ETAIN - Exposure to Electromagnetic FIelds and Planetary Health

The ongoing introduction of new telecommunication technologies (5G now, 6G next) comes with changes in exposure patterns and of biological interaction with humans and ecosystems. E.g., the coming mm-wave technology will lead to higher dose in human skin and eyes and higher absorption in small bodies, like insects. It is unclear if these changes are accompanied by adverse effects and what it means for current exposure limit regulation. ETAIN (Exposure To electromAgnetic fIelds and plaNetary health) aims to develop and validate approaches to assess the impact of existing and novel communication technology from a planetary health perspective, while exploring options for exposure reduction and interacting with the public and stakeholders about exposure levels and possible associated risks. Following a citizen science paradigm, we will develop an app able to quantify personal absorbed RF-EMF. The app data allows to calculate realistic personal and population dose distributions including RF-EMF maps; and it will ensure a communication strategy matching knowledge needs of citizens and stakeholders. Insights into own exposure and its major contributors will empower citizens to manage their RF-EMF exposure. Also, ETAIN will develop and validate network architecture approaches for an “ALARA by design” approach. ETAIN will elucidate underlying mechanisms of biological effects in humans and the environment. We will focus on human skin and eyes as relevant biological targets of 5G and beyond, and a systems biology approach to evaluate possible effects. Additional efforts focus on insect biodiversity and fitness, especially pollinators at risk of peak exposures close to strong antennas, such as bees. From a planetary health perspective, RF-EMF effects on insects may also have indirect effects on human health and the economy (e.g. via pollination). ETAIN is expected to generate scientific evidence of RF-EMF exposure effects on human, ecosystem and planetary health, feeding into policies and current regulatory frameworks. Project ETAIN is part of the European cluster on EMFs and health.