EMF Health-effects Research

Genotoxicity of radiofrequency signals. I. Investigation of DNA damage and micronuclei induction in cultured human blood cells.

Tice RR , Hook GG , Donner M , McRee DI, Guy AW

Bioelectromagnetics 23:113-126, 2002


As part of a comprehensive investigation of the potential genotoxicity of radiofrequency (RF) signals emitted by cellular telephones, in vitro studies evaluated the induction of DNA and chromosomal damage in human blood leukocytes and lymphocytes, respectively.

The signals were voice modulated 837 MHz produced by an analog signal generator or by a time division multiple access (TDMA) cellular telephone, 837 MHz generated by a code division multiple access (CDMA) cellular telephone (not voice modulated), and voice modulated 1909.8 MHz generated by a global system of mobile communication (GSM)-type personal communication systems (PCS) cellular telephone.

DNA damage (strand breaks/alkali labile sites) was assessed in leukocytes using the alkaline (pH>13) single cell gel electrophoresis (SCG) assay. Chromosomal damage was evaluated in lymphocytes mitogenically stimulated to divide postexposure using the cytochalasin B-binucleate cell micronucleus assay. Cells were exposed at 371 degree C, for 3 or 24 h at average specific absorption rates (SARs) of 1.0-10.0 W/kg. Exposure for either 3 or 24 h did not induce a significant increase in DNA damage in leukocytes, nor did exposure for 3 h induce a significant increase in micronucleated cells among lymphocytes.

However, exposure to each of the four RF signal technologies for 24 h at an average SAR of 5.0 or 10.0 W/kg resulted in a significant and reproducible increase in the frequency of micronucleated lymphocytes. The magnitude of the response (approximately four fold) was independent of the technology, the presence or absence of voice modulation, and the frequency (837 vs. 1909.8 MHz).

This research demonstrates that, under extended exposure conditions, RF signals at an average SAR of at least 5.0 W/kg are capable of inducing chromosomal damage in human lymphocytes.

Additional Web Notes

This is the study that Dr George Carlo (of the infamous WTR), after splitting with the CTIA, described as a "time-bomb."


Dr Neil Cherry writes:

"This paper in Bioelectromagnetics only reports significant micronuclei formation (strong evidence of genotoxicity) at 5W/kg and 10 W/kg. The implication is that only high exposures cause genetic damage. However, a genotoxic substance has a safe level of zero."




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