ELF noise fields: a review

Electromagn Biol Med. 2010 Aug;29(3):72-97. doi: 10.3109/15368378.2010.482487.


The debate as to whether low-level electromagnetic fields can affect biological systems and in the long term cause health effects has been going on for a long time. Yet the interaction of weak electromagnetic fields (EMF) with living cells, undoubtedly a most important phenomenon, is still not well understood. The exact mechanisms by which the effects are produced have not been identified. Furthermore, it is not possible to clearly define which aspects of an EMF exposure that constitute the "dose." One of the groups that contributed to solving this problem is the Bioelectromagnetics group at Catholic University of America (CUA), Washington, D.C. Their work has been devoted to investigating the physical parameters that are needed to obtain an effect of EMF exposure on biological systems, and also how to inhibit the effect. This is a review of their work on bioeffects caused by low-level EMF, their dependence on coherence time, constancy, spatial averaging, and also how the effects can be modified by an applied ELF noise magnetic field. The group has been using early chick embryos, and L929 and Daudi cells as their main experimental systems. The review also covers the work of other groups on low-level effects and the inhibition of the effects with an applied noise field. The group at CUA has shown that biological effects can be found after exposure to low-level ELF and RF electromagnetic fields, and when effects are observed, applying an ELF magnetic noise field inhibits the effects. Also, other research groups have tried to replicate the studies from the CUA group, or to apply EMF noise to suppress EMF-induced effects. Replications of the CUA effects have not always been successful. However, in all cases where the noise field has been applied to prevent an observed effect, it has been successful in eliminating the effect.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Microwaves / adverse effects
  • Ornithine Decarboxylase / metabolism
  • Radiation Protection


  • Ornithine Decarboxylase