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Indian J Biochem Biophys. 1999 Oct;36(5):318-22.

In vitro effects of low-level, low-frequency electromagnetic fields on DNA damage in human leucocytes by comet assay.

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  • 1Genetics Unit, Bhagwan Mahavir Medical Research Centre, Hyderabad.


The sources for the effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) have been traced to time-varying as well as steady electric and magnetic fields, both at low and high to ultra high frequencies. Of these, the effects of low-frequency (50/60 HZ) magnetic fields, directly related to time-varying currents, are of particular interest as exposure to some fields may be commonly experienced. In the present study, investigations have been carried out at low-level (mT) and low-frequency (50 Hz) electromagnetic fields in healthy human volunteers. Their peripheral blood samples were exposed to 5 doses of electromagnetic fields (2,3,5,7 and 10mT at 50 Hz) and analysed by comet assay. The results were compared to those obtained from unexposed samples from the same subjects. 50 cells per treatment per individual were scored for comet-tail length which is an estimate of DNA damage. Data from observations among males were pooled for each flux density for analysis. At each flux density, with one exception, there was a significant increase in the DNA damage from the control value. When compared with a similar study on females carried out by us earlier, the DNA damage level was significantly higher in the females as compared to the males for each flux density.

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