Debunking Martin L. Pall’s “bad science 2021”; part 2/3

Few days ago, on May 26th, 2021, Martin L. Pall has published review article: ‘Millimeter (MM) wave and microwave frequency radiation produce deeply penetrating effects: the biology and the physics

This is part 2/3 of the critical comments. In part 1/3 were presented opinions of Quirino Balzano and Kenneth Foster. Here is presented opinion of another very prominent EHS researcher. However, he preferred to remain anonymous.


Anonymous EMF researcher wrote:

It is important to be clear that the strict definition for Millimetre Waves (MMWs) is a frequency range from 30 to 300 GHz. This range has been used for a variety of technologies for over 50 years, including radars, satellite communication, medical therapy and so on.

The dielectric properties of biological materials are well-researched and data are available in the research literature as well as on-line. For example, experimental data from Ziskin’s lab has provided values of both magnetic permeability m and dielectric constant (both real and imaginary part, epsilon’ and epsilon”) for a large proportion of this range.

There is a statement on p. 2 of Pall’s review that states:

  • “…However, as also discussed in ref. [2], the magnetic field penetration is determined by the magnetic field permeability which in essentially all biological tissues is very high, producing very high magnetic field penetration…”

However, this is incorrect. All biological materials (except for biogenic magnetite crystals) has a relative magnetic permeability (µr) of 1 (i.e. an absolute value µ0 of 4π x 10-7). Absorption in materials in general (and biological materials in particular) is governed by the absorption coefficient α, which is given is most standard texts (see for example, Sadiku, Elements of Electromagnetics, OUP). This quantity is determined both by both m and e and this and the reflection coefficient allows the ratio of magnetic to electric field to be estimated. There is no basis to the assertion that magnetic (H) fields penetrate any further than electric (E) fields. In any case, if the value of µr were greater than 1, the value of α would be larger (since α √m  and the penetration depth (which is given as 1/α) would be smaller.

Pall also states:

  • “…Because the dielectric constant of intracellular and extracellular biological aqueous phases is estimated to be about 120 [12], such differential absorption is relevant to the issue of biological effects…”

Although it is true that both the real and imaginary part of dielectric constant (er’ and er”) become quite large at frequencies below 1 MHz, for a wide variety of biological tissue types, in the MMW range the values are between 1 and 22 (at 30 GHz) and even less for higher frequencies. Note that the imaginary part relates to the electrical conductivity of the tissue, which in the case of bone and fat is small, and for blood and other electrolyte-rich tissues is larger. The argument that the voltage sensor is particularly sensitive cannot be sustained, because it assumes that the sensor moves in synchrony with the applied field, which is clearly is unable to do (molecular sub-groups forming ‘voltage gates’ cease to respond to frequencies higher than a few kHz and there is no clear mechanism of demodulation of low frequency components of MMWs. In any case, the low frequency components, if they were demodulated, would represent a small proportion of the incident power density.

The coherent nature of artificial MMW is highlighted as a reason that it could be more biologically active (perhaps because of theoretical work by Frohlich, which was never substantiated). However, the same is true of RF transmissions in general at lower frequencies, including radio and TV broadcasting. It is not true that ‘coherent EMFs generate much stronger .. forces’. It could be argued that the incoherent RF form lightning strikes (which induce RF fields of up to several V/m) are more significant than fields due to artificial sources.

Pall states:

  • “…There has been no biological safety testing of highly pulsed 5G radiation…”

5G is not ‘highly pulsed’. The beam may be steered with novel modulation techniques, but it is far less pulsed than GSM signals are (217 Hz, 1/8 duty cycle). As previously mentioned there have been many studies on biological effects of similar frequencies used for 5G (maybe a bit higher – the 40 – 60 GHz band for therapeutic applications, which Pall in fact refers to on p.3).

Regarding human neuropsychological experiments, whilst it is true that there have been few or no studies at MMW frequencies, there have been many at lower frequencies, extending up to 1.8 GHz and possibly higher.

As stated in the current ICNIRP guidelines:

“…In summary, there is no substantiated experimental or epidemiological evidence that exposure to radiofrequency EMFs affects higher cognitive functions relevant to health…”

Although it is true that many aspects of MMW interactions with biological material deserve further investigation it is not true to suggest that this area is unresearched. It is somewhat grasping at straws to make a spurious argument that H fields are somehow more penetrating and that ion channel gating proteins are particularly susceptible. Once the ‘house of cards’ loses some of the lower-placed cards, the whole comes tumbling down.

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