Wildlife and Biodiversity: A Disappearing Act by Cell Towers on Land and in Space?

by Physicians for Safe Technology – 19 july 2021

Calling all environmentalists! The most important peer reviewed article to date on environmental effects of wireless radiofrequency radiation was just published and deserves a full read. What do we know about wireless radiation effects on the natural environment? This comprehensive review by Levitt, Lai and Manville (2021) provides a wealth of scientific information, connecting the scientific dots of radiofrequency radiation (RFR) harm to flora and fauna. In a very readable text the authors answer many puzzling questions about this complex subject that combines biology, ecology, technology and physics. The authors warn, “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.”

Most of us are aware that human activity has drastically altered the terrestrial and marine environment causing an accelerated decline in species and biodiversity by land degradation, overharvesting, plastic and chemical pollution, and the extraction and use of fossil fuels. Environmental scientists all agree that transformative change is necessary. But what happens to the environment when humans alter the Earth’s previously low-level geomagnetic forces that life evolved harmoniously in? Can cell towers and proliferating 5G satellites impact species that depend on the Earth’s magnetic fields for navigation, foraging, pollination and reproduction? What are the effects on climate change?

The Effects of Non-ionizing Electromagnetic Fields on Flora and Fauna

As the scientific community and physicians are becoming aware of the real public health hazards of cell towers, cell phones and all wireless devices, environmentalists have been much slower to acknowledge the effects of wireless infrastructure on wildlife, ecosystems and agriculture. The new review article by Levitt, Lai and Manville prods environmentalists to educate themselves and become involved in protecting natural ecosystems beyond considerations of habitat, pesticides and industrial pollutants. Wireless radiofrequency radiation (RFR) is a pollutant that has silently crept into our lives in the telecommunication industry’s push to transform our world to a fully technological society where we are constantly connected to each other and the objects that surround us, not looking up to recognize the slow decline of the natural environment and human disconnection that follows this rise in technology.

The Global 5G and “Smart Grid” Network Are A Planetary Risk

Without research, monitoring or public knowledge of RF levels, cell towers are rapidly proliferating in rural and sensitive wild areas, in space, in our communities and on our roadways with vast networks of “Smart Grid” and 5G systems blanketing the airspace environment. Current law protects industry over public health and planetary concerns of burgeoning radiofrequency radiation. In Effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields on flora and fauna, Part 1 the authors state, “We have yet to take into consideration the unique physiologies of other species, or how they use the environment in ways that humans do not, when we assume that the unfettered use of EMF/RFR can continue unabated and be allowed to grow indefinitely.”

Safety, Science and Solutions: Part 1,2,3

The in-depth review article by Levitt et al. is written in 3 parts, with Part 1 questioning the safety of wireless technologies and 5G, Part 2 looking at animal studies and magnetoreception mechanisms and Part 3 examining exposure standards, laws and proposals to address this issue to protect the natural environment. “Wildlife loss is often unseen and undocumented until tipping points are reached. Long-term chronic low-level EMF exposure standards, which do not now exist, should be set accordingly for wildlife, and environmental laws should be strictly enforced.” (Levitt 2021) Part 2, Effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields on flora and fauna, Part 2 impacts: how species interact with natural and man-made EMF has just been published and Part 3 is awaiting publication.

New Hampshire Report on 5G

The first Commission formed in the United States to study the environmental and health effects of 5G technology released their comprehensive final report November 1, 2020. The Commission to Study the Environmental and Health Effects of Evolving 5G Technology met a dozen times over the course of a year and developed 15 recommendations addressing the need for public education about wireless hazards, RF health studies, RF measurements, cell antenna setbacks, fiberoptic rather than wireless deployment, commercial warning signs and wildlife protection. RECOMMENDATION 14– The State of New Hampshire should engage agencies with appropriate scientific expertise, including ecological knowledge, to develop RF-radiation safety limits that will protect the trees, plants, birds, insects, and pollinators.

Animals Avoid Areas with Cell Coverage

Macedo (2018) found cellphone coverage is a very efficient indicator of human presence at global scale and that where there is cell phone coverage the probability of finding an animal is low (18%), and for threatened species even lower (4%). This is consistent the authors state,”even in forested areas were no other footprint evidence is easily detectable.” A Scientific American blog stated “their study reveals that many sites which the Human Footprint Index ranks as “roadless” and therefore hospitable to wildlife actually have high levels of cell coverage, indicating they’re more degraded than the index alone would reveal.

UNESCO World Heritage Wildlife Area Species Disappearing After Cell Towers Appeared

An abundance of peer reviewed literature demonstrates adverse impacts to the environment with declines in insect, bird and wildlife populations in cities and where cell towers are placed. This spells disaster for biodiversity, fragile wildlife areas, critical pollinators and agriculture, especially with additive effects of pesticides, toxins, loss of habitat and a warming planet. An ethno-botonist’s Report on Unesco’s Mt. Nardia World Heritage Park carefully documents this slow decline in populations of species a with the rise in placement of multiple cell towers, and with no other land disturbance over a 15 year period (2000-2015). In a personal communication from Greece, avid birders have also noted the steep decline and absence of migratory species that they have enthusiastically followed year after year and now are gone.

MOEF Report on Wildlife

The Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) of expert scientists in India reviewed the literature of the effects of RF-EMF radiations on wildlife, humans and the biosphere. In their 2010 MOEF Report they found that out of the 919 research papers collected on birds, bees, plants, animals, and humans, 593 showed impacts, 180 showed no impacts, and 196 were inconclusive studies. All organisms had effects.

Human Effects– 62% showed effects, 13% no effect and 25% inconclusive

Plant Effects–87% showed effects and 13% were inconclusive

Wildlife Effects– 62% showed effects, 4% no effect and 36% inconclusive

Bee Effects—85% showed effects and 15% no effect

Bird Effects– 77% showed effects, 10% no effect and 13% inconclusive

Broad Harm to Mammals, Birds, Insects, Trees, Plants and Bacteria

The broad disruption of this manmade artificial RF radiation towards all living organisms is not just from the direct effects of RFR emissions on complex biological systems, but also includes indirect impacts of this wireless technology on our unchecked carbon footprint, toxic e-waste and mining of earth minerals. Living species are in trees, fly through the air, and live and breed in or near water, all of which are vulnerable to nearby cell tower radiation exposures, military operations, and the billionaires space race.


Oscillation of Ions

Panagopoulos (2013) notes that artificial RF from wireless devices and infrastructure is polarized, pulsed and jumbled with different frequencies that are very different than natural background RF and cause external oscillating forces which cause a forced vibration of free ions and membrane disturbance of calcium channels. Animals are exquisitely sensitive to low levels of electromagnetic radiation which can explain how they sense earthquakes long before humans (Panogopoulos 2020).


Yakymenko (2016) looked at 100 peer-reviewed studies on oxidative effects of low-intensity microwave radio frequencies that cause cellular disruption and oxidative harm to DNA, lipids and membranes. He found that 93 of the 100 studies confirmed that these wireless radio frequencies induced oxidative stress in biological systems that overwhelm the body’s ability to neutralize them. Dr. Henry Lai, in the BioInitiative Report, has added even more studies on free radical formation and oxidation from EMR. Of 263studies examined, 235 (or 89%) showed bio effects and 28 (or 11%) did not show bioeffects. The literature also confirms that antioxidants block the cellular harm from RF radiation.

Resonance Effects

Thielens (2018) researched small millimeter wavelengths now used in 5G or 5th generation communication technology (5GHz-300GHz ). These wavelengths are quite small and the size of insects. He looked at vibrational resonance energy absorption on bees and beetles causing changes in behavior, physiology, morphology and mortality. Thielens notes, “All insects showed a general increase in absorbed RF power at and above 6 GHz, in comparison to the absorbed RF power below 6 GHz.” These additive vibrational effects are similar to that of an opera star shattering a wine glass with their voice.

By hitting the right frequency and vibration, and depending on the objects size, shape and composition, opera stars and other singers can shatter a wine glass via a physical phenomenon known as a resonance effect. These vibrational forces are additive and eventually when large enough eventually shatter the object. A similar example is the 40 mile per hour winds that set up just the right mechanical vibrational forces to destroy the Tacoma Bridge in 1940. Planetary scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson explains as well. Tiny 5G millimeter wavelengths can act similarly on insects.

Radical Spin Mechanism, Bird Geomagnetic Navigation and Our Sixth Sense

The first real time observations of biological magnetoreception of live cells were seen at the University of Tokyo and published this year. A weak magnetic field equivalent to a refrigerator magnet was passed over cells causing changes in fluorescence which indicated a biochemical effect of the magnet. The experiment demonstrated what is called electron radical pair reaction, which is the hypothesis for how magnetoreceptor cryptochromes work in birds. This critical discovery helps to explain how birds, bees, marine animals and insects use the Earth’s weak geomagnetic force to navigate, and how weak electromagnetic fields from wireless devices can affect human health as well. Co-author Woodward remarked, “We think we have extremely strong evidence that we’ve observed a purely quantum mechanical process affecting chemical activity at the cellular level.” Scientists at the California Institute of Technology found evidence that humans also have magnetoreception ability. Could this be our sixth sense?

Unique 5G Mechanism of Harm- Brillouin’s Precursors

5G millimeter wavelengths have more complex penetration characteristics and interactions with biological systems. These have never been found in nature. 5G uses a phased array with multiple antennas rapidly layering pulses one on top of the other and not allowing any recovery. Beam steering technology is also used and allows for focused narrow beams that are higher power, travel longer distances and penetrate through buildings.

5G utilizes tiny millimeter waves that have been reported to only penetrate the outer layers of skin. On the surface this seems safer than longer wavelengths that pass through our bodies, however, our entire nervous system communicates via the skin. The nervous system communicates with the immune system, the endocrine system and the reproductive system in a complex array. Studies demonstrate that when millimeter wave energy rapidly enters the skin, a wave front can be created that does not dissipate but propagates from cell to cell. Bursts of energy produce what are known as Sommerfield and Brillouin’s precursors that can cause non-linear perturbations in living systems. 5G broadband produces more of these than 5G alone.

A body of older research confirms broad injury from exposure to millimeter wavelengths. Declassified Russian research from Zalyubovskaya et al in 1977 showed that exposure to low level millimeter wavelengths caused broad structural alterations in skin and internal organs. They concluded that millimeter wavelengths were highly biologically active and had an unfavorable effect on the organism. Pakhomov (1998) reviewed the literature and found similar systemic effects.

Bye Bye Birds and Bees

Storks and Amphibians

Balmori A. (2005, 2008, 2009) has studied the effects of RF radiation from cell towers and found reproductive failure in white storks if nests were closer than 200 feet. He has also found declines in house sparrows over time, plumage deterioration, locomotion problems and lowered immune systems which can make birds more vulnerable to infections. He notes studies showing developmental abnormalities in chicken embryos exposed to pulsed RFR, especially in early development. He also studied the effects of phone masts on amphibians revealing tadpoles to have a high mortality, slower and asynchronous growth (Balmori 2008)


Engles et al (2014) notes that birds contain magnetite which orients them to the Earth’s magnetic field. He exposed migratory European robins to background electromagnetic noise present in unscreened wooden huts at the University of Oldenburg city campus in Germany and found they could not orient using their magnetic compass. If grounded their orientation reappeared but disappeared again if broadband radiofrequencies were generated inside the huts. He did not believe the effects at first and performed the same double-blinded study many times in 7 years and with different graduate students to confirm the effect before publishing his findings.

In 1998, soon after cell towers were installed in Pennsylvania, pigeon races ended in disaster as up to 90% of birds were disoriented and lost their navigational skills. When Homing Pigeons Don’t Go Home Again NY Times. Dec 6, 1998.

Bees and Insects

Sharma et al (2010) looked at bee behavior placing a cell phone near a hive. They found worker bees returned less and less frequently to the beehive after the installation of a mobile phone. There was a significant decline in colony strength and the rate of queen egg laying. Favre et al (2017) clearly demonstrated that bee behavior is disrupted by exposure to cell phone GSM radiofrequency radiation and caused worker bees to emit a piping signal to swarm. Bees have also demonstrated aggression after 30 minutes of cell phone exposure. Liang demonstrated magnetoreceptors in the abdomen of bees. Cammaerts (2017) has done a number of studies on cell phone radiation and found that insects, particularly ants, are extremely sensitive to radiofrequency radiation (RFR). Cammaerts (2017), observes that the sharp decline of bees (colony collapse disorder) did not start with the use of insecticides but much later and removal of pesticides has not been accompanied by the expected rise in bee populations. This is a worrisome trend with the increasing loss of biodiversity of which insects are the base.

Wan (2020) notes that small changes in the earths geomagnetic force can affect insects which migrate.

Yanagawa (2020) studied non-chemical methods of pest control using 2.45 GHz microwave irradiation, the same frequency as you cell phone and Wi Fi, and found non-thermal lethal effects.


Waldmann-Selsam (2016) looked at the connection between unusual (generally unilateral) tree damage and radiofrequency exposure over 9 years in 2 cities in Germany. The researchers found significant differences between the damaged side facing a phone mast and the opposite side, as well as differences between the exposed side of damaged trees and all other groups of trees in both sides. Of the 30 trees in low EMF environment there was no damage.


A Review article by Halgamuge (2017) notes “data from a substantial amount of the studies on RF-EMFs from mobile phones show physiological and/or morphological effects”on plants. His research found “maize, roselle, pea, fenugreek, duckweeds, tomato, onions and mungbean plants seem to be very sensitive to RF-EMFs.” This would make sense as plant cells evolved to communicate via tiny electromagnetic forces.

Quershi et al (2017) exposed dry chickpea seeds to cellphone radiation in the 900MHz and 3.31GHZ frequencies with untreated seeds as a control. The researchers found the non-ionizing non- thermal radiofrequency radiation induced genotoxic effects on chickpea root tip cells when grown.


Said Salman (2019) examined Wi Fi effects on antibiotic susceptibility and biofilm production in bacteria and foundincreased antibiotic resistance in E Coli, as well as increased biofilm production in Staph aureus, Staph Epidermidis and E Col when exposed to 2.4 GHz Wi Fi.

Sharma (2018),concerned with growing problem of antibiotic resistance, examined soil samples near and far from cell towers and identified increased levels of antibiotic resistance.

Taheri (2017) found that cultures ofEscherichia coliexposed to RF emissions from a GSM 900 MHz mobile phone simulator and a common 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi router caused reduces susceptibility to antibiotics with increased exposure times. Antibiotic resistance in the medical community is considered one of the biggest health challenges of our time.

The Ionosphere and Space

The authors highlight the emergence of “New Space” with the rapid deployment of 5G and other large satellites from Elon Musk’s Space X Starlink (42,000 planned) to Jeff Bezos and Amazon’s Project Kuiper (3,236 planned ) to Bill Gates Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment (SCoPEx) project, and many others, which will emit increasing RF radiation that reaches all corners of the earth and sky from low Earth orbit. The FCC has already opened 57-64GHZ to be unlicensed spectrum where commercial IOT products will flourish communicating through space to turn your toaster off while you are sitting comfortably in your armchair.

The Earth has been orbited by about 2,000 + satellites for decades in “Old Space”, where NASA took us to the moon, educated us about space and the space industry did not belong to private interests. In 2016 that changed with the introduction of venture capitalists and start-ups partnering with NASA, a public trust that built the space program from the ground up, to privatize space.

This new commercialization of space with a goal to provide private global internet, as well as to mine valuable consumer data that is profitable to telecom and the “New Space” Industry, will increase the intensity of emissions and energy use significantly without environmental review. The US EPA department that studied non-ionizing radiation was defunded in 1995. Space has no international review process but does have Space Law Treaties whose goals are to “deal with issues such as the non-appropriation of outer space by any one country, arms control, the freedom of exploration, liability for damage caused by space objects, the safety and rescue of spacecraft and astronauts, the prevention of harmful interference with space activities and the environment, the notification and registration of space activities, scientific investigation and the exploitation of natural resources in outer space and the settlement of disputes.”

5G in Space

5G impacts on the ionosphere are particularly concerning as their waveforms may cause unknown atmospheric perturbation in different layers with telecommunications RF radiation traveling back and forth from satellites to Earth. “These ionization layers called sporadic E layers have significant effects on the dynamics and stability of the local plasma on magnetic flux lines that pass through them and produce a feedback to the neutral and plasma dynamics that is poorly described due to the lack of information about the spatial extent and dynamics of these layers.” (Heelis 2020) The effects of this massive increase in RFR on this complex ionosphere need to be addressed. There are also other concerns including cybersecurity of electrical grids in New Space and unchecked surveillance.

The International Astronomers Appeal has been signed by 2,043 astronomers to date to safeguard the night sk. They state, “Astronomers are extremely concerned by the possibility that Earth may be blanketed by tens of thousands of satellites, which will greatly outnumber the approximately 9,000 stars that are visible to the unaided human eye.”

A 5G Space Appeal has also been launched, arguing that there will be unprecedented global environmental change. The Space Appeal notes, “If the telecommunications industry’s plans for 5G come to fruition, no person, no animal, no bird, no insect and no plant on Earth will be able to avoid exposure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to levels of RF radiation that are tens to hundreds of times greater than what exists today, without any possibility of escape anywhere on the planet.”

It Is Time

Human existence and the future of our children depends on protecting the fragile web of biodiverse organisms, each contributing essential resources to the living community on Earth. Environmentalist have worked tirelessly and heroically to reduce chemical toxins, air pollution, and nuclear radiation among many other hazards and protect complex ecosystems against industry manipulation and profits. 255 EMF scientists who work in the field have appealed to the UN for greater health protections from EMF and another group of scientists have called for a 5G Moratorium. Environmental groups who have not yet understood the critical impacts on wildlife from the rapid deployment of wireless radiation in land and in space will hopefully find Levitt, Lai and Manville’s article useful. Perhaps this well-written, thorough publication will provide the scientific information necessary to move forward.

As Banaras and Carpenter (2018) pointed out, “It is time” now to address another emerging planetary toxin that is proliferating at warp speed in land and in space… wireless technology, which may prove to be a more immediate existential threat than climate change. Yes, it is time.

MOEF Recommendations for Wildlife Protection from Radiofrequency Radiation


  1. EMF should be recognized as a pollutants/ regular auditing of EMF should be conducted in urban localities/ educational/ hospital/ industrial/ residential/ recreational premises and around the protected areas and ecologically sensitive areas.
  2. Introduce a law for protection of urban flora and fauna from emerging threats like ERM/EMF as conservation issues in urban areas are different from forested or wildlife habitats.
  3. Bold signs and messages on the dangers of Cell phone tower and radiation which is emitted from it are displayed in and around the structures where the towers are erected. Use visual daytime markers in areas of high diurnal raptor or waterfowl movements.
  4. To avoid bird hits, security lighting for on-ground facilities should be minimized and point downwards or be down-shielded.
  5. Independent monitoring of radiation levels and overall health of the community and nature surrounding towers is necessary to identify hazards early. Access to tower sites should be allowed for monitoring radiation levels and animal mortality, if any.
  6. Procedure for removal of existing problematic mobile towers should be made easy, particularly in and around protected area or urban parks and centers having wildlife .
  7. Strictly control installation of mobile towers near wildlife protected areas, Important Bird Areas, Ramsar Sites, turtle breeding areas, bee colonies, zoos, etc up to a certain distance that should be studied before deciding and should also be practical. Ecological assessment / review of sites identified for installing towers before their installation also may be considered in wildlife / ecologically / conservational important areas.
  8. The locations of Cell phone towers and other EMF radiating towers along with their frequencies should be made available on public domain. This can be at city/ district/ village level. Location wise GIS mapping of all cell phone towers be done by DoT. This information will help in monitoring the population of birds and bees in and around the mobile towers and also in and/or around wildlife protected areas.
  9. Public consultation to be made mandatory before installation of cell phones towers in any area. The Forest Department should be consulted before installation of cell phone towers in and around PAs and zoos. The distance at which these towers should be installed should be studied case by case basis.
  10. Awareness drive with high level of visibility in all forms of media and regional languages should be undertaken by the Government to make people aware about various norms in regard to cell phone towers and dangers from EMR. Such notices should be placed in all wildlife protected areas and in zoos.
  11. To prevent overlapping high radiations fields, new towers should not be permitted within a radius of one kilometer of existing towers.
  12. If new towers must be built, construct them to be above 80 ft and below 199 ft. tall to avoid the requirement for aviation safety lighting. Construct un-guyed towers with platforms that will accommodate possible future co-locations and build them at existing ‘antenna farms’, away from areas of high migratory bird traffic, wetlands and other known bird areas.

See Also

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Source – Physicians for Safe TechnologyWildlife and Biodiversity: A Disappearing Act by Cell Towers on Land and in Space?