New Paper Reiterates Risks from Radio Tagging Wildlife to Track Them, Health Risks from Microchipping Pets

By B.N. Frank

Research has already determined that exposure to Electromagnetic Fields (EMF) including from RadioFrequency (aka wireless) radiation emitting sources is harmful.  Of course, animals are affected by exposure too.  Although attaching or implanting tracking devices in wildlife and domestic pets has become popular and normalized, experts insist there are risks associated with doing this.

From Environmental Health Trust:

New Paper on Wildlife, Wireless Radiation and Radio Telemetry and Radiotracking

The journal Frontiers in Veterinary Science published the article,  “Health and environmental effects to wildlife from radio telemetry and tracking devices—state of the science and best management practices” by Albert M. Manville IIB. Blake Levitt and Henry C. Lai.

The abstract states:

This paper discusses the potential health risks and benefits to tagged wildlife from the use of radio tracking, radio telemetry, and related microchip and data-logger technologies used to study, monitor and track mostly wildlife in their native habitats. Domestic pets, especially canids, are briefly discussed as radio-tagging devices are also used on/in them. Radio tracking uses very high frequency (VHF), ultra-high frequency (UHF), and global positioning system (GPS) technologies, including via satellites where platform terminal transmitters (PTTs) are used, as well as geo-locating capabilities using satellites, radio-frequency identification (RFID) chips, and passive integrated responder (PIT) tags, among others. Such tracking technologies have resulted in cutting-edge findings worldwide that have served to protect and better understand the behaviors of myriad wildlife species. As a result, scientists, field researchers, technicians, fish and wildlife biologists and managers, plus wildlife and other veterinarian specialists, frequently opt for its use without fully understanding the ramifications to target species and their behaviors. These include negative physiological effects from electromagnetic fields (EMF) to which many nonhuman species are exquisitely sensitive, as well as direct placement/use-attachment impacts from radio collars, transmitters, and implants themselves. This paper provides pertinent studies, suggests best management practices, and compares technologies currently available to those considering and/or using such technologies. The primary focus is on the health and environmental risk/benefit decisions that should come into play, including ethical considerations, along with recommendations for more caution in the wildlife and veterinarian communities before such technologies are used in the first place.

The paper is open access and downloadable from this link.
“This state of the science review comes at a pivotal time as awareness is growing in the scientific community regarding the urgent need to enact measures to mitigate RF radiation exposure to wildlife. Animals are unprotected by current laws that are focused only on humans,”  stated Theodora Scarato of Environmental Health Trust, a scientific think tank that developed a new science based website Wildlife And Wireless. The site has science and factsheets on wildlife, the environment and wireless radiation.

Excerpts from the paper:

“Given nonhuman species’ unique physiology and sensitive magnetoreception abilities—as evidenced by their evolutionary reliance on the Earth’s geomagnetic fields for a majority of their life-activities, including, for example, migration, mating, and food-finding—both natural and manmade EMFs can be highly biologically active exposures with the ability to affect nonhuman species at vanishingly low intensity levels (36). The radiation emitted from many—though not all—tagging-devices is relatively low. But since they are placed in extremely close proximity to body tissues with relatively high local tissue energy absorption, they can cause biological effects. It is quite possible that we are missing critical physiological effects across whole suites of wildlife species, as well as pets and other domestic animals, based on obsolete assumptions that low-level EMFs are simply too weak to adversely affect living tissues…”

Previous papers on the issue include:

Citation: Manville AM II, Levitt BB and Lai HC (2024) Health and environmental effects to wildlife from radio telemetry and tracking devices—state of the science and best management practices. Front. Vet. Sci. 11:1283709. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2024.1283709

Activist Post reports regularly about unsafe technologies.  For more information, visit our archives.

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