72)

4.2.6 Impact models

The importance of impact models for the credibility of hypotheses has already been explained in point 3.5. "A complete and consistent model for the effect of electromagnetic fields on organisms does not yet exist." (Katalyse e.V. 1994, p. 72) In the meantime, however, there are some promising approaches that should be briefly addressed here: Body current density

The body current density model is one of the simplest and most widely used model concepts. Alternating magnetic fields penetrate the body almost unhindered and cause induced eddy currents in the body (see Fig. 13 and 14 on the next page). Electric fields charge the surface of the body electrically. However, since the alternating electric field reverses its polarity with a certain frequency, charges constantly flow through our body trying to balance the external field. As a result, eddy currents also arise in the body (see Fig. 12 on the next page). This magnetic and electrical induction is called "body current density". Its intensity is given in amperes per square meter (A / m²). (Sievers 1997, p.52-53)

The model offers advantages as it does not matter whether the body current density was caused by magnetic or electric fields. However, it quickly reaches its limits, as it does not take into account important factors such as a different current density in the body (neck stronger than trunk), the influence of window effects or the special effects on certain organs (e.g. the pineal gland). Nevertheless, today it is the basis for determining limit values ​​for electromagnetic exposure (see 5.1). (Catalysis e.V. 1994, pp.73-75) Calcium

Calcium ions are found in every human cell and are also influenced by electromagnetic fields. They are indispensable for muscle contraction (Hoffmann-Graunke 1997, p.11), the transmission of action potentials (Hoffmann-Graunke 1997, p. 9) and for building up inorganic bone mass (Katalyse e.V. 1994, p. 75). In several studies it was found that changes in calcium ions also affect the cell division mechanisms (connection with cancer) and cell communication (see (Katalyse e.V. 1994, p.76). Cell membrane

Changes in the cell membrane are said to be responsible for disturbances in cell communication or increased calcium release, which would also explain, for example, the change in the melatonin level (disturbed interaction between nerve cells and receptors of the pineal gland) (Katalyse e.V. 1994, p.76-77). For some scientists, the cell membrane represents the "Decisive place of interaction between living systems and electromagnetic fields acting on them from outside" (Katalyse e.V. 1994, p.77) represent. Cyclotron resonance model

"The cyclotron resonance model is based on the physical fact that moving charged particles move in a static magnetic field (e.g. the earth's magnetic field) on circular paths with a certain orbital frequency. If an electrical or magnetic alternating field is also active, which is in resonance with the orbit frequency of the particle, the energy is transferred to the charged particle. "(Katalyse e.V. 1994, p. 78) With this model it is possible to clarify the problem of window frequencies (= occurrence of characteristic effects at only very specific frequencies) (see 4.2.5), but it turned out to be extremely complicated experimentally and difficult to prove. (Catalysis e.V. 1994, pp.78-79) Direct neural effects

Also under discussion are the direct influences of electrosmog on neurons. It is known that essential current pulses are generated in the neuronal information transmission. It is questionable whether a signal generated by an external field can be strong enough to disrupt this communication between the neurons. This model is closely related to the previous ones and cannot be clearly separated from them, since an electrical or magnetic disturbance variable also influences the cell membranes and the calcium ions at the same time. It should therefore be seen in conjunction with the other explanatory models. (Catalysis e.V. 1994, pp. 79-80)

4.3 Fields in the high frequency range

4.3.1 Basics

In addition to the fields in the low frequency range, electromagnetic radiation in the high frequency range (HF radiation for short), its possible biological effects and the resulting health effects for humans must of course also be addressed.

As is well known, the limit between the low and high frequency range is 30 kHz (see 2.3 and Fig. 8). The HF range goes up to 300 GHz (microwaves), which is followed by infrared radiation. In addition to its use in radar systems and microwave ovens, HF radiation is mainly used for wireless information transmission (radio, TV, CB radio, mobile phone).

Possible dangers have only been discussed since the widespread use of high-frequency devices (cell phones, etc.). This is the main reason why there are not nearly as many studies and investigations on the HF range as on the low frequency range. (Sievers 1997, p. 62)

When considering the biological effects of HF radiation, a distinction must be made between thermal (heating of the body through energy consumption) and athermal effects (direct effects on the organism), since HF radiation only starts at a certain threshold value of the radiation intensity, the so-called "thermal Threshold ", can lead to possible damage by heating the tissue. Although below the threshold value the temperature increase of the tissue is too low for thermal effects, harmful effects can also occur (Catalysis 1994, p. 85).

4.3.2 Thermal effects

In contrast to the effects discussed so far, thermal effects are scientifically largely undisputed. They are the most important and most dangerous effects of high-frequency radiation, since humans can be exposed to relatively high radiation intensities without being warned by their body (Leitgeb 1991, p. 151).

The intensity of the HF radiation is measured and described by the power flux density (unit: mW / cm²) (see also Fig. 4, page 6). The so-called "specific absorption rate" (unit: W / kg), or the SAR value for short, is used to estimate biological effects, as it describes "How much energy penetrates a body and can be converted into heat by it." (Sievers 1997, p. 64) (see also fig. 4, p. 6)

The heating of the tissue, which also explains the effects mentioned, is based on three physical principles:

“HF radiation induces high-frequency currents in body tissue, causes orientation movements of molecular dipoles and stimulates molecules to rotate. The HF radiation energy is converted into kinetic energy, which is nothing more than a local increase in temperature. "(Catalysis 1994, p. 83)

In particular, the reorientation movements of the water molecules (dipoles) cause the HF absorption. The degree of absorption is also dependent on the frequency of the radiation and the body size (people act as an antenna). The maximum energy absorption is achieved - for physical reasons - when the wavelength of the HF radiation is similar to the body size. One speaks of the "resonance range". (See Fig. 15 and 16)

(Leitgeb 1991, p. 152)

From about 13 to about 21 mW / cm² power flux density, humans can register HF radiation through their receptors in the skin as a feeling of warmth. However, significantly lower power flux densities (from approx. 0.4 mW / cm²) can be perceived, mostly through the ear. The limit to pain perception is significantly higher at approx. 3100 mW / cm².

It is noteworthy that even HF radiation from 10 mW / cm² can cause damage to health. Disturbances or changes in cell membrane permeability as well as metabolism, blood, immune and nervous systems and behavioral reflexes could be demonstrated. At higher power flux densities, the range is supplemented by influencing cell growth, embryonic deformities, clouding of the lens of the eye (see below) through to internal burns and myocardial infarction. Mention should also be made of the increased tendency of the blood to clot, which, however, can only be caused in the area of ​​extremely high power flux densities (> 50mw / cm²). (Catalysis e.V. 1994, pp. 87-88)

Organs such as the testicles or the eyes are particularly affected due to their low blood flow (the resulting tissue heating is broken down more slowly). Reversible sterility can occur at high loads (rare).

In the area of ​​the eyes, the effects of cell phones are particularly interesting.

Due to their frequent use and their compulsive proximity to the head of the user, the RF radiation is particularly intense and primarily concentrated on the head area. Even with a distance of 30 cm between the head and the antenna, which is unfamiliar to practice, the radiation still has a power density of 1mW / cm². (Sievers 1997, p.67)

However, the risk of eye damage, such as clouding of the lens, cataracts, damage to the cornea, etc., can only be significantly reduced by observing these recommended minimum distances.

(Böhm, Hermann in Süddeutsche Zeitung No. 283/1997, p.10)

4.3.3 Non-thermal effects

The existence of non-thermal effects in the high frequency range is now scientifically recognized. However, the way in which these specifically disrupt the organism is not yet known. (Catalysis 1994, p. 89)

The following biological effects could be found:

- Three times the cancer risk for people who are partially exposed to HF radiation (seven times the risk of continuous exposure)
- Abnormal day-night rhythms of the maturation processes of bone marrow cells (important for the immune system)
- Changed numbers of lymphocytes and granulocytes in connection with window effects (cell experiments from 1 mW / cm²)
- Changed antibody level and changed macrophage activity (animal experiments between 1 and 5 mW / cm²)
- Physical disorders (headache, irritability, fatigue, eye
- Lowering of the arterial blood pressure during permanent exposure to low-intensity microwaves
- Change in the rate of cell division (yeast culture experiments, strongly frequency-dependent)

(Catalysis 1994, pp. 92-95)

The following explanatory models for these effects are under discussion:

- calcium loss:

The human brain is extremely sensitive and needs a very constant environment of extracellular fluids for trouble-free operation. Fluctuations in hormones, amino acids or calcium ions that occur naturally in the blood of the rest of the body (e.g. through food intake) are prevented by the so-called blood-brain barrier from spreading to the intracerebral fluid (liquor). The diffusion of the substances can be prevented because the brain capillaries are enclosed by so-called epithelial cells.

A reversible change in the blood-brain barrier with regard to the permeability of calcium ions could be determined when irradiated with low-frequency, modulated microwaves of low intensity.

Although the corresponding tests are difficult to carry out, they are still considered to be a possible explanation for the effects of non-thermal effects. (Leitgeb 1990, p.170)

- Chemical reaction:

In the vicinity of resonance frequencies, a strong, collective stimulation of membrane areas of different cells and nearby enzymes could take place, causing them to vibrate together. As a result, enzymes could be attracted to the membrane and trigger a reaction there. In this explanatory model, the microwaves only allow the enzyme to approach the membrane, the remaining energy required could come from metabolic processes, for example. This would clearly be a nonthermal effect, since it would not come about through temperature increases, but through the connection of two reactive components. So far, however, this hypothesis has not been proven. (Leitgeb 1991, pp. 171/172)

- "Influencing the" gating "molecules which control the opening and closing times of the ion channels in membranes" (Catalysis 1994, p. 95).
- Disturbance of firmly bound water molecules in the globular or membrane-associated proteins (=> change in physiological processes) (Catalysis 1994, p. 95)

4.4 Natural fields in the human environment

An overview of the natural fields is given in Fig. 17 ..

4.4.1 Magnetic fields (earth's magnetic field and magnetic storms)

The globe is surrounded by a magnetic field with a magnetic flux density between about 30 µT and 60 µT (1 µT = 10-6 Tesla). The field has a higher flux density in the vicinity of the magnetic poles than in the area of ​​the equator; in addition, the field varies locally. In the dimensions in which it acts on us, however, it can be viewed as homogeneous. (Catalysis e.V. 1994, p.21)

The earth's magnetic field is approximated by a magnetic dipole located in the center of the earth, the axis of which is inclined by 11.4 ° to the axis of rotation of the earth and pierces the earth's surface at the geomagnetic points. These lie near geographic poles and are those points on the earth's surface where the field lines are perpendicular. (Leitgeb 1991, p. 94)

The importance of the earth's magnetic field lies in the fact that it deflects high-energy, charged particles coming from the depths of space and thus protects the earth's surface from ionizing radiation from space.

It is well known that weak static magnetic fields affect living beings, for which they are often of great importance. Migratory birds, for example, have iron oxide crystals at the end of the trigeminal nerve for orientation, which align themselves in the earth's magnetic field. Since no such sensory organ has yet been found in humans, the question of how we actually perceive electromagnetic fields remains open (P.M Magazin 1/1998, p.51).

Geomagnetic storms are sudden, relatively strong temporal variations in the geomagnetic field. They are part of the earth's magnetic activity and are caused in the magnetosphere by special current systems occurring in the ionosphere and by strong plasma oscillations that are generated by solar activity (eruptions on the solar surface) (Leitgeb 1992, p. 95). Due to these inhomogeneities, the fluctuating geomagnetic field can act like low-frequency alternating fields on the human organism (Katalyse e.V. 1994, p.23).

Becker was able to determine the effects of strong magnetic storms on schizophrenics and manic depressives in 1993. A direct influence on the brain potentials and brain activities also seems to take place. (Katalyse e.V. 1994, p. 71) In-depth knowledge of the detailed biological processes in the body are not yet available here either (Katalyse e.V. 1994, p. 21).

4.4.2 Electric fields (fair weather field and small ion concentration)

Electrostatic fields are created by static charges. In order to generate this, a charge separation must take place. Usually this happens through friction between two different, poorly conductive materials. Dry air promotes this process. In nature this happens, for example, when layers of air rub against each other. The charge is separated and finally there is a thunderstorm (see Figure 17).

Due to the charging of the ionosphere (negative in relation to the earth's surface), there is also a weak electrostatic field in nature. This "fair weather field" is normally around 130 V / m, but is subject to strong fluctuations, which are mainly caused by the season and the nature of the surface of the earth (water, forest, buildings, etc.) (see Fig. 17 and 18). It is sustained by electrical discharges (lightning bolts) from the ionosphere.

Direct biological influences of the fair-weather field are very small, as the human body creates an opposing field through influenza charges, which prevents the radiation from penetrating deeply. (Catalysis 1994, p.17-19)

The fair weather field has an indirect effect on the human organism, as it determines the number of small ions that are in the air. Small ions are created when molecules are ionized by radiation from the sun. If the fair weather field changes (due to natural influences, other electrostatic fields such as the field of a carpet or pollutants in the air), the concentration of small ions also changes.

Scientific studies have shown that the concentration of small ions is relevant to our health.

A decrease in the concentration of small ions can increase the susceptibility to infectious diseases and colds. Influences on physical and mental performance and reaction time were also found. Overall, it can be said that a greater deviation from the normal small ion concentration, regardless of whether it is up or down, has a negative effect on the human organism. With a slightly increased negative air ion concentration, however, positive influences could also be determined.

(Catalysis e.V. 1994, pp. 19-21)

5. Legal limit values ​​and some relevant measures to protect against electromagnetic radiation

The fact that electric and magnetic fields have negative influences on the organism - even if the exact mechanisms of action have not yet been adequately researched - is sufficient for considering suitable protective measures. In principle, there are two ways to avoid excessive exposure to electromagnetic fields and waves:

5.1 Legal regulations and guidelines (limit values)

Actually, the legal stipulation of maximum exposure values ​​to which people may be exposed would be the most sensible protective measure, since the "evil is tackled at the root". However, the limit values ​​set by the German DIN Commission provide for occupational as well as public exposure In electromagnetic fields and waves there is enough material for discussion and are often of little informative character for the individual (see 5.3 Own experiment).

Due to its high limit values, Germany is often referred to by experts and environmentalists as a developing country in this area. Allegedly responsible for this

Dominance of the electricity lobby in the DIN commission, which is understandably interested in low limit values. (Sievers 1997, p 75)

Due to the different effects of low and high frequency fields, the respective limit values ​​are also determined by different methods. In the low frequency range, due to the lack of alternatives, the limit value determination is based on the outdated body current density model (see In the high frequency range on the SAR value (see 4.3.2). (Catalysis e.V. 1994, p. 117 and 121)

To illustrate the large differences in the limit values, the tables (see Fig. 19 and 20) show the German limit values ​​in the low and high frequency range from 1991 and 1992, respectively, in comparison with international standards and recommendations.

But Germany has also made progress in this area in recent years, as can be seen from Fig. 21. It is an excerpt from the German Electrosmog Ordinance from 1997, in which the limit values ​​are well below those of 1991 and 1992.

In summary, it can be stated that limit values ​​are absolutely sensible and necessary, although they cannot yet be regarded as sufficient protection due to their creation, their determination with partly outdated impact models and their relatively high values. (Sievers 1997, p. 78/79)

5.2 Personal protective measures

How can you protect yourself from the fields with simple measures and technical means? An independent specialist thesis could be written on this alone. Although the focus in this work is clearly on the biological effects of electrosmog, some individual protective measures should also be addressed.

5.2.1 Structural measures

Structural measures can drastically reduce the exposure to electrical / magnetic fields in advance (new construction). Alternatively, there are also some protection options for houses that have already been built (e.g. power switch) in stores.

Some examples: Shielded and twisted power cables

The wires in the cable are close together and twisted into one another, which counteracts the spread of the magnetic fields (Katalyse e.V., p. 158). Electric fields can be prevented from escaping by a grounded, metallic protective jacket around the cable (see Fig. 22). (König / Folkerts 1992, p. 111) Earthed metal pipes

If power lines are laid in grounded metal pipes, they prevent the spread of electrical fields according to the same principle as protective sheaths in shielded power cables do (Sievers 1997, p. 124). Aluminum foil, wire mesh, metallic wallpaper and shielding paint

With correct earthing, protection against alternating electrical fields that penetrate through the wall can, however, have a field-reinforcing effect in the case of unprofessional installation (Katalyse e.V. 1994, S156). Mains isolator

A mains isolator is an electrical switching device in the power distribution box of a house, which automatically switches off the supply voltage for all downstream power supply lines as soon as there are no more consumers in operation (see Figure 23) (König / Folkerts 1992, p.126).

So if you want to make your sleeping place "field three", ALL electrical devices (including permanent consumers such as radio alarm clocks) must be disconnected from this circuit during the sleep phase (also no stand-by mode) (Sievers 1997, p. 121). Cost: approx . 150 to 300 DM

5.2.2 Safety distance

Simply keeping a little distance from all electrical devices would be the easiest possible way to protect yourself from electromagnetic radiation. However, it must be remembered that the distance to an electrical device is not the decisive factor for the strength of the biological effect. This is solely the radiation intensity (electric and / or magnetic field strength). Although this decreases with distance, it cannot be said that, for example, half the radiation intensity also halves the risk factor. In addition, the fields of several components (lamps, screen, television, radio) usually overlap in a room. With the table (see Fig.24) you can get an overview of the radiation intensities of many household appliances, but in order to determine the specific value of the overlapping fields, each room would have to be professionally measured individually (König / Folkerts 1992, p. 104/105)

5.3 Own experiment

The results of an experiment I carried out illustrate the limited value of the legal limit values ​​and recommendations for the individual. According to the manufacturer, the approx. 4 year old monitor of my computer (model MAG DX 17F) fulfills the Swedish radiation standard for screens MPR II, which is now complied with as a basic requirement by all manufacturers. According to the table (see Fig. 24), its magnetic field should not exceed 0.25µT at a distance of 50 cm.

In the experiment carried out, a so-called Hall probe (device for measuring magnetic fields) was located exactly 50 cm in front of the screen (see Fig. 25). Now, in collaboration with my physics teacher, Mr. Roth, I measured the magnetic field in front of the monitor in several series of experiments. The only change was the alternating switching on and off of the monitor.

The calculation finally resulted in an average change in the magnetic field of 3.3 µT, i.e. about 13 times the MPR II standard. However, due to the limited possibilities of measurement at school, this result is very imprecise. In any case, it can be said that my screen - probably due to its age - emits a much higher magnetic field than it should according to the standard and manufacturer. In view of the more than 80 hours that I spent alone in front of the screen creating this specialist work, there is undoubtedly a health risk factor.

6. Outlook

"[The] events still show themselves in completely blurred contours, but they no longer represent a mirage." (König / Folkerts 1992, p. 176)

This is how the state of research and the prospects for the future can be accurately characterized. Nobody can seriously deny a potential health threat, but the extent and effects in detail have so far only been provable to a limited extent. In the next few years, both scientific and political interest - not least in view of an increasingly sensitized and insecure public - will focus on the following focal points: (König / Folkerts 1992, p. 175/176)

- Development of a comprehensive impact model which explains all influencing factors and the resulting biological effects (Katalyse e.V. 1994, p. 96).
- Knowledge of the interaction of "electrosmog" and other stress factors (internal and external) on people (see Fig. 26) (Sievers 1997, p. 77).
- Dangers for the individual. Keywords are in particular the increase in radiation sources (cell phones, microwaves, etc.), preventive education of the public, effective and inexpensive protective measures (König / Folkerts 1992, p. 176/177).
- Adjustment of the limit values ​​to the increasing degree of exposure (Sievers 1997, pp. 75 & 79).

7. Summary

Due to electrical voltage and flowing current, radiation occurs that is physically described with the help of the field. A distinction is made between the electric field (easily shieldable) and the magnetic field (hardly shieldable) and almost all materials penetrate unhindered. If an electric or a magnetic field changes as a function of time, one speaks of an alternating field. Depending on the speed and frequency of these changes, a distinction is made between a low and a high frequency alternating electromagnetic field (0 Hz - 30 kHz or 30 kHz - 300 GHz).

The central question of this specialist work is the effect of these fields on the human organism. Scientifically, there are basically three ways to prove biological effects:

Human experiments, animal experiments and cell experiments.

If the results achieved in this way can be proven several times, a theory arises that is based on an impact model.

The alternating fields are of primary importance for humans. A large number of studies have found biological effects in both the low and high frequency range. In the case of low-frequency fields, the effects on the hormone melatonin obviously play a central role. Some studies could also show influences on the biorhythms, the immune and nervous system, on human behavior in general, on his psyche and even on the growth of cancer cells. In almost none of these identified effects, the biological relationships could be clarified beyond doubt in detail. In particular, there is still no complete impact model that could explain all biological effects. However, some interesting approaches are already available.

In the high frequency range, a distinction is made between thermal and non-thermal effects. Thermal effects, which are based on tissue heating due to molecular movements, are of greater importance. Organs with poor circulation, such as testicles or eyes, are particularly affected. However, effects on the metabolism, the cell membranes, as well as on the blood, immune and nervous systems were found. For these thermal effects - as well as for non-thermal effects such as lowering blood pressure, disorders of wellbeing or a changed antibody level - effect models are also only rudimentary so far.

Natural fields that constantly surround humans were examined for possible connections with human health. More in-depth knowledge about their mechanisms of action can be expected in the next few years.

Since a large number of biological effects have been proven by scientific work, state institutions have adopted measures to protect the general population. For this purpose, an independent DIN commission sets certain radiation limit values ​​to which humans may be exposed. However, these maximum values ​​and recommendations are extremely controversial and their protective function for the individual is insufficient, which can be shown using the example of a small self-experiment.

Individual protective measures are advisable to the individual regardless of government measures. By using special building materials (e.g. shielding wallpaper) or by installing mains isolators, the electromagnetic load in people's homes can be significantly reduced.

The importance of electromagnetic fields and waves for human health is currently largely unclear. It is similar with their role in interaction with other environmental influences. In order to be able to make further concrete statements on this topic, it is absolutely necessary to be able to clearly explain the biological causes of the proven effects. This requires a complete impact model, which is currently not available.

In view of the explosive nature of the topic and the increasing intensity of the relatively new research in the field of the biological effects of electromagnetic fields and waves on humans, a significant improvement in knowledge can be expected in the next few years.