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Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2011 Dec;107(3):374-85. doi: 10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2011.09.002. Epub 2011 Sep 8.

Are the young more sensitive than adults to the effects of radiofrequency fields? An examination of relevant data from cellular and animal studies.

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  • 1Unit of Radiation Biology and Human Health, ENEA, Casaccia Research Centre, Rome, Italy. carmela.marino@enea.it

Abstract

It has sometimes been assumed that children are more sensitive than adults to the effects of radiofrequency (RF) fields associated with cellular wireless telephones. However, relatively few in vitro or animal models have examined this possibility. In vitro studies have used several cell types, from both humans and rodents, including primary cells, embryonic cell lines, undifferentiated cancer cell lines, and stem cells. Overall, the balance of evidence does not suggest that field-related effects occur in any cell type: gene and protein expression were not significantly changed by exposure in nine out of 15 studies; genotoxicity was evaluated in 13 papers and in most, of these studies, no damage to DNA was detected; eight studies failed to demonstrate induction of apoptosis; and three studies reported lack of oxidative stress induction by RF-exposures. Five of eight studies investigating the effects of combined exposures to RF fields and chemical or physical agents reported a lack of field-related effects. In addition, few papers have been published on the effects of low level exposure of immature animals. The available results are very limited, both in terms of signals used and biological endpoints investigated, but the evidence does not indicate that prenatal or early postnatal exposures are associated with acute adverse responses or the development of detrimental changes in the long-term. Overall, this suggests that young animals may not be significantly more sensitive than adults, but there is clearly a need for further studies to be carried out.

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