Based on the state of knowledge acquired during the last 50 years of research on possible biological effects of electromagnetic fields (EMF), the majority of the scientific community is convinced that exposure to EMF below the existing security limits does not cause a risk to the health of the general public. However, this position is questioned by others, who are of the opinion, that the available research data are contradictory or inconsistent and therefore, unreliable. As a consequence, it is necessary that the methodology applied in EMF research to be considerably improved and complemented by the most recent molecular biological techniques. In the REFLEX project, biological effects of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMF) and radio frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) are studied using sophisticated and diverse research methodologies separately since it is assumed that the generation of effects, if verifiable at all, may be based on different mechanisms. (...)
The main goal of the REFLEX project is to investigate the effects of EMF on single cells in vitro at the molecular level below the energy density reflected by the present safety levels. Most, if not all chronic diseases, including cancer and neurodegenerative disorders, are of diverse and heterogeneous origins. This variability is to a great extent generated by a relatively small number of critical events, such as gene mutations, deregulated cell proliferation and suppressed or exaggerated programmed cell death (apoptosis). Gene mutations, cell proliferation and apoptosis are caused by or result in an altered gene and protein expression profiles. The convergence of these critical events is required for the development of all chronic diseases. The REFLEX project is, therefore, designed to answer the question whether or not any of these disease-causing critical events could occur in living cells after EMF exposure. Failure to observe the key critical events in living cells in vitro after EMF exposure would suggest that further research efforts in this field could be suspended and financial resources should be reallocated for the investigation of more important issues.