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Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2003 Jul;76(6):431-6. Epub 2003 Jun 12.

Intermittent extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields cause DNA damage in a dose-dependent way.

Author information

  • 1Division of Occupational Medicine, University Hospital/AKH, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, 1090 Vienna, Austria. Sabine.Ivancsits@akh-wien.ac.at

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Epidemiological studies have reported an association between exposure to extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMFs) and increased risk of cancerous diseases, albeit without dose-effect relationships. The validity of such findings can be corroborated only by demonstration of dose-dependent DNA-damaging effects of ELF-EMFs in cells of human origin in vitro.

METHODS:

Cultured human diploid fibroblasts were exposed to intermittent ELF electromagnetic fields. DNA damage was determined by alkaline and neutral comet assay.

RESULTS:

ELF-EMF exposure (50 Hz, sinusoidal, 1-24 h, 20-1,000 mu T, 5 min on/10 min off) induced dose-dependent and time-dependent DNA single-strand and double-strand breaks. Effects occurred at a magnetic flux density as low as 35 mu T, being well below proposed International Commission of Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines. After termination of exposure the induced comet tail factors returned to normal within 9 h.

CONCLUSION:

The induced DNA damage is not based on thermal effects and arouses concern about environmental threshold limit values for ELF exposure.

PMID:
12802592
DOI:
10.1007/s00420-003-0446-5
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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