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Bioelectromagnetics. 2004 Dec;25(8):642-6; discussion 647-8.

Comment: a biological guide for electromagnetic safety: the stress response.

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Department of Physiology, Columbia University, New York, New York 10032, USA.


Questions of safety of electromagnetic (EM) fields should be based on relevant biological properties, i.e., specific cellular reactions to potentially harmful stimuli. The stress response is a well documented protective reaction of plant and animal cells to a variety of environmental threats, and it is stimulated by both extremely low frequency (ELF) and radio frequency (RF) EM fields. It involves activation of DNA to initiate synthesis of stress proteins. Thermal and non-thermal stimuli affect different segments of DNA and utilize different biochemical pathways. However, both ELF and RF stimulate the same non-thermal pathway. Since the same biochemical reactions are stimulated in different frequency ranges with very different specific absorption rates (SARs), SAR level is not a valid basis for safety standards. Studies of EM field interactions with DNA and with model systems provide insight into a plausible mechanism that can be effective in ELF and RF ranges.

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