Microwave Electromagnetic Radiation and Autism
Child numbers with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and population exposure to microwave irradiation have risen in parallel. It was suggested that fetal/neonatal microwave exposure might predispose to later ASD development. The hypothesis has been evaluated through consideration of three aspects. First, plausibility was addressed through review of potential mechanisms: the presence of magnetite in human brain, with pulse modulation of microwave signals in a frequency band critical for synaptic plasticity, suggests that microwave radiation could interfere with brain development and function. Second, typical levels of domestic microwave exposure were compared against recorded effects of gestational exposure of experimental animals. The highest recurrent exposures are from mobile/cordless phone handsets and domestic base-stations (up to 20 microW/cm2) whereas continuous gestational exposure of rodents at 100 microW/cm2 was not reported to produce adverse behavioral changes. Third, the timing of the first rise in ASD was compared against that of the spread of domestic microwave devices. In the USA and other western countries, ASD diagnoses began to rise sharply in the early 1980s. Microwave ovens first reached western households in the early 1980s, becoming commonplace by the mid-1980s; uptake plateaued from 1990 while ASD rates have continued to rise. Mobile and cordless telephones were rare until c. 1995, a decade later than the rise in ASD.
Autism; Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD); electromagnetic; environment; microwave; radiation