Does exposure to 4G LTE cell phone radiation impair cell phone users’ health?


Electromagnetic Radiation Safety

Friday, March 5, 2021

Does exposure to 4G LTE cell phone radiation impair cell phone users’ health?

Although 4G has been in use for over a decade and far more people in the world are currently exposed to 4G mobile phone radiation than 5G, little attention has been paid to the potential harmful health effects of this environmental pollutant.

4G, also known as Long Term Evolution or LTE, is the fourth generation of cellular technology. It employs new digital signal processing and modulation to increase the capacity and speed of wireless telecommunications networks. 
The standard for LTE was finalized in December, 2008, and the first mobile phone to employ this technology was released in September, 2010. By the end of 2017, 41 countries supported LTE coverage over at least 75% of their land area. In North America, the number of LTE mobile devices in use, 365 million, exceeds the size of the population.

Like 5G, LTE was launched without any pre-market safety testing. Research has found that exposure to LTE radiation leads to a change in intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) that may result in “genotoxic stress, decreased proliferation and cell senescence, or no physiological effects depending on ROS concentration and the differential sensitivity of various cells to ROS.” Several studies on human subjects have found that short-term exposure to LTE radiation affects brain functioning. No research has examined the health effects of long-term exposure to LTE.

Although 4G technology has been in use for more than a decade, few studies have been conducted on the effects of exposure. The abstracts for these studies appear below. See

The effect of 4.5 G (LTE Advanced-Pro network) mobile phone radiation on the optic nerve
Erkin Özdemir, Ülkü Çömelekoglu, Evren Degirmenci, Gülsen Bayrak, Metin Yildirim, Tolgay Ergenoglu, Banu Coşkun Yılmaz, Begüm Korunur Engiz, Serap Yalin, Dilan Deniz Koyuncu, Erkan Ozbay. The effect of 4.5 G (LTE Advanced-Pro network) mobile phone radiation on the optic nerve. Cutan Ocul Toxicol. 2021 Mar 3;1-27. doi: 10.1080/15569527.2021.1895825.


Purpose: Rapid development in mobile phone technologies increase the average mobile phone usage duration. This increase also triggers exposure to radiofrequency radiation (RF), which is a risk factor for the health. In this study, it was aimed to investigate the effect of mobile phone working with LTE-Advanced Pro (4.5G) mobile network on the optic nerve, which is responsible for the transmission of visual information.

Material and methods: Thirty-two rats divided into two groups as control (no RF, sham exposure) and experimental (RF exposure using a mobile phone with LTE-Advanced Pro network; 2 hours/day, 6 weeks). The visual evoked potential (VEP) was recorded and determined amplitudes and latencies of VEP waves. Optic nerve malondialdehyde level, catalase and superoxide dismutase activities were determined. Furthermore, ultrastructural and morphometric changes of optic nerve were evaluated.

Results: In VEP recordings, the mean VEP amplitudes of experimental group were significantly lower than control group. In ultrastructural evaluation, myelinated nerve fibers and glial cells were observed in normal histologic appearance both in sham and experimental group. However, by performing morphometric analysis, in the experimental group, axonal diameter and myelin thickness were shown to be lower and the G-ratio was higher than in the sham group. In the experimental group, malondialdehyde level was significantly higher and superoxide dismutase and catalase activities were significantly lower than sham group. There was a high correlation between VEP wave amplitudes and oxidative stress markers.

Conclusion: Findings obtained in this study support optic nerve damage. These results point out an important risk that may decrease the quality of life.

In recent years, everyone, from child to old, has a smartphone, and everyday a long time is passed looking at the screen of this phone. Comfort and efficiency achieved thanks to the high data transfer rate provided by LTE-Advanced Pro technology increase this time day by day. Eyes are the most affected body parts from this condition. In addition to the effects such as strabismus and eye impairment arising from looking at a small screen, it is also important to examine the hidden risks that the RF magnetic field created by the phone will cause on the eye. In this study, the effects of RF emission created by a LTE-Advanced Pro technology phone on the optic nerve were examined in all aspects and the findings were given in the previous section. Briefly it can be said that, for the first time in scientific literature, the findings of the present study indicate that the LTE-Advanced Pro mobile phone radiation causes significant damage by triggering oxidative stress in the optic nerve. LTE-Advanced Pro technology uses a wider RF band between 800 MHz and 2600 MHz and the network system selects the most appropriate band itself according to the user’s requirements. It is known that penetration depth of RF increases with decreasing frequency [39]. Since effects of RF radiation were observed on the optic nerve which is behind the eye, it can be said that low frequency bands such as 800 MHz were mostly active during the experiments. Maybe this inference cannot be generalized for all communication purposes, but usage probability of low frequency bands during LTE-Advanced Pro smart phone usage will always keep the damage risk on optic nerve alive.
Fig. 3A and 3B show the distribution of electric field and SAR, respectively. As seen, maximum E field was 5.0 V/m (Fig. 3A) and maximum SAR (10 g) was 0.01 W/kg (Fig. 3B). The SAR value in the area of eyes was about 0.0035 W/kg (Fig. 3B).

Before and after exposure, body surface temperatures were 28.08 ± 0.19 and 28.07 ± 0.26 °C, respectively in the sham group. These values were 28.37 ± 0.29 and 28.39 ± 0.22 °C, respectively for the RF groups. There was no significant difference within sham (p = 0.275) and RF (p = 0.120) groups before and after exposure. Also, there was no significant differences in surface body temperature between sham and RF exposed groups before (p = 0.142) and after (p = 0.321) exposure.

In the present study, for the first time, it was shown that exposition to 4.5 G mobile phone radiation for 2 hours/day for 6 weeks causes optic nerve damage. The optic nerve transmits all visual information to the visual cortex, and any damage in this nerve can cause permanent and serious vision loss. This study demonstrated that RF exposure may be an environmental risk factor for eye toxicity and potential eye disorders. Further studies are needed to reveal the potentiality of the risk in this area.  


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