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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 27, 2015

Radiofrequency exposure in young and old: different sensitivities in light of age-relevant natural differences

  • Mary Redmayne EMAIL logo and Olle Johansson


Our environment is now permeated by anthropogenic radiofrequency electromagnetic radiation, and individuals of all ages are exposed for most of each 24 h period from transmitting devices. Despite claims that children are more likely to be vulnerable than healthy adults to unwanted effects of this exposure, there has been no recent examination of this, nor of comparative risk to the elderly or ill. We sought to clarify whether research supports the claim of increased risk in specific age-groups. First, we identified the literature which has explored age-specific pathophysiological impacts of RF-EMR. Natural life-span changes relevant to these different impacts provides context for our review of the selected literature, followed by discussion of health and well-being implications. We conclude that age-dependent RF-EMR study results, when considered in the context of developmental stage, indicate increased specific vulnerabilities in the young (fetus to adolescent), the elderly, and those with cancer. There appears to be at least one mechanism other than the known thermal mechanism causing different responses to RF-EMR depending upon the exposure parameters, the cell/physiological process involved, and according to age and health status. As well as personal health and quality-of-life impacts, an ageing population means there are economic implications for public health and policy.

Corresponding author: Mary Redmayne, Population Health Research on Electromagnetic Energy (PRESEE), Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, 99 Commercial Road, Melbourne 3004, Australia, Phone: +61 3 99030285, Fax: +61 3 99030556, E-mail:


Mr. Brian Stein, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, UK, the Irish Campaign against Microwave Pollution, and the Irish Doctors Environmental Association (IDEA; Cumann Comhshaoil Dhoctúirí na hÉireann) are gratefully acknowledged for their general support.

  1. Funding sources: Mary Redmayne is supported by a National Health and Medical Research Council grant for the Centre for Research Excellence on Health Effects of Electromagnetic Energy (NHMRC CRE1060205). Olle Johansson is supported by the Karolinska Institute, and a grant from Mr. Einar Rasmussen, Kristiansand S, Norway. The funders had no role in concept, analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

  2. Conflict of interest statement: The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare, either financial or otherwise.

  3. Author affiliations additional to those on the title page: Mary Redmayne: Adjunct research fellow, Victoria University of Wellington; Member of TE-007 Standard Australia Committee; Scientific Advisor to the Environmental Health Trust (all of these are non-stipendiary).


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Received: 2015-9-23
Accepted: 2015-11-2
Published Online: 2015-11-27
Published in Print: 2015-12-1

©2015 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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