Radiofrequency Fields and Calcium Movements Into and Out of Cells

Radiat Res. 2021 Jan 1;195(1):101-113. doi: 10.1667/RADE-20-00101.1.


The recent rollout of 5G telecommunications systems has spawned a renewed call to re-examine the possibility of so-called "non-thermal" harmful effects of radiofrequency (RF) radiation. The possibility of calcium being affected by low-level RF has been the subject of research for nearly 50 years and there have been recent suggestions that voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCCs) are "extraordinarily sensitive" to ambient RF fields. This article examines the feasibility of particularly modulated RF coupling to gating mechanisms in VGCCs and also reviews studies from the literature from the last 50 years for consistency of outcome. We conclude that the currents induced by fields at the ICNIRP guideline limits are many orders of magnitude below those needed to affect gating, and there would need to be a biological mechanism for detection and rectification of the extremely-low-frequency (ELF) modulations, which has not been demonstrated. Overall, experimental studies have not validated that RF affects Ca2+ transport into or out of cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calcium Channels / genetics
  • Calcium Channels / radiation effects
  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Radio Waves / adverse effects*


  • Calcium Channels
  • Calcium