Cell phones and electronic appliances and devices are inseparable from most people in modern society and the electromagnetic field (EMF) from the devices is a potential health threat. Although the direct health effect of a cell phone and its radiofrequency (RF) EMF to human is still elusive, the effect to unicellular organisms is rather apparent. Human microbiota, including skin microbiota, has been linked to a very significant role in the health of a host human body. It is important to understand the response of human skin microbiota to the RF-EMF from cell phones and personal electronic devices, since this may be one of the potential mechanisms of a human health threat brought about by the disruption of the intimate and balanced host-microbiota relationship. Here, we investigated the response of both laboratory culture strains and isolates of skin bacteria under static magnetic field (SMF) and RF-EMF. The growth patterns of laboratory cultures of Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Staphylococcus epidermidis under SMF were variable per different species. The bacterial isolates of skin microbiota from 4 subjects with different cell phone usage history also showed inconsistent growth responses. These findings led us to hypothesize that cell phone level RF-EMF disrupts human skin microbiota. Thus, the results from the current study lay ground for more comprehensive research on the effect of RF-EMF on human health through the human-microbiota relationship.
Keywords: RF-EMF; SMF; bacterial growth; cell phone; skin microbiota.