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Pathophysiology. 2009 Aug;16(2-3):149-56. doi: 10.1016/j.pathophys.2009.01.005. Epub 2009 Mar 10.

Long-term exposure to magnetic fields and the risks of Alzheimer's disease and breast cancer: Further biological research.

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1
Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, United States.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Extremely low frequency (ELF) and radio frequency (RF) magnetic fields (MFs) pervade our environment. Whether or not these magnetic fields are associated with increased risk of serious diseases, e.g., cancers and Alzheimer's disease, is thus important when developing a rational public policy. The Bioinitiative Report was an effort by internationally recognized scientists who have spent significant time investigating the biological consequences of exposures to these magnetic fields to address this question. Our objective was to provide an unbiased review of the current knowledge and to provide our general and specific conclusions.

RESULTS:

The evidence indicates that long-term significant occupational exposure to ELF MF may certainly increase the risk of both Alzheimer's disease and breast cancer. There is now evidence that two relevant biological processes (increased production of amyloid beta and decreased production of melatonin) are influenced by high long-term ELF MF exposure that may lead to Alzheimer's disease. There is further evidence that one of these biological processes (decreased melatonin production) may also lead to breast cancer. Finally, there is evidence that exposures to RF MF and ELF MF have similar biological consequences.

CONCLUSION:

It is important to mitigate ELF and RF MF exposures through equipment design changes and environmental placement of electrical equipment, e.g., AC/DC transformers. Further research related to these proposed and other biological processes is required.

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