Possible Deleterious Effects of Physiologically Significant Radiation Pressure Exposures

Robert C. Kane, Ph.D.

The Associated Bioelectromagnetics Technologists, P.O. BOX 133, Blanchardville, WI, 53516-0133, USA

Summary Portable communication devices that have become globally utilized during the past decade are principally electromagnetic field emitters: that is, photon emitters. Although commonly neglected for consideration, due to its inconsequential magnitude for most circumstances, the radiation pressure associated with some of these portable communication devices provides forces on the order of magnitude of piconewtons, which is identically the magnitude of force that has been demonstrated to deform and initiate dissociation (melting) of the DNA molecule. No similar comparison of radiation pressure experienced from our sun may be made due to the spectral content of solar radiation which reaches a maximum in the visible light region of the electromagnetic spectrum and diminishes rapidly with increasing wavelength. However, portable hand-held radiating devices, virtually unknown prior to the 1990s, motivate us to make a calculated scrutiny of a force, radiation pressure, previously held to be of no consequence to life on earth.

We propose that the presence of such an anisotropic exogenous force may modify the otherwise unimpeded propagation of DNA repair enzymes and proteins and may deleteriously influence temporally sensitive DNA repair mechanisms. Consequently, unmitigated DNA base-bond damage may become “fixed” within the molecule during a subsequent molecular replication process and possibly lead to mutagenic transformation and neoplastic disease.

Robert C. Kane, Ph.D. FAX: 608 523-6500; E-mail: rkane@tds.net http://www.emfbioeffects.org

Key words: radiation pressure; repair enzyme, protein, radiofrequency radiation; RF; microwave; DNA; mutagenic.


The double helix DNA macromolecule is subject to continual attack and damage from reactive species, principally free-radical ions, within each cell by virtue of its very existence within the human body, a biologically dynamic medium. Each DNA molecule in the body is subject to many thousands of damage inducing events daily: approximately once every few seconds on average. In order to cope with this onslaught, a complex complement of repair mechanisms, primarily comprised of proteins and enzymes, has developed to effectively stabilize the DNA molecule and neutralize an inherent tendency toward genomic dissociation.

The DNA repair enzyme/protein acquires energy by dissociating from the DNA backbone and, subsequently, translocating along the DNA backbone to propagate to a defect site and thence catalyze a base-bond repair or initiate an excision repair of a damaged DNA segment. A repair enzyme/protein carries this process forward primarily via chemical energy exchange, in addition to interaction with electrostatic forces, endogenous photons, and phonons.

It is noted that in order for a repair process to be carried to completion it is a necessary prerequisite that a participating protein/enzyme must first satisfy certain conformational configuration requirements, with respect to the DNA molecule, at the location where the prospective repair is to be effected. If of sufficient magnitude and duration, an exogenous force exerted on the DNA molecule or protein/enzyme may result in an incompatible dimensional change in the molecule, or molecules, on which the force is imposed. Researchers have observed experimentally, by means of atomic force microscopy, that an exogenously imposed force of less than ten piconewtons produces observable DNA stretching while a force of about 65 piconewtons is sufficient to provide an approximately 60 to 70 % stretching of the DNA molecule and initiate bond dissociation. ( , , )

Time-varying/pulse-modulated electromagnetic fields, such as those induced through operation of some hand-held portable energy radiating devices, impose, seemingly, spatially stationary electric and magnetic field forces on repair enzymes and proteins. If, concomitant with or preceding the application of a radiofrequency electromagnetic field, a DNA damaging event (bond-dissociation) occurs, an applied electromagnetic field will induce electric, magnetic, and radiation forces subject to, inter alia, modulation parameters to be described below.

Macroscopically, the imposed forces and consequent accelerations are functions of pulse duration (typically microseconds to milliseconds), pulse repetition rate (typically hundreds to thousands of pulses per second), device configuration, and transmitter current. It is also particularly important to note that each energy-radiating device has associated therewith certain physical characteristics that govern the finite turn-on time, radiation settling time, and turn-off time of the transmitter; each of which may encompass a duration on the order of nanoseconds to microseconds: a time period that spans many thousands of cycles for a device such as a 2450 MHz transmitter. Such temporal characteristics are necessarily non-sinusoidal, rich in harmonic frequency content, and, therefore, asymmetric.

Researchers have also reported that intra-base charge transport effecting base-bond repair may occur over a time interval on the order of picoseconds, which corresponds to approximately 0.01 cycles of a 2450 MHz field: effectively providing invariant, or stationary, electric and magnetic field forces over the time interval.

Although a DNA repair process, itself, may proceed over a time interval of pico-seconds to nanoseconds, we do not suggest that repair proteins/enzymes can translocate along thousands or tens of thousands of bases over such a short time-span. Typically, translocation over such a distance, (tens of thousands of DNA bases), may take place over a time interval on the order of seconds. ( ) A repair protein/enzyme may propagate along the DNA backbone to sample thousands or tens of thousands of base sites in order to reach a suitable substrate at the location of a defect toward which it is propelled.( )

Generally, energy provided by endogenous photon and phonon interactions in concert with intramolecular DNA mechanisms, such as chemical reaction exchanges, may be considered as possessing a spatially random velocity, while the orientation of an exogenously imposed force of an electromagnetic field is locally, nanoscopically, determined by the configuration and physical disposition of each DNA molecule at interest, or segment thereof.

Researchers have previously reported that human cells, non-human living primates, laboratory animals, and cell cultures exposed to an electromagnetic force results in a quantified increase in observed non-repaired DNA damage, possibly related to defect repair inhibition or an increased incidence of damaging events. However, heretofore no mechanism has been proposed to adequately explain the observed effects when and where such effects have not been anticipated by virtue of the magnitude, duration, or type of exposure. ( , , , , , , )


Presently, portable hand-held transceiver devices, in use worldwide, generate, within the human body, electric field forces, FE, on the order of tens to hundreds of femtonewtons. Concurrently, such transceiver devices expose human operators to magnetic field forces, FM, on the order of piconewtons. However, at the frequencies of interest, generally the 800 MHz, 1700 MHz, and 2400 MHz bands, the temporal rate of change results in a complete reversal of the direction of these vector forces once per cycle, or approximately once per nano-second. The ultra-high frequency cyclic nature of the electric and magnetic forces results in a net force of zero, notwithstanding the appreciable instantaneous electric and magnetic forces.

Nonetheless, radiation pressure, associated with the photon energy emitted by an energy source, constitutes a radiation force, FRP, that does not reverse direction during each cycle as do the electric and magnetic forces. Therefore, a net force is imposed and quantified as the radiation pressure, which is a function of radiated power, incident energy density, and previously described parameters related to transmitter devices. ( , , , , )

dM/dT = FRP = (2 EI - EA) * A / C where M defines momentum, EA denotes absorbed energy per cubic meter, EI is the incident energy per square meter, A is the incident area, expressed as square meters, and C is the speed of light.

In the preceding it is necessary to note that in a dielectric medium of finite conductivity, such as human tissue, for example, brain tissue, the change in momentum, dM/dT, determines the radiation pressure, which occurs over an absorption volume as the penetrating energy becomes absorbed while traversing the medium. The absorption volume is characterized by intrinsic material properties, exogenous energy frequency, and constituent biological parameters such as conductivity, permittivity and multiple tissue layer thicknesses.

The volume force, FRPV exerted by the absorbed portion of the incident energy is of interest as is the absorption profile, or skin depth, which in our frequency range of interest is generally inversely related to frequency and penetrates to multiple cm depths.

For portable hand-held transceiver devices, such as those presently available, radiation pressure forces, FRPV, on the order of magnitude of piconewtons may be imposed in a human operator over a range of centimeters within the medium. This is a force magnitude similar to that which researchers have determined imposes physical deformation, stretching, of the DNA molecule and comparable to the forces of some DNA/protein interactions and, therefore, of possible physiological significance. ( ) For example, the protein, myosin, which contracts muscle fibers, generates but five piconewtons. We propose that the presence of such an anisotropic exogenous force may modify the otherwise unimpeded propagation of DNA repair enzymes and proteins and may deleteriously influence temporally sensitive DNA repair mechanisms. Consequently, unmitigated DNA base-bond damage may become “fixed” within the molecule during a subsequent molecular replication process and possibly lead to mutagenic transformation and neoplastic disease.


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