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Effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields on flora and fauna, Part 3. Exposure standards, public policy, laws, and future directions

B. Blake Levitt, Henry C. Lai and Albert M. Manville

Abstract

Due to the continuous rising ambient levels of nonionizing electromagnetic fields (EMFs) used in modern societies—primarily from wireless technologies—that have now become a ubiquitous biologically active environmental pollutant, a new vision on how to regulate such exposures for non-human species at the ecosystem level is needed. Government standards adopted for human exposures are examined for applicability to wildlife. Existing environmental laws, such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in the U.S. and others used in Canada and throughout Europe, should be strengthened and enforced. New laws should be written to accommodate the ever-increasing EMF exposures. Radiofrequency radiation exposure standards that have been adopted by worldwide agencies and governments warrant more stringent controls given the new and unusual signaling characteristics used in 5G technology. No such standards take wildlife into consideration. Many species of flora and fauna, because of distinctive physiologies, have been found sensitive to exogenous EMF in ways that surpass human reactivity. Such exposures may now be capable of affecting endogenous bioelectric states in some species. Numerous studies across all frequencies and taxa indicate that low-level EMF exposures have numerous adverse effects, including on orientation, migration, food finding, reproduction, mating, nest and den building, territorial maintenance, defense, vitality, longevity, and survivorship. Cyto- and geno-toxic effects have long been observed. It is time to recognize ambient EMF as a novel form of pollution and develop rules at regulatory agencies that designate air as ‘habitat’ so EMF can be regulated like other pollutants. Wildlife loss is often unseen and undocumented until tipping points are reached. A robust dialog regarding technology’s high-impact role in the nascent field of electroecology needs to commence. Long-term chronic low-level EMF exposure standards should be set accordingly for wildlife, including, but not limited to, the redesign of wireless devices, as well as infrastructure, in order to reduce the rising ambient levels (explored in Part 1). Possible environmental approaches are discussed. This is Part 3 of a three-part series.


Corresponding author: B. Blake Levitt,P.O. Box 2014, New Preston, CT06777, USA, E-mail: ,

Acknowledgments

The authors wish to thank the excellent reviewers who made this series of papers far better.

  1. Research funding: None declared.

  2. Author contributions: All authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this manuscript and approved its submission.

  3. Competing interests: Authors state no conflict of interest.

  4. Informed consent: Not applicable.

  5. Ethical approval: Not applicable.

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Received: 2021-06-21
Accepted: 2021-09-01
Published Online: 2021-09-27

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