Purpose: This review aims to estimate the threshold of radiofrequency electromagnetic field (RF EMF) effects on human brain based on analyses of published research results. To clarify the threshold of the RF EMF effects, two approaches have been applied: (1) the analyses of restrictions in sensitivity for different steps of the physical model of low-level RF EMF mechanism and (2) the analyses of experimental data to clarify the dependence of the RF EMF effect on exposure level based on the results of published original neurophysiological and behavioral human studies for 15 years 2007–2021.
Conclusions: The analyses of the physical model of nonthermal mechanisms of RF EMF effect leads to conclusion that no principal threshold of the effect can be determined. According to the review of experimental data, the rate of detected RF EMF effects is 76.7% in resting EEG studies, 41.7% in sleep EEG and 38.5% in behavioral studies. The changes in EEG probably appear earlier than alterations in behavior become evident. The lowest level of RF EMF at which the effect in EEG was detected is 2.45 V/m (SAR = 0.003 W/kg). There is a preliminary indication that the dependence of the effect on the level of exposure follows rather field strength than SAR alterations. However, no sufficient data are available for clarifying linearity-nonlinearity of the dependence of effect on the level of RF EMF. The finding that only part of people are sensitive to RF EMF exposure can be related to immunity to radiation or hypersensitivity. The changes in EEG caused by RF EMF appeared similar in the majority of analyzed studies and similar to these in depression. The possible causal relationship between RF EMF effect and depression among young people is highly important problem.
Low-level RF EMF | nonthermal model | threshold | linearity | depression