Exposure To Extremely-Low Levels Of Electrosmog Disrupts Key Biological Processes For Migratory Birds, Study Says

May 9 2014, 10:38pm CDT | by

A new study by scientists in Germany has shown exposure to so-called “electrosmog” adversely affects migratory birds’ biological navigation systems.

Despite speculation to the contrary, electrosmog, or electromagnetic radiation created by the use of electronic devices, has not been shown to affect biological processes at levels lower than those considered to be safe by the World Health Organization (WHO).

For the first time, biologists at the University of Oldenburg have shown that robins lose their magnetic compass when exposed to AM radio waveband electromagnetic interference at levels as low far below the threshold defined by the WHO.

The findings, which were limited to electromagnetic interference generated by electronic devices (i.e., not power lines or cell towers), were published in the most recent issue of the journal Nature.

“In our experiments we were able to document a clear and reproducible effect of human-made electromagnetic fields on a vertebrate,” said Mouritsen. “The effects of these weak electromagnetic fields are remarkable: they disrupt the functioning of an entire sensory system in a healthy higher vertebrate.”

Migratory birds use Earth’s magnetic field to navigate.

Robins were housed in orientation cages that were, in turn, housed in earthed wooden huts covered with sheets of aluminum, which shielded the birds from electromagnetic exposure.

When electromagnetic interference was introduced inside of the aluminum-clad wooden huts, the birds’ magnetic orientation ability was immediately lost.

“Our measurements of the interferences indicated that we had accidentally discovered a biological system that is sensitive to anthropogenic electromagnetic noise generated by humans in the frequency range up to five megahertz,” said Mouritsen.

Several generations of students repeated the experiments independently of one another on the Oldenburg campus over the course of seven years.

While the effect of electrosmog on bird migration is limited to urban areas, Mouritsen emphasized that the findings should be cause for concern “about the potential effects for human beings, which has yet to be investigated.”

 
 
 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Need for Speed Reboot is Coming This Fall
Need for Speed Reboot is Coming This Fall
EA will release a complete new Need for Speed this fall. The video game giant just released a teaser video and the first Need for Speed Gameplay video will be revealed in June.
 
 
Google Self-Driving Cars to Hit Public Roads this Summer
Google Self-Driving Cars to Hit Public Roads this Summer
Google announced today that Google Car prototype vehicles will leave the test track and hit the familiar roads of Mountain View.
 
 
Google Search Analytics Launched in Web Master Tools
Google Search Analytics Launched in Web Master Tools
Google officially announced the new Search Analytics feature in Webmaster tools.
 
 
T-Mobile Hits Verizon with new 'Never Settle Trial' Campaign
T-Mobile Hits Verizon with new 'Never Settle Trial' Campaign
In case customers don't feel satisfied, T-Mobile will pay for them to shift back to Verizon